Interview with Amy Giuffrida

What are you working on next?
That'a always the question, right? Well, all I'll say is that it's another NA horror. Think obsession and romance.
Who are your favorite authors?
Although I have a few favorite authors, none have moved me more than Stephen King. Yes, he is a horror writer. Yes, sometimes I think he might be quite crazy. But the man is BRILLIANT!

I have not always been an avid reader. In high school, I was the kid who went to the bookstore just to pick up a copy of the Cliff Notes version of the classic novel we were assigned to read. I wasn’t going to read Lord of the Flies or Macbeth. No way! I needed to pass the class, so I took the easy way out--earning nothing above a "C" mind you.

As a teen, and even as an adult, those classics bore me to tears. Never was there anything contemporary being discussed in my English classes. Not once did a teacher ever encourage me to read by sharing books or titles with me. I found these on my own. I found…Stephen King.

Stephen King wrote about things I could never imagine happening. His words drew me in like a siren’s song. The world he created in each of his stories was one I could never conceive of. I mean, who would have thought that a car could truly live? That your loving dog could become a killer? That a clown could or would drag young kids into the shadows via a sewer drain? Okay, I knew about the clown, but really? Not only was there strangeness and an element or horror to King’s stories, but there were relationships built. Stephen King taught me that when things go wrong, you cling to those you love and hold them close to you. He also writes about forgiveness. Yes, even in a horror novel there can be forgiveness, fragility and tenderness.

As an adult, Stephen King taught me the greatest lesson of all. He has taught me to put myself out there and write the stories I have inside of me. I know now that the voices that I hear shouting in my head are not to be feared, but to be allowed to frolic in the open air and flourish. Those voices, they are my friends. They will take me places that I need to go. I should not write timidly. Although writing is a risk, without putting myself out there, I haven’t done myself, or my characters justice.

Besides the confidence Stephen King has inspired in me, I have also learned a lot about the craft of writing from his memoir, On Writing. This book is a must read for every writer out there, published or not. Beside the traditional grammar tips, Stephen King wrote many anecdotes about the roads he traveled while writing a few of his most famous works; telling stories about his characters along the way.

Without Stephen King, the past 20 years or so of my life may have turned out very differently. I may never have become the reader I am today. I may never have had the courage to enter those worlds I have created in my head; giving my characters their voice. I may never have begun to feel confident in myself as a writer. Without books, my life would be…well I can’t even think about that.
What is your writing process?
I know that all writers say they pour their heart and soul into their writing, so what I’m about to say is cliché at best—ditto.

I am a pantster. I have tried (and failed) to outline my stories, to plan what is going to happen, but that doesn't work for me. I have to hear my characters. Literally. More times than naught, my characters are using me as their medium, projecting their ideas and thoughts through me onto my Mac. Other times, my stories begin as feelings and/or desires from my past. Many times I write about what I wish I could have said, what I could have done. My heart gets very heavy at these moments, or course.

I also see my stories as short film, with each scene is a fraction or part of a movie--one that is choreographed to a soundtrack and acted out by the characters. I feel so much during my writing spurts, that I can often be heard laughing as I place snarky words onto the page.

I don't have a day or time that I sit my butt in my chair to write. For me, I can't schedule. I am a better writing at night, since when the kids are awake I find waaaaaay too much to do. When I do sit down to write, I can scare up 1,000-2,000 words in an hour or two.
How do you approach cover design?
I give it to someone else to do. There are so many smart and talented cover artists out there, who know exactly what works and what doesn't. That person isn't me, so I hire a professional for all covers! Sarah Henson from Okay Creations was the genius behind The Bleeding Heart's cover. NEVER would I have come up with this one, and I was happy to pay her for this beauty!
Why horror?
When my sister first read a draft of The Bleeding Heart, her first question to me was what had happened in my childhood for this story to come out of me. Simple answer...nothing.

I have this obsession with the psychology of becoming a depraved human being. How is it that some people become so twisted that they can’t live without violence? Many of what I write about are the women/girls who are damaged by some outside force and their need to express their brokenness.

Who knows. Maybe I was more meant to be a psychiatrist, but alas my life took another turn. Now, I write and read about creatures of the night, sociopaths, and predators. I think I’m just working out all of my fears through stories.
What do you read for pleasure?
I don't only read horror. I love a great story, no matter what the genre. So instead of talking about YA vs. NA and horror vs. contemporary, here are my top ten reads from the past year:

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses
2. The Jewel
3. Don't Look Back
4. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
5. The Program
6. Anomaly
7. The F*** it List
8. Red Queen
9. Eleanor & Park
10. The Tragedy Paper
Describe your desk
Desk?
Well...it's hidden underneath a stack of signed posters and papers right now. In my defense, I'm waiting for my daughter to move into the son's old room. Then, her room will become my office. For now, I typically write either on the couch downstairs, in the car, or in bed.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Brooklyn, my main character, decided one day to start telling me her story. I was in the shower and had to quickly jumped out, grab a towel and still dripping, I flung myself into a chair with my laptop. 45 minutes later, I came up for a breath and to put clothes on.

THIS started the long journey of writing, revising, meeting my CP, querying, and entering contests. After 1 1/2 years of querying and receiving both rejections and requests, I was still agent-less. After watching my CP self-publish three books, I decided that this would be the path my book would take. NOTHING could have prepared me for all the hard work it took to get TBH ready and live on Amazon. Everything about self-publishing is still new and there is a lot I need to learn yet, but I LOVE the freedom of self-publishing and everything that goes with it.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Once upon a time, I wrote a choppy and horrid story about a girl who is gang raped at a party. When the video goes viral, she's the one whispered about like it was her fault. Not the guys.

Good premise, but poor execution. I actually submitted it thinking that it was good. A few years later, I know this was never meant to see the light of day. Not only was UGLY my first story, but it was also the one that taught me a few very harsh lessons.
Published 2015-06-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Bleeding Heart
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 64,770. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
Brooklyn is a talented artist with an obsession for blood; one that she satiates at her uncle's tattoo shop. It's here at The Bleeding Heart that Brooklyn practices the art of dispensing pain onto others. Yet, nothing can dull the desire running through her veins. That is until Daniel comes into her life, bringing a different sort of desire into her life and man does it hurt so good.