Interview with Amy O'Neill

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural Southeast Michigan. My hometown is the epitome of a small town where my family has had roots since they first arrived in the state over 150 years ago. The lack of shopping malls or fast food places (or anything else we would have thought cool in the 1990s) really helped spur my imagination. I spent a lot of time in my room listening to music and dreaming about the day I would move away. Those daydreams became the first stories I ever wrote. Fun Fact: As much as I wanted to get out of there and never return, I now live less than 10 miles from that same small a slightly larger small town.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was in my early teens. It was a kind of escape from a tumultuous time with my parents divorce. I found comfort in listening to music and creating happy stories from the lyrics.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first romance I ever wrote was a kind of flashback scenario and told the story about how I met the boy who took me on my first date. In the story the main character turns on the radio and the song she is listening to makes her mind wonder. The story ends with the last strands of the song and her alone in her room. It's a testament to the power of a great song. In this case, the song was 'What Might Have Been' by Little Texas.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The biggest motivation for me was the freedom to do what I wanted with my stories. I've never been a fan of taking orders from someone, especially when they are in reference to my own private works. Being an indie author is a lot of work, but I wouldn't trade any of it for a second. It really makes me get out there and meet the fans ... which outside of creating the stories is my next favorite thing about being a writer!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been wonderful with really streamlining how my books get out to all the different online stores. I've sold more books via Smashwords than any other site I use.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love just letting go and letting the words flow. I don't really work with any kind of outline. I know eventually the couple will live 'happily ever after', but I truly don't know how they will get to that point until I write it. The stories really create themselves and it's magical to me to read what I've written and think 'Wow, it's amazing I came up with that".
What do your fans mean to you?
I love my fans. They have been so supportive. It never fails when I am having a bit of a block I will get a random Facebook message or email telling me to keep up the great work and asking when the next story will be out. My community has really rallied behind me as well and I couldn't ask for a better experience.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Deirdre Martin! As a new writer, I reached out to several best selling romance authors, asking for their words of wisdom. Deirdre was one of the very few who actually responded and was so encouraging. I look forward to being that same kind of mentor.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life inspires me! I am a mom to a 13 year old, so believe me there are days I want to hide away and savoir every second, but watching him grow and seeing the kind of man he is turning into amazes me. Being able to show him about following your dreams and creating every minute is what gets me out of bed. Every day I get one step closer to the reality of writing full-time.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love spending time with my son and nieces and nephew. During the summer my son and I take in several minor league Toledo Mudhen baseball games. I also love camping and anything to do with water. When I'm unwinding at home I love to read self-help books and romances. I also love working on remodeling my fixer-upper.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm actually working on 2 books at the same time. The first is Down for the Count - Small Town Series - Book #2. This book follows Lily and Ty. She's a widowed mother of twin 8 year old boys and he is the best friend of her deceased husband who was killed when the boys were toddlers. Ty's always held a torch for Lily, and truth be told, he saw her first, but Lily can't seem to feel she's doing something wrong by falling for her husband's best friend. As Lily wrestles with the past, Ty and the twins team up to show her how good it can be to go no-holds-barred!

The second book I am working on is the first of my Village Vixens Trilogy. The Diary of Zelda Mae Pearl follows Zelda as she returns to her small town after an office affair ends with her getting tazed! The first few weeks of adjustment aren't easy, but they also are anything but boring. An old crush, an internet hook-up, a family friend, and a sexy man at the bar all find their way into the pages of Zelda's diary.
Published 2014-06-04.
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