Interview with Amy McGuire

Published 2013-08-22.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent most of my childhood in East Africa. I think that being a missionary kid has strongly affected my writing, at least in my first published books. One of my main characters is the child of an Anthropologist and soon learns what it's like to be uprooted from everything she knows and loves and put into a culture she knows nothing about. As a missionary kid I moved around every one to two years and then, when I was ten years old, my family moved back 'home'. There is a term, 'third culture kid', which basically means that you are not really a part of the culture you were born in, nor the culture you were raised in, and you kind of straddle both and make up your own culture. Eventually the TCK either carves out a niche for themselves or they move back to the country they feel most comfortable. In my main character's case, she carved out a niche for herself.
When did you first start writing?
That all depends on what you mean by 'writing'. I am pretty sure I started to form words and sentences when I was five, but my first actual story was around the age of seven. Ever since, I have written purely for the fun of it, and I wish that I had saved some of those stories. As I got older, I found most of those stories childish and silly, so I threw them out. Now I wish I hadn't. It would be fun to look back on what I used to consider important in a story.
What's the story behind your latest book?
When my daughter was very young and taking four hour naps, for the sake of my sanity, I began to write. The first three books in The Hope Valley Saga were actually all one book that I wrote in just over a year. A friend and I had been talking about our lives in a tiny village in British Columbia and all our good memories there. He suggested I write about it, and with the combination of my life as a missionary kid, I discovered a whole new work of fiction.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had tried for a while to become published the traditional way. I edited my books and wrote query letters. I sent these letters to agents who all told me that the story was interesting, but not quite what they were looking for. One publisher seemed to have promise and even told me I would be receiving a contract within the week. I was hopeful and excited and had that 'I made it' feeling. Then I heard nothing from them until two weeks later when I received a letter informing me that, as they were a small house, they could not take on any new authors at the time. The last sentence initially made me angry: "You might do better off on your own". But then, the more I read that rejection letter, the more I began to wonder: Could I go it alone? What would that take? From there I began to research until I met Jason Matthews, the author of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks - All For Free through a little website for authors entitled Authonomy. The rest, as they say, is history.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Being able to distribute my books in all formats, not just Kindle, has been wonderful. My readers know that they don't have to own a Kindle to read my ebooks and that they can also get discounts and deals depending on what promos I have on. The coupon feature has helped greatly as I send out review copies and give out my book as prizes in various competitions. I love the easy format of Smashwords and the help I have received as I build my books on Smashwords.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Knowing that my books are being read and enjoyed. I started writing for myself, and while that was fun, hearing the responses by readers who really enjoy my book is an unparalleled reward. I also love it when my readers beg for the next book and hound me. It's great motivation to get the next book out in a timely manner.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything. If I didn't have my fans, I wouldn't bother to publish my books. Their responses, questions and comments mean the world. I have actually changed elements of my books in their first drafts because fans have either requested a change or pointed out how the story could be better. My fans are amazing and give me the little boost I need when marketing and promotion gets frustrating and sales are low. You're wonderful! Thank you!
What are you working on next?
The third book in The Hope Valley Saga, entitled Dreams Come True. It's the sequel to Worlds Apart and I'm really excited about the direction it's taking. I hope my readers will like how this book ends and be excited for the rest of the series. I also, when I get time, want to work on a stand alone romance I began a few months ago, entitled Romance By Design, which is the story of Rudyard Kipling's great granddaughter who becomes an indie author after years of working with a traditional publisher, and the cover artist across the water in Australia who wins her heart.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jane Austen is certainly a favourite. I have read all of her books and I think I've reread a few as well. I especially love the TV adaptations of her Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Pride and Prejudice. I love Lucy Maud Montgomery, Frank Peretti (his Angels and Demons series still gives me chills), Nora Roberts and Debbie Maccomber.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My daughter. Without a doubt, knowing that my little girl needs me and looks forward to spending time with me every day puts a smile on my face. There is nothing quite like waking up to find that she's crawled onto the bed and has her little arms wrapped around my neck. Also, knowing that while she's at school I have the house to myself to write, is a great motivation to get out of bed. I love lying back on a summer day when I'm not working and listening to the birds as well. Sunshine helps me have a good attitude and wakes me up, fresh and ready to face the day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a part time job as a dental receptionist and I spend time with my daughter when she's not in school. There are many times in the summer where you can find both of us at the zoo. I love seeing the latest comedy or romantic comedy in theatres and hanging out with friends. I also have been enjoying kickboxing the last few months, so much in fact, that I plan to incorporate kickboxing into my fourth novel. I love to bake around Christmas time and enjoy trying out new recipes. When I find the time, I also like making book cover mockups to give myself inspiration or put a face to the characters in my books. In the summer, I like to get outside for walks and to help my daughter learn to ride her bike. I love to swim. I am also part of the praise team at my church and lead singing once or twice a month.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Dreams Come True
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 101,060. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
(5.00 from 1 review)
Nearly six years ago, Anjaline promised Gabriel that she would make it back to Hope Valley, no matter how long it took. Will keeping her promise mean a second chance for them, or just more heartache?
Worlds Apart
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,550. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
(5.00 from 1 review)
The sequel to The Heart's Discovery. You never forget your first love. Even if it hurts your chance at second love. Anjaline has moved to Ontario where she realizes her dream of being a journalist. Gabriel remains in Hope Valley and becomes a skilled carpenter. This is their journey into new love, growing up and discovering who they were meant to be. Will they ever meet again?
The Heart's Discovery
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,570. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
(4.40 from 5 reviews)
Will Anjaline return Gabriel’s feelings in time or will tragedy tear them apart before she has the chance?