Amy Neal is a Canadian writer based in Ottawa, Ontario. As an author and reader, she gravitates toward thriller, horror, and speculative fiction.
When did you first start writing?
I think I've been writing for as long as I've known how to string words together. I remember actively wanting to be a writer well before I had the attention span to write anything longer than a page or two––and yet I had SO many ideas. I took every creative option I was given for schoolwork. The part that didn't come naturally was learning to accept criticism. I was a kid; I just wanted to write because it was fun. I didn't care about improving. My aspiration to be a top-selling, yet tragically misunderstood author seemed so far away to me that I didn't make any concrete plans to improve my writing until I got to high school, where I took a writer's craft class that helped me get serious.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do remember one early story. I was in grade three or four, and I wrote a story with one particular element that was clearly plagiarized from (inspired by?) The Magician's Nephew. I do not remember anything from the story except that two kids were tricked into being teleported to a volcano by a man who had an object that was most certainly not the same object as in the C.S. Lewis book.
A short collection of weird fiction. "The Room Alone" and "A Gentle Breeze" have a thriller edge to them, while "Flicker" is more confessional in style. "And the Ivy," for which the collection is named, follows a woman experiencing the midnight phenomenon where familiar objects no longer appear familiar – or perhaps there's something stranger going on...