Very excited to present an interview with debut author Amy Fellner Dominy, whose OyMG is out in a week or so! For more about her you can check out her website, her Facebook page or Twitter, while to see the brilliant trailer for OyMG just click here.
For those of you who aren't aware of OyMG, the Amazon description makes it sound wonderful:
Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream?Debut author Amy Fellner Dominy mixes sweet romance, surprising secrets, and even some matzo ball soup to cook up a funny yet heartfelt story about an outspoken girl who must learn to speak out for herself.
And onto the interview...
When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, what do you see?
I see a thirteen-year-old girl with thick glasses, crooked teeth and frizzy hair. In other words: me. I don’t know if a psychoanalyst would say that means I’m writing this for the girl I once was—or for all the girls out there who are like me. Mostly, I think it means I’m writing for other kids who love books and who love getting lost in a good one.
You're active on Twitter and you have a fantastic website including an amazingly interesting blog - how important do you think it is for authors today to interact with their readers over the internet?
Thanks for the compliment—and believe me none of it comes easy for me. I do think a website is important for authors—it gives people a place to learn about my books, find answers or ask questions. I really want to interact with my readers but I’m not sure if they’re flocking to author blogs or if they’re following on Twitter and Facebook. I really wish I knew, because then I could narrow my efforts. Right now, trying to be everywhere takes away from the time I can spend writing books. And that’s the only reason anyone wants to talk to me in the first place.
How long have you been writing for, and did you find it difficult getting published?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. I started with children’s books, moved to romances in my 20s, then plays in my 30s, and back to children’s books in my 40s. Along the way I sold some short stories and had plays produced, but I’m certainly not an overnight success. Most writers aren’t. Yes, it was difficult getting published because it meant continuing on in the face of rejections without any guarantee that I would ever succeed. But nothing worth doing is easy. (Or so I tell myself.)
Plays or novels – what’s easier to write?
For me, plays are easier. Not because they’re easy, but because plays are nearly all dialogue. I love writing dialogue. I often don’t “see” a scene but I “hear” it through conversation. So I really like that aspect of playwriting. Novels force me to write descriptive passages and narrative blocks. Those things are difficult for me. In fact, when I write my rough drafts, the pages are peppered with notes to myself that simply say: (Describe). I go back on my second pass and add those in.
Have you ever thought about collaborating with another author on a novel? If so, who would be your dream writing partner? (Alive or dead, I'm feeling generous!)
It’s an interesting idea. I’ve never tried it before, but it would be fun to work with a partner. Maybe I could stop talking to myself all the time. My dream partner would be my son. He’s fifteen now and would be horrified at the thought. But he’s got a talent for it and
down the road I could see it happening.
Love the reader's guide for OyMG! (Check it out here as a PDF) It looks like something that could be really interesting in schools - are you hoping they'll use it in lessons?
Absolutely! It seems like school reading programs cover the same books year after year. Some of it is because the curriculum is set, but I also wonder if it’s easier for teachers to choose a book when there’s a program of questions and activities available. Teachers are so busy (and underpaid) that I hoped this might make it easier to bring OyMG into the classroom. I think the book would create a lot of good conversation about diversity and acceptance. Never a bad thing!
I know you're a former advertising copywriter - do you think that's helped you when it comes to marketing your book at all?
Advertising taught me how to always consider my audience, know what they want and communicate clearly and quickly. When I wrote TV commercials, I had to tell a complete story in 30 seconds. So, that helps now as I’m crafting letters to reporters and potential readers. But I really should have gone into public relations or publicity!
Do you listen to music when writing? If so what was the soundtrack to OyMG?
I’m one of those people who writes either in complete quiet or with muzac going in the background of the coffee shop. It sounds so cool to say you have a playlist, but sadly, I don’t.
If you could ask any other author any question, what would you ask and who would you ask it to?
I would ask Shakespeare—did you really write all those plays yourself? And can you teach me how to make up new words the way you did? LOVE that!
What's next for Amy Fellner Dominy?
I’m excited to have a new book coming out next year! Audition and Subtraction will be out fall 2012, again from Walker & Company. It’s about fourteen-year-old Tatum who could lose her spot in District Honor Band—and her best friend—when a new guy transfers to her school. Friendships shift and romance sparks in unexpected places.
Thanks for hosting me on your blog!
Many, many thanks to Amy for such a fantastic interview - I hope OyMG is a massive success.