Author Interview: Amy Engel

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Here at Reads By Amanda, we love authors. How could you not? From our favorite series, books, moments, scenes and characters, there's a writer who created all those moments and decided it had to be written down and shared with the world.

Click on to read my interview with Amy Engel! 

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When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
I loved to write from the time I was very young. Being a writer was always my dream job, but I didn’t know if it would ever become a reality. 

What's your writing process like?

It usually takes quite a bit of thinking for me to decide on what I want to write. Coming up with the initial idea is the hardest part of the process for me. Once I have a general idea of the story, I start to write. I never outline, so while I know how the book is going to start and have a sense of how it will end, the middle is a complete mystery to me. 

The Book of Ivy series deals with power and the sacrifices that come with attaining and maintaining it. Considering that both Ivy and her sister Callie, were raised by the same parent, why do you think Callie is completely on board with their father's vision, and not Ivy?

The answer to this question goes along with the old nature vs. nurture debate. I think how we are raised has a huge influence on us. But I also think that people are born with certain personality traits or tendencies. In Ivy’s case, while she seeks her father’s approval, she also doesn’t have Callie’s unquestioning faith. Ivy is more independent than Callie and more willing to question what she’s been told. Ivy sees those qualities in herself as negatives, but really, they are positives.

Most dystopian fiction tends to broaden out in terms of political conflict, such as having an entire country or continent at stake. In The Book of Ivy, it's the small town of Westfall. Was it always your plan to focus on one town and the political dynamics within it?

Yes, once I had the idea for the story, I knew I wanted it to focus on one town. Many dystopians deal with the wider world and also are set  in a more distant future. I wanted to explore the dynamic of this one small community in the years just following the end of our world as we know it. 

One of my favorite elements in your series is how all the characters interact and connect with one other. Bishop and Ivy's relationship develops slowly and they don't fall in love with each other right away. What was the best part about writing them? What's your favorite part about their relationship?

I loved everything about writing Bishop and Ivy. I love how their personalities compliment each other and how they start off so cautious with each other, but then can’t help slowly opening up to each other. My favorite part of their relationship is how respectful they are of each other. I like a bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold story as much as the next person, but sometimes I get tired of that dynamic. I love that Bishop and Ivy are true equals and best friends. 

The Book of Ivy has some great female characters, from Ivy and Victoria, to Ash in the second book. How important is it to have strong and multi-layered female characters in fiction?

It’s very important to me, but I don’t necessarily sit down and think, “I need to make sure I have strong women in this book.” I just write the story and it’s almost automatic that strong, multi-layered female characters will be included because that’s the world I see. All the women I know are amazing people, smart and capable, and so it’s sort of a no-brainer that women are going to play important roles in my stories.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

For adult novels I love Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Dennis Lehane. For YA novels I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell, Suzanne Collins, and Jandy Nelson.

What is one thing that you want readers to come away from after reading your stories?

The number one goal is just to make sure the readers enjoy the book. For me, that’s the ultimate goal: to tell an engaging story. If readers find something in the book that resonates with them on a deeper level, then that’s just icing on the cake.

Last book you read?

We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley.

Are you currently reading anything at the moment?

Right now I’m halfway through End of Watch by Stephen King.

Thank you so much for coming here and answering my questions! Good luck on your future projects and I can't wait to read your future work!

Thanks so much for this opportunity, Amanda! My next novel is my adult debut, The Roanoke Girls, and releases on March 7, 2017.

Follow Amy on Twitter and check out her website.

Amy Engel's debut The Book of Ivy and it's sequel The Revolution of Ivy is available now! Grab a copy here

Check out my review for the other installments in the series: 

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)

The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2) 

Thanks for reading! 

Follow me on social media, I always love hearing from you! 

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