Amy is an award-winning author who has written thirty romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon in both the Medical and RIVA/Presents lines. She wrote her first book at the age of twenty-two while unemployed and freezing her butt off in the UK, largely because it involved being able to stay in bed with her electric blanket. One twelve year apprenticeship later she finally got "the call".
To date she's sold over a million books and been translated into thirteen different languages. In 2010 she took out the sexy category in the prestigious Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award affectionately known as The Ruby.
She's recently launched a couple of separate writing ventures with the release of Sister Pact a contemporary women's fiction novel that she wrote with her sister Ros Baxter and was published by Harper Collins Australia as well as the very exciting release of her first category romance, Taming the Tycoon, with Entangled Publishing.
In what she euphemistically likes to call her spare time, Amy works part time as a paediatric intensive care nurse and was on the national executive for Romance Writers Of Australia for six years during which time she organised two national conferences and undertook a two year term as president.
She's been married for twenty-two years and has two teenagers who only admit to her being a writer when they have to explain to their friends why there's no food in the house when their mother is approaching a deadline. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany."
Places to find Amy:
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Hi Danielle – thanks so much for having me on your fab blog – Love the title =)
The most interesting thing about me is that I’m a juggler extraordinaire as I guess most women are these days. I work part time night duty as a PICU nurse, I write full time for three different publishing houses, I have a rich volunteer life, a husband, two teenagers who need social secretaries to manage their comings and goings, two aging Labradors and a very recent addiction to twitter. I’m just throwing those balls in the air and hoping like mad they don’t all fall down on my head one day….
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. Sorry, I know that’s not very romantic but it’s true. So many of my writing friends tell me they knew from the moment they picked up a pen or their mothers read xyz book to them that they wanted to be a writer but honestly, it never occurred to me that it was an actual, real job that real people did. Certainly not something I could aspire to. I loved reading – but it just never factored in as a career choice. My mother, however, was always writing a book (a romance novel) when we were growing up. She had a typewriter that she’d bang away on in between tending to four kids and their associated activities so I guess that was a really early subliminal influence.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
I think I have some kind of multiple personality thing going on because I have to confess to having tendencies of both J I normally know my characters fairly well in my head before I start because that’s where I do all my mulling – never underestimate the importance of mull time I always say! It’s where fuzzy outlines become fully fleshed out people. And then I jot down all that I know about them and do a brief (often very brief) chapter/plot outline and then I start at chapter one and keep tapping away until The End (two of the most beautifully paired words in the English language btw!)
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Anywhere. TV, music, bus advertising J eavesdropping. Writers are terrible eavesdroppers. I’ve been known to follow two women up and down eight supermarket aisles so I could find out what happened when she confronted her husband about having an affair with his boss. I once watched a long teary, mushy, kissy farewell at an airport departure gate and was excited to be actually sitting next to the teary girl for the flight and pumped her for information J For my medicals I’ll often start with a medical disease or issue and the characters/story come from that. For example my first book featured a heroine whose mother had Huntington’s Chorea. My second book featured a hero with PTSD. I’ve set books in drop-in clinics and MASH units and community mental health offices. These form the background medical plot while the couple are falling in love.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
An uptight tycoon with one goal. A boho activist standing in his way. An unstoppable force is about to meet his first immovable object.
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I read and enjoy all kinds of genre fiction (although I never seem to find the time these days) but I’m a contemporary girl through and through. Stories about modern women and falling in love and female community and the things that we talk about, that we gossip about, that we worry about. And I love, love, love humour. Romantic comedy is my favourite genre!
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
Hmm, that’s kind of like asking me which one of my children is my favourite =) Too hard to choose! But I can say that my favourite author is Jenny Crusie. I’ll never forget the first book of hers I read – Getting Rid Of Bradley. It totally blew my mind. I had been reading category romance for years (Ann Mather, Carole Mortimer and Charlotte Lamb) but this was a completely different style. I hadn’t known that category could also be like that. And I’ve been hooked on her ever since!
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
Ooh, good question. I don’t know if any of them are harder than any other. I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever been stuck on writing a scene ever…
I guess getting the emotion just right in a scene is something I work hard on and often takes a lot of tweaking to do them justice. They’re where I spend a lot of “fiddling” time.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Well as I've already dined with Jenny Crusie (a couple of time actually - lucky me =)) I’ll have to choose some other contemporary romantic comedy authors I adore. SEP, Rachael Gibson and Janet Evanovich – now that would be one rocking dinner! Especially if Jenny just happened to be passing and could join us =)
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I have three projects to finish between now and the end of the year. I’m working on a medical at the moment (my31st HMB!!) and then on a continuity for the new Harlequin KISS line that launches early next year in the US with fellow authors Heidi Rice, Kimberly Lang and Aimee Carson. And then I’m tackling a Brazen for Entangled – I love my books hot =) I’m also excited to be involved in a Christmas themed Flirt Anthology for Entangled with Heidi, Aimee and Kate Hardy which should be out in November.
Busy, busy, busy!
An unstoppable force is about to meet his first immovable object…
Real estate tycoon Nathaniel Montgomery is one deal away from making his first billion and fulfilling a promise to his dying father. Nothing will stop him from tearing down the decrepit St. Agnes hospital and erecting posh condos in its place. Not even the crystal-wearing, health food store owner whose publicity stunt lands him in the hospital.
After her brush with death five years ago, child prodigy Addie Collins learned what’s truly important—health, happiness, and the two-hundred-year-old rose garden at St. Agnes. To make amends for the accident, she agrees to pose as Nathaniel’s girlfriend at his eccentric grandmother’s birthday party.
But Addie has an ulterior motive. To repay her debt to the universe, she must show him there’s more to life than making money. Nathaniel hates to lose, but as she breaks through his defenses, losing himself in Addie’s arms might be exactly what this tycoon needs…
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