October 9, 2014

My Interview with Author Amy Finnegan!





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I had the privilege of interviewing Amy Finnegan who wrote Not in the Script, which is one of my favorite reads of 2014! You can read my review of it here: http://thehopelessreader.blogspot.com/2014/10/not-in-script-by-amy-finnegan-review.html

Here is the description of her book in case you have not seen it:

The best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

Sounds amazing right? It is! Now it’s time for the questions!

1. Did you always want to be a writer?


No, I didn’t. Most authors I know started writing when they were very young—usually at least by their middle school years—but I didn’t start working on my first novel until I was thirty! I was in my twenties when I really began to love reading, and it wasn’t long before I realized that I couldn’t stop thinking about the books I liked. And then I noticed that my mind was actually inventing stories . . . and soon, I was having conversations with people who didn’t exist. So when that happened, I knew I had to choose between two options: either see a doctor or write a novel.

 But my wildest, fondest dream when I was a child was to be a secretary. So I am at least living the typing part of that epic fantasy.



2. What made you want to write a book about young actors and actresses?


I have a brother who has an incredibly amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, his behind-the-scenes stories about filmmaking have lit up my writer’s brain like bulbs on a Christmas tree, and one thing in particular that he said inspired an important aspect of NOT IN THE SCRIPT. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met (the actor would play basketball or just hang out with my brother during breaks, and he’d often talk about his family and friends), and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”


That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.
I chose to make NOT IN THE SCRIPT about teen actors because, as both a writer and an adult, I still have a young adult voice; it’s how I think and how I view the world. I love pop culture, contemporary music, humor, and the innocence of a slow-burn relationship. Those are the romances that last the longest (I met my best-friend-turned-husband twenty-four years ago, and I’m still crazy about him). I love writing young adult lit because I can get away with all of that and not worry that readers will think the story is too immature for them. Also young adult books are usually WAY more enjoyable for me to read because I have enough grown-up stuff to deal with in real life. So bring on the fun!

       (Amy's brother, Tyler, who she actually named the 1st AD after in the novel.)

3. Was it hard writing from two different points of view?


I actually loved this approach to the story so much that I doubt I’ll write from a single POV ever again. It’s a lot of fun to imagine how differently two love interests can interpret the same situation, which we know guys and girls so often do. Also, Emma has been in the industry for quite a while when the story begins, whereas Jake is new to it, so I loved portraying the technical details of filmmaking from both perspectives. Some of it seems so strange at first! I was shocked by how much tape is used on set—electrical tape, duct tape, fashion tape. Tape seems to be the fix for a wide variety of last-minute problems. Also safety pins.

4. How did you come up with such complex characters?


(That’s a very nice compliment! Thank you!) For me the key to believable characters is revision. I can draft chapters pretty quickly, but I’m still a slow writer because I revise and revise and revise. But that’s how I find a deeper story as well as more complex characters.

Imagine one of your best friends and how much better you know them now than you did after just a week or so of hanging out. Getting to know someone isn’t a matter of sitting down to dinner once and saying, “Tell me all about yourself.” You may get surface answers, but someone wouldn’t really open up. Making a true friend takes time, and I feel the same way about creating characters. That’s how I wrote Jake and Emma’s relationship as well. It’s a slow burn, which sets it up to last much longer than insta-love.  

 5. Do you plan to write anymore novels?


I have solid foundations for seven manuscripts right now, and bits and pieces for several others. One of these is a novel I actually finished before I started writing NOT IN THE SCRIPT, but the story still isn’t quite where I want it to be. Not even my editor has seen it yet, because I want it to be a lot stronger before she does. On the plus side, she once told me that NOT IN THE SCRIPT needed fewer rounds of revision than any other novel she has worked on, so I have my fingers crossed that I can get this manuscript to that point too.


(What Amy's backpack is usually stuffed with: bits and pieces of everything she is working on.)



6. I know that you have a very large collection of books which I am very jealous of, so I would assume that you have a few favorite authors. Who are they and did any of them inspire you to write?



I have soooooo many favorite authors, but two in particular have influenced me to (first and foremost) love reading, which then led me to want to write my own stories.

 
I’m huge fan of historical novels, especially novels by Jane Austen. I love the way she writes wit, sarcasm, romance, folly, heartbreak, regret, longing . . . all of it. Her characters are real people to me, as if I’ve known them all of my life.

 
And I credit J.K. Rowling for making me fall in love with reading like I never had before. The Harry Potter series genuinely changed my life. I wouldn’t be writing today if I had never picked up those “children’s books” that made me so crazy about storytelling that I wanted to be a storyteller myself. I’ve never connected so well with an imaginary world, and I doubt I ever will.



 
(Amy's library! Can you tell she likes books?)
7. Do you have any current young adult novels that you are loving?

Always! At the moment I’m reading Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers is up next. Both appeal to the historical-novel-loving side to me, and I adored White’s Paranormalcy books. And guys . . . have you started LaFevers’ His Fair Assassins series? Imagine nuns that are more like ninjas! Not to be missed!

8. In your bio it says that you like to travel, specifically to places where some of your favorite books have taken place. Where have been some of your favorite places to travel?


I’m especially fond of the UK because it has so many connections to a very long list of my favorite books! This includes the Harry Potter series, which has led me to traipse up and down all of Great Britain, attempting to find Hogwarts (I’m convinced that it really does exist) and any other location associated with the books or movies. I’m leaving for my fourth trip there in just a few weeks. I’m taking my eight-year-old daughter, and we’ll be spending Halloween night at the Harry Potter studio in London. This will be my second visit to the studio, but this time there will be Death Eaters and magic potions! We will also visit the Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens museums while in the city, and since I’ve already gone to just about every literary site in and around London related to Jane Austen (I even dressed up and went to the Jane Austen Festival two summers ago), we’ll be meandering up the countryside to visit several other locations that have ties to great stories. Stops will include the Roald Dahl museum, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nottingham, Chatsworth House (said to be the estate Jane Austen had in mind when she wrote about Pemberley—and I believe it!), the Brontë Parsonage and the eerie Moors all three sisters wrote about, Beatrix Potter’s little farmhouse in the Lake District, Burns Cottage, and a place that made me weep the first time I saw it: The Elephant House, which is the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first few books in the Harry Potter series.



( She found Hogwarts! She said this sight gave her chills and made her cry. The Harry Potter studio tour, London.)



(The ultimate cosplay for Austen fans: The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England)

9. How did you feel when you got to sit in on the sets of big-time television shows like Parenthood and Parks and Recreation? Did you fan girl over anyone?


It was amazing! And I fangirled big time, but only on the inside, because I had to act professional (they only had to tug me off of someone’s legs once, I swear)!


One of my favorite moments was when, during a long break while a set was being rearranged, I had a great conversation with Chris Pratt about his days on one of my all-time favorite TV shows—EVERWOOD! (I miss that show so much! You should binge-watch the entire series if you haven’t seen it. You’ll thank me!)


Aubrey Plaza was in on that conversation as well, and we somehow started talking about on-screen kissing, which turned quite hilarious because Aubrey said something like, “Chris and I have to make out all the time.” And they both said it doesn’t even phase them anymore, but then Chris added that even though it doesn’t feel real on set, all common sense goes out the window when he has to watch his wife make out with other guys (he’s married to the beautiful Anna Faris). Chris Pratt is pretty much a standup comedian, both on and off set, and just about everything that came out of his mouth made me laugh like a fangirling fool. And Aubrey Plaza is so chill and funny! I could’ve listened to the two of them for days. Weeks!


Chris Pratt?! I am fangirling with you, Amy!

10. Is there anything you want to say to your reader?  Something that you hope they take away from your book perhaps?


I didn’t set out to write a book that “teaches” something, but if there are a few things that I hope readers walk away with, it’s this:

* Don’t put up with jerks. You deserve better. You deserve a Jake Elliott in your life.
* Fame and fortune is nothing compared to friends and family.
* Happiness. I hope this story makes you laugh, gives your butterflies, and brightens your day! I love it when I read a review where someone says NOT IN THE SCRIPT simply made them feel happy. One reader said she wanted to shout about how much she loved it to the whole world. Another reader said she felt so giddy while she was reading it that she literally skipped between her laundry room and where the book was waiting for her to pick it up again. These are the best compliments I could ever ask for!

I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

 

Amy sounds fabulous, right? Not only is she an amazing author, but also a great and funny person! It is the perfect combo.

 




Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and
thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.





You can follow Amy on Twitter: @ajfinnegan, Instagram: StrangerThanFictionWriter, Facebook: Amy Finnegan, Author. Or Visit her at AmyFinnegan.com.

 

Check her out! She is super nice. To show how awesome she is, she is hosting a giveaway for an AMAZING swag pack! It is also an international giveaway! You can enter below!

 

Happy reading and good luck!!