Amy Holders is the author of THE LIPSTICK LAWS dropping 4/4/2011. She is also a firm believer that the Chi air straightening iron is the best invention since air conditioning and Scrabble. I was honored when this talented and gorgeous writing starlet agreed to an interview. Hope you enjoy reading her responses as much as I did!
Where are you from?
I’m originally from upstate New York. The Lipstick Laws is actually set in a fictional town that I created and placed near my hometown where I grew up. I’ve also lived in the Chicago area and Pittsburgh before moving to the Philadelphia area, where I’m currently living.
What book are you reading now?
I just started reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m also part of the Class of 2k11 ARC tour and am getting to read all sorts of fantastic ARCs from my fellow 2011 authors.
If you had to choose, which books would you say have influenced your writing?
This is a hard question because there are so many! It would probably be easier for me to list the authors who’ve influenced me most. Shel Silverstein and Roald Dahl books sparked my love of reading and writing at a young age…so I’d say those books influenced me quite a bit. I’ve also been inspired by Sophie Kinsella’s humor, J.K. Rowling’s imagination, and Meg Cabot’s endless creativity. James Scott Bell’s book called Revision & Self-Editing really helped me in the revision stages of my writing as well (I’d highly recommend it to any aspiring writers).
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many great new authors out there! All of my Class of 2k11 (www.classof2k11.com) classmates have definitely grasped my interest and attention, along with my fellow Elevensies (http://community.livejournal.com/2011debuts). I also loved Kiersten White’s 2010 debut (Paranormalcy) and Jessica Brody’s 2010 YA debut (The Karma Club).
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t realize that it could be my career until after college. That’s when I started thinking of it as more than a hobby, and I really started studying the publishing market and absorbing all the info I could about what it takes to become an author.
How many books did you write before getting published?
I’ve been writing since first grade, so over the years I can’t count how many stories I’ve written. But as an adult, I wrote one full novel for tweens/teens, and I started and scrapped many others (for various ages) before I wrote The Lipstick Laws. I also wrote (and illustrated) a bunch of shorter stories for younger children.
What made you decide to write Young Adult?
Writing YA came sort of naturally to me because I’m still very connected to the feelings and thoughts that I had as a teen. I guess you could say I never really grew up. 🙂 Also, I really enjoy teens in general and the books they read, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
Where did the idea for The Lipstick Laws come from?
The voice of the main character (April) came to me first. I started free writing in her voice, and the full story evolved from there. I really wanted to write a humorous story about the ups and downs of high school, and April’s character helped me accomplish that. I’ve also always been fascinated by the psychology of social hierarchies and how they play a part in creating insecurities or confidence in the people they impact… so I guess I was destined to write a story that highlights that interest.
How long did it take to write the book?
Between writing it and revising, it took me about six months to finish it and submit it to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Then, of course, there were more revisions to come once they picked it up for publication. From writing the first draft to publication, the whole process will have taken over two years.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Two of my favorite things in the world (other than writing) are animals and art. I love spending time with my pets and helping animal rescue organizations. I also love doing anything artistic/creative, reading, traveling, shopping, and spending time with family and friends.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing a draft of another contemporary YA novel with a bit of a paranormal twist. I have lots of other story ideas in line to be written once this draft is finished and revised.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Other than practicing your writing craft (which is super important), my biggest piece of advice would be to never give up! For most, the publishing journey is long and bumpy. You will most likely need thick skin and an unlimited amount of perseverance to succeed and deal with rejections, rewrites, critiques and naysayers. This business is extremely hard to break into, but if you have the talent, determination and drive, there’s no stopping you. Networking and studying the publishing/book market will also give you a big advantage on your way to a successful writing career.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for all of your support and enthusiasm for The Lipstick Laws! It’s truly made this experience better than I could have ever imagined.
When April Bowers is befriended by queen bee Britney Taylor, she thinks her dull social life is getting brighter. That is, until she finds out about The Lipstick Laws. In this fun story about popularity, friendship, body image, boys, and lipstick, April discovers that some laws are better off broken…
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