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Amy K McClung Interview Published on: 30, May 2018

Where did you grow up? And what did you do in your free time as a child?

I was born and raised in Nashville TN. As a child I loved to read. The Babysitters Club series was my favorite series growing up and the characters became friends to me almost. When I wasn’t reading, I was riding my bike in the backyard with my little sisters. They’re five years younger than me so I was usually keeping an eye on them outside while playing. I remember making up fake driver’s license to use while riding our bikes and one of us would be the police officer who would pull someone over and give them a ticket. Being the older sister I got to the be the officer most of the time. Having three sisters and parents who sent us to private school, we didn’t do a lot of big trips. However, we did have a tradition of spending time at Fall Creek Falls in the summer months camping outside. As I got older I didn’t enjoy the camping as much, but the Falls have always been one of my favorite places. In fact, they inspired my first book and are featured on its cover.

You have recently started writing. When did you know that being an author is what you wanted?

In high school I used to spend time writing screenplays and I had notebook after notebook of them. Some were inspired by songs, some were just pure imagination. Even in writing those I never saw myself becoming an author. To me it was just having fun and writing down the thoughts spinning in my head. At the time I didn’t understand why these scenarios would play out, now I think I should’ve listened harder and started earlier. I began writing in 2011 after losing my job suddenly. Sitting at home waiting for people to call about my resumes was making me stir crazy. I watched so much television to try and take my mind off things. While my husband was at work he called me on lunch and I was telling him about a show I watched and how predictable it was, how I would’ve written it differently. He suggested I write my own version. So from that moment I started writing and it made the next few weeks, before I started work again, to fly by. Once I started my job I assumed I’d stop writing but the characters continued speaking to me so it became a means of therapy. I researched self-publishing and in May of 2012 I published my first novel, Cascades of Moonlight. It wasn’t until I finished the last book in that series (there are four total), that I even considered my dream was to be a full time author. If I could write full time and pay the bills, that would be the ultimate life for me.

Where do you get the inspiration to write your books? Do you write from personal experiences? Please highlight if any is included in your stories.

My first series was completely inspired by a television show I’d been watching. The show was about Vampires primarily but I wanted to write about a werewolf instead. As I mentioned before, I love Fall Creek Falls, I have a bit of an obsession with waterfalls in general. I began researching small towns to write about and came across Cascade Idaho which is a small town, they have wolves, and they have waterfalls, it was the perfect location. Parker, the main character, has a lot of traits matching mine. She wants desperately to fit in while still maintaining who she is. She’s not the typical teenage girl, she’s not popular, has never dated, and she’s a little awkward. If she’d worn black all the time, she’d have been me as a teen. Lol.

In my NA Contemporary Romance series, a lot of the inspiration for these came from my friends and life in general.
For the Love of Gracie – Many of the things Gracie goes through are things I experienced firsthand and needed to write about because I’d never spoken about them out loud. Gracie and Ashton’s story contains a lot of my husband and I. Curves in the Road – The surrogacy storyline I wrote during a time where my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, coping with five years of trying to conceive with no luck. Cameron’s frustrations over adoption laws in Tennessee stemmed a lot from my frustration over infertility issues in general.

Promises in Stone – This was inspired by a Taylor Swift song. It started out as a 10K story for an anthology related to her songs which was never finished. I loved the characters so much I had to expand it and I was able to release the story as a novella. It’s a Romeo and Juliet type story with a much happier ending than the Shakespeare version.

Across the Way – This was inspired by a Taylor Hicks song, apparently musicians named Taylor inspire me more than anything! I listen to music when I need inspiration and Taylor Hicks song “Places I’ve Been” spoke to me. I saw the whole story with Marie play out in my head as I listened to it. Also I’ve always wanted to take a trip around the US and Canada the way she did. I don’t see that happening anytime soon so I put my dream trip into a story. Some readers may be confused as to why she chose certain places she did but I chose to include places I wanted to visit myself or places I’d been which were special to me.

Your very first book “Cascades of Moonlight” was an instant page turner. Do you feel any personal connection to it?

Definitely! Being my first book, Cascades is incredibly personal to me. The four main characters, Parker, Quinn, Jackie, and Mitchell became surrogate children to me. When I reached the end of the series I cried at the loss of those relationships. As an author you become so connected to the characters that it’s hard to let go. It’s also the reason bad reviews hurt so much because the characters are family and when someone critiques family you get defensive. I’ve been very lucky to have constructive criticism and have grown from it.

“Complicated Relationships” is your highest rated book. It felt so sad when Tristan went through all that he went through. Was that character based on someone you know or was it just out of pure imagination?

Mostly imagination. I wanted to write about dealing with a parent with Alzheimer’s because I felt it was an important issue to address. My books are mostly Romance but each one deals with a real life issue of importance. In For the Love of Gracie it’s about emotional and physical abuse, Curves in the Road deals with surrogacy issues and gay rights, Complicated Relationships copes with many things including Alzheimer’s and alcoholism, and Twisted Fate which will be the final book in the series releasing in August will deal with Multiple Sclerosis, alcoholism, and HIV. For Tristan, he was partly based on a friend who seems to have so many complications in life they never can get things on a happy road. I wanted to show that even with all the complications you can make life work out for you.

How many books are going to be there in Crispin Sinclair Chronicles? Can you give a sneak peek to the readers as to what happens to Crispin and Amytha?

I hope there will be three. I’m working on Book 2 now and I will say there is a lot coming for Crispin and Amytha. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read book one, but Amytha will learn a lot more about her past in book 2 and Crispin will develop his powers even further. It’s not going to be all sunshine and roses, and there will be some heartache involved. That’s all I can say right now.

Have you ever read a passage from a book and felt that it was written really well? If so, about what book? Do you follow a fixed schedule for writing or do you write when you get inspired?

I write when inspired. Currently I have four book ideas and each one is partly written. I have to feel inspired because I don’t want the story to ever feel forced as though I wrote it just to publish it. When I finish a book I usually take a week or two off writing to let that story end itself in my mind so I can move on to new characters with new adventures to tell.

What does your husband feel about your books? Does he help you in any way?

My husband is amazing. I had one book made into an audiobook and he listened to it with me so technically he’s read one of my books. But even though he hasn’t read them all he supports me more than anyone. He promotes my books, helps with my Facebook page, attends every author event by my side. He helps me come up with fun giveaways for the fans. For my first series he designed every cover himself. He’s been my rock from day one, even giving me the idea to begin writing. When my book was completed he also helped me in researching the self-publishing process.

Who do you go to when you feel like you need some writing advice?

There are a few authors who have become friends over the years that I bounce ideas off of. I have also asked readers and bloggers for advice on story ideas, things they enjoy and things they don’t. Since I published with Hot Tree Publishing, I have a network of authors that I can ask advice of and get much needed pep talks from. Everyone surrounding me in the book world has been a help to me at some point in my writing career.

Are you currently working on any book?

I’m working on several. Twisted Fate, Book 4 of The Southern Devotion Series is currently in the editing process so that is my main focus. I also am working on book 2 to the Crispin Sinclair Chronicles, it will be called The Glowing Sphere. And I have two separate Romance works in progress that do not currently have titles.

You’ve written about various types of romance – from Contemporary to Paranormal. Why not any other genre, like fantasy or non-fiction?

Non-fiction has never appealed to me as for writing. I enjoy being able to control the story and if it’s true than there is no control there other than the facts. Any other genre is possible for me though. I’ve considered Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, maybe even Sci-Fi. I love changing things up, but so far Contemporary and Paranormal have been the most fun to write. As I write more stand-alone novels I plan to explore other genres as well.

Do you see yourself trying out new genres in the next 5 to 10 years?

Definitely in the next 5 to 10 years. My husband really wants me to write a zombie or horror novel and I’m just waiting for the idea to form in my mind. I also have an idea for a Suspense Thriller that has not completely come to fruition but I’m working on ironing out the details of how I want it to play out.

What, according to you, is the best thing about being an author?

Having readers love my characters as much as I do. It’s so fun to have people rave about these characters that I created as though they’re friends of theirs. It’s like living in a fantasy world of my creation which is really cool.

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