A Conversation with Amy Clipston

This month we are shining the spotlight on Amy Clipston.  Amy has a new YA book, Miles from Nowhere, releasing April 7th.  Amy was kind and generous enough to take time to answer a few questions for us.  We hope you enjoy the Q&A as much as we did.  Don’t forget to look for Amy’s books wherever books are sold in store and online.

TG (two girls):  We read that The Outsiders was the book that inspired you to write. What was it about the book that inspired you?

Amy:  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was the first book that truly drew me in and “spoke” to me.  I connected with the characters, and I felt as if I were a part of the story.  I read the book 14 times and I knew the movie by heart.  I read other books by S.E. Hinton, but it was The Outsiders that inspired me to start writing my own stories.

TG:  What drew you to write Amish fiction?  YA fiction?  Is one easier to write than the other?

Amy:  I was always fascinated with the Amish when I was a child. I remember visiting Lancaster County, and my father, who was a German immigrant, told me that the Amish speak the same dialect of German as my relatives.  I was drawn to their simplicity and faith.  Due to my German heritage, I feel a loose connection to the Amish and their culture. After reading other Amish fiction books, I was inspired to write my own.

My interest in YA fiction started in elementary school when I read The Outsiders.  I still read YA for pleasure to this day. In fact, I’m currently reading a fantastic YA series.

I enjoy writing both Amish fiction and YA fiction, but I wouldn’t say one is easier than the other.  Since Amish fiction is very popular, I try to keep my stories fresh and unique.  While writing YA books, I do my best to keep the topics current and the books engaging so that teens will want to give my books a try.  YA books also have to include a lesson, which can be a challenge.  I want the lesson to be natural to the story and not “preachy,” which is always challenging to me.

TG: When you write a book do you know what is going to happen from beginning to end or do the characters “decide” what is going to happen?

Amy:  Most writers are either “plotters” or “pantsers,” meaning they write the story by the seats of their pants.  I’m definitely a plotter.  When I plan out a book, I start out with a synopsis that I turn into a detailed outline, which I plot chapter by chapter, scene by scene.  I use my outline as a roadmap, so that I know where I’m headed.  The story changes and grows, but I always know where I’m headed.

TG:  Have you ever thought about writing Amish fiction for kids?

Amy:  I have written one Amish young adult book, which is called Reckless Heart.  It’s a spinoff from my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.

TG:  You have a full time job, take care of your family, support the National Kidney Foundation, and write fantastic books.  How do you do it all?  (Are you Wonder Woman?)

Amy:  I laughed out loud when I read this question! No, I’m not Wonder Woman, but I did have Wonder Woman Underoos when I was a kid.  I have a wonderfully supportive family, especially my mother who lives with us.  We pay all of the bills, and my mom helps out with the household chores.  Without her, I would have a much more difficult time keeping up with my day job, writing deadlines, and household duties. It’s not easy but we make it work.

(On behalf of Amy’s fans Two Girls and a Book would like to thank Amy’s family, especially her mom, for helping out so Amy can write!)

TG:  Completely off the topic of books but we have to ask:  How did your cats get their names?

Amy:  I love this question!  You’re the first people to ask this.  Let’s see:

Jet, the eldest, is 10, and I adopted him in March of 2005, just a few weeks before my son Matt was born.  I had lost my beloved cat Les to illness, and I wanted another male cat.  So I went off to the Virginia Beach SPCA without even telling my husband that I was going to get him! (Joe was surprised!) Zac, my older son, was four, and his favorite band at the time was Jet.  And, as you probably already guessed, Jet was named after Zac’s favorite band.

Jet and his mousie.  Isn't that belly just begging to be rubbed???
Jet and his mousie. Isn’t that belly just begging to be rubbed???

Molly is approximately 8 years old, and I adopted her after my beloved Gracie died.  I named Molly after a stray we had briefly cared for when we were living in Virginia Beach.

Molly sitting pretty on the  table.  Molly is a well-rounded cat who enjoys eating breakfast with the family, proofreading manuscripts for Amy and enjoying the occasional Lifetime movie with the girls.
Molly sitting pretty on the table. Molly is a well-rounded cat who enjoys eating breakfast with the family, proofreading manuscripts for Amy and enjoying the occasional Lifetime movie with the girls.

Rico is approximately 7 years old, and I didn’t name him. Believe it or not, Joe and Zac named Rico after one of the Penguins of Madagascar.  Yes, my cat is named after a cartoon penguin.  As I said, I don’t claim credit to this name!

Rico is one gorgeous cat.  Look at those eyes!
Rico is one gorgeous cat. Look at those eyes!

Lily is approximately 6, and we adopted her on October 17, 2010.  I remember the date because my father passed away later that evening.  She’s my first Amish named cat.  She’s actually named after a character in one of my books, A Place of Peace.

We agree on all counts Lily!!  Love, cats, and leave us alone while we're reading!!
We agree on all counts Lily!! Love, cats, and leave us alone while we’re reading!!

Thank you once again to Amy for answering all of our questions!  Below are the links to all the books mentioned in the Q&A.  If you haven’t read any of Amy’s books give one a try.  We have to warn you that Amy’s books are like potato chips. You can’t stop with one!!!

miles from nowhere      reckless heart     a place of peace

Be sure to stop by Amy’s website and sign up for her newsletter or browse the complete catalog of her books.  www.amyclipston.com

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