Please welcome Amy and her gorgeous book, FORGET-HER-NOTS (Greenwillow 2010) — here’s a summary which, I don’t know about you, but makes me wish I didn’t have to wait until March 2nd!
When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.
Kathy: Amy, why did you write a book that focuses on flowers?
Amy: Because I ADORE flowers. They are truly magical.
Kathy: And, generally, why do you write?
Amy: I write because I think I have something to say and stories to tell. I write to synthesize my experience of the world – what I love and what I hate.
Kathy: How much of your book is autobiographical?
Amy: I think there’s a piece of every writer in every character she writes, but very little has to do directly with the plot of my own life. I’d say it’s more emotionally autobiographical, if that makes sense.
Kathy: It definitely makes sense. What’s an important “nugget” that you’d like readers to take away from your book?
Amy: Give and receive more flowers. It’s scientifically proven that flowers in your life can make you happier and perhaps healthier. Kind of like pets. (I’ll write an article with footnotes and stuff about that one of these days. Promise.)
Kathy: I would love to read that article! Why do you write for young people?
Amy: They are still open-minded and willing to listen and make new connections.
Kathy: What helps you write?
Amy: Reading a lot. And utter silence.
Kathy. Love that utter silence. How do your ideas come to you?
Amy: Sometimes it’s random. I’ll be rollerblading or gardening and something will just fall into place. Other times, it’s hard work – more like a puzzle to solve than inspiration.
Kathy: How long have you been writing?
Amy: I’ve been writing non-fiction, journalism type articles for 16 years. Fiction, for 8 years.
Kathy: Well done! I’d say that puts you on the fast track for fiction publication! Do you have a favorite quote or bumper sticker?
Amy: “Beam me up, Scottie. There’s no intelligent life down here.” (for my cynical days) When I’m feeling more optimistic: “Only connect.” -E.M. Forster
Kathy: Nice! Are you writing a sequel?
Amy: I hope to write a companion novel down the road, but no sequel in the works.
Kathy: What are you working on now?
Amy: A YA novel called STRING THEORIES. It’s about the physics of teenage lives, a watershed, friendship, and getting even.
Kathy: Ohhh, sounds intriguing! So, tell us, why should kids read books when there are so many other things to do?
Amy: Because every book is a plunge into another life, another point of view, and a chance to walk in someone else’s flip-flops. No gaming system can provide such variety and simultaneously help your SAT scores. Just kidding, but I do believe that reading is the only way to become a better writer and thinker.
Kathy: Good answer! Tell us why we should buy this book.
Amy: Because you will never look at flowers in quite the same way.
Kathy: :o) You have the chance to give one piece of advice to teen readers. What is that?
Amy: Hang in there. The world of one high school is sooo limited and under-representative of the universe. You will find love and understanding and happiness. That’s yet another reason why I love the internet, because it lets us connect more easily with like-minded people.
Kathy: And speaking of connecting, here’s Amy’s website
Thanks for coming by, Amy, and I look forward to reading FORGET-HER-NOTS in 6 weeks!