Thursday, October 2, 2014

Amy Finnegan Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

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 (Bloomsbury, Oct 2014), 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.

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Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about your new book, Not in the Script, and why they should read your novel?

Sure! Here’s the official description:

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.


And why should you read it? I could’ve approached the topic of fame in a few different ways, which include going ultra dark. Or I could’ve made it purely a fluff piece where slap-stick Disney humor abounds. Instead, I just tried to make it reflect my own life as it really is (minus the paparazzi): I have good days and bad days. Some moments are downright hysterical and others make me want to hide under a rock and cry. Sometimes I feel confident and successful, and other times I feel like I should tattoo #FAIL onto my head to warn people away from me. So if you like characters who experience life in the same way, this book is for you. Especially if you’re also curious about film production and acting, two aspects of the story that I went to great lengths to make realistic.

For those who are unfamiliar with Emma, how would you introduce her?

Emma’s “big break” as an actress happened when she was twelve and won a starring role in what turned out to be an Oscar-winning movie. Since then, she’s starred in several big-budget films and a highly-acclaimed television drama that fell apart due to conflict on the set. Now with three catastrophic on-set romances behind her, Emma is determined to steer clear of what could potentially be a fourth. She has too many other things to worry about anyway: keeping up with homework, avoiding her explosive ex and making sure that what really happened between them stays a secret, dealing with the increasing torment of the tabloids, starting up a charity, deciding what to do about a manager who is also her mother and prefers things in that particular order, and helping out a best friend whose own success in Hollywood is just as important to her as her own. So when her new costar, Jake Elliott, enters the scene and complicates matters even more by being absolutely perfect for her, Emma finds herself reevaluating her priorities.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Jake?

The most surprising thing about creating Jake is that he entered my mind fully formed, and then I had to dream up a plot and a princess for him! Oddly enough, my connection to the male lead is always stronger in the novels I write, which is why I chose to write this story an alternating, first person point of view. Third person wouldn’t have felt close enough for me, and telling the entire story from Emma’s point of view wouldn’t feel true to the story. Especially since it began with Jake! (Inside scoop: Jake’s first chapter used to come before Emma’s, but an editor suggested I switch it with Emma’s because most of my readers will be female.)

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

That’s a very good question, because 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! But let’s pretend this age falls into your “youth” category, shall we?

This is how it happened: 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 inventing stories I had never even read . . . 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.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

The best advice I’ve ever received was actually from an editor. She gave it to me in the form of a gift for my new office: “Never, never, never give up” (a quote from Winston Churchill), and “Keep writing.” I can’t think of two phrases that better describe a successful path to publication.

Gift for my office


Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
I’d for sure take true love that ends with a broken heart. For one thing, I’d never be able to write a believable romance if I hadn’t experienced both.

Tell me about your first kiss

I hated it. HATED it. In a nutshell, I didn’t know it was happening before it was actually happening, and those are not the types of surprises you should give to girls you like. Especially when she hasn’t made up her mind if she feels the same way. I never willing spoke to that boy again. Completely avoided him.

But a friend told me about her first kiss the other day, and it was even worse. Picture a congratulatory hug going wrong with your high school principal! Definitely on accident though; her parents were standing right there. #gag

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

I was a youth counselor for two summers and was crazy about that job. We traveled all over the country, and the more teens I met, the more I enjoyed what I did. My favorite part of it was witnessing first hand what an amazing future this world has to look forward to. I love meeting ambitious teens who are eager to step up and make a difference! (If you fit into that category, may I suggest BE A CHANGEMAKER by Laurie Ann Thompson? It’s fantastic!)

Service project as a youth counselor

When was the last time you cried?

Oh man. I recently had a dream that ripped me apart and has brought me to tears several times since. One of my closest friends lost her battle to addiction eight years ago, and I dreamed that I found her journal but couldn’t open it. It feels like a metaphor for how I can’t let go of the thought that if I’d only known what was really going on, I could’ve done a lot more to help her. It’s an awful regret to live with. And I miss her :(

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

I don’t know a single person who likes their life exactly as it is. Isn’t there always more adventure, more romance, or more intrigue that could spice it up just a bit more? I don’t necessarily want to trade places with the characters I read about in books, but I sure like walking around in their shoes for a few days! Nothing entertains me more than a good story told in a fascinating voice. My favorite authors reach into my soul and shake it. They educate, enlighten, and captivate me.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?

My all-time favorite work of fiction is the Harry Potter series. I have read it through at least ten times. Not only have I never tired of it, but I’ve loved it more each time. It’s brilliant. I doubt I will ever love any made-up world more.

Outside of my genre, I love many adult classics. Especially:

- Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion by Jane Austen
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My finished manuscript. Hooray!

Things you would change about your high school years if you could go back in time: 

1 – My hair (It was the 80s)
2 – My wardrobe (Still the 80s)
3 – Stay away from him (needy, possessive, stalker)
4 – One of my prom dates (Seriously, octo-man. Do you have 8 hands?)
5 – My inattention (My grades could’ve been a lot better)
6 – My ambition (I didn’t have much)
7 – My car (I drove my parent’s old wood-paneled station wagon)
8 – My confidence (Big time people pleaser. Wanted everyone to like me)
9 – My heart (I wish I would’ve been more alert to people who needed a friend)
10 – The one thing I wouldn’t want to change? My friends! (xoxoxo)



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.

This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.


You can purchase Not in the Script at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Amy for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card.
3 Winners will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I would have changed the profile pic for either or both FB & Twitter, but I JUST did the same thing for Christina Farley's Silvern on Twitter, & Matthew Wolfe's Citadel of Fire on FB........

    ReplyDelete