Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with Amy O'Neill

 I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Amy O'Neill, the author of Finding Home. Amy is very personable, and I have really enjoyed chatting with her through email.

What made you decide to self publish?
 I decided to self-publish mostly because patience is not a virtue of mine.  Going the traditional publishing route can take years and a lot of rejections.  I was feeling intimidated by the whole publishing aspect and a friend suggested going it on my own.  Within a few short months, after finding my own editor and fixing mistakes, I was able to self-publish Finding Home in less time than it takes for a query response!

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was about 12 years old.  I started with my diary, which is where I learned to express myself from the heart.  I also began making up stories to help cope with a not-so pleasant home life since my parents divorced about that same time.

How did you come up with the idea for Finding Home?
The thing that really inspires me is music.  Each of my series are based on song titles (California Dreaming Series and a future series called Kentucky Rain).  When I wrote Finding Home I would listen to Colbie Caillat to get that So-Cal feeling.  For my next book, Taking Chances, I got the idea from a Lady Antebellum song. 

How long did it take you to write Finding Home?
From start to finish it was just under three years.  I took time off a few times when I entered it into writing contests so I could gauge if I was on the right track with the story and the intended audience.

Finding Home is part of a series. Please tell us about the rest of the books. 
The next two books are yet to be titled, but the next release is Summer 2012 and the last in Spring 2013.  The next book will feature Officer Trent Torres (best friend of Finding Home's leading man, Damien).  Trent is a self-proclaimed ladies man, but when he is asked to protect a feisty redhead on the run from an abusive ex, he may be changing his mind to be a one-woman man after all.  The final book features Damien's trusted attorney, Mitch Smithson.  Mitch grew up on the rough streets of So-Cal but worked hard to be legit. He's nobody's hero, but when he steps in to help a friend, he may just find out the only thing in distress isn't the damsel in his arms, but the walls around his heart.  I named this series California Dreaming because all the leading ladies are from the Midwest who move to San Diego to find fresh starts.

What genre(s) do you prefer?
I'm definitely a romance girl.  As much as I totally get the love of vampire, fantasy type novels right now, I still think there are those women out there that want something more real.  They want to feel like the woman in their book could be them.

Who are some of your influences?
I love Nora Roberts for the fact that she does all the "do not do this or your book will fail" rules out there, and succeeds!  I also really like Deirdre Martin.  She is one of the few best-selling romance writers who actually took the time to answer questions from an unknown writer.  I hope I can be that same helpful guide for someone someday.

What are some of your other interests and hobbies besides books?
Well, like I mentioned before, I am a huge music fan, there is always something playing in my house.  I love pampering myself with pedicures or a massage treatment every now and then.  I just bought a house last year so we seem to be doing some project all the time, which can be fun - especially when it's done!

And then I asked Amy to include some fun, random facts about herself, and these are the responses I got! 
Favorite color - fuchsia (my fuchsia yoga pants are my fave and my family's go-to joke)!

Guilty TV Pleasure - Ghost Adventures, Mob Wives, Drop Dead Diva, and Ice Love Coco

I grew up in the funeral business, literally.  Our home was attached to one of the funeral homes my father owned.  I was answering calls from the morgue when I was only 12 (unfortunately it is very true)

Strangest job - sold toys ... for adults ... at women-only parties
;) winking

Last Movie I saw - Double feature of Crazy, Stupid Love, which is so worth seeing Ryan Gosling without a shirt, and One Day.  I guess I should have read the book first for that one because I would have seen The Help instead.

MY song - She's Every Woman by Garth Brooks.  It's the kind of song that takes you back to where you were and what you were doing the first time you heard it.  No matter how bad things get, I can put that song on and everything gets a little clearer.

Learn more about Amy O'Neill and her books by following her blog. You can also find her on Facebook.

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