Introducing a new bookish series
When I find authors that scream Heroine Training, I can’t wait to share. So I crafted the Author’s Questionnaire, to introduce you to wonderful authors and their heroines.
Author’s Questionnaire 001 / AMY LORD
Let’s meet the author first. Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Amy Lord and I’m an award-winning writer and blogger from Middlesbrough, in North East England.
What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a writer?
I first developed a real interest in writing at primary school, where I was commended in a number of short story writing competitions. One of them was Commonwealth themed and as a result, the year after, a small group from the school got to go to a special event in London. Sadly I’d left by then though, so I couldn’t join them!
^ Amy’s writing spot: her sofa!
What is your writing routine?
I’ve always struggled to find a good writing routine, despite my best efforts. I’m terrible at finding focus and the more time I spend on the internet, the worse my concentration levels seem to get!
But I write best in the evening, after everyone else has gone to bed. There’s something magical about the world when it feels like you’re the only one awake. It really helps me connect to the story I’m writing and find the right emotional space.
Introduce us to your heroine.
Clara lives in a dystopian version of the UK, run by a military dictatorship. She lost her father when she was eleven, after he was arrested by the Authorisation Bureau for teaching banned books to his students. She never saw him again.
Instead she grew up with her stepfather, the Major, who was responsible for her father’s arrest. She becomes a teacher like her father and decides to do something to rebel against the regime. But the only weapons she has are the banned books her father left behind.
She persuades her boyfriend, Simon, to help and they decide to teach a secret class where they ignore the approved curriculum and share the truth with their students. But this proves more dangerous than Clara could have imagined.
What would her Hogwarts house be?
I’ve thought about this quite a bit and I guess I’d have to say Gryffindor. Clara is brave and sometimes foolish, but she feels passionately that the world she lives in is not as it should be and she just wants to make it better. That means putting herself in dangerous situations, because she knows that what she’s doing is right.
How is she a heroine in training?
Clara has grown up in an oppressive society, in an unhappy family full of secrets and recriminations. She has spent years doing the things that were expected of her, but it all becomes too much and she realises that she has to try and fight back somehow. Books are the best tool she has.
How are you a heroine in training?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 10 years old. The Disappeared is my second novel and I’ve been working on it on and off for several years. I’ve chosen to publish the book with Unbound, who are the world’s first crowdfunding publisher. That means I need to raise about £4,000 through pre-orders of my book to see it released.
Crowdfunding really makes you take responsibility for your own work and push to make your dreams happen. I have to talk passionately about my book, because if I can’t sell it, no one else will. Since I started my campaign, I’ve learned a huge amount about how publishing works, as well as what my limitations are and what I can achieve if I put my mind to it. Every time someone buys a copy of my book – especially if it’s someone I don’t know – it’s such a thrill. It makes me feel like a real author!
In fact, I recently went to my first event as an author, at a local book group, where I read from my novel and talked about writing and crowdfunding. It was such a fun experience and I’m looking forward to doing more events in the future!
^ Amy’s freaking gorgeous bookshelf
In your spare time, how do you choose what to read next?
This is hard, because I’m easily swayed by the next shiny thing! But I’ve been struggling to concentrate on reading lately, as my brain has gone a little bit mushy, what with juggling my day job, crowdfunding and working on my next book.
But I’m really looking forward to reading some of Unbound’s other stuff. Before I signed my publishing contract, I pledged for a number of books as a reader and the first one arrived just last week. Everyone who pledges for a book with Unbound gets their name in the back of the book as a supporter and it’s so exciting to see your name there and know that you helped make the book a reality.
What is the best time, place, and occasion for a reader to pick up your novel to read?
My book is speculative fiction, in the vein of Margaret Atwood or George Orwell, so it’s quite a dark read. It would be a great story to pick up on a dark evening, curled up with a blanket, when you want something dramatic and thought-provoking to read.
Amy is crowdfunding her debut novel on Unbound. You can pledge to support its publication and pre-order your copy.
P.S. How to start a book club (that brings you joy)