Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chatting with Amy Brecount White

Hi Everyone, I had the excellent fortune to host a interview with Forget-Her-Nots author Amy Brecount White. I simply adored her novel and I hope you do too. Let's get started.

What made you choose to write?

A love of words. I’ve always loved to read and thought it would be a dream come true to have a novel published. It is!

Where do you write best?

I’m really not picky, other than requiring almost absolute silence wherever I am. I get too distracted in coffee shops listening to other conversations. I also hear the characters speaking more clearly when there aren’t distractions.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?

Mistwood by Leah Cypess (Coming out in May. We have the same pub, so I got an ARC! It’s a wonderful shape-shifter fantasy for ages 12 & up.)

I've been seeing this cover around, it looks really good. It's definitely on my list to read!

How do you get your ideas?

I once heard Toni Morrison say, “Write the novel that only you can write.” So Forget-Her-Nots was truly born out of my loves. I love teens, esp. the girls, and flowers. I was also intrigued by the language of flowers, and I garden, too.

Awesome, It's a very unique book.

Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?

Yes. I did quite a lot of research for FHN – reading fiction and non-fiction for inspiration. One example of a real event is the story of how orchid hunters would risk their life (and those in their entourage) for a rare bloom. That actually happened in Victorian England, and there really was a language of flowers book published under the nom de plume of Charlotte de Latour.

Here's one orchid I found, it's stunning. I find the concept of orchid hunters fascinating.

How do you come up with your title?

My editors did. The original title was Flowerspeaker, but they wanted something a little catchier. I love Forget-Her-Nots, because it makes you do a double-take and because memory is so important to the novel.

It's a great title and it does work on different levels making it clever.

Can you tell us a little bit about Forget-Her-Nots?

Yes, it’s a coming of age story about a girl who discovers she has a special gift of flowers. As with any gift, deciding how, when, and why to use it is both the fun part and the battle.

You can read my review here

When did you discover the language of flowers?

I used to write freelance articles for newspapers and magazines, so I was always on the lookout for fresh ideas. While wandering through a bookstore once, I came across a coffee table book on the language. Originally, I tried to write a non-fiction article about it, but then I realized what a great novel topic it would make, especially with a dash of magic!

What’s your favorite type of flower and what does it say about you?

I love all flowers, but I have a special fondness for the scent of gardenias. In the language of flowers, a gardenia (cape jasmine) means “ecstasy and transport.” I think the best books can be a kind of ecstatic experience that transport you out of your own life. (I hope mine does that!)

I think that's the best part of books - traveling into different character's minds, traveling to new places, and experiencing something completely different from your own world.

You used to write articles and essays, was it hard to dive into fiction?

Yes, much harder than I expected. I thought I’d write a novel in two or so years and get it published within 3 or 4. It took 8 years from conception to finish. My learning curve was steeper than I’d imagined.

What’s up next?

I’ve just finished a second novel called String Theories. It has nothing to do with flowers, but is about a 14-year-old girl who gets in over her head, the physics of relationships, a stream, some dogs, and getting even.

I hope to write a companion novel to FHN one of these days. There’s a line in the story I could spin off from wonderfully ….

Sounds interesting. I would also love to read a companion novel.

Are there any authors you’d love to meet?

Yes, Kristin Cashore, Toni Morrison, Vikram Seth, Markus Zusak, and Libba Bray. I’ve been having a great time getting to know all the Tenners, too!

Do you have a favorite quote?

The one at the beginning of my novel by Sharman Apt Russell: “The more we learn about flowers, the less silent they are.”

Listing of your favorites:

Candy – dark chocolate

Pizza topping - mushrooms

Genre of books – YA, of course!

Singer and/or Song – today, Matt Nathanson’s “Come on Get Higher”

Restaurant – Black Salt in DC, yummy fish

TV show /Movie – Glee, The Princess Bride closely followed by Ever After

Color - Blue

Shoe – my high-heeled brown boots

Video Game – Wii tennis

Thanks so much for hosting me and happy spring!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read this one. BTW - I LOVED Mistwood and was stoked to see Amy mention it!