Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming Amy Ewing to my blog. Amy is a fantastic author, writing well known books such as the Lone City series and ‘The Cerulean.’
The Lone City series was absolutely brilliant and I remember racing through it a couple of years ago, and so I’m thrilled to interview her here today!
How did you first get into writing?
I actually wanted to be an actor- it was my dream since I was a child. I went to New York University and studied theatre but the problem was I was terrified of auditioning. Which is a pretty important part of being an actor! After working various jobs, I got laid off in 2008 when the economy collapsed and had a lot of time to think about what exactly I wanted to do with my life.
A good friend suggested writing a book since I loved reading so much and so I did and oh boy it was terrible (it’s currently somewhere locked in a drawer never to be seen again). But that got me into a graduate school and that’s where my life really changed. ‘The Jewel’ was actually my graduate thesis!
Are there any writers that have inspired your work? What elements of their work can you see in your own?
I’m a huge Tolkien nerd. I read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in high school and was hooked. I live in complete awe of his world-building. Roald Dahl is also a high influence- he’s probably my favourite author and I think I get a lot of my love of the dark side of stories from him. I loved how he would combine this sense of danger and whimsy. I like juxtaposing glamour and evil in my books, so that probably comes from him!
Your Lone City series is about a young adult protagonist. What first got you interested in writing from a young adult perspective?
I love the universality of young adult stories. We’ve all been teenagers and experienced all those incredible, heightened feelings: falling in love, straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, figuring out how we fit in the world. There’s something so fresh and immediate about that type of perspective, which is why I think I was so drawn to it.
What got you interested in writing dystopian fiction? Would you say you read a lot of dystopian novels?
It’s funny because I don’t actually consider ‘The Jewel’ to be dystopian (that was the label my publisher put on it, but there’s not usually magic in dystopian fiction and I always thought of it as straight fantasy. Though I get why it was labelled that way! And I do love dystopian books). So for me it was just this is the world and these are the people in it and this is what they’re up against.
I love fantasy. I love falling into a new world and becoming as familiar with it as I am with my own. I love the intricacies that come with fantasy worlds, losing myself in someone else’s creation. And I feel that with any sort of speculative fiction, you can take things from the real world and attack them from a different perspective.
One thing I got to explore with ‘The Jewel’ was how important ownership over your own body is. And I get to explore these things in a world of my own creation, with its own rules and aesthetics.
Did you always know the Lone City Trilogy would span to three books?
I did! Though the story changed quite a bit along the way. But there were always certain points that guided me, that I knew would happen and acted like beacons while revising.
My favourite character in the trilogy is Violet, as she really stands for female empowerment. Do you have a favourite character from the novels, after writing their stories for so long?
Oh I’m so thrilled you liked Violet! I loved writing her- I really wanted to have a protagonist who wasn’t all Smash the Patriarchy right at the beginning (that was more Raven’s thing). I was really shy as a child so I wanted to make a main character who started sort of shy and scared and then grew into herself.
For me, I’d have to say either the Duchess or Garnet were my favourites. The Duchess because she had so many layers and wasn’t always just a villain, and Garnet because he was just so much fun to write.
Would you say characters or plot are more important to your novels?
Hmm, that is an excellent question. They are both important in different ways. My books are very plot-heavy but I always feel that character is so so important in fantasy because that’s the reader’s gateway to the world. They need to connect with a person so that they don’t get overwhelmed with all the world-building. But then they also need to be doing things that show how the world functions and what the story is and why it’s THIS particular story that is being told. So… both, equally?
They’re definitely both important elements to your work, I can see why you struggled to answer. What made you want to continue Garnet and Raven’s stories in your short digital novellas, ‘Garnet’s Story’ and ‘The House of Stone’?
That was actually my publisher’s idea! And I was only too happy to oblige them because it was beyond fun to step out of Violet’s perspective and get into other character’s heads. And they are both characters that I love and who go through a whole bunch of stuff that we never get to see in ‘The Jewel.’ It was really incredible to write their perspectives.
Your latest book, ‘The Cerulean,’ came out in February 2019. Can you tell us a bit about it?
‘The Cerulean’ is about a city in space populated by a race of women with magical blue blood, called the Cerulean. They are all female, gay, and polyamorous- a family unit consists of three mothers and one daughter- and their city is tethered to a planet. In order to break the tether and move to a new planet, they must sacrifice one of their own.
A girl, Sera, is chosen, but the sacrifice goes wring and she falls to the planet where she is captured by two twins, Agnes and Leo, whose father runs a series of religious propaganda theatres in a city much like Victorian-era New York. Sera is put into one of his plays and has to figure out how to escape and hopefully return to her home.
The covers for your novels are so beautiful. What is the process for an author when creating a cover for a new book? Which cover is your favourite so far?
Aw thank you! I love my covers as well, and feel like the luckiest author, because authors have literally ZERO say in the cover. Which is something that always surprises people. The publisher shows me what they did and that’s usually that (if I hated something I’m sure it could be discussed but I’m so lucky I’ve always loved every cover I’ve gotten). I can’t pick a favourite! Although I do love ‘The Cerulean’ cover.. but I also love ‘The Black Key’ cover… and ‘The Jewel’… yeah that’s too hard to choose.
What have been your favourite reads so far this year?
I’ve actually just come back from Greece where I read three amazing books, two old and one new. ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier and ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson- two absolutely amazing, evocative books with gorgeous settings and lots of tension.
And ‘Red White and Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuinston which was a super fun romcom, which imagined a romance between the First Son of the United States and the Prince of England. It was an utter delight!
What do you think of my interview with Amy Ewing? What’s your favourite young adult read so far this year? What do you think of Amy Ewing’s books?
Let me know any thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x
Picture credits here