Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:
Amy Metz was our Featured Spotlight author last week and visitors were encouraged to ask Amy some of their own questions! Here is a link to that Spotlight! Feel free to ask more questions, and we might just be able to get Amy back for a follow up interview!
From Stephen Ward:
Have you ever tried writing for adults?
Actually, my mystery series is for adults. It’s appropriate for teenagers as well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for small children. Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery with a little bit of romance and a lot of humor.
Which infomercial is your favorite?
Ha! I’d say “infomercial” and “favorite” is an oxymoron. But I rarely watch TV, so I honestly can’t think of even one infomercial. I can’t remember the last time I saw one.
Would you ever throw in a gory scene just to see if you get irate letters from parents?
Do people really do that? No, I wouldn’t, especially if I wrote for children. My mysteries are in the cozy category because they have little to no violence. I don’t like to read gory scenes, and I definitely wouldn’t write one just for the shock value or to elicit a response. I have started writing a thriller, and it will have some mildly gory scenes but only because it’s important to the story. I don’t think there’s a place for gore just for gore’s sake or for shock value in books, especially in children’s books.
When you see one of those commercials where the lady has fallen and can’t get up, do you laugh? (From Admin Virginia- yes, Stephen’s humor is a little weird)
I don’t laugh at the commercial, but I’ve definitely used that line in jest.
Do you begin chapter one with dialogue, setting the scene or the crux of the plot?
In Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, the prologue is the crux of the plot, but chapter one begins with dialogue.
When you finish a book do you start another one or just goof off for awhile?
I immediately start another one. I get panicky if I don’t have something on deck. (From Admin Virginia- I’m curious as to why this is…)
You have finished your book and it is of to the printers. Yesterday, you got a big box full of your books and gave some away to friends and relatives. Now today it hits the books and you happily thumb through the book until your eyes leads you to a typo. You wrote: “Tom told Bill in order to join the club they would have to become blood brothers. Bill agreed, found a pin. The two stuck each other and mixed blood.” However, the printer substituted an “f” for the “st” in the word “stuck”. What to do?
Do I own a gun? Just kidding. Totally kidding. I suppose first, the printer would be getting a call, and second, I’d be plastering every social media outlet with apologies.
Do people confuse you with the Goose Bump Series?
I have not heard of anyone doing that yet. But I did have one person tell me early on that I should change the name because people would confuse them. Happily, I think she’s been proven wrong.
Did you ever consider calling your series anything else?
No. I considered some different titles for the first book, but once it became Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, and I knew I wanted to continue with a series, there was no going back.
One of your children has written a report for school. You happen to see it on the dining room table along with child’s books and notebook. You pick the report up and read it and are quite impressed. As you put it down you notice a similar report with someone else’s name on it dated the prior school year. It’s identical. You question child and find out a friend gave it to your child and your child just copied it and plans to turn it in as his own. What to do?
First of all, I’m happy to say with 100% certainty that would never happen with either of my children. But hypothetically speaking, he would be writing a new report, and his life would be very unenjoyable for the foreseeable future. J
Which of your characters would you like to spend the day with? Why?
I would love to spend the day with Louetta. She’s around eighty years old, and she’s a hoot. She never met a stranger, and she’s never at a loss for words.
What’s your favorite thing about writing? Least favorite?
I like to get lost in the story. I love it when my characters take over, and I’m totally in the scene.
My least favorite aspect of writing would be coming up with a plot. That’s why I let my characters do that.
How many rejection letters did you get before you found the “right” company to publish with? Which one was your favorite? Why? Least favorite? Why?
For Murder & Mayhem, I only submitted to two publishers, so I only got one rejection letter. But I’ve sent out tons of queries for other projects, so I’m accumulating a nicely sized rejection file. By “favorite” I assume you mean the meanest, or the shortest? That would be this one: “Hi! Thank you for the offer, but I am going to decline.” That was the extent of the message.
I think the other rejections have all been form letters that say the same thing in one way or another: I’m going to have to pass.
How has teaching influenced your writing?
For the mystery series I don’t think teaching has influenced my writing at all. I have written a yet-unpublished children’s book (one of the inspirations of my rejection letter file), in which I used alliteration and repetition because that’s what I noticed my kids liked best when I read to them.
From Deidre Love:
Is Goose Pimple Junction a fictional place?
Yes and no. I actually got the name from a small town in Virginia. I came across it in 1985 and never forgot it. But my GPJ is fictional.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since becoming a published author?
Think with your head when signing a publishing contract, not your heart.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen to publish with your publisher, or would you have self-published instead? Why?
No question about it, I would have self-published. My publisher didn’t do anything I couldn’t have done myself. Well, I take that back. He did have access to the galley, and I didn’t. He had complete control over formatting. He was able to remove my eBook from Amazon for over two months, taking sales and my ranking with it. He was able to copyright my book in his publishing company’s name…Yeah, without a doubt, I would self-publish next time.
What’s next for your series?
That’s a darn good question. Even though I’ve terminated the contract with my publisher, he refuses to acknowledge it and continues to sell my book. I don’t want to publish the second book and give the first a boost in sales, because the sales reports and royalties have been…questionable. The second book is complete, and I’ve started on the third. Now I need to get free and clear of the publisher so I can self-publish.
What’s your favorite writing resource?
Thesaurus.com. I disagree with Stephen King’s statement “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions.” I don’t use the thesaurus to find a word I’m too dumb to write, I need one to help me find the word I’m too dumb to remember. I’m getting old, and often there will be a word on the edge of my brain that I just can’t remember. Since I know the concept, I go to thesaurus.com and look up a similar word. And bingo—there’s the elusive word that was rattling around in the dead brain cells region of my brain. I go to that site at least once a day. Love it.
You’ve coined the phrase “Goosepimpleism.” What the heck is a Goosepimpleism and what’s your favorite one?
A goosepimpleism is one of the many southern sayings I use in the books. They add color and humor, and I find them very interesting. I didn’t create them, they’ve been around for generations, and new ones are being made up all the time, but the folks in GPJ tend to use them a lot, so they began being called “goosepimpleisms.”
My favorite one? Oh shoot, that’s hard. Truthfully, there’s a tie for my favorite. I love “Get your straw out of my Kool-aid,” which means mind your own business, but I also love “He’s acting crazier than a sprayed roach.” The one I use most often is “Live and learn. Die and know it all.” I know, I cheated and got three in. Oops.
Your book is a humorous murder mystery. How difficult was it to combine humor with murder?
There’s nothing funny about murder, especially this one, since it’s based on the real murder of a family member. It’s the people in the town who are funny. Goose Pimple Junction is a colorful place because of its residents.
Name three must-haves when you sit down to write? (coffee, lucky pajama pants, etc)
1) My laptop (with the power cord), not only for Word or Scrivener, but also for looking things up as I write. Power cord because the battery never lasts long enough. 2) A cold drink, preferably sweet tea or Mtn. Dew. 3) My iPhone, because I can’t do anything without it, whether Wi-Fi is available or not. It may just sit there and do nothing, but it has to be there.
Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
I’m going with the broad genre of mystery, because that’s what I read the most. Robert B. Parker is my absolute favorite author. I also like Chris Knopf, Linda Fairstein, Sandra Brown, John Sandford, and Laura Lippman.
Thank you so much, Stephen, shegyes, Deidre, and Tricia, for asking questions. And thank you, Virginia, for hosting me.
From Admin Virginia- Oh wow Amy! I am horrified that your publisher did that to you! I also absolutely loved your answers- especially to the one about finding the typo F-bomb in your book. That would probably be my reaction too lol!
You can find Amy Metz’s Book on Amazon here
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