Tell us a bit about yourself, Amy.
Like most other writers, I am split between a day job managing a large computer network and my evening job of writing. If my luck holds, I may be able to devote full time to writing in 2013, and I might even be able to finally get our house straightened out. I have so many interests and hobbies that I’ll need two or three more lives to do everything, but I may have to settle for writing, gardening, bird watching, sewing, cooking, and of course, reading. Oh, and I’m hoping to take some classes in marine biology in a couple of years when I have more time.
What keeps you writing?
That’s a funny question because with almost every book, I say, “That’s the last one. I need to have a life that doesn’t involve staring at a computer screen for 16 hours a day.” And then some weird little story creeps into my head and it won’t leave me alone until I write the next book. That’s the way it goes. You want to quit. You say you will quit, that you’ve had enough abuse from editors, agents, and critics, but then like any hopeless addict, you can’t resist that darn keyboard.
Can you tell us a little more about your novel?
Can you stop me from talking about my novel? J Of course, every book you write is always your favorite, but I mean it this time. I loved writing “Escaping Notice” and hopefully, folks will enjoy reading it. This is the fourth book in the Archer family series of Regency romantic mysteries, but the books can be read in any order as they are all quite independent. These are lighter than my more traditional historical mysteries in the Second Sons Inquiry Agency series, and often feature John Archer as the instigator of a lot of mischief. The characters were particularly appealing to me this time, perhaps because Helen Archer has grown up since we met her in “The Necklace” but she still has the same fashion sense and desire to do “makeovers.” Actually, I think a lot of us are fascinated by the thought that if we buy just the right dress, we’ll suddenly be beautiful.
I also had a lot of fun with a secondary character, an 11 year old boy, Edward. I think I really like to include children because they really react to things the way I often do—in a very childish way. As an adult, I have to suppress what I really think and feel because we all know that you should be happy to share your toys and people really won’t be sorry when you go blind from having your mouth washed out with soap too many times, but…it’s hard when you still have those thoughts. As characters, children are wonderful for letting you “let that all out.”
The hero, Hugh, and heroine, Helen, are also such nice people, though not without their faults, and I adored getting to know them as I wrote their story. I hope readers will enjoy them, too.
What inspired you to write this novel?
The Titanic, except on a much smaller scale. Hugh nearly drowns in a sailing accident and comes to believe someone sabotaged his boat, hoping to murder him. Once I realized what kind of person Hugh was, I realized that Helen Archer from “The Necklace” was the perfect heroine, especially since she finally got to borrow the cursed Peckham Necklace her sister discovered. Naturally, since the necklace was cursed, it got lost, and Helen stumbled into Hugh’s path as both of them tried to unravel the two separate mysteries.
How did you come up with the title?
Titles are very, very hard. But this one seemed appropriate since all of the characters are trying to avoid being identified as they search for clues to resolve their mysteries. Hugh, Helen and even little Edward wind up masquerading as servants to escape notice while they seek their various goals.
How long did it take you to research and write the novel?
I do a lot of research, and am fairly slow writing, so this book took just over two years. That’s fairly standard for me.
Is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of this novel?
The most important message is that things are not always as they seem, and your first impressions of people may not be the most accurate. Give people time. Get to know them. They will often surprise you.
Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I actually don’t. Or rather, if I don’t plan out my books, I sometimes stall because I don’t know where I’m going with the story or what I need to do next. But I can always correct that by sitting down and figuring out what terrible thing needs to happen next to the characters and it’s off to the races again!
Are you a full time writer? If not, how do you make time to write?
Discipline and the ability to ignore the shrubbery growing from the mounds of dust and dirt in the corners of your house.
How does your daily writing schedule look like?
I write every weekday from 8PM until 11PM. I also try to write on weekends, when possible, although sometimes my day job interferes with that.
How does your marketing schedule look like?I get up an hour earlier than I need to in order to do whatever promo or marketing I want to get done that day. It seems to work because I’m too numb to think too much at that time of the morning.
Which avenues do you use to market your books?
The avenues are probably the same as most writers: Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Kindleboards, the occasional blog tour, my blog… I wish I had new, brilliant idea, but all my new brilliant ideas go into my books.
What books can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on a contemporary paranormal romance, “A Fall of Silver,” that I hope to have released in early summer. That will be somewhat of a change for me and I’m very excited about it. The next book in the Second Sons Inquiry Agency series should come out in the fall/winter time frame, as well.
What was your best ever moment as a published author?
I got a letter from a wonderful woman who had read my first book, a Regency romance called, “Smuggled Rose,” and she said that it gave her such hope reading about a woman who went through a terrible time but managed to find love, anyway. None of us can see the future and you never know what awaits you around the corner. Hope is a wonderful treasure that we all need.
What other question are you dying to be asked? And the answer is?
I’m actually quite contented with these questions. I’m pretty hopeless at coming up with new ones.
Do you have a message for your readers?
Enjoy life and always remember the good things. They are what matter.
Thank you so much, Amy, for telling us a little more about you and your novel. I wish you lots of luck and lots of book sales.
Here is a bit about “ESCAPING NOTICE”
Discarded by his betrothed with a parting sally that “being an earl does not excuse being a bore,” Hugh Castle, the Earl of Monnow, joins his brother on a relaxing cruise, hoping to forget. But a storm capsizes their boat, and despite Hugh’s desperate efforts, he can’t save his brother’s life. Then, when the wreckage reveals evidence of sabotage, he realizes he was never meant to return to dock. Someone intending to murder the earl killed his younger brother, instead. Angered and grieving, Hugh travels to London to enlist the aid of the Second Sons Inquiry Agency in finding his brother’s murderer.
Helen Archer attended the Earl of Monnow’s ball in expectation of joining the celebration for his betrothal, but the event seems destined for disaster. She arrives late, the earl makes no announcement, and Helen manages to lose the fabled (but cursed) Peckham necklace her sister reluctantly loaned to her. Unwilling to admit her carelessness to her sister, Helen rashly decides to return to the earl’s estate and retrieve it in secret.
When his aunt threatens to send him to the Earl of Monnow, his purportedly cruel uncle, Edward Leigh-Brown decides he’s had enough of female interference. He’s going to join the navy and follow in Lord Nelson’s footsteps to become a military hero. But finding his way to London is a lot harder for a young boy than it seems, and he’s soon lost. When he bumps into Miss Helen Archer at an inn, he’s more than happy to accept a ride in her carriage, even if she seems determined to escort him to an inquiry agency to hire someone to locate the family he doesn’t want located.
When the three meet in London at Second Sons, Helen impulsively decides to accompany Hugh to the earl’s home. They will be disguised as servants and free to pursue their secret goals. Hugh hopes to uncover a killer, Helen hopes to find her necklace, and Edward just hopes he can find the opportunity to escape again.