Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interview with Only a Novel Author Amy Dashwood

Hello, m'dears!  I'm so delighted to have the splendiferously talented amazing writer Amy here to talk about her delightfully wonderful recently-published book, Only a Novel
(And if you were looking a little strangely at all of the adjectives in the last sentence, when I haven't even read Amy's book, I will just say that I have, but I am trying to save all the squeeing until my review, which should be posted in a few days.)

So, to tantalize all of you who haven't read the book yet, and to make me wish that Mamma doesn't have my copy right now so that I can reread it immediately, here are my questions and her answers!

Summarize the plot in 30 words or less (just because I want to challenge you. :D)
Okayyyyy… here goes. :D Elizabeth, left penniless and alone in the world, travels to England to become a governess. She is befriended by several unusual people and learns that life and books are different.
Thirty words exactly. And I now know that if all else fails, I can always fall back on a career in writing incredibly trite and cheesy back cover blurbs for novels. :P

I love the flowers on the cover!  Is there a particular reason you chose them?
There was indeed! That was one of the free cover images provided by CreateSpace.  Heehee.  I had originally wanted to use a photo of a rose that I’d taken myself, but the picture wasn’t of high enough quality for the cover creator, so I ended up using one of the free images.  There weren’t many pictures that seemed to fit with the general feel of my novel, but when I saw the one of the cherry blossoms, I knew I’d found it.  (Oh, and I eventually used the rose picture for my giveaway button.  :D)

When, where, and how did you first get the inspiration for Only a Novel?
My first degree of inspiration, so to speak, came in the form of reading far too many Sherlock Holmes mysteries when I was fifteen.  (Yes, I’ve read all four novels as well as each and every one of the short stories.  Any fellow obsessive fans out there?)  My writing tends to be influenced by what Iread (do tell!) and I started to get wisps of ideas about an American young woman who went out to work as a governess for a family on a cold and lonely English moor.  No, there was no Hound of the Baskervilles, but there could very well have been.  :D  That story never really went anywhere, but then when I started contemplating NaNoWriMo in November 2011, I dug out the idea and revamped it with the title “What Would Elizabeth Bennet Do”? This time around, the story focused on a rather different heroine with adeep-set love for Jane Austen’s books.  Eventually the title got re-worked, of course, but Jane Austen (and Elizabeth Bennet) remained a constant source of inspiration.

Which scene was the most fun to write?
That’s a hard question because most of them were fun to write.  J  I really enjoyed writing the ball scene in chapter four, though, before I started getting frustrated by plot holes.  In that segment, Elizabeth accompanies Lavinia to a lavish party hosted by Lady Judith Meriwether Fagles (an old busybody with a self-described talent for matchmaking) and is roped into dancing with a—quote—most eligible young bachelor lieutenant—end quote.  He’s positively dreadful, but I had great fun writing about Elizabeth’s discomfort during that event.  I’m afraid I got rather too much fun writing about poor Elizabeth being embarrassed. I was a bit mean to her, I’m afraid. 

Did you have to do much rewriting and editing or did you think it was perfect as it was?
Oh, I didn’t do a single snip of rewriting or editing—every word that flowed from my golden  was perfectly perfect in everyway.
Ha.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
In reality, I had to do a ton of rewriting and editing—but I did it (rather unconventionally) as I went along.  I know, I know, that’s a blatant disregard for NaNoWriMo rules, but the perfectionist in me insists on editing at least a little bit as I go along.  Then when I was all finished, I rewrote quite a bit of it again.

Who's your least favorite character? I know, everyone goes with 'favorite character' so I'm asking least favorite this time.
Mortimer Jefferson Pendleton.  He’s lazy, arrogant, selfish, domineering, money-grubbing, unprincipled and he looks like something the cat dragged in. 

I know Only a Novel began as a Nanowrimo project.  Did you know the general ending and many of the characters at the start or did you prefer making them up as you went along?
I made almost all of it up as I went along.  I’m what’s called a seat-of-the-pants writer, which basically means that I have an idea and a premise for a story when I begin, and the rest of it (hopefully) manifests itself to me as I write.  When I first started Only a Novel, I had no idea how it was going to end.  Well, all right, I knew I wanted a happy ending, but that was about it.

And (I know this is an irrational and irrelevant question, but) what font is it printed in?  Did you have any trouble choosing it, or didn't you really think about it?
I set the main text as 11-pt. Garamond (because that was the default font for the template I used, heehee), but when Iuploaded the document to CreateSpace, they changed it slightly to something“more compatible with the trim size I’d chosen.”  It looks just like Garamond to me, though.  :D

What five words best describe Only a Novel as you see it?
Books, friendships, prejudice, learning, nonsense.

Thank you so much for hosting me, Maria! This was great fun!

Thank you so much for answering my questions - and for writing the book in the first place!

Yet Another Period Drama Blog"Miss Amy Dashwood is a daughter of the King of Kings, a homeschooled seventeen-year-old and a lover of books, period dramas, chocolate, long bike rides, babies, teacups, historical costumes and fiddle music.  Only a Novel, her first full-length work of fiction, chronicles a year in the life of Elizabeth Markette, a young woman with a head full of books who takes on a job as a governess after the death of her grandmother.  Only a Novel is available for purchase on Amazon, and you can find Amy at either of her two blogs, Yet Another Period Drama Blog and The Quest for Stories."


Melody said...

You read it, Maria?? That was fast. I know you couldn't have gotten it long ago. ;D I desperately wish sometimes that I was a fast reader... but I'm not. I can't wait for your review!

Enjoyed the interview. :)

An Old-Fashioned Girl said...

Great questions! I enjoyed reading this wonderful interview!

Alexandra said...

CANNOT WAIT to get/read this. Love, love, love. :) Can't wait for your review! Aren't we all so proud of our Amy? :)