Today’s guest edition features Amy Plum, the international best-selling author of the Die for Me series!
Having published three books and a novella in the last three years, Amy is keeping pace in 2014 with another release in May. But this time, she’s launching After the End, the debut in a new series that revolves around 17-year-old Juneau, who grew up believing nuclear war had destroyed the world, beyond her clan’s Alaskan lands. Juneau, however, is soon abandoned and learns that things are not as she always believed them to be. Intrigued? Each Thursday, up until the release date, Amy is posting a short excerpt from After the End, which you can see here on her blog.
Amy, herself, lives far from the snowy terrain of After the Fall. For the past nine years she has lived in France, and for the last two in one of the world’s most-loved cities—Paris. To find out what it is like to lead a writer’s life in the City of Lights, keep reading, because here is Amy, with What Was on Her…
Front Stoop: We don’t actually have stoops in Paris—your door leads right out onto the street. And usually several people are huddled around the door smoking. So unless you’ve got an unhealthy hankering for second hand smoke, you don’t really hang out in front of your building, New York style. That’s what cafés are for!
However, I can tell you which shop-fronts surround my door. Right downstairs from me is a North Face (run by cute hipster boys with beards). To the left is a motorcycle shop, and on the corner a baker—a “boulangerie”—that always has lines out the door at lunchtime. In the other direction is another motorcycle shop, then a Thai massage center. Yes…I know I am spoiled.
Baguette: You’d think that with a boulangerie right downstairs from me I would be eating freshly-baked pastries every day. Not true. I rarely even buy a baguette, because if I do I will eat the WHOLE THING…probably smeared with some of that yummy French butter with salt crystals. So maybe once every couple of weeks I’ll go downstairs and get a demi-baguette (half of a baguette) aux grains (with seeds) for a treat. The whole trick with French pastries is “know thyself.” And I know that anything freshly baked isn’t going to last two seconds in my house.
Bus Route: One thing I decided when I moved back to Paris two years ago was that I didn’t want to get caught up in the city commute thing. I have been carefully arranging my life so that everything I do is within walking distance of my apartment. My kids’ school is two blocks away. All of our doctors, hair salons, gyms, supermarkets, and favorite restaurants are within a few blocks of my place. So my life in Paris is like living in a small town–with all the perks of a big city!
Nightstand: Currently on my nightstand are: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (I’m a few chapters in and enjoying it); The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (a gift from a friend, which I haven’t yet started); The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (had a blurb from Neil Gaiman, so I couldn’t resist); and a notebook and pen for late-night ideas.
Research List: After the End, Book 1 was such a different book for me to write than the DIE FOR ME books. For DIE FOR ME, I wrote about what I knew: Paris, being an expat American in France, art, history. I had almost no research to do for those books, drawing on the knowledge I had already amassed in the past.
However, After the End begins in Alaska—a place I’ve never been. So I had to research its climate, flora and fauna, and what the Denali area looks like at different times of the year. There were other topics, like outdoor survival, huskies, and the like that I had to research for the book…for example, how long would it take for a team of huskies to go from Denali national park to Anchorage. Not something I could come up with off-the-cuff.
Besides those basics, I used the Gaia Movement and the Jungian theory of collective unconscious as bases for the mythology in the books. So I did a detailed study of both of those topics.
And finally, there’s Juneau and Miles’s road trip. They drive from Seattle to Salt Lake City in Book 1, and though I know those states reasonably well, I had a hard time picturing the landscapes in my mind. So a year ago I called up my cousin in Idaho, and she met me in Seattle so that we could do the road trip together. She drove while I took notes and read the story out loud to her. We did around 900 miles in three days. It was one of my favorite research trips I’ve ever taken!
Mind: While I wait for my editor’s changes to After the End, Book 2, I am pitching new book ideas to her. So I have three stories constantly going through my head, as well as some brand new ideas for picture books and short stories.
Along with that, I’m trying to plan the publicity for the release of After the End, Book 1 (May 6, 2014). Although a wonderful YA site, Mundie Moms, is organizing the blog tour, I am also asking other YA authors to host “tour stops” on their websites, and am trying to come up with fun and interesting ideas for those events.
In the YA world, between writing and marketing, an author’s work is never done!
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To keep up to date with Amy, follow her at www.amyplumbooks.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amyplumfanpage, and on twitter @AmyPlumOhLaLa. If you would like to preorder After the End, which will be released May 6, 2014 by HarperTeen, you can click below:
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