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Indie Interview: Amy A. Bartol

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1. What book inspired you most before you became a writer yourself?
The book that inspired me to start writing is “I Am The Messenger” by Markus Zusak. In 2007, a childhood friend of mine had sent me it for my birthday. It is a fictional, young adult novel about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey. Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, was funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric. It read like you could step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, see what he is seeing. In short, it was amazing. But, there was a message at the end of the story that struck me as if it was written just for me. It says, quote: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of. A few months later, I began writing Inescapable.

2. First book you ever remember reading?
The first book that I remember reading was “The Real Mother Goose” by Blanche Fisher Wright. It is a collection of poetry and nursery rhymes that was originally published in 1916. But, what I really love about this book are the illustrations. There are personified pictures of birds in green serge coats and brown felt hats, pictures of the Man In The Moon with a Merlin’s cap and a wizard’s cloak, and beautiful ladies in gowns. I must have been only three or four-years-old, but I remember that book.

3. How do you pick your character's names?
Genevieve is my grandmother’s name. I wanted to honor her. No one called my grandmother Evie; that is something I came up with to make Evie sound less formal, more likable. (Everyone called my grandma Gen or Gene.)

Reed came from my friend’s hairstylist: Reid. I’d never heard that name used before so I borrowed it but I tried to make it sound more elemental (like a force of nature) by spelling it REED.

Russell was originally Russ, but Russ and Reed were so similar that my first reader said the names often confused her. I had to make Russ: Russell. I probably should’ve changed Russell’s name to Lancaster (ha, ha) or something COMPLETELY different than another “R” name, but after I wrote it, Russell became like an actual person to me, so I couldn’t change it. All I could do was make it longer: Russell.

Buns and Brownie are the actual nicknames of my two best friends from college. The characters are based on them and their antics at Hillsdale College. I have gotten the comment that Buns says “sweetie” way too often. Oh yeah, try hanging out with her. You will be sweetied to death. That’s how she talks. I just wrote it down for your enjoyment.

Alfred…hmm, I think I was just looking for a formal name that could be converted to a nickname. “Alfred” could become “Freddie.” There was a reason for that: Reed may know “Alfred” but he wouldn’t necessarily know “Freddie” because it’s the nickname that Evie gave to her new friend. I don’t want to say too much about that so I won’t spoil anything.

Zephyr means “the west wind.” He is a very Power…ful guy. Plus, how cool is the nickname Zee?

4. Name an excellent indie book that you think needs more recognition.
Black Beast by R.S. Guthrie (Horror, Private Detective)
Flash Fiction 40 + 1: New Mexican Bread Aisle by Volatalistic Phil (Short Stories)
Significance (A Significance Novel) by Shelly Crane (Paranormal Romance, YA Fiction)
Enchantment (The Channie Series) by Charlotte Abel (Paranormal Romance, YA Fiction)
Poppy (The Deadly Flower Series) by Riana Lucas (Paranormal Romance, YA Fiction)
Discern (Discern Saga) by Samantha Shakespeare (Paranormal Romance, YA Fiction)

5. Share some quotes you love! Either from your book or someone else's!
“The gunman is useless. I know it. He knows it. The whole bank knows it. Even my best mate, Marvin, knows it, and he’s more useless than the gunman.”—Ed in I Am The Messenger—Markus Zusak.

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” –Stubb in Moby Dick—Herman Melville

“Both touched toward fourteen; it almost trembled in their hands. And that was the October week when they grew up overnight, and were never so young anymore…”—Prologue to Something Wicked This Way Come—Ray Bradbury

“First the colors. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things. Or at least, how I try. ***HERE IS A SMALL FACT*** You are going to die.”—Death in The Book Thief—Markus Zusak

“Occam’s wrong, unless the simplest explanation is that I’m a total freak.”—Evie in Inescapable—Amy A. Bartol

“Instead of asking yourself how you can change that aspect of you, maybe you should be asking yourself why you were created that way. For what purpose do you exist the way that you are?”—Phaedrus in Intuition—Amy A. Bartol

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