Nothing But Sky
OA is excited to have an alumna in the spotlight. Welcome, Amy Trueblood!
1- What ignited your passion for writing?
I've always loved to read. As a kid, I would try to find hidden away, quiet places where I could curl up with a good book. Even as I grew older, my interest in storytelling never wavered. Ideas and characters would pop into my head and finally one day I decided it was time to put them on paper.
2- The Charlaine Harris series The Southern Vampire Mysteries, also known as The True Blood Novels and The Sookie Stackhouse Novels; given your surname, do you love or hate those books and subsequent TV show?
Full disclosure: I've never read the books or seen the show. It didn't really bother me until the show started to get popular on HBO and then all these weird mentions started to pop up in my Twitter feed. I was at a writing conference a few years ago with Charlaine Harris and I wanted to mention my name to her for a laugh but she was surrounded by too many fans to talk to her.
3- What are some of your short and long term writing goals?
My goal has always been to keep writing. There's a lot of self-doubt that pops up in this business. I hope I can keep that at bay and continue to craft stories I love and that publishers will continue to buy and share.
4- What is your favorite book (by someone else), and what do you love most about that book?
If you've read my blog you know I always mention one book that I've read over and over: Cassandra Clare's CITY OF BONES. I don't write fantasy (and really have no intention to) but Cassandra Clare is a master of all things writing. Her plotting, characters, worldbuilding, and dialogue are all brilliant. I feel like every time I read the book I learn something new about the craft of writing.
5- Does Bessie Coleman make an appearance in your book?
Yes, she does! I can't tell you when and where (as it's a spoiler) but she does make two appearances. I specifically did research on her so that I could make it plausible that she could show up in Grace's life. She also offers Grace a piece of advice that I think is very timely!
6- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
It may sound funny, but I think my biggest fan is my brother-in-law. He's a retired Navy pilot and he read every flying scene in the book (many times over) as my consultant/expert. Whenever I would send him a scene he would email me back VERY ENTHUSIASTIC comments. He even had a meeting with someone who was a friend of a friend of a friend in Hollywood and tried to pitch my book (LOL!)
7- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I tend to write very flawed characters. What I adore about Grace is that she keeps making mistakes but doesn’t allow it to deter her. She gets knocked down a lot before she realizes there has to be a better way to accomplish her dream. Some may call her unlikeable, but I see a young woman on the verge of growing up who is struggling to find her way. There is one scene in particular that illustrates this about her character and I think readers will recognize it right away.
My image of Grace!
(illustration created by Linnea Gear)
8- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
Grace's Uncle Warren chews on several gross, old cigars throughout the entire book. At first I just wrote it as a character tic, but after a while I realized it was his way of dealing with his frustration/stress over Grace.
9- #WeNeedDiverseBooks What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?
In 2017 I read three diverse books I loved:
-When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
-Love, Hate and other Filters by Samira Ahmed
-Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
10- As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
The storyline has to be unique. Whether it's the setting, characters, or the plot, I'm intrigued if an author shows me something way outside my own world and experience.
11- What's the best book marketing strategy you've come across?
Right now I'm really enjoying Instagram. I'm learning how to optimally share "stories" as well as how to post the most intriguing pictures. I am by no means a photographer, but I love trying to use lighting and design to put my book, and others, into a visually pleasing set-up.
12- What is one question (or discussion topic) which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
I'd like to talk about the need for more historical fiction in Young Adult. Many times the stories that can be told about our past are just as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago.
13- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Blurb: Grace Lafferty, an eighteen-year-old wing walker, thrills crowds with barrel rolls and loop-the-loops in hopes of making enough money to get to the 1922 World Aviation Expo. When one of her maneuvers saves a pilot's life, a film studio offers Grace a chance at a coveted Hollywood contract. But after a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether her life is worth risking for one final trick.
A devotee of reading and writing from a very young age, Amy Trueblood grew up surrounded by books. As the youngest of five children, she spent most of her time trying to find a quiet place to curl up with her favorite stories. After stints working in entertainment and advertising, she began writing her first manuscript and never looked back.
Her debut novel, NOTHING BUT SKY is a Spring 2018 Junior Library Guild selection and will be published March 27, 2018 by Flux.
For more on Amy, check out her website, http://AmyTruebloodAuthor.com or follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.
Nothing But Sky