Author Amy Finnegan shares her experiences in becoming a writer and debuting with her YA novel, Not In The Script + an awesome GIVEAWAY! So make sure to stick around!
Let’s first talk about writing in general. Did you ever see yourself becoming a writer?
Most authors I know started writing when they were very young—usually at least by their middle school years—but I didn’t start working on my first novel until I was thirty! I was in my twenties when I really began to love reading, and it wasn’t long before I realized that I couldn’t stop thinking about the books I liked. And then I noticed that my mind was actually inventing stories and soon, I was having conversations with people who didn’t exist. So when that happened, I knew I had to choose between two options: either see a doctor or write a novel.
But that’s why it’s taken me so long to write my first few novels; I’ve essentially been learning how to write as I go. And since I was well familiar with what a truly fantastic book was, I didn’t want to submit anything that wasn’t as good as I felt it could be.
However, my wildest, fondest dream when I was a child was to be a secretary. So I am at least living the typing part of that epic fantasy.
What are the struggles you experience when writing?
Oh, gosh! Where do I start? Artists of all types are infamous for self-doubt, so I’ll have to list that as my #1 nemesis. Then there is trying to balance my family life with my career (I have three daughters, and an amazing husband who I love to spend time with), so my social life is pretty much nonexistent. I also struggle with the business side of publishing, because there is so much that goes into making a book successful, and all I really want to do is keep writing new stories! But it’s all worth it in the end. I love writing, and knowing that my stories can be read by people all over the world is the best feeling ever.
Now let’s go to your book. When did the idea of writing Not In The Script start, and how long did it take to finish?
Crazy enough, I began the first draft of this novel way back in 2005. I finished it about eighteen months later, but then pretty much rewrote the entire book (while I was working on additional manuscripts as well) over the next several years. I finally submitted it to Bloomsbury in spring of 2013, and it was published in October, 2014. So it definitely wasn’t an overnight success story. It took a lot of research to get it right, and lots of hard work to make a story about teen movie stars feel realistic and relatable. But it was a blast to write, and I never grew tired of working on it.
Are there parts in the book that were inspired by real life events?
Yes and no. I have a brother who has an amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, he’s shared many behind-the-scenes stories with me about filmmaking, and there was one thing in particular that he said which inspired an important aspect of Not In The Script. He told me about a film he was working on in which the villain of the story was played by one of the nicest guys he’d ever met, and the hero of the story was played by a skirt-chasing jerk with a filthy mouth. And then my brother said something like, “You wouldn’t believe how common that scenario is in this business.”
That’s when I went home and actually started writing. Additional concepts came into place quickly, but this was the spark that started a fire in me and became a central theme in the novel.
So some of the scenarios and possibilities were inspired by what my brother has experienced, but the characters and actual storylines are all products or my own twisted (and romantic!) imagination.
Name a character in your book that you see yourself in and why.
I’d have to say Jake. He was the first character to enter my mind, and I knew everything about him almost immediately. Then I had to dream up a plot and a princess for him! But Jake shares my natural skepticism, and my fear that the rug is about to be pulled out from under my feet whenever life feels a bit too amazing (:
I’ve heard that you’re writing a new book, can you tell us a tiny-bit about it?
I have solid foundations for seven manuscripts right now, and bits and pieces for several others. Here’s a hint about one of the stories: I just took my fourth trip to the UK where I’ve been doing some incredibly fun, historical research! So, if you’ve already read Not In The Script, just imagine Jake in a tailcoat and you’ll get the picture. Another novel I’m working on takes place at an adventure resort in California, where adults come to relive their glory days as teenagers. But the main characters are actual teenagers who have been stuck there for the last decade, running the resort with their parents. I have no idea yet which novel will make it onto the shelves first!
Just a random question, do you read reviews of your book?
I definitely love to read reviews from readers who have already told me they liked the book, but I rarely seek after random reviews, because you never know what you’ll run across that will ruin your writing mojo for the day. And I need to be excited when I sit down to work, or I’ll get stuck and stare at a blinking cursor for hours at a time. But Not In The Script has received many, many amazing reviews, and hearing from readers who have loved it definitely makes up for anything else. Especially because the comment I hear most often is that a reader couldn’t stop smiling while reading it. And nothing makes me happier!
(Lastly, some bonus question [and answer] for Filipino readers!) Any plans on visiting the Philippines soon?
I would love to visit the Philippines more than you could imagine! Readers there have been exceptionally supportive and enthusiastic about NOT IN THE SCRIPT, and I would truly love to meet every single one of them! So it’s definitely on my travel wish list!!
And I would love to meet you soonest, Ms. Amy! ❤
Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT (Bloomsbury, 2014), came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. As part of her research, Amy was lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.