Amy Hatvany’s latest novel, Heart Like Mine (available March 19th) is a beautifully written tale about the turmoil of losing a loved one and coping with all of the trials a family brings with it. Switching between the perspectives of Ava (a 13-year-old girl), Kelli (Ava’s mother), and Grace (Ava’s father’s fiancé), it is a story that manages to combine real life problems and joys with a suspense that makes you unable to put it down. I was lucky enough to get to talk to Ms. Hatvany about what went into creating this wonderful book. Read on for the interview…
The Daily Quirk: Ms. Hatvany, could you please tell the readers a little about yourself?
Amy Hatvany: Let’s see…I’ve been writing stories since I was seven years old, so it’s a bit of an obsession. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m usually in the kitchen cooking for my family and friends. Yesterday, I made a smoked salmon chowder with roasted sweet corn that was enough of a hit that my husband proposed to me again.
TDQ: The characters and situations in Heart Like Mine were so emotionally charged and so realistic. Where did you draw your inspiration from?
AH: The book came from a discussion I had with my husband about the challenges of being a step-parent. (We are both “steps” – me to his daughter and he to my two kids.) I thought about how much harder it would be for me if I didn’t have children of my own and was suddenly thrust into a motherhood role, and then the story and characters grew from there. I talked with many women who are or have been in that situation and they gave me so much terrific insight as to how it feels.
TDQ: Throughout the book, you switch between the point of view of three different characters (Ava, Kelli and Grace). Which one came easiest to you?
Grace’s voice, definitely.
TDQ: Did you always know you wanted to tell the story from multiple points of view? How did you make that decision?
AH: I did know, and didn’t so much as make a decision to include Grace and Ava’s voices as they were both just there in my head from the very start. What I didn’t know was that the story would include Kelli’s point of view. Initially, she played a much smaller role, but as I wrote, her past became so important that I had to go back and make sure her story was heard.
TDQ: Which of the characters in Heart Like Mine did you most relate to?
AH: I related to all three of them for different reasons – Grace, because I’m a step-parent and know how challenging it can be at times; Ava, because I’ve been an insecure thirteen year old girl trying to figure out who I am; and Kelli, because I’ve been through a rough divorce and struggled to find my emotional footing afterwards.
TDQ: The characters in your Heart Like Mine deal with a lot of tough situations (death, divorce, rocky parent/child relationships). Was it challenging to write some of the more serious scenes?
AH: A little bit, but only because I had to walk a fine line between capturing the seriousness of the moments and making them too over dramatic. But here’s the thing – the aftermath of grief and trying to build a new family is wrought with drama, and throwing a hormonal, thirteen year old girl into the mix, there was bound to be a few moments where emotions got out of hand. My challenge is too hopefully make those moments completely believable.
TDQ: Were there any scenes that you found particularly fun to write?
AH: I loved any scene with Max, Ava’s little brother. He was such a sweet little boy and provides some fun comic relief. I also loved the scene where Grace and Ava try to bake one of Kelli’s recipes – a pumpkin cream cheese pound cake – with questionable results.
TDQ: In addition to Heart Like Mine, you have a number of successful books under your belt. Did you always want to be a writer?
AH: Yes, though everyone told me how impossible it is to get published, so I chose to study sociology in college instead of creative writing. By the time I turned twenty-four, though, after working in a few soul-sucking office jobs, I knew I had to return to what I loved doing. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’m incredibly grateful for where I am now.
TDQ: In the acknowledgements, you say that some books come more easily than others and thank a lot of people for encouraging you while writing this book. How did the process for writing Heart Like Mine compare to some of your other books?
AH: This book required more revision than most of my other novels, especially because Kelli’s voice didn’t make itself clear to me until I’d already written a draft that only included Grace and Ava’s. Going back and weaving Kelli’s experiences into the story was a lot of work, but in the end, my editor and I knew it was the right thing to do to make the book complete.
TDQ: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
AH: Yes! My next novel is called Safe With Me, and it’s about three women who are linked together by tragedy, bound together by secrets, and when all is revealed, become each others’ salvation. (I realize this description is a little cryptic, but I don’t want to give too much away!) You can read the first chapter as a sneak peek in the back of Heart Like Mine.
We would like to thank Ms. Hatvany for taking the time to chat with us. Be sure to check out Heart Like Mine available online and in major retailers starting March 19th!
- Book Review: Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany
- Book Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
- An Interview with Going Vintage Author Lindsey Leavitt
Hi! I’m Abbie. I’m a Wisconsin girl who just completed a degree in journalism, which I hope will help me achieve my goal of reading books and writing about them for a living. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching Doctor Who and hanging out with my boyfriend and his two cats.
Check out more from Abbie Reetz on TDQ…