Debut author Amy Engel may be fairly new to the world of young adult fiction, but you would never know it from her twisty and addictive first novel, The Book of Ivy. Ivy has a bit of everything, from romance to dystopia to espionage, and trust me – you’ll be hooked after just a couple of chapters. Amy was kind enough to answer a few of The Daily Quirk’s questions about her new path as an author and where The Book of Ivy series is headed.
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer?
Amy Engel: I always wanted to be a writer, but after college I took the practical route and went to law school. I worked as a criminal defense attorney after graduation and then left the practice of law to stay home with my kids. I promised myself that I would try writing a book and just see what happened. I wrote one novel that wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t very good, either, so I trunked it. After that, I got the idea for The Book of Ivy and was lucky enough to have Entangled Teen pick it up.
TDQ: What was your inspiration for The Book of Ivy? Does the finished story pretty well match up with your original idea, or did it evolve as you wrote?
AE: I’m not really sure what my inspiration was for the book, to be honest. I’ve always been interested in family dynamics and the ways our families influence us, both for good and for ill. But the initial idea pretty much came to me in a flash one morning. I had just a broad idea for the story and knew how I wanted it to begin and how I wanted it to end. The rest was pretty murky and definitely evolved as I wrote. I’m not a writer who outlines; I like discovering the book as I write.
TDQ: For me The Book of Ivy was a page-turner; once I started reading I could have kept going for a few hours straight until I finished. What’s the last book you read that gave you that feeling?
AE: First, I’m so glad Ivy was a page turner for you. I definitely wanted readers to be engaged with the story. As for the last page turner I read, it was probably Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. I was late to the party on that book, but once I began reading I devoured it!
TDQ: What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?
AE: With writing, you often feel like you’re existing in a vacuum. You are alone and writing and pretty much living inside your own head. It’s nice to have my book out in the world where other people can read it. Ivy and Bishop have belonged to only me for so long; I love introducing them to other people.
AE: I probably feel a little more pressure with the sequel. With The Book of Ivy, I was writing for myself only. Now that readers have connected with Ivy and Bishop, I feel an even stronger obligation to make sure I write the best sequel I possibly can.
TDQ: Speaking of which, The Book of Ivy ends on a pretty major cliffhanger. Is there anything at all you can tell us impatient readers about The Revolution of Ivy, or any other upcoming projects?
AE: This is a hard one because I don’t want to spoil anything major! I guess I can say that although The Revolution of Ivy is again Ivy’s story, Bishop is a huge part of who she is now, so her story wouldn’t be complete without Bishop being involved. Also, Ivy is going to learn a lot about who she is, how strong she can be, and what she has the power to endure.