Morning, fellow book addicts. Today, I’m glad to introduce you to a debut young adult author; she publishes her first novel with Bloomsbury kids this year. The book releases today, so be sure to hop over to Amazon or your favorite retailer and snag a copy. The book is, Not in the Script and you may remember it from my gushing review a while back. Today, we get to MEET her with an Author Q&A with Amy Finnegan. (PS: ladies, she’s a fellow Austen addict!) Enjoy!
Q: Hi, Amy! Welcome; it’s fantastic to have you here today. To start off, could you share a little about yourself – what hobbies do you enjoy outside reading and writing?
Amy: I love to travel!! This hobby coincides perfectly with my love for reading and writing, so they almost feel like one in
the same to me. Why? Because my major trips are usually planned around my insatiable desire to visit the locations in which my favorite books take place.
This includes Hogwarts of course, which has led me to traipse up and down all of Great Britain, attempting to find the actual castle (because I’m convinced that it really does exist). I’m leaving for my fourth trip there in just a few weeks. I’m taking my
eight-year-old daughter, and we’ll be spending Halloween night at the Harry Potter studio in London. This will be my second visit to the studio, but this time there will be Death Eaters and magic potions!
We will also visit the Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens museums while in the city, and since I’ve already gone to just about every literary site that’s in and around London (I even dressed up and went to the Jane Austen Festival two summers ago), we’ll be meandering up the countryside to visit several other locations that have ties to great stories. Stops will include the Roald Dahl museum, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nottingham, Chatsworth House (said to be the estate Jane Austen had in mind when she wrote about Pemberley—and I believe it!), the Brontë Parsonage and the eerie Moors all three sisters wrote about, Beatrix Potter’s little farmhouse in the Lake District, Burns Cottage, and a place that made me weep the first time I saw it: The Elephant House, which is the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first few books in the Harry Potter series.
My daughter is already crazy about books, and my bet is that she’ll love reading even more once she sees the actual places that inspired these writers. And they’ve definitely inspired me as well!
Q: Describe your novel in five words:
A: Relatable teens in extraordinary circumstances (I get more bang for my buck if I use big words, right?)
Q: Your debut novel, Not in the Script releases today, what inspired the story and what kind of research did the book require to immerse the plot in the behind-the-scenes world of TV production?
Amy: I have a brother who has an incredibly amazing job: He works for Fox on their studio lot in Hollywood. Over the years, his behind-the-scenes stories about filmmaking have lit up my writer’s brain like bulbs on a Christmas tree, and one thing he said in
particular 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 (the actor would play basketball or just hang out with my brother during breaks, and he’d often talk about his family and friends), 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. On the production side, my brother has given me some amazing opportunities to not only tour dozens of sets, but to sit in on the productions of some of my favorite shows, such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood. I have also been a fly on the wall during sound mixing for another one of my all time favorite shows: Chuck! And I’ve also watched Foley artists work their sound effect magic for an episode of The Walking Dead.
You wouldn’t believe how many questions I’ve asked countless (helpful!) crewmembers in order to get the technical details for NOT IN THE SCRIPT as accurate as possible. But it hardly felt like work. Every bit of filmmaking is fascinating, no matter which side of the camera you’re on. I can’t get enough of it. But I never like to do anything halfway, so I also wanted to learn what acting was all about. For this, I went pretty hardcore and took lessons from an on-set acting coach who works with some of the largest studios. She is also an accomplished actress herself, having starred on a popular television show for over a decade. It was incredibly eye-opening, challenging, and entertaining. But I’ll definitely leave the acting to the professionals while I write in my quiet little corner!
Q: This book is the third in a series of companion novels, what was that like? Was there any kind of parameters or guidelines in writing the book?
Amy: That’s a very good question! I actually finished my first draft of NOT IN THE SCRIPT way back in 2007 and revised it off and on (along with additional manuscripts) until a Bloomsbury editor heard about it in 2012 from an editor from another publishing house. This editor suggested that NOT IN THE SCRIPT might be a perfect fit for the new If Only romance line that was in development, and the Bloomsbury editor wanted to take a look at it. Lucky for me, it worked out! The premise of Bloomsbury’s If Only romance line is this: “You always want what you can’t have.” That’s the only common premise for the novels. They are otherwise unrelated and can be read in any order.
Q: What is your favorite book and/or movie?
Amy: Many of my favorite books have actually been adapted for the screen, so they’re double favorites! Here’s the shortlist: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is my #1 (in pretty much any category, ever). The movies are amazing, and in and of
themselves, they would be counted among my favorites. My only regret is that kids today often think they already know the full story, but I’m always quick to assure them that what they know from the movies about the plot and characters is just the beginning of how much there is to love about this epic tale. In my opinion, only watching the movies and calling it good is like licking a Tootsie Pop hour after hour but stopping just short of the surprise in the center.
- Adaptations of Emma by Jane Austen have won me over not only once, but twice. I loved the big screen feature starring Gwyneth Paltrow, but then the BBC went and topped it with a four-part mini-series that I’m nothing less than addicted to.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a big time favorite novel of mine! And I thought the movie was as close as filmmakers could come to doing justice to the story.
- The Hunger Games movies have so far done a great job bringing the books by Suzanne Collins to life, and the casting choices have been especially brilliant.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak stole my heart on both the page and the screen.
- Most recently, The Maze Runner novel by James Dashner was made much more dangerous by talented filmmakers, and even more enjoyable because I got to watch the movie with the author himself! #DashnerArmy
Q: Lastly, do you have any new projects you can give us a sneak peek of?
Amy: I’m currently revising what I hope will be the first novel in a historical fantasy series. The only “fantasy” element is that it takes place in a country that doesn’t actually exist. But my four trips to the UK haven’t been solely for pleasure; lots of (incredibly fun!) research has been taking place. I’ll give you a hint about the plot with a few of my photos.
Thank you very much for joining us today, Amy; happy book birthday to Not in the Script. Where to learn more about Amy:
About Not in the Script
Synopsis: Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.
Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.
When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.
This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script. – Goodreads