About Amy Flint:
I love a good mystery, and the paranormal is certainly that. I had the idea for my Porter Biggleswade series after moving to York. Porter is a paranormal investigator with a talent for spotting ghosts, a useful skill to have when living in England's most haunted city!
I started in archaeology – Pompeii and the British Museum, before studying forensics; evidently, I have a passion for finding clues. Researching and writing about the paranormal seemed the natural next step.
When I’m not busy reporting on Porter Biggleswade’s latest shenanigans I investigate rumour and intrigue via Amy Investigates. While believers attempt to substantiate claims, and sceptics to debunk them, I strip fact from fiction in search of the truth.
What inspires you to write?
I’m an ideas person, and writing is my perfect outlet. It allows me to escape into a world of my own making, where I can pander to my interests and direct the outcome. It also enables me to indulge my love of archaeology, forensics, and the paranormal (all fields which involve searching for answers), which I then weave into my books.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
It’s difficult to choose because there are so many talented authors! The only way I can narrow it down is to imagine myself stranded on a desert island, with only three books for company. ‘Catch 22’ by Joseph Heller would make the cut, not least because his wit would help to keep me sane. ‘The Turning of the Screw’ by Henry James would also be in the pile because I discover something new in it every time I read it; and the classic ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, because her prose is gritty, but still incredibly beautiful.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process has evolved over the years. I wrote my first book after finishing my first degree, partly to prove to myself that I was disciplined enough to sit down and write. I treated the book as a full-time job and finished it in three months. I learnt a lot from this exercise, not least that I should shape the plot first rather than letting the words tumble out.
I work in a far more structured way now, which helps my writing to flow more easily and efficiently. When I first had the idea for my paranormal mystery series, I spent the first six months getting to know Porter and the other characters. I drafted ten books in the series due to ongoing themes before I eventually started writing the first book ‘Shadows in the Mist’. My trusty excel spreadsheet is a lifesaver!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
That’s an interesting question. I tend to listen to Porter rather than talk to her. I think about how she would handle certain situations because she is very different from me. I’m a little in awe of her self-confidence, and the fact she really doesn’t care what others think.
What advice would you give other writers?
Advising others is tricky, not least because what suits one person may not suit another. If I were to offer advice to myself, it would be about protecting my writing time. When I first started, friends and family would drop in for coffee because they knew I was working from home. I soon realised I needed to be firm about boundaries. I did this by reminding them that if I worked for a company, they wouldn’t just turn up at my office and expect me to ‘hang out’.
I also write about topics that I’m passionate about. I love the mystery and intrigue associated with the paranormal, and the fact both sceptics and believers hold a view, however polarising! It’s important to get that passion across in your work, so the reader has a more rewarding experience. I started to read a detective series a few years ago where the first few books were absorbing, but then the author lost her spark. I stopped reading after the seventh book, because when she lost interest, she lost mine, too.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started down the self-publishing route because as an unknown writer I suspected it would be difficult to find an agent. Self-publishing on Lulu.com allowed me to put ‘Shadows in the Mist’ into the public domain and gave me the opportunity to market it and build up my author platform. I discovered self-reliance, an enjoyment of driving my own projects, and the ability to work to self-imposed deadlines, which prompted me to self-publish the next two books in my Porter Biggleswade series.
That said, the self-publishing route isn’t for everyone, and it depends on the needs and time constraints of the author. If you prefer to spend your time writing and leaving the rest to someone else, then finding an agent would probably be the better option.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Another interesting question! While I lack a crystal ball, I think traditional and self-publishing will continue to co-exist. I do read ebooks, but I also like paperbacks; I enjoy being able to browse in book shops and take my children to the library. While self-publishing is fantastic for providing new authors with a platform to get started, it takes a lot of commitment and determination to market and sell your book, especially if your goal is to be a bestselling author, unlike publishing houses who have the time and resources to help you achieve this.
What genres do you write?: Paranormal mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.