About Amy Maroney:
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, two daughters, and a wise old dog. I studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When I'm not diving down research rabbit holes, I enjoy hiking, painting, drawing, dancing, and reading. The Girl from Oto is my first novel. I'm currently working on the sequel.
What inspires you to write?
I love art, history, and the outdoors. All of these things inspire my writing. I also get inspired by traveling to new places and meeting new people. I'm driven by a passion to create historical fiction from the point of view of girls and women. Unearthing the hidden stories in history and giving forgotten people a voice is really exciting to me.
Tell us about your writing process.
For my first novel, The Girl from Oto, I wrote the first draft as a series of vignettes. Then I drafted an outline to help me transform those scenes into a viable plot. I relied heavily on beta readers and hired a developmental editor to help me. I must have written more than 10 drafts, and the last few revisions were incredibly complex. The book has two narratives and I had to weave them together without losing pace or tension. Also, there is a large cast of characters. It was a huge challenge but in the end I was thrilled with the outcome. Now, for the sequel, I'm more savvy. I wrote an outline first on Scrivener (software for writers) using the corkboard feature. That way I could print out index cards for each scene and shuffle them around. I also used a whiteboard to establish a timeline. As I write the manuscript, I've made some mistakes with plot and structure and have had to revise the outline a few times. I also allow myself to tweak the plot, because a lot of my best ideas come to me as I'm writing.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don't talk to my characters out loud, but I find myself thinking about them all the time, worrying about them, wondering what they would do or say in a particular situation. It's very comforting to write in a series format, because when a book ends, the story isn't finished yet and the characters live on in my imagination.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you can carve out a bit of time most days, establish a practice and get in the habit of writing. It doesn't have to be a lot, and it doesn't have to be any good. Just write. My best work comes during the revision phase, so I don't worry about the quality of my writing in the early stages. The important thing is getting the bones down. Also, remember that many of your best ideas will come as you write. Don't worry that you'll never have any good ideas. You will, but you need to write in order to get those ideas flowing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I began research for The Girl from Oto in 2011, and I knew I would publish independently. There was a growing market for self-published authors, and I was willing to put in the hours to learn how to do it. I've never regretted that choice. The only hard part is that as an "authorpreneur" you actually have very little time for writing compared with all the publishing, marketing and promotion tasks that need doing. It's important to celebrate small milestones, network with other indie authors, and be patient. This is a long game.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the publishing world will continue to be rocked by indie publishing. On the traditional side, there will still be blockbuster writers and literary fiction giants with all the awards and critical praise that are reserved for them. On the indie side, people will publish what readers want rather than what publishers and editors think readers want. There will be a growing "mid-list" of writers earning a decent income, responding to the demands of the market. The Internet has caused huge disruption in the publishing industry and it has opened up vast opportunities for self-published writers. Unfortunately, the quality of self-published books is not always high. Our responsibility as indie authors is to work with professional editors, cover designers, and others to ensure our books are the best they can be.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: historical fiction
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.