Welcome, everyone. I’d like to introduce you to another great author, Amy McGuire. Who is Amy and what does she write about? Read about her here today and come back again tomorrow for more!
Dawn Ross: Tell me about yourself.
Amy McGuire: Well, I’m the last of three children born to missionary parents who worked in East Africa for most of my childhood. I was born in the tiny town of Campbell River, British Columbia during one of their furloughs and about two and a half years later they returned to the mission field with me and my two older siblings in tow. My first published book is infused with some of the experiences I gained as a missionary kid and the culture I grew up in is a very big part of who I am, both as a person and as writer. I have written stories and poetry almost from the moment I learned how to form a complete sentence, and can say without question that writing is my passion. I’ve been married to the same amazing man for over eight years now, and I have to admit that the dark hair and light eyes combination of some of my male characters are inspired by him. I am also the mother of a darling four year old angel who makes me smile and believe in the power of imagination on a daily basis. I guess you could say my titles are as follows: Wife, Mother and Author. I love being all three and wouldn’t have my life any other way. Romance is my personal weakness. I love to read it, write it, talk about it, experience it when I can, and live it. If I ever ‘make it big’ I want writing to be my career and the ‘job’ I do until I can no longer type or come up with stories.
Dawn Ross: Tell me about your writing process.
Amy McGuire: When I first started writing The Hope Valley Saga it was one book. I had a notebook I took everywhere (this was pre-laptop) and I wrote as often as I could. Whenever I was able to find a moment, I used the desktop to type all the chapters I had written in my notebook into Microsoft Word. Sometimes just ideas, and not whole chapters would come me and in that case I would enter them into my notebook in Microsoft Word when I got the chance. As the story developed I ended up with multiple drafts, all saved in a special file on my desktop. For my birthday a couple years ago I asked for a small, lightweight laptop that I could use anywhere instead of constantly typing from my paper notebook. Now I use that almost exclusively but occasionally when I am away from it, such as I was when I went camping with my family about a month ago, I go back to my paper notebook and scribble whole chapters or just ideas.
Dawn Ross: Where do you get your inspiration?
Amy McGuire: I was once told by a very wise person to ‘write what you know’. So a lot of the scenes in my first novel are loosely based on actual events I experienced. As my story has progressed and I create the saga, I find my main inspiration is simply the world around me. I can watch a movie, or show or people in a crowded mall and get inspired. In fact, one of my upcoming (hopefully in the not too distant future) books which is sci-fi was inspired by another sci-fi show I watched recently. I find certain books I read will inspire me. Sometimes just being on vacation and ‘getting away from it all’ can have a huge affect on what I write. For instance, there is a scene in book three of my saga which I wrote entirely while on vacation in Florida, again, based off actual events. A thing as small as being bitten by fire ants while taking a walk with my family or as big as a horrific event on the news can be inspiring, depending on my mood and what particular scene I want to write.
Dawn Ross: Do you have any creative writing tips?
Amy McGuire: I don’t know that I’m very technical, but I guess my advice to anyone working on a novel they want to get published is this. Make sure you watch your points of view, that you don’t head hop. This is something a lot of the more famous writers get away with, and while it’s fun to know what everyone in the story is thinking, it’s not wise to play God as a writer. You need to look at it from the reader’s perspective. If this were real life, would they be able to know what everyone’s motives are all the time? Of course not. Besides being a bit annoying to jump from so and so’s thoughts to someone else’s without any breaks, it is also incredibly confusing. I have found myself many a time having to go back a few pages because I don’t know whose head I’m in. If you must tell the story from different points of view, use two line spaces between the paragraphs of each character and try very hard not to jump back and forth. A rule of thumb I try to follow is that there should really be no more than two points of view in any chapter. I’ve been told that one per chapter is best, but it can be very restricting in romance to write like that. If there are more than two I have to rethink whose point of view is the most important. I actually rewrote an entire scene in The Heart’s Discovery based on this principle and discovered that the scene was in fact stronger because it was in Gabriel’s perspective and no one else’s. It also can be lazy writing to just let your readers know what everyone is thinking all the time. You aren’t forced to show the emotions, but simply tell the reader so and so feels this way or that way.
Dawn Ross: This is not the end of the interview. Come back again tomorrow. In the meantime, check out Amy McGuire’s books at: