A staunch advocate for social and environmental justice, she writes and lectures on native history and culture, diabetes and disability, and humanity’s connection and commitment to the natural world.
For more information, visit her web site at http://www.nativeearthwords.com
1) What am I working on?
I’m currently writing the sequel to my new adult novel, Until You Find Me, which takes place in the African rainforest. It is the story in which a young woman travels to the exotic rainforest of Cameroon following the death of her father, a gorilla activist, and falls for a mysterious young man who turns out to be the heir to a poaching empire. (Coming from Random House November 2014).
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I believe in diversity. I think it’s important for people of different cultures, backgrounds, and social standings, to see themselves in books. And currently the new adult market is saturated with college guys, which isn't a bad thing. But I wondered what it would look like if a character who was different in ethnicity, color, language, and culture was thrown into the mix. That's part of how my new adult books came to be.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write edgy books because I love flawed, relatable characters. I didn’t come from a cookie-cutter background, and I now know that I am not the only one. I want the reader to see imperfection. I want them to feel how that character feels as he/she embarks on their journey, whether it be emotional, figurative, or literal. And truth is, writing characters who can help other people going through similar difficulties, or who can open the eyes of the reader to a world outside of their fingertips, is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.
4) How does your writing process work?
My writing process is basically this: quiet, caffeine, and inspiring landscape.
My favorite place to be is the Smoky Mountains, but really I try to find inspiration everywhere, the clouds heavy with rain, the sun that bakes my skin, the trees that cast a shadow over me. It’s more of a feeling, really. Most of the time, I need a calm in my mind to hear the characters as they tell me their story.
An average writing day for me is, well, there is no such thing as average, but I would say that if I have quiet and the inspiration to write, I may get out about 3,000 words in a day. That's not to say that I haven't written in the chaos of home life and outings and kids and a blissful madness, but it is harder for me to do. There are times I get stuck, too. When my writing simply stalls and I need a reboot. When that happens, I just pick up a book and read for a bit. That almost always clears my mind. And like the above graphic says, the real secret to writing is simply...to write.
Thanks so much Amy for this interview!! -xo