Today’s podcast interview is with Amy Patrick! Amy is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Young Adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance as well as Contemporary Romance. She is the author of the Hidden Saga and the Still series. Living in New England now with her husband and two sons, she sometimes craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up. For many years she was a writer of true crime, medical anomalies, and mayhem, working as a news anchor and reporter for six different television stations in four different states. Then she retired to make up her own stories. Hers have a lot more kissing.
You can download a copy of the first book in her Hidden Saga, Hidden Deep, for free on Amazon!
- Do you have an ‘elevator pitch’ for Hidden Deep (and the series), to summarize it for our audience members who maybe haven’t read it before? The first book: when 16 yo Ryann Carroll runs into the guy who saves her life in the woods. But he’s not supposed to exist! The series is up to 9 books and a companion novella. The premise: what if the incredibly talented and gorgeous celebrities in our world who seem too good to exist actually aren’t human ? they’re fae who have used their glamour to hide their true identities? At last, they’ve grown tired of hiding in plain sight and they’re ready to take their rightful place!
- You’re self-published: what pushed you to choose that route? She grew up going to conferences and workshops and learning craft. Everyone she knew was pursuing traditional, so that’s all she thought about. She was querying and looking for an agent, and around the same time she got an author from an agent, she discovered the compelling info on indie publishing. She felt like she’d be foolish to not even try it. The agent was fine with her self-publishing. She had a manuscript that she didn’t think was suitable for self-publishing so the agent shopped that around for her. Meanwhile, she self-published a contemporary romance series. Amy told her agent about Hidden Deep, her first Golden Heart Finalist. But the agent wasn’t interested in shopping that at all bc of the genre (YA paranormal romance). She’s really glad that the agent didn’t want that book, bc that was the one that took off. She self-published it in March 2015.
- What advice might you have for other self-published authors out there: what’s the most effective marketing strategy you’ve used to date? (Or perhaps the top three?) It’s different for everyone, and things have changed a bit even since 2015. Back then people said the glory days of self publishing were gone. It is harder now, but write in a series if you want to have financial success. If she wants to put a lot of time and effort into something, then she wants it to pay. Interacting with fans is the best part, but she also needs to make a living. If you put one book out, it’s a waste of time and resources to promote just that single book. Having the series really helps. Then, wait until you have at least three in the series before you start putting time and money behind a big promotional effort. She put Hidden Deep out in March and did nothing. The second book came out in May. Then she did Book Bub ads and dropped the price of Hidden Deep to $0.99. Then when she put out book 3, she made the first one free and continued the paid ads. Things exploded after that. She puts out books every 2-3 mo now. She writes full time.
- Who are some of your favorite authors/books that you would consider to be your inspirations? In her own genre: there’s one she adores but she’d written a few before she found her series: Wendy Higgins’ Sweet Evil series. They’re also clean reads. Her inspirations as a writer have been mostly romance authors but they’re not writing urban fantasy or paranormal. Her top favorite is Lisa Kleypas: contemporary and historical romance. She rereads those and she learns something every time. Her favorite: not entirely clean but it’s tasteful and beautiful: Again the Magic.
- Tell me a little about your journey writing “Hidden Deep.” Did the idea fall into your head all at once, or was it gradual with a lot of outlining? It wasn’t all in her head. It was the first book she ever wrote, over a period of 6 mo, every night after her kids went to bed, from 9 to midnight. She did feel like it was flowing, but she didn’t outline it. Now she outlines everything ahead of time and that helps her to write so fast. This book just flowed, but it therefore took a lot of revising. She has to go back to the Lord of the Rings as her inspiration, even though that’s high fantasy (taking place in another world). She read that 17 times back to back as a child! She was especially into Legolas (but I mean, who wasn’t?)
- Were your characters modeled after anyone you know, or inspired by anything else you’ve read? Or were they all from your imagination? The main characters are complete fiction. There’s always a little of the author in everybody, though. Ryann lives in a rural area of Mississippi. She modeled the location on where her father actually lives. Grandma Neena is modeled on her great grandmother. Her great grandmother’s hair turned white in her 20s (after tragically losing her husband). Ryann’s best friend Emmy was modeled on her high school friend Nissi. She was picturing her in her mind.
- I love the fact that your characters don’t just jump into bed together. Since that’s the way most stories seem to go these days?what made you resist? (And did you have a hard time coming up with an ‘explanation’ in the story for why they didn’t?) It’s good to have a legit explanation for why people wouldn’t do that. Her characters are teenagers and human beings. It was important to her that they not do this bc she thinks it’s a lot more romantic to not have that happen. She thinks it’s a healthier way to go to take things slowly. The reason that goes with her character’s mythology: even though they really want to, they’re not going to. The main male character is part of a secret race living among humans. For his race, they bond for life. There is only one partner. So it’s a serious decision.
- What are you working on now? (I hear it involves A.I? that’s my current series too!) It’s a YA science fiction taking place in the near future. Amy is a Blade Runner geek ? she’s seen the first film hundreds of times. Anytime she sees a trailer on artificial life or genetic engineering, she’s in! The book has to do with the idea of what it means to be truly human. Her main character, Marea, is a teenage girl who has never left her army base and never questioned why. She hadn’t wanted to until an event happens in her life ? her peers are leaving the compound, and when they return, they’re all beginning to act very strange and robotic. It takes place in 2055.
- Is there anything else in the Hidden saga coming down the pipeline? The people who read the series want to read more, and she loves the world. She has a few ideas she wants to explore. The series is 9 books long ? but within the Hidden saga, there are segments. If you read the first four books, you’ll come to a point where you get a satisfying, wrap-up conclusion. Then you get additional characters that come in in the next few books. Original characters are always involved, but books 5-6 explore different aspects of the world. Books 7-9 start with totally different characters on a different continent. The rules of the world are the same but then it wraps back around. Then they’re all in it together in the last book.
Again, you can get Hidden Deep for free on Amazon here!