I’m very excited about this week’s Get To Know interview, which features Amy Spalding, whose debut novel The Reece Malcolm List comes out tomorrow! Hooray! *muppet flail* Amy grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and currently works as the Digital Media Planner for an independent film advertising agency. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A. Her debut novel, The Reece Malcolm List, will be published by Entangled in 2013, and combines many of her favorite things in life, including Stephen Sondheim and boys with great hair. Let’s get right to the questions!
What are you working on now?
I’m about to start edits on my next book, Ink Is Thicker than Water. I also have a top secret work in progress no one knows about. Well, I guess you know now. Oops!
What was your favorite book as a child/teen?
Just one?! No. The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace (I have a Betsy-Tacy tattoo, in fact). The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin (of course). A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry, which I think is the best disease/grief book ever, period, etc.
What are you reading now?
Unfortunately I’ve had to pause reading because life is so crazy at the moment. Which sucks. The last thing I read that I really enjoyed was Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen. It was a rough and upsetting read, but so worth it.
Do you work with a critique group/partner?
I don’t have an official group, but I do have multiple people in my life who are excellent at providing feedback. And, luckily, there are enough of them that if one of them is busy with their own work at the moment, I’ve got more to choose from. Having amazing critique partners is so, so important to me. Some of the best, most insightful notes I’ve gotten are from them.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I try to write synopses. I try real hard. And I hate them and I give up and I just dive on in. And that means I go through LOTS of revisions, and a lot of my edit notes are focused on making the plot, uh, work. So, there’s that. But I just love the process of discovery. I love jumping in and seeing what happens. Being surprised by my own books is so much fun for me.
What’s your memory of how we started working together? How did our first submission go, etc.?
You were totally at the top of my dream agent list. I remember I saw Steph’s blue hair (this was before her books had even sold so I was only going on her blog) and thought, well, if Kate likes this cool blue-haired lady, she’ll hopefully like this weird tattooed/pierced lady. And then you were the first agent to request a partial of Ink! And you liked it and requested a full! You were in fact the first to request a full! But then, actually, another agent snuck in, and so I figured it wasn’t going to happen with you…but then you emailed me, and, the rest is history. What stands out to me is I’ve looked back at those emails between us, and I was so insanely formal because I was trying so hard to impress you and prove I was a professional. Of course now I can just send you links to, like, amazing shoes with a bunch of exclamation points. So, that clearly fell away.
What other hobbies do you have?
I do longform improv, and I love seeing live comedy stuff like improv and sketch. I like reading nonfiction books about diseases/pandemics/plagues.
What’s a random weird fact about you?
Weirder than the disease book thing? Hmmm. Back in the 1990s I once won free Chik-Fil-A for a year. I was a vegetarian at the time. Also it was just a crappy sheet of coupons. I thought it would be, like, a magical golden card I could just wave for free fries and carrot-raisin salad. Also, obviously, later on I also learned I didn’t exactly agree with any of their corporate political beliefs.
And, of course: favorite pair of shoes?
This is hard. Probably my super-broken-in black Dr. Martens, though I just got a pair of glittery gold flats and I’m kind of in love with them. But my love of comfort/the 1990s usually wins out.
Plus, bonus lightning round!
Dog or cat? Cat (no offense to my dog Violet).
Coffee or tea? COFFEE X ONE HUNDRED.
Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke forever.
Wheat or White? Wheat.
MG or YA? I write YA, I still love MG.
Morning or night? Night. Mornings can suck it.
Star Wars or Star Trek? Will you drop me as a client if I say I don’t care about either of these things? [kt note: not in the least!]
Hogwarts or Narnia? Hogwarts.
And finally, six word memoir. Go!
Weird lady moved to L.A., whew.