Monday, October 12, 2009

Michigander Monday: Amy Huntley

I am thrilled this week to welcome my friend and critique group member Amy Huntley to Michigander Monday!

Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Amy: I'm a high school English teacher, a wife and a mother to a seven-year-old. And now--how exciting to say it--I'm an author, too! I've lived in Michigan most of my life, and love this state. I'm an avid reader, enjoy playing the piano and attending the theater, and even though I HATE packing, I actually like traveling.

Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your new book!

Amy: The Everafter, published by HarperCollins (Balzer and Bray), is a young adult novel that explores the role loss plays in our growth as individuals. It tells the story of 17-year-old Maddy Stanton--who's dealing with the ultimate loss: her own life. She finds herself in a limbo state with all the objects she misplaced throughout her time on earth. Using the objects allows her to return to the moment where each one went astray. While there she can either observe or live her life. Maddy uses the objects to discover how she died and to help her cope with her own loss of life so she can embrace a new future.

Debbie: Other books and projects on the horizon?

Amy: I'm working on another young adult novel. Someday, I'd also like to work on writing a chapter book or mid-grade novel. The one thing I NEVER plan on doing? Writing a book for adults.

Debbie: Sounds like famous last words! In the meantime, any upcoming appearances?

Amy: I'll be at Schuler Books (Alpine Road Grand Rapids location) on October 15th at 7:00 pm, and then I'll be at the Okemos Meridian Mall Schuler Books on November 17th at 6:30pm.

Debbie: Your favorite places in Michigan?

Amy: I love Tahquamenon Falls, Greenfield Village, Charlton Park, all the little towns along Lake Michigan and visiting lighthouses in the UP.

Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?

Amy: The Renaissance Festival is tons of fun. I'm amazed to discover how many other people like to go there to live in the past--at least temporarily. I'm not sure how many of us would actually opt for 16th Century medicine, diet and clothing as a true way of life!

Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Amy: I realize that I am biased here, but I think Michigan has some absolutely awesome teachers. I get to meet teachers from all over the state, and the dedication that I see there is inspiring. Of course my family was important to me growing up, but teachers always came in a strong second for me. I know other states have highly dedicated and caring teachers, too, but Michigan teachers...I love you!

Debbie: And I second that: Michigan's teachers are top-notch!! Amy, how about something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?

Amy: Its landscape is beautiful. We often have marvelous autumns, and come winter we get beautiful fluffy snow. Watching the leaves bud on the trees in the spring reminds me of what a miracle Planet Earth is. I know there are other states that have the beauty of seasons, too, but it's one of the coolest parts of living in Michigan. It's impossible for me to think about my novels without being highly conscious of the season in which action is taking place. I don't linger on long descriptions of the physical setting when I'm writing, but the beauty of the state is always in the back of my mind when I'm telling a story.

Debbie: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Amy: I'm a "Gander." Maybe that's because I grew up sharing space on my parents' property with some very assertive geese, but whatever the reason, that's what sticks in my mind.

Debbie: Amy, it's been great having you here today! You're a wonderful writer and a fine friend. I hope everyone who reads this blog post will take a moment to seek out your terrific novel The Everafter.

Thanks for stopping by for Michigander Monday!


Ann Finkelstein said...

Great post, Debbie. Wonderful to see you here, Amy.

Shelli said...

great interview - thanks!