Love won’t save her. U.S Marshals can’t contain her. Death will not stop her.
Today on the Diamond Mine, I'll be interviewing one of our group members, Amory Cannon, whose pen name is Amryn Cross. Her debut novel, Learning To Die debuted this month, and we're all so excited for her! She's woven a compelling suspense story with an intense romance between two strong-willed characters. Quite an exciting read! I highly recommend it! After the interview, leave a comment and you'll automatically be entered for a free copy of this wonderful story in either e-book or print copy, whichever you prefer.
Now for our interview!
What was the first thing you remember writing?
When I was in elementary school, I wrote lots of little stories about puppy love and girls doing things that only boys do—like joining the football team. The first thing of any length I remember writing was a fan fiction of sorts based on the characters in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
One of my favorite books, too! So, when did you decide to write fiction novels?
I began writing my first novel in November 2011 for National Novel Writing Month. It was an experiment for me, coming up with all original characters and starting to weave my love of writing with my love of forensic science. I learned a lot during that process, and it only solidified my decision to commit to writing.
I'm glad you did! What genre or genres do you write?
My main genre is romantic suspense, which is where my debut novel fits, but I’m also delving into young adult as well. Eventually, I’d like to write a book that’s strictly romance, but that’s a way off for me at this point.
How do your story ideas come to you?
It varies from book to book. Sometimes it’s an idea for a specific scene that just grows into something more. I have been inspired by certain TV shows and books, but my favorite is when I read or hear a certain phrase and it sparks an entire plot. Music is a big one for me for this reason. A line or two of lyrics can carry me a long way. For that reason, I make playlists for each story I write.
I also use music as inspiration. When I write a historical novel, I listen to music that fits the time.
Do you use outlines, or write the plot as you go?
I sort of fall in between. I like to have a vague outline since it’s important in my genre to know the crime that’s committed and the timeline of when the characters figure out what clues. Major external events tend to be the cornerstone of my outlines, but I don’t plan my characters reactions to those events. I let them develop naturally, and that sometimes leads to additional scenes I hadn’t planned on.
They take on a life of their own, don't they? So, is this debut novel the first one you wrote?
Actually, no. Learning to Die was originally intended to be a sequel to the first novel I wrote. However, the more I learned about writing, the more I realized that first novel needed a lot of work and maybe would never be published. This story had more potential, and I’d already fallen in love with the characters, so I decided to put my effort into getting Kate’s story published.
How much of yourself is in your characters?
I love this question. In this book, I don’t think there’s much of me in Kate or Graham. Actually, it was a bit difficult to get Kate right in the beginning because I’m not very much like her. But I did connect with her because there are a lot of people I know in her. She’s real and she’s broken, and on the most basic level, I think we’ve all been there. In other books, however, I’ve put a lot of myself into characters. In a novella series I’m working on for next year, the main character is basically me turning off my filter and writing. It’s a lot of fun!
Do you ever hit difficult spots or get derailed in your stories, and if so, how do you get past this?
This does happen to me from time to time, but I’ve found the best way to get past this is to be willing to skip around. I don’t always write chronologically. In fact, for the first novella in the next series I’m working on, I wrote it backwards! I break my story down into scenes, and if one scene isn’t cooperating, I’ll move on to one that I have a clearer picture of. Sometimes I have to go back and change things when I tie all the scenes together, but it does usually break me out of writer’s block or a rut.
What do you like best about writing?
This is tough to narrow down, but I really think it’s figuring out what makes people tick. My stories are very character driven for that reason. I’m not just interested in what someone does, but why they do that. I love complicated characters because we all lead complicated lives. I want to write stories that make people think about their actions and relate to the character.
What effect do you hope your writing has on the reader?
Ultimately, I hope my writing glorifies God. I want to tell a good story, to make a reader laugh or cry, but the purpose is to use the little things in the book to point people to Him. From Learning to Die specifically, I hope readers will realize that God really does work in all things, and that you’re never too far that He can’t love you.
That's a beautiful message.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the process of editing the first novella in my East Wind series (which you can find out more about at http://theeastwind.amryncross.com), which will hopefully release in January next year. It’s about a former military man who’s forced into medical retirement and somehow ends up solving crimes with this crazy but brilliant consulting detective—Alexandria Holst. Each novella follows the two of them through one of their cases. Very much based on several adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson… especially the modern BBC version.