If not…you’d better get it. I’m talking about A Different Blue by Amy Harmon…my new favorite book. It’s the 3rd book I’ve read by this talented author, and it was phenomenal. This is a riveting story of redemption, and one I will definitely read again. I loved it that much. The characters became my friends, and after I finished, I emailed Amy and begged for a chance to interview her. Amy is more gracious and wonderful than I imagined. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better today.
Tell us a little about yourself, Amy.
I’ve been married for 19 years and I’m a mom of four – two boys, two girls, ranging from eighteen to three. I love to sing and sang with the Saints Unified Voices gospel choir for many years before I moved to Utah in 2010. I taught school before my youngest was born, and I love history and English, which is how it was so easy to write the classroom scenes in A Different Blue.
What candy bar would be your motto for life?
I guess it would depend on what period of my life. There were the years with babies when my life was literally the MILKY WAY – too much information? I thought so. Maybe SNICKERS – because even when life is really rough, I have always managed to find a way to laugh. Ask my kids, I’m an absolute dork.
Ha ha! The Milky Way. That’s great. What’s your favorite book character you identify with?
In my own books, definitely Josie from Running Barefoot. That book is set in the town where I grew up, and I feel a real affinity to her. She expresses a lot of the emotions and thoughts I had growing up. As far as fictional characters from other literature, I most closely identify myself with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. That book is still my favorite to this day. I love Anne, and understood her as if she were my very best friend.
Anne is the best! I loved her vivid imagination. What got you started on your writing journey?
My love of books, my love of the written word, my belief that I had the ability to write books as good or better than the books I was reading. I don’t say that with ego. I just knew I could do it. Then my oldest son got very sick a couple of years ago, and I really felt like I had to find a way to help my family financially. So I pulled out Running Barefoot, the book I’d written years before, shined it up, and put it out there, along with Slow Dance in Purgatory, the first book in my YA duo.
What is the inspiration behind Blue’s character? And Wilson’s?
I’ve had a lot of people ask if Blue is based off of someone I know. She’s not. I honestly don’t know where my characters come from. I guess, in some ways, they are different versions of me, because I create them. Blue is unlike anyone I know, yet as I wrote about her I was able to relate with her. I think most women will be able to relate to Blue on some level. And Wilson? Wilson is my dream man. Loves music, loves words and history, and speaks with an English accent. *smile* And I really needed Wilson to be unlike any other boy/man Blue has ever known. It was his individuality, his specialness, that demanded her attention and helped her want to change.
I love the Indian lore you weave into your stories. Do you have close ties to Native Americans or have you learned all that from research only?
I have a very beloved friend who served a Mormon mission on the Navajo Indian reservation. I also have Native friends who have expressed the struggle between culture and tradition, and finding their way in the world today. These people put a very human face on the struggles of Native Americans today, but I had to do LOTS of research to write both Running Barefoot and A Different Blue. I don’t know why I am so fascinated by Native legends and people, but I obviously am.
Your musical background comes out in your stories…like this one by Blue:
“I leaned my heavy head against my knees, letting the strings Wilson played untie the knots in my soul and release me, even for a moment, from the burdens I dragged along like clanking cans and filthy chains.”
Tell us about your musical talents.
I am a music lover, first and foremost. I really fell in love with classical music as I wrote Running Barefoot. It was as if I was listening for the first time. I have always been a singer, and I don’t play any instruments well, but I have surrounded myself with music all my life. All four of my books have music woven into them in some form or other. Music can be a very powerful influence – and it has been for me and the characters in my books.
What is your favorite scene in each of your books?
I am a romantic. I love kissing scenes. I know…I’m such a girly girl. They are the hardest scenes to write well, walking the fine line between too much information, but enough so that my readers, who are predominantly mature women, feel like they got the emotional punch that they long for in a good love story. But my most favorite scenes with Wilson and Blue were the scenes in the hospital – and my favorite scenes with Josie and Samuel were the scenes on the bus. The Purgatory books were such fun to write with the time travel and the 1950s scenes, I honestly can’t pick a favorite in those books.
A Different Blue is set in Boulder City, Nevada, close to where I used to live. Why did you pick this town?
I lived in Henderson for 10 years as well so I knew the area well enough to write about it. I needed the big city (Vegas) juxtaposed with the small town (Boulder City), to make Blue’s story work. She needed a place for her art to explode onto the scene, and Jimmy needed the vastness of the West to get lost in.
What do you have in the works for the future?
I am working on a new adult contemporary romance called Making Faces that will be out in September. I am just getting into the thick of it right now. Getting a book underway is always the hardest part for me.
Good luck, Amy. Your books are serious treasures! You have a gift.
(I’ve included links to find more info on Amy and her books. She’s doing a giveaway, so click on that link for a chance to win one of her books)