Interview & Contest: Amy Durham

Jen: Please help use welcome Amy Durham to our Saturday YA Spotlight at Romancing the Book.  Amy, will you share a short bio with us? Where can you be found online?

Amy: I discovered my love of writing in the sixth grade. What began as a love of writing poetry soon turned into stories scribbled into my school notebooks. In the eighth grade, my English teacher told me I was good at it and encouraged me to continue to put pen to paper. At that moment, the die was cast, and writing would forever be a part of my life.

As an adult, I focus my efforts on writing Young Adult Fiction… adventure, romance, and life-lessons… woven together as imagination and escape for young readers. I firmly believe that books are not only entertaining, but have the ability to transform young lives. A book can educate. A book can teach compassion and kindness. A book can spark interest. A book can be a companion. Simply put, books can accompany and guide young readers as they try to navigate their way through the twisted, confusing roads of adolescence.

I live in Kentucky, where I’m a middle school teacher. My husband and I are raising three wild, intelligent, and creative boys, which gives me plenty of fodder for the love and adventure she enjoys putting in her stories!

I can be found online at the following places:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyDurham
Twitter: @Amy_Durham
Blog: http://amy-durham.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/amy_durham

Jen: Please tell us about Once Again.

Amy: Once Again is a reincarnation story that follows two teenagers as they find true love amid the mystery and danger they encounter surrounding their reincarnation. Here’s the official “blurb”.

Reincarnation sucks! Unless it comes with a cute guy. That’s what sixteen year-old Layla Bradford discovers when she moves to Sky Cove, Maine, a small-town she thought was ordinary, but turns out to be an episode of “Cold Case” on steroids.

Layla doesn’t want to fit in; she wants to blend in and stay out of the spotlight. But the spotlight is where she winds up when she catches the eye of school cross-country star and all-around-nice-guy Lucas Ellis. She quickly learns there’s more at stake than high school reputations when she and Lucas discover they are the reincarnations of a young married couple from the mid-1800s who suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a madman who was never brought to justice. After a series of frightening visions show Layla and Lucas glimpses of their past-lives, they realize that the villain of their previous existence has also been reincarnated, in the form of a fellow high school student who targets them with teenage pranks that soon turn dangerous. As they grow closer, will Layla and Lucas be able to uncover the truth in time to stop the same tragedy from unfolding once again?

Jen: What is it about YA books that appeal to you?

Amy: I love that YA has such a cross-over appeal. I can read a great YA book and recommend it to my teenage son, or to my students at school (I teach middle school). I love that I can have a conversation with my son or with my students about a book we’ve all read. I love that YA fiction inspires and encourages young readers. And I love that YA books can allow young-at-hearts (like me!) the chance to revisit the exuberance, excitement, and yes, even the heartbreak, of our youth.

Jen: Do you have any “must-haves” while writing?

Amy: Just the laptop and a hefty dose of inspiration! I write anywhere and everywhere, when I have time and opportunity! My favorite place to write is my front porch, and since Spring has arrived and the weather is warming up, I imagine there will be a LOT of front porch time in the near future!

Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?

Amy: My 8th grade English teacher, Jayne Squires, to whom Once Again is dedicated, has always been the most important influence on me as a writer. When she discovered I loved to put words together in poetry and stories, she fostered and nurtured that ability in me. Everywhere else in school, that creativity was not given a place to shine through, but she made a place for it… and for me. Her belief in me is what gave me belief in myself.

Jen: If Once Again was made into a movie, who do you see in the starring roles?

Amy: I always picture Lucas as Logan Lerman, who played Percy Jackson in “The Lightning Thief”. And I think that Emma Roberts, who played Nancy Drew, is a lovely representation of the way I see Layla in my mind.

Jen: What’s up next for you?

Amy: I’m working on the sequel to Once Again, titled Once and For All. It follows two characters you meet in Once Again, as they encounter their own reincarnation mystery, as well as an ancient curse that has never been broken. I also have plans for a short story in the same series. As if that doesn’t keep me busy enough, I’m also writing “Dusk”, the first book in a series called “The Messengers”. Messengers are a bit like angels, but not exactly the same. You’ll just have to wait and see!

Jen: Do you have anything that you’d like to ask our readers?

Amy: There is such a vast amount of Young Adult reading material out there! I’d love to know what types of YA are needed. What do readers look for that they aren’t finding? Or maybe what they’d like to see more of. Readers are the ones who drive the book market, so knowing what they’re looking for is very important!

Contest details:

  • The prize is the winners choice of a $10 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
  • The contest is open to everyone over the age of 13 who can claim the gift card.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, April 1.

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