Chatting with…Amy Bartol


When an author has a new book coming out, I’m always curious as to what inspired them for the story, so I jumped on Amy’s blog tour wagon and invited her to tell us more about Incendiary ♥

AB: In 2007, my best friend, Molly, had sent me a book for my birthday.  It was entitled:  I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak.  The book is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey.  Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.  After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, was funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric.  It read like you could step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, see what he is seeing.  In short, it was amazing.  But, there was a message at the end of the story that struck me as if it was written just for me.  It says, quote: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of.

At the time, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a “writer;” I only knew that I wanted to see if I could produce a story worth reading.  I know it sounds counterintuitive because you’d think that it would be a logical conclusion that I wrote a book so I could be a writer, but for me, it was more like I became a writer because I had to write a book—I had to tell a story.  I didn’t have“be a writer” aspirations, maybe I did when I was younger, but when I began writing Inescapable there was no real fantasy of becoming an author. Inescapable just began as an experiment to see if I could write a book—I wanted to see if I was capable of writing a story and then LIKING what I wrote.

Incendiary Book CoverThe inspiration to write about angels came about while I was reading “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. I stumbled across a stanza that had the word “Seraphim” in it.  I was annoyed that I didn’t know exactly what that word meant because I’m preoccupied with words.  I googled it and found that Seraphim are angels, and not just any angels; they’re the highest rank of angels in Heaven.  Angels have ranks?  I had thought.  Really?  I did some research and discovered that a theologian in the fifth century named Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite wrote about a hierarchy of angels.  The angels from my stories are loosely based on Pseudo-Dionysius’ writings, but I took a lot of poetic license in my writing.

It took me several more months to work out that I could do it, that I could write.  I kept saying to Tom (my husband), “I should write a book, don’t you think?  Do you think I should write a book?  What if I wrote a book?”  Finally, Tom gave me his MacBook and said, “Here, write a book!” Translation: Sheesh, woman, stop bugging me! * (But in a cute, sweet way.)

He never got that laptop back.

I named the first file: Here We Go.  I began to write with the thought that it was just for me and that I would never show it to anyone—it was just an experiment to see if I could do it.  That mindset gave me the freedom to write anything I wanted.  Everything I wanted.  I was under no obligation to censor it in any way because, hey, I was the only one who would ever read it, right?

It was ON.

Soon after I started writing, I began to hear the characters I created.  Literally. They would wake me up in the middle of the night—talking.  (I know it’s weird, but really, really cool, too.  BTW, Russell talks the most and is always the funniest.)  I call whatever it is that happens “catching the stream” because once I began to hear the characters speak, it was like I was floating easily down a river.  I just had to type what they (the characters) said.  They sometimes took me places I never expected the story would go.  It was literally like I was watching a movie in my mind and I just needed to describe it in words so that it made sense on paper.

Then, in about four months, I finished it. (The rough draft, that is.)

A strange daring happened to me after that:  I let the story escape from my computer and into the dreams of others…and now I can’t stop writing. I can’t wait to tell you what happens next…

amybartol*** You can catch Amy on her blog, she also tweets**

About Anne Michaud

Author of Dark Tendency View all posts by Anne Michaud

5 responses to “Chatting with…Amy Bartol

  • adamsydney

    Aweseome and inspiring interview!

  • Naarah Scheffler

    Wow… I always wonder what’s the story behind the book I’m reading and this one is fantastic. Thank you friend Molly for giving Amy that book and thank you Tom for giving her the Mac. Because of this you have given so many people a story that plays over and over in their mind. Thanks Amy and thank you Anne for the insite.

  • annie

    Wow! Amy you have no idea how encouraging that was! Thank you Anne for asking the questions! You have an incredible gift. I still want to know how you came up with Brennus and his amazing accent that has me talking in an Irish brogue all day! You nail it…and your consistent!

  • Marianne Su

    I love Amy’s enthusiasm for her work and craft. Great interview!

  • Michelle

    I thank you Amy for writing these wonderful books! I found myself addicted to the characters and it was like watching a movie for me as I read their stories.
    I have the books on my kindle but I want the real book as well.

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