Amy Andrews is a Baltimore-born, Decatur GA-transplanted, fierce feminist singer-songwriter. She is about to embark on a Feminist Bookstore Tour of North America to raise funds for the few indie feminist bookstores and community centers still in operation. She wants you to know about her many furry friends, and her encyclopedic knowledge of musicals, but MOSTLY about the Kickstarter campaign she just launched to get herself on the road to do good.
My companion animals (names and personality traits):
Lillian A. Cookie – “Lillian A. for ‘Angelic’ Cookie”
Freckles – “The Loveable Curmudgeon”
Hazel(le) – “The Maniac”
Lexi – “The Skittish Hedonist”
Louise – “The Big Ol’ Baby”
Magnolia – “The Misunderstood Misanthrope”
Ripley – “The Senior Stateswoman”
Tommy Boy – life on the road is just one adventure after another.
Obviously, my favorite musical of all time is:
As a kid I would sing “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” Mary Magdalene’s piece from JCS, “Aldonza” from Man of La Mancha, or “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard for auditions. Auditions for kid roles. Totally age inappropriate audition material, but it was what I felt most natural performing. I think I’ve always been a bit on the mature side. And intense.
And with that I say, favorite musical? Maybe a tie between RAGTIME, TITANIC, & GYPSY? I could also throw in The Last 5 Years, Songs for A New World, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mame, Chicago, Cabaret, Evita, …
Bucket list item that would surprise my friends:
I don’t think I have a bucket list item that would surprise anyone, and I can’t really think of anything that would.
I’m an introvert, but I’m a performer (I think that’s a lot more common than people imagine), so I suspect people would assume that I have a desire to do something wild or ostentatious, but… I would just love to travel the world, live in many places, experience different cultures, but… probably just spend a lot of time alone in beautiful, natural landscapes.
Well, I would also love to sing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy alongside Bette Midler, but I don’t think that would surprise anyone either. I grew up with a, well documented, desire to become Bette Midler.
Here’s another, and maybe I’ve never said it aloud: I would love to host SNL. (Gosh, I hope Lorne Michaels is reading this.)
My favorite road trip so far in my life:
The last one always seems the greatest, doesn’t it?
Well, nothing exotic here, but, I recently went on a drive just through north GA for the day – passing small-town churches, withering buildings, seemingly long-forgotten cemeteries. Stopping at roadside antique shops, leisurely taking in historical markers, dropping in a small diner tucked away just off the road, taking an impromptu hike through the woods. It was unexpected, and beautiful.
My biggest fan:
The aforementioned Lillian A. Cookie, and my mom, of course.
My most favorite veg food or restaurant:
Seriously, people. I’m in deep. I’ve written 33,595 words in 18 days. I have 12 more days to reach 50,000 words and call myself a winner. It is an amazing experience, and I’d even say it, life-changing. I am writing every morning around 5am before my kid wakes up, before making breakfast, before starting my ‘real’ job. I’m losing myself in a story and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve never done any creative writing in my life. Give it a try. Lose your inhibitions. Then mark your calendars for November 2012 to sign up for NaNoWriMo next year. You know you have a story to tell!
Click on the poster to the right —–> and buy yourself some inspiration, or just donate to the National Novel Writing Month cause. Help sponsor the Young Writers Program for kids and teens. It’s a “month-long creative experience that improves self-esteem, teaches perseverance, and radically alters their relationships with writing and literature.” Who is not down with that?
Okay, so maybe not that long. But this is really happening. I’m supposed to write a novel in November. 30 days. 50,000 words. Non-stop literary abandon. Quantity over quality. It’s not enough that I have a full-time job, a kid to raise, a blog to blog and every other thing. Why not? November is a slow month, right? And there’s that day off after Thanksgiving. Wish me luck. But don’t worry, I have a few things to post, AND for the next week, I’ll be moving my site over to a self-hosted one finally, so there’ll be some new features to look forward to, in addition to my novel and all.
Then I guess I’ll be seeing you this weekend. On my breaks from The Great Blog Upgrade Experiment, I will be taking it all in at the country’s largest independent book festival: the AJC/Decatur Book Festival here in Decatur, GA! It’s going to be a great time for everybody. There’s Bookzilla, the giant inflatable monster. There’s the children’s stage with Skippyjon Jones and Pete the Cat. There are famous writers of all types. There are really exciting storytellers from The Wren’s Nest. There’s music and food and popsicles and hot sun and everyone you know. I experienced the children’s stage today, and there’s nothing more exciting than watching an illustrator as talented and important as Eric Wight effortlessly create a cartoon drawing in front of you while kids offer content suggestions and play stump the artist. So don’t waste your time at some predictable backyard barbeque. Don’t waste your time looking for some ironically cool thing to do, and just come dork out with your friends, the readers and writers of the world. I know the rest of you will be at Dragon*Con (in Atlanta GA) this weekend and that’s just a whole different kind of cool nerdy crazy.
Illustration CREDIT: Wren’s Nest House Museum
Amanda Kyle Williams is a break-out star with a thrilling story to tell. Her new novel, The Stranger You Seek, debuts August 30th at the Decatur Book Festival. This not-for-the-faint-of-heart crime thriller is set during a steamy Southern summer and is full of believable, interesting characters living in the Atlanta that I know and love. Don’t be fooled by the setting, this is not a sleepy Southern novel. It is terrifying and creepy, and often very funny. At times it will even make you hungry. Williams’ love of the South shows throughout the book as she takes the reader on ridealongs with lead character/former FBI profiler Keye Street. Williams’ skill at capturing particular time and place means you can almost feel the midsummer heat hitting your face from the passenger seat of Street’s ’69 convertible as she cruises Atlanta’s streets looking for the killer. Advance praise is pouring forth, and she is already at work on her second novel in the series.
I was excited to interview Williams because her personal story is as fascinating as any of her characters’. According to her bio, she has contributed to short story collections, worked as a freelance writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, worked as a house painter, a property manager, a sales rep, a commercial embroiderer, a courier, a VP of manufacturing at a North Georgia textile mill, and owned Latch Key Pets, a pet sitting and dog walking business. She also worked with a PI firm in Atlanta on surveillance operations, and became a court-appointed process server. You will see a bit of all of these in her novel’s character developments. Williams signed on with the South’s oldest and largest feminist bookstore Charis Books as her signed bookdealer. So when you order from her website, you are doing good in more ways than one. She graciously allowed me an advanced read of her novel and then answered my very random blogger questions.
THE ART OF THE THRILL
BB: I freely admit to being brand new to reading crime thrillers. I’m at once horrified and fascinated at the human mind and how a perfectly nice individual such as yourself could dream up the most lurid and macabre scenes, not to mention the unexpected plot twists, that you have. One theory is that, if you write about crime, you can control it, and that creates less fear for the writer. Does this resonate with you at all? What drew you to this genre?
AKW: I’m fascinated with all things crime. Not just crime and criminals, but the people who spend their lives fighting it and dealing with the terrible repercussions of violence on family and community. Cops, field agents, profilers, the techies that are constantly working to make criminal databases more effective, medical examiners, grief counselors, forensic scientists from all disciplines. What makes these exceptionally dedicated people tick? What’s a day in the life? How do they handle the pressure and the darkness? My protagonist Keye Street, as you know, is a former FBI behavioral analyst. What drives my books are the needs that drive her. I’ve tried to educate myself about what her process might be. I’ve made contacts in law enforcement and forensics. I’ve ended up with some great consultants that inform my writing.
And I have an interest in the violent serial offender, too. Let’s face it, most criminals are not masterminds. They’re just thugs and opportunists. But someone smart enough to evade law enforcement efforts for years, like the Green River Killer or the Long Island Killer who is out there hunting right now, someone utterly egocentric who sees victims as fill-in-the-blank objects, now that interests me. What I mean by fill in the blank is, whatever his fantasy or desire, he’s just inserting a victim. He’s completely detached from their suffering. It’s about him, his need. Writers take a lot of criticism for writing books about serial offenders—rapists or murderers. But thrillers and mysteries keep selling. Cop shows and CSI type shows continue to have good ratings. I don’t think anyone wants to glorify these monsters, but we have a natural curiosity about that kind of psychopathy. I think we want to know what it’s like to look through the cold eyes of a killer from a safe distance. I do. I want to know what fantasy he’s acting out, what fuels it. I learned something really valuable when I was taking criminal profiling courses to prepare for this series. Homicide isn’t always the motive. It’s merely the result of behaviors manifested at the scene. That’s what draws me to the genre—a desire to understand those behaviors. I don’t know that it gives me a sense of control. I’m as fearful as anyone else of violent crime. That’s why we love crime fighters. They fight back. They protect us. Read the rest of this entry »
Back when my lady and I were courting each other long distance and trying to impress each other with our wit and vast knowledge of all things wonderful and interesting and hilarious, I thought I would be clever by emailing her my top ten professions I would look for in a woman. Needless to say, her’s was my number 1. But somewhere in the top 3 was librarian. Yeah, pretty much. I love books and I have since I was a wee one, sweating it out on the front porch swing of my granny’s house with a Hardy Boys book and a glass of watery iced tea. How lucky am I, then, to live in a village that hosts that biggest independent book festival in the country? The Decatur Book Festival is a weekend of and for book nerds and their families where one can meet interesting new authors, hear storytelling at its best or coolly observe random authors who you are not sure why they are there but upon closer inspection discover they might have something interesting to say. Because my burg also has the absolute coolest independent children’s bookstore you never want to leave, you can even watch your kid’s latest favorite book come to life on stage with the author/illustrator doing illustrations on a big easel.
Which brings me to my point. Two books I look forward to this year hit the shelves that weekend, and the authors will be on hand at the festival. The first is a new local writer, Amanda Kyle Williams, whose thriller The Stranger You Seek, follows a female protagonist solving crime on the streets of Atlanta. Any novel with a “brash, flawed and brilliant” Southern heroine in the lead has me hooked already. The other is a tale of adventure with stunning illustrations presented by the keynote speakers this year. They are the wife and husband team Carson Ellis and Colin Meloy. She is the illustrator of album covers and books such as The Mysterious Benedict Society. He is a singer for The Decemberists. Together they collaborated on the book Wildwood. I saw this interview of them and had to share this glimpse into her illustrations, their collaboration, and an obviously caring partnership. Don’t be put off by thinking you’ve accidentally linked to an episode of Portlandia. Their story makes me want to read their story and Ellis’s illustrations make me want to live inside this book.