It is always a sincere pleasure to welcome a fellow author to Interview an Author on Jemsbooks.blog. Today, please help me welcome talented author, Amy Reade.
Thank you, Amy, for stopping by today to share a little bit about yourself and your books. I am excited to have you here! Lovely photo, Amy! The floor is yours!
Please tell us something about yourself.
I am a lawyer-turned-mystery writer from southern New Jersey. I write in the cozy, historical, and Gothic subgenres. I’ve always been an avid reader, but all the writing I did in the legal field was dry (read: Saharan) non-fiction.
I grew up reading mysteries; more than anything, I wanted to try my hand at writing one. When I heard about a writing workshop to be held at a local library, I jumped at the opportunity. A lovely woman, Annie Kelleher (who has since passed), led about a dozen aspiring writers through a three-night workshop filled with homework, reading our work aloud, critiques, encouragement, and guidance. The first night’s homework was to choose a word and to brainstorm everything we could think of that was associated with our word.
My word was “summer” and my list of word associations eventually grew into my first novel. Please note, there is almost no mention of summer in that novel—the story changed a lot in the writing and rewriting! But I knew I was onto something when I went to the library for the second night of the class and ran a red light getting there. I was so absorbed in my words and the ideas that sprang from them that I never even noticed it (luckily, I was the only one in the intersection).
I actually missed the third night because one of my kids was in the emergency room, so it turned into a two-night class for me. I am so grateful to Annie for giving me the encouragement I needed.
Jjspina: Sorry about your child having to go to the emergency room. That is scary. Happy though those two classes were just the motivation you needed to uncover your talent, Amy. Great beginning!
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
It’s funny you should ask! Not long ago an old friend sent me a piece of paper she had found while cleaning out some boxes in her attic. The paper was an assignment from middle school. She and I had interviewed each other and one of the questions we had to ask was what the interviewee wanted to be when he or she grew up. My answer: a lawyer or a writer. I had forgotten all about it. I must say, now that I’ve done both, fiction writing is my dream job.
Jjspina: That’s wonderful to reach both of your goals in life. Congratulations!
What process do you need in order to write?
I don’t really have a process, but there are a few things I need in order to write. The first is quiet. I don’t mind music, but it has to be low and there can’t be any words. And only when I write the first draft, never when I revise or edit. The second thing is something to drink. Decaf tea is my go-to. The third thing is a creature comfort—I can’t write when I’m freezing. I have a nose warmer (best Etsy purchase EVER) and I always have a sweatshirt and a blanket nearby in case I get cold.
Jjspina: Sounds quite warm and cozy to me and quite conducive to creating.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Fowl Play, Book 6 in the Juniper Junction Cozy Holiday Mystery Series. As soon as the first draft of that is done I’ll start two new projects: first, St. Patrick’s Fray, the 7th and final book in the cozy series, and second, the research process for Book 3 in my Cape May Historical Mystery Collection. That book does not have a title yet, and I doubt it will until I’m well into the writing process. My cozy titles come fairly easily, but the historical mystery titles are much harder for me.
Jjspina: All your books sound intriguing, Amy. I look forward to checking them out.
What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?
I have a lot of hobbies and I often wish I had more time for all of them. The first, and I’m sure many of your readers agree with this, is reading. I almost always have two or three books going at a time. Usually it’s two fiction and a non-fiction, in the forms of two paperback or hardcovers and an ebook, but that all varies. Right now I’m reading Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, Carry On by John Lewis, and Writing in Flow by Susan K. Perry.
I also love to cook. For me, it is the ultimate way to relax. It’s creative, it’s fun, and my family generally loves what I make. Not always, but generally. My most memorable failures were an unfortunate fish stew and a fat-free carrot cake. I know—what was I thinking?? And going hand-in-hand with cooking is cookbook-reading, which I can spend hours doing very happily.
I love quilling, too, which is the art of paper filigree. I taught myself quilling during the pandemic when it became obvious that learning Greek wasn’t going to pan out. I’ve hand made cards and a couple birthday cards that fell through the cracks.
My neighbors think I garden as a hobby, but I don’t. I wage a never-ending battle with the weeds in my yard, but in no way can it be construed as “gardening.”
Finally, I love to travel. I don’t know if it qualifies as a hobby because I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like to, but I do enjoy it and I have about a million travel itineraries in my head for someday.
Jjspina: I never heard of quiling, sounds interesting. We all need some hobbies that we can relax and enjoy aside of writing.
Please share your books with us and a synopsis of each.
I’ll be releasing my 14th mystery on April 12, 2022. I’ll tell you a little bit about that book, then point your readers toward my website if they’re interested in learning about my other books.
The book coming out in April is A Traitor Among Us, Book 2 in the Cape May Historical Mystery Collection. The collection is not a series: there are no characters or plot lines that run through the books. The only thing the books have in common is their Cape May, New Jersey, setting. Here’s the blurb for A Traitor Among Us:
The war for American independence rages just seventy miles away from the country inn and tavern owned by the Rutledge family in southern New Jersey. Tensions are running high between those who support the Continental Army and those who remain loyal to the English crown.
When Etta Rutledge stumbles upon the body of a ne’er-do-well British sympathizer on her family’s property, unsettling questions regarding her older brother, Jesse, begin to arise. What was his connection to the victim and why was he keen to keep it hidden?
Another shocking death, this time much closer to the heart of the family, draws Etta ever closer to unlocking the secrets swirling around her—secrets that someone will go to any length to protect…
Will Etta survive the discovery of the traitor in their midst?
If readers are interested in learning more or getting access to the free stuff on my website, they can visit www.amymreade.com.
Jjspina: Sounds like you’re a busy writer of some fascinating reading with many more irons in the fire.
Here are Amy Reade’s social media links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade
Cape May Historical Mystery Collection
Cape Menace: https://books2read.com/u/mv5ao6
A Traitor Among Us: https://books2read.com/u/3Ly6gw
Juniper Junction Cozy Holiday Mystery Series
The Worst Noel: https://books2read.com/u/brvGne
Dead, White, and Blue: https://books2read.com/u/bQR9Le
Be My Valencrime: https://books2read.com/u/bwvjjO
Ghouls’ Night Out: https://books2read.com/u/m2ZB86
The Malice Series (Gothic)
The House on Candlewick Lane: https://www.amazon.com/House-Candlewick-Lane-Malice-Novel-ebook/dp/B01FBZXR3K/
Murder in Thistlecross: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Thistlecross-Malice-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B071L5C6C7/
Secrets of Hallstead House: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Hallstead-House-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B00IO3QR70/
The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Peppernell-Manor-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B00OEW5SR0/
House of the Hanging Jade: https://www.amazon.com/House-Hanging-Jade-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B0138NHCMO/
Trudy’s Diary: https://books2read.com/u/3k1rMO
I have read a few of Amy’s books and enjoyed every one. I hope you will too.
Here are Amy’s books that I am showcasing today:
Here is my review of Cape Menace:
This is an intriguing historical mystery dated back to the 1700’s which kept me totally engrossed in the story. The first page was gripping with a tale of the main protagonist’s mother’s disappearance. The author kept the mystery going right up until the shocking ending.
Life during those time was demonstrated by the hardships everyone had to make in order to support their family and stay healthy without too much medical help. The main protagonist, Sarah, works with her father and mother who are apothecaries, skilled in dealing with herbs and oils that are used in healing ailments. Sarah learns to become proficient by observation and helping her parents heal the other inhabitants of their town, Cape May.
The mystery that runs through this delightful and well-written tale is what happened to Sarah’s mother? Is she dead by the prowling wolves or did she get kidnapped? Sarah tries to find out the truth with the help of a pirate who she is smitten over. He feels the same towards her but doesn’t let on right away.
This was an enjoyable story that I highly recommend.
Thank you so much for coming today, Amy. It was lovely to host you here and to learn more about you and your books. I have read some of your books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing your book with me today. Please feel free to come back again when you have more new projects to share with me and my readers.
Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read this post. I hope you will check out Amy Reade’s fascinating collection of books. Please review books to share your thoughts with other readers. That is one way to spread word of books and help other readers to choose their next reads. We authors will appreciate your efforts.
I am always happy to help my fellow authors get word out there about their books. If you are interested in being interviewed here contact me at jjspina(at)comcast(dot)net and I will send you the information you will need.
Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!
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Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina
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