A few months ago, friend and fellow blogger Miss Print and I went to the Teen Author Festival Mega Signing at Books of Wonder in NYC. There, it was our chance to meet some fave authors and some that would soon become our fave authors.
It was there that I first picked up The Reece Malcolm List. It was there that I met author Amy Spalding (and decided right then and there that she was awesome! and that her book would be too!).
I had planned on reading The Reece Malcolm List early on, but do to other responsibilities and life it was (temporarily) put on the back burner. Until now. Obviously, if you follow/read this blog you know from my review just how much I adored this book. So much so that I just had to reach out to Amy Spalding to see if she’d answer some questions.
Luckily, she said yes!
BookBandit (BB): Can you tell me about yourself, and about your journey as a writer?
Amy Spalding (AS): Ever since I was little (seven or eight) I’ve wanted to be a writer. I loved reading, but even more I liked daydreaming and the “what ifs” of wondering what characters would do or how certain kinds of people would interact or why certain situations brought out drama and change. I worked at writing all the time, but it wasn’t until about five years ago when I really got serious about it and began working toward publication as a goal. That led to finishing a real project and finding my agent.
BB: What was the inspiration behind your debut, The Reece Malcolm List?
AS: I’ve always loved long-lost family stories so I wrote one of my own. The musical theatre element ended up there because I wanted to give Devan something she was gifted at that had nothing to do with either of her parents, that was just her own.
BB: I have to ask this: what is your favorite musical(s), and why?
AS: Merrily We Roll Along is one of my favorites for how hard it looks at friendship and career and art and commerce. I love Evita because Eva’s a great anti-hero and the music’s all really ballsy. I love Hedwig & the Angry Inch because the story is original and yet extraordinarily relateable. I love Chess for all its flaws because I could ponder Florence and Anatoly and Freddie nonstop (and have). I love Hairspray because the fat girl wins. I love Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for the tight tight pants.
BB: There are so many great moments in The Reece Malcolm List. Which parts were easiest to write? And which were the most difficult?
AS: Thank you! The easiest part was actually the ending, starting with the first of the big fights. I love writing fights, and they flow really easily for me. In general if I have even the vaguest sense of where a story’s going, endings are easy for me, and it’s fun and satisfying tying things up.
The most difficult parts to write were all the early moment in Devan’s relationship with her mother. I tend to write really loquacious characters (probably because I myself never shut up) so it was a struggle figuring out how to deal with two characters who were bad at talking to each other. Reece in particular was a hard character for me to take from my brain to the page until I figured out some tricks for writing her more clearly.
BB: If you were to create a musical playlist to describe Devan’s relationships with her mother Reece, with Sai, with Travis, what songs would be on there?
AS: I think any song Devan would relate to would be something big and belty and earnest, no matter who she was struggling with in her life. There’s probably lots of “Nobody’s Side” from Chess and while she wouldn’t want to admit it, “On My Own” from Les Miserables.
I created a playlist of the songs/musicals mentioned in the book, which you can find here: http://theamyspalding.com/books/the-reece-malcolm-list/the-reece-malcolm-playlist/
BB: If you could choose one character, which would you say you identify most with?
AS: I definitely couldn’t choose only one! There’s some of me in every single character in the book. It’s one of the best parts about being a writer; I can play with a lot of aspects of my personality and yet not feel like a crazy person.
BB: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
AS: My second book Ink Is Thicker than Water comes out December 3! It’s about sisters and college boys and tattoos. My third book Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) will be out in Spring 2015, and it’s a romantic comedy about bands and boys and friendship.
BB: If the Reece Malcolm List were to be made into a Broadway musical, who would you want to see cast as Devan? As Reece? As Brad? As Sai?
AS: In general I want readers to make up their own mind about how my characters look, but I will say if Arthur Darvill wasn’t Brad I’d be pretty sad.
BB: What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
AS: Write what you love! Ignore trends (unless someone hires you to write one)! Find critique partners you trust, but don’t be afraid to have your own opinions! Don’t worry if sometimes you hate writing! Don’t assume if someone successful does things differently that you’re doing it wrong! Find inspiration wherever it strikes you! Remember that if you want to be published and make money doing this that it’s not just art, it’s a business! Don’t be ashamed to want to make money! Have stuff in your life besides books and writing! Don’t be ashamed if you never quit your dayjob! Know when to back away from your computer and pet a puppy or hold a baby or eat a muffin or have a whiskey or drink a latte!
Guys, didn’t I tell you she was awesome!
Amy Spalding, THANK YOU for taking the time to answer a few questions for this blog! You’re awesome and so is your book!
For more information about Amy and any of her books, please check her out online!