Today we have the privilege of interviewing author Amy Grech! We had the honor of publishing her short story, “Fresh Finch” in our first issue earlier this summer, which you can read HERE!
Amy is an accomplished writer and has sold over 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including: A New York State of Fright, Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Dead Harvest, Deadman’s Tome Campfire Tales Book Two, Expiration Date, Fright Mare, Needle Magazine, Real American Horror, Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine, Space and Time Magazine, Tales from The Lake Vol. 3, and many others. New Pulp Press published her book of noir stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City. She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. Amy currently resides in Brooklyn. To learn more about Amy, visit her website and follow Amy on Twitter at @amy_grech!
1. What made you start writing? Were there any particular books/events/people that inspired you to start writing?
I grew up reading Stephen King’s novels—I got hooked at the age of 13 when an Aunt gave me a copy of Cujo! I’ve been reading Stephen King’s books ever since. I started writing seriously in high school. I studied English/Creative Writing at Ithaca College in Update New York. I started selling my stories to small press magazines while I was still in school—14850 Magazine was my first.
Early on, rejections didn’t discourage me, especially since I started getting personal responses from editors early on; their encouragement motivated me find my unique voice and hone my craft, creating complex characters capable of anything.
I think my muse has been my biggest inspiration! I wrote my first novel, The Art of Deception, way back in the year 2000. The book takes place in NYC at the World Trade Center Twin Towers, where the main character, a ruthless Stockbroker named Russell Silverburg works. After the towers fell, it became a historical novel…
In my collection of crime stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City, New York City is the backdrop for virtually every story, save for second novella, “Hoi Polloi Cannoli”, which is set in the near future and has a dystopian feel. It showcases a strategic struggle between the haves and the have-nots. I wrote it a couple of years after the Great Recession that claimed many victims, including me. My cushy corporate job as a Web Content Manager laid me off, but I’d been freelancing on the side the whole time, so I guess the joke was on them! I’ve been a full-time Freelancer for nine years and counting!
The lead novella, “Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City”, features a gritty Alphabet City of yesteryear, where buildings were covered with garish graffiti, crime dominated the streets and young lives were snuffed out with reckless abandon. A devious Eye Doctor sets his sights on the wrong girl and murderous mayhem ensues when her older sister lures him back to her apartment, where their father his father is waiting to deliver his own harsh brand of redemption.
Most of the action in “.38 Special”, transpires in a garage and involves a snub-nosed revolver, a lively few rounds of Russian roulette, a cuckolded husband, his best friend, and a most unexpected outcome. I wrote this story after I watched The Deer Hunter and was licking my wounds after breaking up with my first serious college boyfriend.
“Cold Comfort” is set in NYC’s posh Upper East Side and Central Park, a soothing pocket of calm in a whirlwind of chaos. It’s a tragic tale about love and betrayal; the end has surprise twist…
“Prevention” is set in Hell’s Kitchen, another section of NYC with a rich history of violence, where murderous, identical twins help their dear mother into and out of trouble. One of my good friends used to live in Hell’s Kitchen, so I became well-acquainted with all of its dark secrets…
2. What is your writing process? Is it a set process or more fluid?
I try to set aside a few hours to write a few nights out of the week and also weekends. Not an easy feat—in addition to being a published Crime/Horror Author, I’m also a full-time Freelance Digital Content Strategist and there are times when writing takes a back seat to client projects, especially if I’ve got a tight deadline.
I always carry a little, red notebook with me, so I can jot down story ideas anywhere! I always listen to music when I’m writing—it helps me get into the Zone—that magical place where ideas flow freely! The process is fairly fluid—I write first drafts in a stream of consciousness style—then a few days later I’ll go through and edit typos and check for consistency. I don’t outline per se, but I find keeping notes useful when working on novellas—it helps me keep track of multiple plot lines, etc.
3. What is the deciding factor on whether or not to pursue a project?
For me the deciding factor is twofold: Am I interested in learning more about the characters? What drives them? Also: Does the plot unfold seamlessly, with a plot twist or two? If the answer is yes, I go where my muse takes me; on the other hand, if I can’t come up with at least an inkling of workable ideas, I’ll scrap the project and pursue something else!
Thank you for the interview, Amy! I especially enjoyed learning about your background. A lot of newer writers let rejections discourage them, but one thing Amy’s journey shows is that rejections are no indication of the quality of writing. As long as you keep at it, you’ll be successful in the end!