About the author: Irish author Amy Lynch writes humorous romantic fiction, but not always with fairy tale endings! She has been working in the charity sector for twelve years, is married and is the mother of two young children. When Amy is not writing, she can be found juggling school lunches and two Shetland pony-sized rescue dogs. Now, how’s that for multi-tasking? Amy is published by Harper Collins UK. Her debut ‘Bride without a groom’ is available on kindle or paperback.
Rebecca is a challenging character – what was your motivation when developing her? As a child, I loved challenging, dramatic characters, and found them great fun to act out. There was always a spoilt, bossy Barbie doll in my games. I may have been exposed to excess daytime TV such as Dallas and Knotts Landing, it could explain a lot!
I found Rebecca, the main character, fun to develop. She’s a woman on a mission, and this meant that there were many comedic possibilities! Although Rebecca is demanding, there is also a softer side to her. She adores animals and is a good friend. It was important to me that the reader really understands that she genuinely loves Barry, and vice versa.
Rebecca has such a strong personality and a very loud voice – writing her stories comes easily to me. She whispers funny ideas at midnight when I’m falling asleep, and I jot them down with a pen and pad on my bedside locker, because she won’t simmer down until I do. In between laundry piles, school runs and a full day in the office, I find time for writing before collapsing into bed. Sometimes I wonder if Rebecca lives inside my brain, dictating the manuscript to me, and I am just her exhausted typist. To me, it is as if she is a real person.
What was your journey to publication? It was a tough journey – I’m sure that this is something that all writers can relate to. I am quite a determined person, so I was really persistent.
Writing comes easily to me, and is something I enjoy. It is something I find time for in a busy working-mum day. As the old phrase goes, “find a job you love, and you’ll never work again.” For me that job is writing, and although it takes up a lot of my time, it doesn’t feel like work.
Somewhere along the way, writing turned from a hobby to a passion. It’s something I do every day, even if it’s only half an hour between making the children’s school lunch and watching Eastenders. I love it! Sometimes, I feel that if I don’t get a funny line or a clever idea down on paper, I’ll forget it. This explains the notebooks lying about the house, in my purse, bedside locker, and glove-box of my car!
The first step in the journey was to join a creative writing class – this was to build up confidence in sharing my work and to learn from constructive criticism. Then, I wrote short stories for magazines to build up my exposure. I knew that I’d stand a far greater chance at getting my novels published if I secured a literary agent, so I persisted until finally one said that he would take a chance on me! We then self-published ‘Bride Without A Groom’ to build up reviews and show the publishers that we meant business! Months later, I signed a book deal with Harper Collins – it’s the most exciting time of my life.
I think we’re always a little curious as to what a writer’s process is. How would you describe a typical writing session, particularly with family and other work demands? I started writing at school, when a teacher really encouraged me. She once gave me a fancy notebook and said “You have a lot to say, Amy, you should write it down.” Then again, I was a chatterbox and she might have been telling me to be quiet. This teacher would ask me to stand in front of the class and read my short stories aloud. When the class laughed at the funny bits, I got a real kick from that.
I’ve taken several creative writing courses in the evenings, it’s a great way to develop skills and build confidence in yourself as a writer. Being able to share your work is often frightening, as many writers are their own worst critic. After a couple of years attending writing classes, I sent a few short stories off to various magazines. Seeing my name in print was a thrill, and quite addictive. Mum and I bought copies of the magazines and showed them to everyone!
I give myself four months to thrash out a first draft, and then four months to edit. The plot and chapter plan comes first – these are the bones which are later fleshed out.
My schedule is quite strict – writing every single day is important. Flex that creative muscle as often as you can, and it will become second nature. For me, eight o’clock in the evening is writing time. The kids are asleep and the house is quiet. My husband is very supportive. If I’m trying to finish a chapter on the weekend, he’ll sometimes take the kids off to the playground, and come back an hour later to find a more relaxed me! That’s why the dedication reads: “To Eoin. Sorry about all the burnt dinners, darling. As you can see, I’ve been a little busy…”
I’m a big believer that digital technology and the internet is a massive opportunity for writers. Do you agree? Do you use social media and digital in your own writing career? Digital marketing is so important, and I’ve learned that being an author is not just about writing books! Authors are now expected to participate in the promotion of the book, using social media. I have recently started to use twitter @AmyLynchAuthor as a way to link myself to other writers, publishers, book lovers and reviewers. It’s a whole new world, and I find it a fun way to network. I have an author page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AmyLynchauthor which is a great way to keep people up to date with events. I have also set up a website www.AmyLynchauthor.com.
Who are your favourite writers? I’m a huge fan of the Irish author Claudia Carroll, who is also with Avon, Harper Collins. I reached out to her for advice, when I was trying to get a literary agent, and was getting rejections left right and centre. She really took me under her wing, even writing the blurb for ‘Bride Without a Groom’, which appears on the paperback cover. It reads ‘Fantastic! Punchy, full of energy, exactly the kind of book I’d take on holidays with me.’ I was so grateful for her help, and she was just as lovely in person when we met at her book launch recently. I also enjoy Sinead Moriarty, who also writes funny books.
What do you think about the new Irish writers coming through – are we seeing an exciting time for Irish women writers in particular? The great thing about Irish women writers is that they seem to support each other, helping new authors up the ladder and into the world of publishing. One day, I’d like to repay the favour, and coach someone who is talented but finding it tough to break in.
Ireland has so much talent to offer, especially literary talent. It’s an exciting time for readers and authors alike.
What do you read for pleasure? I just finished ‘Me and my sisters’ by Sinead Moriarty, which was a fun, light read. I picked up a signed copy of Claudia Carroll’s twelfth book ‘Meet Me In Manhattan’ at her book launch last week, and can’t wait to dive in. I mostly read when I’m in Spain – we go with the kids every summer.
Give us your top piece of advice for aspiring writers!
- Persistence pays off! Rejection is all part of the author experience, but if you really believe in yourself, and truly want to be published, don’t stop until you get a yes! Use criticism to improve, which is not easy.
- Write every single day – even if it’s only a half hour before bed. Flex that writing muscle as often as you can, and it will come naturally. Stephen King recommends writing 1,000 words a day. This might seem like hard work if, like myself, you are juggling a day job and children, but if you enjoy writing it doesn’t feel like a chore.
- Write short stories for magazines. Seeing your name in print will be addictive, add to your repertoire, and boost your confidence.
- Get an agent. This will hugely increase your chances of attracting a major publisher, as some do not accept unsolicited manuscripts! It will also help to have an agent at the negotiating stage!
If you still have no luck, but want to show off what you can do, commission an amazing book cover, self-publish on Amazon, create
Where do you live? I’m an Irish author, living in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, with my husband, two young children and two massive rescue dogs ‘Bella and Roly’. They are gentle giants and are part of the family. My eldest child is six, and my youngest is five – we call that ‘Irish Twins.’ Both children have inherited’ The Chatty Gene’ from me.
“Bride Without a Groom” by Amy Lynch
Blurb: Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake – as featured in Hello! Magazine. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two? There’s one teeny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Truth be told, he’s had enough. There’s only so much wedding talk that one man can take. Now he’s leaving for a conference in Bangkok and frankly, he’s looking forward to the peace and quiet. As the Tiger beer flows and the tie loosens, his colleague Shelley is providing more than a shoulder for him to cry on. Back in Dublin, Rebecca worries, and Operation ‘Win Back Barry’ is in full swing. But wait… who is the mysterious woman that is so keen to talk to her? And what is it that Barry needs to get off his chest?
This is it. I can feel it. Four years of waiting for Barry to pop the question. Four years of hinting. Four years of dreaming and praying and wishing. Tonight’s the night.
He has chosen the perfect evening for it. You’ve got to give the man credit where credit is due. I mean, surprising me with an engagement ring on my thirtieth birthday in Jacques restaurant? It’s elegant class. I couldn’t have scripted it better.
I spied the velvet box last week, accidentally stumbling upon it when I was innocently vacuuming under the mattress. I’d already gone through his wardrobe and chest of drawers with a feather duster and rummaged through his bedside locker with a wet cloth. OK, OK, you’ve got me. I don’t dust. I don’t vacuum. I don’t wipe sticky things clean with wet cloths. Yuk! I admit it, I was snooping. But can you blame me? The suspense was killing me.
Fumbling with the box, so close to opening it, I heard the key in the door. Rumbled! Sneaking back later, he’d moved it. Next thing you know, he’s booked a table at the most pretentious restaurant in town. All deliciously suspicious behaviour.
The night is upon us. I have taken glam to a whole new level, even shelling out for a new posh frock, a designer one. The works! My tan is flawless, not pasty, not orange, just perfectly in the middle. My lipstick and shellac nails are a deep vixen red. It’s the kind of colour that says “Yes, I’ll marry you. And I’ll rip you apart in bed later.”