Sunday, May 15, 2011

Author Interview: Amy Plum, Author of Die For Me

I thoroughly enjoyed Die For Me. It's a young adult, paranormal romance that has a fresh and new spin. It tells the tale of a new mythology: revenants, immortal entities that die over and over again. Amy Plum is an Alabama native, but she lives in France and that's where the story is set.Here's a brief description of the story...

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.                                                    

Amy has created such a lush and inviting story, I couldn't wait to speak to her and learn more about her lifestyle and her road to publication. Let's just get to that interview!

1. Tell us about your educational background. Do you have a degree in writing or have you taken courses in writing?
My undergrad degree was in Psychology. And my M.A. in art history. However, I did take a writing class at the American University of Paris when I was 23. All I can remember from it, though, is that I couldn’t think of anything to write about. At that point I felt like I hadn’t lived enough to have anything interesting to say. Things have changed since then! I have so many stories to tell and not enough time to write them all.
2. You're a southern girl living in France. How long have you lived there? Tell us of your journey to this part of the world. Are you and your children bilingual?
I lived in Paris for five years in my twenties. After that I moved to London for grad school, and then on to New York for eight years. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child that my French husband, Laurent, and I decided to move back to France. We chose a little town in the Loire Valley because that’s where Laurent’s dad lives. And we’ve been here for almost six years now!
I am far from bilingual. I understand everything (except some jokes) in French. And I can make myself understood perfectly well. But I am not one of those lucky people who picks up languages easily. Even after all of this time I find myself searching for words, especially when I’m tired or have been writing in English all day.
My kids will be bilingual, a fact that I am over the moon about. They already understand everything in English, but both prefer to speak French at the moment because that’s what they speak at preschool. My son speaks French to me, and I speak English back. And my daughter speaks to me in English.

3. What was your quest for an agent like? Tell us about it.
I found my agent after writing my still-unpublished first book, A Year in the Vines. I worked really hard at my query letter and got advice on it from friends who were writers.
After that, I went the regular route: I used Writer’s Market and the Internet (Preditors & Editors and a few other sites) to build a list of agents that might be interested in a partially-fictional expat memoir, and began sending queries one by one to my top picks.
Several sent automatic rejections back. But the seventh person I sent it to wrote back right away requesting partial manuscript, and then full manuscript, and a few days later I signed with Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich. It was truly a dream come true.

4. Writers often are told not to give up their day job, but you did. Was it an easy choice to make?
It was SO easy. Because I didn’t like my day job. I was teaching English at a French university to science students who were taking it as a requirement and didn’t give a crap. I was constantly kicking people out of class, and for me—someone who hates discipline—that was torture. I had stomachaches every morning and actually had to gear myself up to walk into the classroom.
That said, I knew when I gave up the job that they would take me back at a moment’s notice. I left on good terms, finishing out the semester, and found a replacement for myself. Therefore, it wasn’t much of a risk. English professors are hard to come by outside of Paris, and universities are desperate to find qualified people who have working papers. So if the world came crashing down and I had to stop writing and return to work, I know I would be welcomed back with open arms.

5. Die For Me is not your first book. Do you think you'll take another stab at getting your memoir published? It sounds like it would be very interesting.
I would like to revisit it after the Die For Me series is finished. I have learned so much already from the editing process that I would definitely want to rewrite extensively. But I do think it is saleable, and would love to be able to tell that story to the reading public!

6. How would you describe yourself as a writer--are you an outliner or are you more organic, writing as it comes to you? Do you aim for a specific word count each day?
Totally organic. I need to become more of an outliner, even though I feel that—in my case—organic is more honest. I like to feel like the story is already out there in the universe, and my task is to discover it, uncovering it little by little as I go along. However, this route is definitely stressful. Never knowing what’s going to happen next keeps me awake at night during first drafts. And I have recently discovered that in a series you HAVE to plan ahead. So this is yet another skill I am learning in this writing adventure.
On first drafts, I aim for 2000-3000 words a day. Second draft, I try for editing/rewriting about double that per day. I do have to set myself goals, or else I get overwhelmed.

7. What inspired DIE FOR ME? Did you have the story arc firmly in place before you began to write the story or was it more of a meandering "lets see how it goes" kind of endeavor? Did you conceive of this story as a stand-alone book or as a series from the beginning?
It was definitely “let’s see how it goes” (see previous question). I seriously didn’t know what was going to happen that day until I sat down at my keyboard. And although I wrote it with sequels in mind, I tried to make it stand-alone in case that was more desirable to publishers. Once my agent read it, she asked me if I could write more books, how many, and what might happen in the following books. And she pitched it as a potential trilogy to publishers.

8. Will you be coming to the US on a book tour? If so, do you know when?
Yes, I will! I’m a part of the Dark Days of Summer tour, and will be traveling with other authors to Chicago, Portland and Austin on June 7-8-9. On the 11th, I will be at Barnes & Noble in Newburgh, New York and a couple of hours later at the Tuxedo Park library.  You can see the plans as they develop at:

Thanks Amy! Die For Me released May 10, 2011 by Harper Teen.



  1. Of ask the bestest ever questions...awesome post!!!

  2. I think this book is stand alone. So there will be the next book after Die For Me.

    I really want to read this book. I wish I can get it someday


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