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Setting Your Novel Apart: Inside the Mind of Amy Plum

Posted by inkpopbecki on May 18, 2011

Editors are not known to be effusive with their praise for a book, but this is what Amy Plum’s editor had to say about her debut novel Die for Me when she first received it. “I got [Die for Me] on submission last November and fell in love with it immediately. I made an offer for the trilogy the day before Thanksgiving and was literally negotiating the deal while boarding a plane.” Why was this editor nearly jumping off her plane to negotiate this deal? As her editor says a uniqueness that literally and figuratively set her book apart. The setting isn’t Forks, Washington, but Paris. This isn’t vampires, werewolves, angels or zombies either it’s a deadly paranormal called revenants.

Want to hear more? Join us for a live chat tonight at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events. In the mean time we caught up with Amy to ask her a few pre-chat questions.

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Die for Me is a paranormal unlike any currently in the market. What did it take to write a paranormal that stands out from the crowd and really creates a new space for itself in a currently well tread area of the market?

I didn’t want to write about any existing paranormal creatures mainly because I felt I didn’t have anything new to add to them. So much had already been written about every monster out there that I felt I had to invent my own in order to have something new to say. I didn’t think that creating a new mythology was really that big of a deal until my editor told me how excited she was about introducing revenants to the YA world!

What inspired you to set your novel in Paris? How does location impact the story itself?

I lived in Paris for five years when I was in my twenties, and fell head over heels in love with the city. Since DIE FOR ME was my first try at fiction, I decided to follow the rule “write what you know”. And I DO know Paris!

Setting the story in a city—as compared to in the suburbs or countryside—gave my teenage protagonist a lot of independence. She could go places by herself with no problem. And the cultural activities she’s able to do in Paris (museums, cinema) go well with her personality. She’s also an ocean away from her old friends and support network, so is really stranded, which is also important for the story’s development. So—practically speaking—a faraway city was perfect. Speaking visually, what a better place to situate a gothic romance than in Paris? The city lent itself to the story.

As a debut novelist what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned publishing your first book?

Patience is one thing I’ve been forced to learn. I am such an impatient person, and every step in publishing necessarily takes a long time. I’ve taken up jogging because it’s one way to deal with the stress that waiting inflicts!

I’ve also had to learn how to work with an editor. It’s hard to take criticism when you’re a new writer. It’s hard to see things through other people’s eyes. It was so difficult for me to let go of passages that needed to be cut or completely rewritten the first time around.

Now that I’m working on the edits for Book 2 (UNTIL I DIE), I don’t feel the same way. I can look back at how my editor’s suggestions for DIE FOR ME made it SUCH a better book, and have full confidence that she knows what she’s doing for this story. That confidence is what I needed to feel okay about ripping scenes out and piecing the story back together—never an easy process.

Now that I’m working on the edits for Book 2 (UNTIL I DIE), I don’t feel the same way. I can look back at how my editor’s suggestions for DIE FOR ME made it SUCH a better book, and have full confidence that she knows what she’s doing for this story. That confidence is what I needed to feel okay about ripping scenes out and piecing the story back together—never an easy process.

Want to hear more? Join us for a live chat tonight at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events.

One Response to “Setting Your Novel Apart: Inside the Mind of Amy Plum”

  1. Mrs.D said

    Okay, is it just MY eyes or was the last paragraph written twice?!
    Anyway, I wonder what “revenants” are. I mean, what exactly are these kind of creatures and how are they different from werewolves, vamps, etc?
    Why would some scenes need to be taken out? And if they are taken out, can they be put in some other part of the novel?
    I have no idea why I’m asking the questions here but I DID miss the chat with Amy Plum. 😦

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