Become a Writer Today

Why Writers Shouldn't Have to Stick to One Genre with Amy Isaman

September 23, 2021 Bryan Collins Season 2
Become a Writer Today
Why Writers Shouldn't Have to Stick to One Genre with Amy Isaman
Show Notes Transcript

Recently I caught up with podcaster, blogger, and author Amy Isaman.

Amy taught creative writing for years until she finally answered her calling and wrote her first book in her 40's.  

She's written both mystery books and historical fiction, and she believes that writers should try writing in different genres. After all, readers don't confine themselves to one genre.

She puts a case forward for writers to flex their creative muscles and pick a genre they've not written in before, whether that's a thriller, mysteries, or science fiction.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Turning your first book into a series
  • Outlining your writing in advance 
  • Amy explains her editing process
  • Using beta readers
  • Starting a blog

Resources: 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/becomeawritertoday)

Amy: I write for myself, like I am my own best audience. So, I write to figure out what I think, I write to figure out — to know what I think, I write to find my voice, I write to share different ideas, to reflect on things, to teach, it’s a teaching platform. So, for me, it’s just fun. It’s a way to just share ideas and, yeah, I don’t know, how do you keep going? How do you not go?

Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan: Should you write in one genre or try on many different genres?

Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast. Many aspiring authors wonder what genre should they write in. That’s a question I certainly asked myself when I was starting out. Before I started blogging, before I started writing online, I said to myself, “I’m gonna write literary Irish fiction,” and I spent a year or two writing short stories, which is something I’ve talked about before on the podcast.

Didn’t make a lot of progress with the short stories so I decided to take on writing a thriller book. There was just one problem, I didn’t spend much time writing thriller books or mystery books and, suffice to say, I didn’t make any progress with that either. It was only when I went to a workshop in County Kerry hosted by Robert McKee, he’s the author of the popular book, Story, which I really recommend you check out whatever you write, and I asked him how should I know what I want to write and he told me, “Bryan, go back and look at your library, your book library. Write what you love to read.” So when I went back and looked at my book library, I found a collection of different genres.

I found business books, I found self-help books, I found books about the writing process, and I also found short stories. Since then, I’ve tried writing across genres. I’ve written instructional books about the craft of writing; I’ve written some self-help, The Power of Creativity; and I’ve also written business books. More recently, I’ve written a memoir about my experiences as a young dad when my first son was born unexpectedly when I was 24 years of age.

Now, recently, I was talking to somebody who helps people grow their podcast and I was telling him about my new memoir, and he said, “But, Bryan, that’s completely outside of your niche. How is that going to help you grow Become a Writer Today?” 

I was a bit perplexed because he did have a point, but, sometimes, you gotta write something because it’s something you want to do and not necessarily because, you know, it’s a cold business project or something that’s going to help you get more book sales or serve the market and that’s why I wrote a memoir book about parenting. So, what I would say to you is, if you’re working in one particular genre that you feel comfortable with, and, for me, it was blogging and copywriting and content marketing, sometimes, it’s okay to try a different genre because it’ll get you excited about the craft again and that’s certainly what my parenting book did for me. It will also give you an opportunity to try different forms of storytelling, and, who knows? It could give you an opportunity to find new readers. 

Now, not all of those readers will carry over from one genre to the next but, who knows? You could find a new audience and a new format that suits you and your creative work. In other words, if you work a little bit on something to get you fired up every day and you work on something that will help you pay the bills every day, then you can earn a living as a writer.

Now, one person I caught up recently who’s doing just that is Amy Isaman. She’s a podcaster, a blogger, and the author of mystery books and historical fiction. My key takeaway from this interview with Amy is that readers don’t confine themselves to one genre. I know when I look at my Kindle library, I’ve got science fiction, I’ve got business books, self-help, books about the craft, and, chances are, if you look in your Kindle library or on your bookshelf, you’ll find many different genres too. 

So, there’s a case for trying on different genres because readers don’t just say to themselves, “I only read thrillers,” or, “I only read mysteries,” or, “I only read science fiction.” Now, Amy’s also a fellow podcaster and she invited me on to her podcast, Dear Creativity…Let’s Write, and I’ll put the link in the show notes if you’re interested in hearing my approach on how writers can increase their word count and accomplish more on the blank page.

If you enjoy this week’s interview with Amy, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or share the show on Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening because your reviews, your ratings really do help more people find the show, which is one of my key goals for the podcast to help and serve new writers. 

And if you really like the show, you can become a Patreon supporter. For just a couple of dollars a month, I’ll give you discounts on my writing courses, software, and books. If you wanna get in touch or you just want to let me know what you’re up to or you’ve got feedback about the show or even suggestions for future guests, I’m on Twitter, it’s @bryanjcollins. I’d love to hear from you and what you’re up to.

Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Amy Isaman.

Bryan: So, I was on your show a few weeks ago. You were asking me all about how I got into writing so I guess now it’s my turn. Maybe you can introduce yourself to listeners and how you got into writing many different genres.

Amy: Yeah, hi, I’m Amy Isaman, and I’m an author, like Bryan said. I think like many authors grew up sort of with this dream to be a writer, I wanted to be a writer as a kid, I wrote stories and then I got older and that dream vanished, you know? I let it go and became an English teacher instead and taught for years, taught creative writing, and, finally, in my early 40s, it was time, like I finally had time. 

Actually, I didn’t have time, I was working full time and I had two teenagers at home but it was time for me to answer that calling to write and so I started a blog because I knew that the thing that had stopped me from writing for so long was fear and I’d taken creative writing classes and gotten what was probably perfectly great feedback but didn’t have the confidence as a, you know, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old to handle it and so I decided that, “Oh, I’m not meant to be a writer,” so I started a blog and started blogging —

Bryan: That was back in 2011?

Amy: Yeah, that was, yeah, 10 years ago, started blogging and then started my first novel and went from there.

Bryan: How did blogging help you write a novel?

Amy: Blogging helped me — I’m not sure that it helped me write my novel so much as it helped me find my voice and it helped me get the confidence to share my writing, to understand and learn how to write in different genres. 

A blog, it’s very different from like the academic writing that I had been teaching and doing my entire career and it gave me the confidence to learn different ways of writing, to learn how to communicate, to learn that I had a voice and I had something to share and I also blogged a lot about my writing process, about the creative process which helped me really reflect on who I was as a writer, which was helpful.

Bryan: At what point did you decide to get into podcasting and coaching as well?

Amy: The podcast — I’d wanted to do a podcast for a few years and — but I didn’t know really what I wanted to do it on and focus on so I actually started it as — it was — it’s Dear Creativity…Let’s Write, but when I started, it was Dear Creativity…Let’s Play and I just wanted to talk to people about their creative process and creativity and how you dive into that and I have since narrowed it down to writers because that’s pretty much who I work with is writers and authors and people who want to explore their creativity through the written word. And it’s been super fun. 

It’s been fun to connect with people, to talk to authors, to talk to writers, to talk to creatives, and people who are just heeding that creative call. So, that’s how I got into the podcasting. I’m a talker, I like talking, I like meeting people so it’s been really fun. And I can’t remember your first question now that you asked it.

Bryan: That was the question, no, you’ve answered it. You’ve answered it. So, did you decide to write a series when you wrote the first Tricia Seaver book?

Amy: No. Neither of my books, all of my books have started as standalones and then they’ve ended up into series. The Trisha Seaver one, I wrote as a, yeah, that was just kind of a standalone mystery, potentially with a sequel, but then I liked the character, I had a ton of fun writing it. I
 
love reading mysteries and thrillers, action adventures and it was super fun to write and growing up, like Nancy Drew, I still have all my Nancy Drew books, I still have, you know, those mysteries and it’s what I like to read. So, that was fun to write and, once I finished it, I was like, “Yeah, I like this character so let’s just keep going.” So, it’s not really a series where there’s a whole kind of narrative arc across the series. It’s more like Nancy Drew, like Nancy Drew grew up where she’s a woman and she has sort of different adventures and mysteries and same character, same life that she’s living but not necessarily one whole giant story that’s like five books and one story, if that makes sense.

Bryan: You described how it took quite a while to write your first book. By the time you wrote the third and fourth book, did you find you were able to write first drafts quicker?

Amy: No, I’m a slow writer. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to interview you is because you’ve published your books on productivity and writing faster and, actually, this year, that’s been one of my goals, like, okay, how can I research this and maybe become a faster writer and what are the tools out there to write a little bit faster? 

You know, I plan things out and, once I sit down and I’m on a roll, I can write but, you know, 1,500 to 2,000 words is about my max in a day and I can do that maybe two, three to four days a week and then I need to take some time off. It’s, you know, not massive time, but a day or two off. I find that, you know, people who write every single day for, you know, four hours a day and they write 5,000 words a day every day or whatever it is, I admire them. I haven’t been able to, as a writer, emulate that. 

I definitely have a regular writing practice and I, you know, I tend to write very first thing in the morning, that’s when I’m most productive and my ideas flow but, yeah, I am not a speedy, speedy writer by any stretch of the imagination.

Bryan: Well, 1,500 to 2,000 words a day for four or five days a week, that’s over 10,000 words a week. Still quite a lot.

Amy: Yeah, well, that’s a great week for me. I probably average closer to like 5,000 to 8,000 words a week. 10,000 words a week is a stellar week for me.

Bryan: Do you outline your writing in advance or sit down and see what happens?

Amy: I outline my writing in advance. I sort of plot. I know the — when I start writing, I don’t often know like the climax but I’ll know like some big moments that are coming. You know, I know the beginning and I know some big moments toward the end when I start and then, before each writing session, I pretty — I’ll plot out like the next couple chapters, the next couple scenes and work on those and then I’ll, once I finished those, then I’ll tackle the next sort of set of action, what’s coming, kind of a big idea, a big overview and then, right before I write, I tend to drill down a little more closely, like, okay, what’s gonna happen in the scene? What does this character want? 

Those kinds of things. You know, what’s the setting? And then I write, always, though, 100 percent of the time, you know, characters do things that I wasn’t expecting and then you have to listen to the character and, you know, and it’ll change and then I have to go back and, okay, now, what’s gonna happen now because I wasn’t expecting, you know, the character to do that or say that or this character to come in or whatever it is. So, it’s a melding of the creative process. I think there’s some planning but then there’s also some, okay, let’s dive in and see where this goes.

Bryan: When you sit down in the morning to write your words for the day, are you doing that in Word or Scrivener?

Amy: Scrivener, 100 percent Scrivener. I love Scrivener. I’ve had it for, gosh, I think I probably bought it like, yeah, in 2012. I mean, forever. I’ve always used it. I use it to organize everything. I use it to organize my podcast episodes, my blog posts, social media, novels, everything.

Bryan: That’s impressive. Yeah, it’s quite a powerful tool. I’ve used it for several books in the past. Do you use like a three-act structure for your books in Scrivener or do you have some other approach?

Amy: I use, yes, I do use a three-act structure. I look at the three-act structure, I like the Save the Cat! which is way more drill down like the beat sheet, which I think is helpful. I don’t always exactly follow it but I think just really drilling down, you know, some specific beats that I want to happen. I use that. I use the hero’s journey. I think there’s a lot of sort of, you know, good storytelling fiction kind of templates that are very, very helpful for writers in terms of structuring their story so that it works. 

I mean, there’s a reason that, you know, the hero’s journey has existed forever because that’s how we tell stories, that’s how humans relate to story. And so, there are pieces there that certainly work and, as a writer, I think it’s important to, you know, note that and use it.

Bryan: What does your editing process look like?

Amy: My editing process, I do edit, actually, as I write a little bit. I sort of layer my writing so like the first draft, the first scene or the first time I write a chapter, it’s just, you know, kind of spewed out. At the beginning of every writing session, I go back and read what I wrote during the previous session and sort of add another layer to it. Like a lot of my dialogue, I won’t have any tags other than “he said, she said” so I’ll go back and add action tags, I’ll go back and add, you know, more layers, I’ll go add more description and that’s sort of how — that’s sort of my warmup into what I’m going to write that day.
 
So, I always sort of add a layer, write a little more, you know, write my new words, and then go back and I’m always sort of layering and then sometimes I’ll go back and read a little more like the next writing session so by the time I edit, well, okay, so I do that a couple times then it goes to my critique partner. I have a writing partner, we’ve gotten together every week, every other week for, gosh, eight years. Julian Archer, she’s a romance writer. So we trade pages, trade chapters, and then we’ll get together. I’m usually at a coffee shop but now, you know, COVID, on Zoom —

Bryan: Yeah.

Amy: — and we review pages and comment and sometimes I go back and apply her comments and thoughts immediately, if they’re important to the structure of the book and what’s coming. Other times, I will leave those ’til later and then just do a big edit at the end and so, once I finish, then I set it aside, then I go back and I have all these notes of like, you know, plotlines I need to take care of, you know, different stuff and then I’ll go back and go through all of her notes and edit and then it goes to an editor.

Bryan: Have you worked with the same editor on all of your books or do you find a new one each time?

Amy: You know, my very, very first editor on my first novel, I hired her, because it was my first novel and actually, through her, I got my — I was agented. I was actually originally agented. My agent didn’t sell that novel and I had signed over, you know, once you have an agent and they sign a book, they have the book for like two years and —

Bryan: Wow.

Amy: Yeah.

Bryan: That’s a long time —

Amy: It was a long time and I wanted my book back and, you know, after a while, I was like, okay, yeah, it just didn’t sell, which was fine. So when I got it back, I decided to go the self-publishing route because I didn’t like the — it was just slow, but that editor was phenomenal but she is no longer editing. I am super sad that she’s no longer editing, but so I had used the same editor for the Trisha Seaver books and then, this last one, I also — I have had some beta readers and a proofreader and still stuff gets through, which is frustrating but —

Bryan: Yeah, yeah. When you’re sending your book to your beta readers, is there anything in particular you ask them to look out for?

Amy: Well, my beta reader is like my sister and she always finds stuff. I have a couple that are good friends. I’ve never put it out at large to, you know, the world at large. I need beta readers. I pretty much give them to — my beta readers are trusted good friends who will find, you know, I pretty much ask for like plot holes, things that I dropped, inconsistencies, things that are confusing, if they, you know, like in the mysteries, if they figured it out, if there were some hints that were too obvious, if the solution was totally a surprise out of left field so those kinds of things, more major plot things and then like my sister also catches — she’s actually an excellent proofreader as well, she’ll catch a lot.

Bryan: Yeah, it’s helpful to give it to somebody with a good eye for typos and other mistakes. Your covers look really good for the Trisha Seaver series. Where did you get them?

Amy: I got those, actually, a designer that I found on Instagram and I love them. I wanted illustrated covers and I know, you know, they say, “Oh, you should have like, you know, your cover should really match your genre,” and, in mysteries, every cover is like somebody’s back going down a dark alley or something and I just didn’t — I didn’t like that and In the Cards is about tarot cards, some ancient tarot cards that are actually in reality really missing from an original tarot deck and she comes across them and it’s sort of an adventure finding the rest of those cards and so I wanted it to kinda look like a card and the designer did actually a really good job with that. 

And then it ended up being a series, but I think she did a great job. Sara Oliver Designs did that. She’s on Instagram. She does really great work.

Bryan: Yeah, they’re impressive. You also work a lot with other writers. Would you be able to describe how you help them?

Amy: Yeah, I do. I work with — I’m a writing and book coach so my career, right? You know, I taught English at the high school and college level for my entire career and so I’ve always worked with writers and have had different side hustles on, you know, helping people write stories and different things and I think it’s so important for people to share their stories, whether they’re fiction or memoir, and heed that creative calling. 

So, I work with clients, couple different phases. Some people I just work with writing, like one client is, you know, working on her blog and she sends me blog posts and, you know, working on writing. She’s never been a writer, she didn’t see herself being a writer, and she started writing and loves it so we’re working on that and just kinda helping build that confidence. And other clients where it’s a book, it’s like the idea sessions and we, you know, set up the framework and the chapters and do the more planning, like so many people say, “I have a book idea, I just don’t know where to start,” so we find that starting spot and organize it and, you know, how does — it’s the planning piece, right? So, A happens, how do you get to point B, you know, like in a memoir or a novel, and then I also help with the writing process. So, clients will, as they’re writing their books, send me pages weekly or every other week, every few weeks, and then I’ll go through them and then we’ll get together and discuss them and figure out their plan for what’s coming next.

Bryan: Are there any particular strategies or techniques that you use with your clients to help them start their book?

Amy: A lot of that is kind of mindset stuff and it’s not necessary — so the starting is, well, there’s two pieces. So, it’s mindset stuff, like when are you going to write? Where are you going to write? Put it on your calendar. What’s this gonna look like? How, you know, are you gonna write by hand? Are you gonna write in your computer? Are you going to — like, so kind of figuring out those pieces, like actually sitting down and doing the writing, what does that look like for somebody? What does their writing practice look like? And then also giving them the place to start. Okay, in chapter one, this will happen or let’s just start writing down all the different ideas. 

Okay, now, come back with the ideas. Now, how do all the different ideas fit together? What’s the order that all these different ideas go into? Because not everybody writes sort of chronologically, especially with memoir. They’re sort of writing different ideas and different sections come to them and they’ll write those and then we kind of put the puzzle together. But, if you think about it as a puzzle, you know how you do like the edges first, like you have to do the edges and then you can fit all the middle in? So we figure out the edges, like the writing practice, sort of the big structure of it, and then we can kind of fit in the middle depending on how they work best.

Bryan: And do you find your clients like to free write or do they like to outline or is it a variation?

Amy: It’s really a variation of both of them, I think, especially if they’re writing memoir or even nonfiction, where there’s not necessarily — the narrative arc is there but there’s different memories or there’s different ideas, there’s different elements and they can be put together in different ways. When you’re writing a novel, it tends to be more drafting it. I think free writing is the step kind of before that for idea generation. What do I think? What do I know about this topic? What do I wanna say about this topic? Who is this character? And then fitting that into a more structured piece.

Bryan: You’ve also created some programs for your clients and students as well. How do they work or how do you help them through your workshops?

Amy: You know, I’ve taught — I taught quite a few workshops, well, a handful of workshops. I just do sort of shorter workshops. Like I taught one in April on details and developing details and I taught one for the Story Circle Network, which is a big women writers organization on blogging because I think blogging, again, is so key to helping women find their voices and really stepping into and owning themselves as a writer and gaining that competence to share their writing. So, I just offer occasional workshops. Right now, I’m not — I don’t have any on the books, nothing coming up. I’m really just focusing on my one-on-one clients at this point.

Bryan: Yeah, sometimes, it’s good to maybe just pick a single thing to work on and you can always go back to those other projects later. So, you’ve been blogging pretty consistently since 2011. A lot of people just give up or, you know, they move on to something else. What would you say to somebody who’s thinking of starting a blog? How can they keep going like for that length of time?

Amy: I think — I tell my clients and also myself, like I write for myself, like I am my own best audience. So, I write to figure out what I think, I write to figure out to know what I think, I write to find my voice, I write to share different ideas, to reflect on things, to teach, it’s a teaching platform. So, for me, it’s just fun. It’s a way to just share ideas and, yeah, I don’t know, how do you keep going? How do you not go? Like, as a writer, like it’s kind of my lifeline. It’s like I journal but that’s sort of a space for me to kind of play with words and publish and if somebody reads it and they find it helpful, awesome, and if nobody does, awesome. Like I’m my audience there. It’s not necessarily — my blog is not necessarily something that I’m, you know, wanting to monetize and be super helpful. It’s my writing playground. And so, when I approach it that way, it hasn’t ever been a problem to continue.

Bryan: Do you send your articles to your readers or do you publish it and just wait and see what happens and get feedback that way?

Amy: No, I have a newsletter that I send out and share, you know, what’s new on the blog or what’s new. I’ve actually been spending time this winter going back and updating a lot of those old blog posts. I have a ton on there that I wrote for — I had a website for teen writers that I ran when I was still teaching high school and I had a, you know, creative writing class and a creative writing club and I wanted to expand that and I had this kind of, actually, I had like a couple hundred kids on there at point and so a lot of the blog posts I wrote, like the how to write blog posts, were from that blog that I moved over to —

Bryan: Yeah.

Amy: — my Amy Isaman site and so I have a lot of like how to write posts and I still have a lot that are in draft mode but I’ve been kinda going back from that site and revising and updating links and fixing and kind of combining them. So, that’s been kind of fun just to go back to and look at like, oh, I didn’t remember that I wrote this.

Bryan: Yeah, I did something similar. Around December of last year, I went back and overhauled a lot of old articles. Is it too late for somebody to start a blog today if they’re an author or wants to become an author?

Amy: Absolutely not. I mean, I think the idea of too late is, “Oh, there’s — it’s already been said, it’s out there,” but, again, if you approach it like, “This is my writing playground. This is where I explore writing. This is where I explore my creativity. This is where I figure out what I wanna say in a public way,” absolutely not. It’s fun and it’s a great way to begin to publish and begin to share that you are a writer, to share your words, to find readers, and to gain the confidence, which I think for many women especially is a struggle, you know, that fear of judgment, that fear of, “Oh, I’m not good enough.” Just start putting it out there and you realize fairly quickly that people are pretty awesome and pretty supportive.

Bryan: What if somebody is struggling with creative resistance? That’s something you’ve written about recently on your site.

Amy: You know, creative resistance — actually, yeah, I wrote about that yesterday. I posted a little blog as I was just thinking about it because I was struggling with it, like I knew words are hard some days. Just getting out new words —

Bryan: It can be, yeah.

Amy: — feel hard and so I pulled off a bunch of books on my shelf and they’re all — all of the books written by men had more, like battling creative resistance, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, they’re all these very like kind of violent, like you have to battle this. And then I pulled off, you know, Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg who have a much more gentle approach, to just sink into it, like what is the purpose of this resistance? Well, if resistance, like all the, you know, the other ones say, it’s fear, right? It’s fear that you’re not good enough. Well, what is that fear for? 

What’s the purpose of it? Why is it trying to protect you and can you step into that and then explore that and then start writing? So, I think creative resistance, when I feel it, like that little blog post that I wrote on creative resistance actually was sort of my opener into writing a chapter, like why am I feeling this? What is this? What do people have to say about it? So, for me, like doing a little research, writing a little non-fiction piece, a little blog post, allows me to work through it and get past it. I think things like free writing, which you talk a lot about in your book, can be super helpful. Just sitting down and, you know, writing by hand in your journal or even, you know, typing.

Bryan: Yeah, I found free writing was really helpful after I learned about it from Natalie Goldberg and some other practitioners. Do you free write in a journal as well?

Amy: I do. I free write by hand. You know, I think, you know — Julia Cameron calls ’em morning pages. Yeah, just writing whatever comes down. I don’t necessarily use prompts. I just sort of write myself a letter, like, “Dear Amy,” blah, blah, blah, whatever, and I just start writing, like, “Dear Soul,” “Dear Wisdom, “Dear whatever,” and I’ll just start writing and see—

Bryan: Whatever works. Are there any books that have inspired you as a writer? You mentioned Writing Down the Bones, which is excellent, I listened to the audio version of that. Are there any other ones?

Amy: As a writer, I think Julia Cameron’s work is great, which is all about kind of breaking through creative blocks and becoming, you know, it’s The Artist’s Way but it’s any creative work, whether you’re, you know, writing, painting, whatever you wanna doing, cooking, just stepping into —

Bryan: Podcasting?

Amy: Podcasting, exactly. Any kind of anything creative. I love her work and, actually, I did a workshop where we went through The Artist’s Way last year. It was super fun. It was pretty enlightening for some of the women in it. Inspiring books. 

Bryan: What did they teach you at the workshop?

Amy: Oh, I taught the workshop. We did —

Bryan: Oh, you taught the workshop?

Amy: I took a group of women, we did an Artist’s Way — it was a 13-week program to go through The Artist’s Way together.

Bryan: Oh, wow. Could you describe some of the lessons or techniques that you taught at the workshop?

Amy: Well, we went through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, so that was sort of the text and she has all kinds of exercises and, you know, morning pages and artist dates and artist dates were a bit of a challenge because of — it was spring of last year so like it started in April so we were locked down so that got — you had to be creative to come up under quarantine to go —

Bryan: Online artist dates.

Amy: Yeah, but it was great. The morning pages, really a lot of — which is free writing, three pages every morning, and one of the women, older, like 70s, started drawing for the first time in like 30, 40 years. I mean, just really cool stuff and, actually, and she’s still been sharing her sketches and drawings online, which has been really fun. 

Bryan: That’s fantastic. 

Amy: Yeah. We even picked up paint brushes, they started writing, they started — it was really, really cool too and it was just a container, like a supportive container space to say, “Okay, I’m a creative and I’m gonna do this thing and it feels really scary but I’m gonna do this thing anyway.”

Bryan: Yeah, sometimes being around other people who are writing or engaging in creative work can help a lot. What are you working on at the moment?

Amy: I am actually working on a sequel to The Overlander’s Daughter called The Fiddler’s Son and that is a dual timeline novel. It is not a mystery. I genre jump, which I know they say, “Don’t do that, focus on one thing,” but I don’t want to so I don’t. So, it is a dual timeline novel with a timeline in the 1850s and then a contemporary timeline as well and they are connected. The first one was connected through a quilt that had been passed down by generations and then, this one, I’m not gonna give it away but there’s a connection between the — and it’s the same characters in both the contemporary and the historical timelines in this book as well.

Bryan: Yeah, I agree with you with the genre-hopping. Somebody said that to me not to do that and I decided to do it. Do you find that readers did follow you from one of your other books when you cross-genre?

Amy: They totally have followed me. They totally have followed me, yeah, and, you know, a good story is a good story and I think, you know, people think, “Well, don’t genre jump,” but I read romance, I read fantasy, I read mysteries and thrillers, I read suspense, I read all kinds of things. I mean, I can see the benefit of sticking with one genre if you’re building up a really devoted readership but if you don’t want to, don’t. Write what you’re called to write.

Bryan: Yeah. Readers genre hop all the time so why should it be different —

Amy: All the time. All the time and I can think of many very well-known, successful authors who have done it.

Bryan: So, Amy, where can people find more information about you or read your books? 

Amy: They can find me at my website, amyisaman.com and I’m on Instagram, @amyisamancreative, and my books are on Amazon.

Bryan: Thanks, Amy.

Amy: Thank you so much, Bryan. This has been fun.

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