Name: Amy Queau
Contacts/social media sites:
Link to Amazon page:
Where did you grow up?
Actually, I grew up in the same house I live in today! In a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, my husband and I bought my parent's home in 2007.
What school did you go to?
I attended Apple Valley Senior High and went on to Minneapolis Business College for graphic design in 1996. Oh dear. Yeah, that makes me old.
When did you start writing?
Oh boy, well, let's just say that if my English teachers in high school knew that I wrote a novel, they would be floored. I failed some English courses in school and almost didn't graduate because of it! After the birth of my daughter in 2012, I wrote the first draft of Progress within six weeks. Sure, I had dabbled in journalling and (really horrible) poetry as a teenager, but I never dreamed of writing a novel.
What made you start writing?
Something in me just snapped. I guess some women get post-pardum depression after the birth of a child. I got an itch to write! And write. And write.
Is it something that you have always wanted to do?
I had tried once before. I was in a very complex friendship with a man, and I had so many thoughts racing through my head; trying to figure him out, what made him tick, why I was so attracted to him, whether or not he had feelings for me, why I wasted so much time analysing etc. I tried to sit down and write about it, but I don't think I got more than twenty pages in before I stopped. That was twelve years ago. I hadn't gotten the urge to write again until last year.
What is your favourite genre to read, and do you have any favourite books or authors you would like to recommend?
This is going to sound crazy... but I don't read. I mean, I can read, obviously, but it's not something I've invested much time in. I can tell you that two years ago, I had to see what the whole Twilight fuss was about. Many of my friends had been talking about the series, but I ignored them because I wasn't a reader. After I finally read it, I started thinking that I had previously shut out this whole other world from my life and that I had been missing out on something huge! Why hadn't anyone told me how enjoyable reading was? So I started hoarding books. All the classics, the best-sellers, all of them. But, time was my problem. I was a stay at home mom to a very sick one-year-old boy and newly pregnant. Those damn classics are still sitting in a stack on my end table, untouched and unread.
What about to write?
When I finished the second draft of Progress, I started publishing the chapters to a blog and getting feedback from friends and family. I sought out the advice from a (rather pompous) published author via social media and his response to reading my first chapter was this: "There's a very engaging narrative there, let's hope that you find the editing that it needs, and deserves." He then went onto further advice saying, "[Romance novels] are written to produce a singular effect in the reader, just as (if you will forgive the jarring comparison) porn films are crafted to produce, mostly in men, a singular response." My gut reaction to this was that he was a horrible man! That's not why I am writing my novel! I just want to tell this story! It's a great story! How dare he keep it so cold and psychological! Shame on you for thinking that all I want to do is illicit a response! But, after taking a day or two to calm down, I suppose, he was right. And, I suppose I love to write about love. Simply because it illicit's that response in me, too.
Do you write full time?
I don't think any stay at home mom does anything full-time. Our days are filled with hundreds of little part-time jobs put in sequence of priority. My husband gives me Sundays to myself and he takes care of the kids. So on Sundays, I am a full-time writer!
Do you ever base your characters on anyone that you know, or are they solely form your imagination?
Progress is loosely based on a true story. So yes, the majority of the characters in the book exist in reality.
About Your Book
Your latest book is Progress, tell us all about the story/plot.
Essentially, the story is about two characters who work together at a restaurant. When Charlene sees Jesse for the first time there is an obvious attraction, however he seems indifferent. Tired of being ridiculed for her weight throughout her school years, Charlene does not trust people easily. But she is intrigued by Jesse, who seemingly has no remorse or empathy for women.
Together, their friendship uncovers truths about their pasts, secrets that had been hidden, and emotional and physical trauma that had left them trusting no one. Their journeys take them down parallel paths that leave them just as emotionally unmatched as the day they met. Only through knowing each other do they regain a sense of hope for their futures.
Progress is for the reader who enjoys intrigue, romantic suspense, a bit of psychology and unpredictable endings.
What gave you the idea for Progress?
Actually, an album. I was cleaning out the basement and I came across Rx Bandits 2001 album titled: Progress. They were a SKA punk band that I used to listen to a while back. I popped it in the CD player upstairs and a flood of images, emotion and words came crashing into me. I remembered the time in my life I was listening to it, the restaurant I worked at, and all the people I had forgotten existed. They were all standing there in front of me, frozen in their twenty-something forms. Like ghosts, lined up in my living room. I saw Jesse and Angie. Karalee and Marco. And Charlie.
Who is your favourite character?
There is no possible way to pick a favourite I love Charlie because of her bursts of courage and her emotional growth in the story. I love Jesse because of his passion and angst. I really love Marco, but he has a small part in the series. I could write a whole book on him.
You recently self-published. What made you decide to go down this route instead of the traditional way?
I am friends with an author who has traditionally published short stories. He has been helping me with Progress here and there, and giving me great advice on the publishing process. But, the more I really thought about it, I concluded that self-publishing was likely going to be the route to take. I have no intentions of being a full-time writer. I just don't have the time with my kids. Traditional publishing enters you into a contract, where you have deadlines and rules. Which, two years ago, would've fit me perfectly, but now, I am a completely different person. I need to have a flexible schedule and reasonable expectations of myself.
What are your hopes for Progress?
It really is a great story, I only hope I've done it justice. The best possible outcome for Progress would be to have the audience read it and gain a respect for those suffering from mental illnesses and to not judge or assume. I can only hope that Progress doesn't add to the stigma of what the media already portrays as "crazy."
It isn't about the money, and it certainly isn't about any sort of fame. I just want to reach as many people as I can with this story, because I've always wanted to tell it.
What’s the next project that you’re working on?
Well now, it wouldn't be a series without a second... and perhaps a third, would it? Ha! The next book in the series is called Interrupted. There is a sneak peak at the end of both the ebook and paperback version of Progress on Amazon.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given in regards to your writing?
One word. "Possibilities." Whenever I get stuck on something, I remember that I can take it anywhere. It can go to the moon. It can fly through mountains or sink to the bottom of the ocean. Just because I have an idea that seems right at the time, it doesn't need to stay confined there. Everything and anything is possible when you are writing fiction.
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