Author: Amy Neftzger
Book Genre: Fiction/ Fantasy
Publisher: Fields of Gold Publishing (Imprint: Fog Ink)
Release Date: 10/07/2014
Like most large career moves, this one happened by accident. Karen spent a lot of time planning what she was going to do with her life, but Fate had other plans for her, as she often does for most of us. Karen just happened to rob the wrong grave.
As a single mother who's struggling to make ends meet, Karen stumbles into the worst job on earth: transporting souls into the afterlife. To make matters worse, she is contractually bound to continue the job indefinitely, and her difficult employer is none other than Fate. It doesn t take long for Karen to learn that Fate may be fashionable, but she's also heartless.
Karen studied the coffin she had just uncovered. The lid, once a shiny lacquered surface, was now partially decayed and fell apart as Karen pried it off. Bits of wood turned to dust on her hands as she worked diligently to make an opening. Her arms were tired from digging and the fatigue made it more difficult to be gentle with the rotting wood. She paused to shake her arms vigorously and relax the tension in her muscles and upper body. As she breathed in the chilly night air, she could smell her own sweat mixed with the fragrance of the rich earth and decaying wood. She took a few more deep breaths and turned back to the task of opening the grave. She worked patiently to handle the lid with care and managed to remove a large chunk that was nearly a third of the entire lid. Through the hole she had made she saw the top half of a well-dressed skeleton.
The grave was on the edge of the cemetery, in a neglected corner that looked as if it could be part of the adjoining land. The gravestone had fallen over years ago and weathered so much that it looked like an ordinary limestone rock. A few days earlier when Karen recognized that it was actually a grave, she decided to rob it. She was hoping that no one had gotten to it before her.
This particular plot was an older grave from a time when individuals placed ancient coins over the eye sockets of the corpse, although the coins weren't ancient when they were buried. Most of these graves had already been robbed, but due to the location and lack of distinct marking or some other mystical reason, this one had gone unnoticed by robbers until now. It was almost as if the grave had been hidden until the right person came along. Karen wasn't the typical grave robber, and perhaps the corpse found this attractive. Regardless of how the grave had remained unspoiled for so many years, Karen was the one who finally opened the casket and plucked up the coins. It was at that moment that Fate appeared.
Keep reading as much as possible and write every day. Writing is an excellent exercise in organizing your thoughts, so whether or not you ever publish it’s still an activity that can benefit you regardless of your occupation.
When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since I was very young. I remember filling notebooks with poetry when I was still in the second and third grade. I’m sure my handwriting was atrocious. Actually, it still is, so there’s nothing new there.
What made you decide to publish your first book?
That was a long time ago, so I’m not sure I can answer this accurately. I had been writing for a while and had gotten some recognition for shorter works and decided to publish a collection of short stories.
What motivates you to write?
I get ideas all the time from different sources. I have more ideas than time to develop them. Writing is a natural process and just part of life.
Do you ever feel frustrated with your work?
Almost never, but I have so may projects going on at once that I can change what I’m working on if I feel like I need a break from a piece.
What makes you keep writing when you get frustrated?
Changing topics. Sometimes I switch from nonfiction to fiction. Changing the subject matter is like getting fresh air.
How do you get over writer's block?
Because I work on multiple projects at once and can switch between them, writer’s block has not been an issue for me (knock on wood). If I get tired of working on one book or piece, I can change over to another. So, I’d recommend for other writers to try writing about something completely different if they find themselves stuck. It doesn’t have to be another book. It could be a short story or essay. If you can move between fiction and nonfiction that may be particularly helpful, also.
How do you handle negative reviews of your books?
They’re going to happen, so it’s no use thinking about or dwelling on them. I don’t have time for that, anyway. The only books that don’t get negative reviews are the ones that don’t really say enough of anything to offend someone. In fact, if I see a book without any negative reviews it makes me suspicious, and I don’t want to read it because I think that the contents didn’t have a strong enough message to stir up a reaction. It doesn’t matter how good a book is or how perfectly it’s written: if the topic is interesting, then someone out there will dislike it for one reason or another. That’s normal.
There's a lot of distractions around, especially with social media, how do you block it all out and write?
I shut down the internet and email when I’m working. I get way too many messages, otherwise.
What do you enjoy, outside of writing?
Movies, art, dance, reading, museums, concerts. Just about all the arts. I am a movie junkie, though, because most movies contain stories in visual format. I think I may be a story addict.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
My grandmother met Al Capone. He gave her money for a charity fundraiser she was working on.
Have you ever had to rewrite portions of a book because the characters decided to be someone else than you intended?
This has not happened to me - at least not yet.I try to outline very well before writing, though. I think that’s prevented a number of problems.
Where do you come up with the names for your stories?
Research. Every name has a meaning and they often come from different cultures.
Did you ever think you'd be a published author?
Do you ever write characters you hate?
Absolutely. These are the most fun!
Who is your favorite character that you've written?
Picking a favorite character is like picking a favorite book or a favorite child - I like so many of them for so many different reasons. However, I am fond of Roland the Red. He is Death who manifests as a fox (filled with cunning and stealth).
What was your first published book? How do you feel about it now?
Conversations with the Moon. I’m happy with it. It was picked up by another publisher outside the US and there was a lot of interest in it.
Where did you get the idea for your books?
Life. There are ideas all around us.
Were there any scenes in it that were difficult for you to write?
I can’t say that any scenes were difficult, but I don’t really enjoy writing endings. Ending a story means saying goodbye to characters who have become my friends.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?
Fantasy. I think there’s magic in everyday life that we ignore and fantasy brings that out.
Is there a type of genre you refuse to write?
I make it policy never to say never about writing anything because I really don’t know what the future holds.
Do you prefer your books in print or e-book format?
I read both. I prefer print for reading in the bathtub, but if I can’t sleep at night I enjoy eBooks so that I don’t have to turn on the light and wake up Mr. Amy when I’m reading.
What are you currently reading?
The Circle by David Eggars.
What is your favorite book?
I have lots of favorites. It feels wrong to me to pick just one. I love the entire Harry Potter series and most everything written by Neil Gaiman.
Who is your favorite author?
It can depend upon my mood. Some of my favorites are Leo Tolstoy, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, Neil Gaiman, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Haruki Murikami.
Humor me, because this is my favorite (mythical) animal: Would you ever consider putting a platypire in one of your books?
I would consider putting any mythical creature in a book. After all, I have a pet gargoyle!