I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and after attending college in Iowa, moved to Washington, D.C. to work as an antitrust paralegal. When my husband and I got married, I moved to the Minneapolis metro area and found work as a corporate paralegal. While I enjoyed reading, writing was never anything that even crossed my mind. I enjoyed reading, but writing? That’s what authors did, and I wasn’t an author.
One day while on my lunch break, I visited the neighboring Barnes & Noble and happened upon a book by author Sharon Kay Penman. I’d never heard of her before, but the book looked interesting, so I bought it. Immediately I become a rabid fan of her work.
In 2007, when Facebook was very quickly becoming “a thing”, I discovered that Ms. Penman had fan club and that she happened to interact there frequently. As a result of a casual comment she made about how writers generally don’t get detailed feedback from readers, I wrote her an embarrassingly long review of her latest book, Lionheart. As a result of that review, she asked me what would become the most life-changing question: “Have you ever thought about writing?” And The Scribe’s Daughter was born.
When I’m not writing or taxiing my two children to school or other activities, I’m likely walking Cozmo, our dog, or reading. The rest of my time is spent trying to survive the murderous intentions of Minnesota’s weather.
Like so many other authors, I never dreamed of being one; though in all honesty, the signs were always there if only I’d been paying attention. As a child, I was a consummate daydreamer. My happy place was most often found wandering my grandparents’ farm in rural Nebraska, dreaming up intricate stories in my head. Writing in school came easily to me. When I was in college, the professor of my required creative writing class continually called attention to my work as an example of what to do. Despite all of this, it never occurred to me to actually write anything. I thought knowing how to write well was no big deal. Couldn’t everyone do it? Didn’t everyone have movies running in their heads, with the only requirement for writing that you snatch those images and commit them to paper?
Fast forward into adulthood… While working as a paralegal in downtown Minneapolis, I rode the bus to and from work, an hour each way, every day, all week. Needless to say, I inhaled books. It was during these years that I discovered historical fiction novelist Sharon Kay Penman. After several years of loving her books, social media became a “thing”, and I began to actively engage in her Facebook fan club -- and through that, with Ms. Penman herself.
In 2011, Ms. Penman published her book, Lionheart, her most recent addition to her growing list of books about the Plantagenet kings and queens of England. As the result of a Facebook conversation in which she mentioned that authors rarely get detailed comments from readers about the specifics of why they love the books they read, I decided to do just that. Consequently, I wrote her an embarrassingly long review (12 pages) of Lionheart. After she recovered from her shock, we began to communicate regularly. It was Ms. Penman herself who asked me the fated question, “Have you ever thought about writing?” My favorite author became my own inspiration for writing. And thus The Scribe’s Daughter was born.
I decided to tackle writing my first book from the first person perspective. As someone who loves to daydream, and who has an inner monologue continually running in her head at any given moment in time, it seemed a natural method of writing a story. For reasons still unknown to me, I immediately imagined that scene from the Disney movie Aladdin where Aladdin has just stolen an apple and is running away from the city guards, singing the song “One Jump”:
One jump ahead of the breadline
One swing ahead of the sword
I steal only what I can't afford
I loved the idea of a feisty female heroine, so I re-imagined that scene from Aladdin, but this time with a character who would become Kassia. She intrigued me so much that I kept writing, adding one more scene, and then another. Her sarcasm and caustic wit grew on me, and I couldn’t stop writing.
Kassia’s story attempts to explore the idea that strength and resilience, self-worth or the inherent value of a person, is not determined by outward circumstance or external labels. Kassia experiences then overcomes a great deal of trouble and trauma, but in the end, she finds out that she is stronger than she knew, that she is worthy to be loved.
I have an older sister, and more than once it has struck me how two sisters can share a childhood yet come away from it with differing perspectives on that childhood. As such, I wanted to write a second book, telling Kassia’s sister’s story. Originally I wanted to explore the idea of perception solely, but as events unfolded during the writing of Irisa’s tale, my purpose became less about perspective and more about personality.
The King’s Daughter follows Irisa, the sister whose fate is left in question early on in the first book. Her internal development followed a similar path to Kassia’s but for different reasons. Over the course of her tale, Irisa finds out that the truths alluded to in the first book are not all as they seem. So here is a hint at the question of perspective that intrigued me early on. As Irisa develops as a character, she discovers her own internal strength and self-worth like her sister, but her journey comes about in a way very different from her sister. While many of life’s problems are similar for each person the world over, how a person approaches solving those problems varies greatly depending on one’s life experiences and personality. This is definitely the case for Kassia and Irisa.
My next book will be a prequel about Irisa and Kassia’s mother, diving into the background of the sisters’ stories and how they ended up in the place they did. While children certainly live lives of their own, their journey is begun by the path their parents have chosen, at least initially. The third book will explore that fascinating topic.
The Scribe’s Daughter was released in 2015, and the sequel, The King’s Daughter, is available now for pre-order.
The King's Daughter
In this gripping sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is subtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken. Irisa's parents are dead and her younger sister Kassia is away on a journey when the sisters’ mysterious customer returns, urging Irisa to leave with him before disaster strikes. Can she trust him to keep her safe? How much does he know about the fate of her father? Only a voyage across the Eastmor Ocean to the land of her ancestors will reveal the truth about her family’s disturbing past. Once there, Irisa steps into a future she has unknowingly been prepared for since childhood, but what she discovers is far more sinister than she could have ever imagined. Will she have the courage to claim her inheritance for her own?
Where to Buy The King's Daughter
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.