Author Talk – Amy Hoff


Amy HoffToday’s interview is with Amy Hoff. Amy has written books that span different genres. She is going to tell us about two of her books.

 DM: What is the title and genre of the books you want to tell us about?

AH: I have two books to tell you about, The Connoisseur which is high fantasy and Caledonia, an urban fantasy.

DM: Let’s start with The Connoisseur, can you summarize it in one short sentence?

AH: Aiea is the new Connoisseur of Amala, an island world where male beauty is highly prized.

DM: Who is your intended audience for The Connoisseur and why should they read your book?

AH: Fantasy fans interested in a more diverse world than is usually found in the genre.

DM: How did you come up with the title?

AH: The title is based on the official title of the main character, the Connoisseur, who travels the world in search of good food, wine, and beauty.

DM: Tell me about The Connoisseur’s cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?

The Connoisseur

AH: I worked on the cover with my publisher. I wanted something that represented the tropical setting and the men in the book. We went with a silhouette because I wanted it to be representative of the characters in the book who are from different backgrounds.

DM: Can you give us a few fun facts you’re the Connoisseur?

AH: I wrote the initial parts of it when I lived in Hawaii, as I had been thinking about why so few fantasy novels were set in places other than fantasy England/Scotland, and why there were so many white people and so few women.

DM: What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

AH: I only know of Ursula LeGuin’s work having some similar themes.

DM: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

AH: Ryg, because he is an old sailor and I identify with him a lot.

DM: How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

AH: Emydd, but the answer to that is in the book. 🙂

DM: If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

AH: I like it as it is.

DM: Can we have an excerpt from The Connoisseur before we talk about your other book?

AH: Sure.

The sun was hot and bright as the crowds gathered around the glass partitions of the harem. Tourism was a thriving business on Loka’i, and everyone wanted to visit their favourite member of the harem. The men were celebrated all over the world. Articles and photographs were circulated throughout Amala, and collector’s items, including portraits and miniatures, information about the lives and interests of the men, could be purchased on most islands. Everyone had their type, and their favourite; each man’s personality and particular talents appealed to different people for a wide variety of reasons. Frequently, the visitors brought their own paintings or stories to share with the men, if they were fortunate or rich enough to pay the fee it cost to meet them. People argued about and insulted the favourites of others, speculated about relationships within the harem, and discussed the fine points of each man’s qualifications. What might have been a philosophical exercise was tantamount to attacking a person’s religion, so fervently did some of the tourists believe in their particular man.

The tourists milled eagerly around the viewing areas, reading signs that described the different men, their talents, and their home island. Occasionally a shout came from the crowd as one of the more popular favourites waved or smiled in the direction of the crowd.

There was beer spilled across some of the pavement, but Siro paid it no mind. The women were shouting and getting into good-natured fights all around him, trading punches and laughing.

He pressed up against one of the windows, watching one of the men of the harem painting at an easel. Another man holding books came up to speak with the one painting, and this brought out another rowdy cheer from the women around him.

Siro read on the wall that the man with the books was named Olai, and he was the official librarian of Loka’i. Any of the ancient prophecies or books were under his care and he was responsible for the binding of any new works the harem produced. He wore long robes, unlike the other men in the harem, who were bare-chested and wore loose trousers. Siro admired Olai; while he may not have been as handsome as some of the other men, Siro understood the appeal of hiding in a cavernous hall of books.

Siro had no particular favourite. He was, as he always said, still waiting.

He pushed out of the crowds, buying an ice cream from a street vendor in an attempt to cool down in the punishing heat. As he walked along the boulevard, he saw men leaning over the upper level’s wrought-iron balconies, waving at him from above a small storefront.

Siro knew exactly what the store was, and what it was selling. He stood for a moment, eating his ice cream, staring up at the men with indecision.

Then he shrugged. After all, everyone had to experience Loka’i once in their lives.

********

 DM: Now, let’s talk about your other book, Caledonia. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

AH: It’s genre is urban fantasy. The story follows Detective Inspector Leah Bishop who accepts a transfer to a Glasgow branch of Interpol and discovers her new coworkers are monsters from folklore.

DM: Who is your intended audience for Caledonia?

AH: Fans of urban fantasy, and those interested in Scottish history, folklore, and literature. Glasgow is not often the location of magical stories, and the novel is a unique, somewhat comedic take on everyday life in the city coupled with Scottish culture.

DM: How did you come up with the title?

AH: Caledonia is the Latin name for Scotland, and also the name of the Interpol station in the story.

DM: How about the cover art for this one?

AH: There are two different covers for Caledonia, one was designed by my publisher and another was a template. The first was based on the Cloisters at the University of Glasgow, and the second looks like a block of council flats, which reflects the tone of the story.

caledoniacaledonia2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DM: Who is your favorite character from Caledona and why?

AH: Robert Burns. He’s the national poet of Scotland and was already a favourite of mine, but now I feel like I know him.

DM: How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

AH: Magnus Grey, but he was written to be the kind of person you feel betrayed by.

DM: Can you give us a fun fact about Caledonia?

AH: Caledonia is also two seasons of a web show that has garnered laurels all over the world, and we have recently wrapped on a feature film based on the third book in the series. I am very passionate about diversity and the characters come from a variety of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexualities, as I believe representation in the media is very important.

DM: What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

AH: I’m not sure about books, but TV shows like Forever Knight are similar.

DM: Can we have an excerpt from Caledonia before we talk about your other book?

AH: Sure.

Leah opened one eye and surveyed the land beyond her pillow. She had the vague sense of a residual hangover, and that something very strange had happened. She swung her legs over the side of the bed, yawning. Suddenly she started. It hadn’t been a dream. She was a detective now – with the monsters of Glasgow. There weren’t a lot of things that could make a difference to her at the moment, but faeries are real has a way of burning through the worst hangover. 

She made herself tea, and sat down to stare at the wall for a good ten minutes. She caught her reflection in the mirror, and the scar that, starting at her right eye, swept back towards her hairline. She thought of the pains she had taken all her life to hide it. She thought of her memory of how it had happened, back in her childhood; how no one had believed her, and eventually convinced her she’d imagined it all. It had led to her ultimately pursuing a career in folklore. 

Leah thought back on what had happened the day before, and smiled. Outside the window, children were playing, shouting and chasing each other in the rain. She realised she had been smiling since she woke up. The feeling was unfamiliar.  Leah drank down the remains of her tea and set the cup back into the saucer. She started the kettle boiling again. Here it was – her dream, fully realised. Had she been aware that there was a career path of ‘faerie police officer’ she was fairly sure she would have signed up years ago. She could think of several other scholars who would have done the same. 

As she poured her second cup of tea, she wondered about her future: was it time to be smart? All her life, she could see two paths before her, one dark and uncertain, and another where she lived a common life, with security and stability, and she got a watch at the end. 

“No,” she said aloud to herself. “I want more than a watch. I always have.”  

Someone knocked on the door. 

She crossed the small hotel room and opened the door.  Standing there, in his Victorian splendour, was Dorian Grey. He smiled and offered his arm. 

“Care to join me, Miss Bishop?” he asked.  

The door closed, and steam rose from the cup of tea, forgotten on the countertop. 

********

 DM: Thanks. Now that we’ve heard about your books, can you tell us a bit about yourself. For instance, who are your biggest writing influences?

AH: Alexandre Dumas is my favourite writer. I also like Peter Benchley and Michael Crichton. Inspiration for Caledonia probably came from watching shows like Forever Knight in the middle of the night on the Sci Fi Channel when I was younger.

DM: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

AH: I am a folklorist and an Oriental dancer.

DM: How can we find out more about you and your books?

AH: My website is www.officialamyhoff.com. Caledonia‘s is www.caledoniaseries.co.uk.

DM: What can we expect from you in the future?

AH: Films, shows, and more books.

DM: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

AH: Tell other people, have them read it, spread the word.

DM: Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

AH: Keep trying; it only takes one yes.

 

One thought on “Author Talk – Amy Hoff

  1. Pingback: Calling Authors – Come and be interviewed – Don Massenzio's Blog

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