Author Talk – Amy Reade


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Today we sit down with USA Today Best-Selling Author Amy Reade who will tell us about herself and her work.


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

AR: House of the Hanging Jade is classified as women’s fiction, with strong elements of suspense and setting. It reads almost like a gothic.

DM: Can you summarize your book in one sentence?

AR: Kailani returns to Hawaii for good, but evil has followed her home and her new job is more than she bargained for.

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

AR: My intended audience includes both men and women, even though the genre is “women’s fiction.” And since my writing has been compared to that of Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Daphne du Maurier, I would say that people who have read and enjoyed these and other gothic authors are definitely part of my intended audience. And though I have both suspense and romance in my books, they’re really geared toward people who prefer less gore in their suspense and more sweet than spice in their romance.

They should read my book for its mystery, the relationships among the characters, its glimpse of life on a tropical island, and its surprise ending.

DM: How did you come up with the title?

AR: Each of my books includes the name of the house where much of the story takes place. The setting is such an important part of each book I write that I like to give a nod to that sense of place in each title. My editor and I work together to come up with an intriguing and atmospheric title for each book.

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today (2)DM: Tell me about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular artwork?

AR: The Art Department at Kensington Publishing has designed the covers for all my books. The artwork evokes a feeling of mystery, of the aura of a place.

DM: What is your biggest writing influence?

AR: The single biggest influence in my writing came from Phyllis Whitney’s Guide to Fiction Writing. I love that it’s full of inspiration and kind encouragement, and I still use the method of building a story that she describes in her book. I picked up the book because I was toying with the idea of writing and I loved all her other books. I couldn’t put it down.

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

AR: My favorite character from House of the Hanging Jade is Lars. He’s not perfect, just like all the other characters, but he suffers with as much grace and selflessness as he can. He loves his kids and he wants to protect them.

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

AR: My least favorite character is Geoffrey. Telling what I dislike about him would give away some of the plot!

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

AR: I would go back and give the two men who live in the House of the Hanging Jade first names that don’t both start with the letter “L.”

DM: Give me a fun fact about your book

AR: Here’s one: poke (pronounced poh-kay) is actually my favorite food in Hawaii and I had to find a way to get it in the book somehow. It wasn’t a problem since my main character is a chef.

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

AR: As I mentioned, my books have been compared to those of Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Daphne du Maurier. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no greater compliment. What makes the books similar is the strong setting and the spooky sense of suspense and atmosphere.

DM: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

AR: My hobbies are reading and cooking. I come from a family of good cooks, and my father and I talk each day to compare what we’re making for dinner.

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

AR: I invite your readers to check out any or all of the following sites:

Website: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com

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

AR: Right now I’m working on the first book in a three-book series set in the United Kingdom. Though I have a working title for the book, I don’t have an official title for the book or the series so I can’t share them with your readers just yet. The first book is set mostly in Edinburgh and all three books will continue in the same genre as my first three books, which are standalones.

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

AR: This is a great question. There are two things: the first is review, review, review any book you read, whether you like it or not. Those reviews help authors with the sales algorithms on the various retail sites.

Second, please follow your favorite authors on social media! The more sites, the better. And “like” the author’s posts, comment on them, and share them!

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

AR: I will give the same advice someone gave me: start marketing your book the day you decide to write it, not the day you decide to publish it. It’s not fatal by any means if you wait (like I did), but if you can reach out to a publisher or an agent and show them that you already have a following, that’s a big plus in your favour.

DM: Can you give us an excerpt from your book to intrigue and tantalize us?

AR: I would love to.


 

Geoffrey smiled down at me. “Sorry. I just assumed you’d know

not to come in on a day like this.”

“Why did you come in, then?”

“To catch up on paperwork. Plus, snowstorms don’t bother me.”

“Ugh. They bother me. Well, I guess if you don’t need me here,

I’ll head back home.”

“Want me to stop by later?”

I didn’t, but I nodded. Geoffrey and I hadn’t been dating for long.

He was already becoming a little too clingy.

He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. “Be safe getting

home. I’d call you a cab, but there isn’t a single one on the streets.”

“Believe me, I know.”

I trudged home the same way I had come, the snow falling even

harder now and blowing sideways, making it difficult for me to see.

When I finally made it to my apartment building, I clumped up

the stairs in my heavy boots and stood inside my apartment, leaning

against the door for several moments to catch my breath. It took me a

while to peel off all my layers. I left them lying on the floor while I

heated up milk on the stove for hot chocolate. As the milk warmed, I

gazed at a canvas photo that hung in my front hall. It was a faraway

view of the beach, taken from my parents’ backyard, overlooking the

black sand and the curling waves of the azure Pacific Ocean.

“We’ve got to go home,” I said aloud to my cat, Meli, as she

stepped daintily around me. This wasn’t the first time I had ex-

pressed this sentiment to Meli, but this time she stopped and looked

up at me. She blinked and twitched her ears.

It was the sign I needed.

I watched the snow continue to fall for several hours from the

warmth and safety of my apartment. Meli and I curled up on the couch

while I tried to read a book, but I couldn’t concentrate. My thoughts re-

turned again and again to palm trees and warm, caressing trade winds,

to the faces of my mother and father, of my sister and her little girl.

Geoffrey eventually stopped by, bringing with him an icy blast of

air as I opened the door to the hallway.

He laughed. “Looks like this storm may never end.”

I invited him into the warmth of the apartment. “Take off your stuff.

Want some hot chocolate?” I called over my shoulder as I walked into

the kitchen.

“Sure,” he answered, struggling with one of his boots.

I joined him in the living room a few minutes later. He was trying

to stroke Meli’s chin, but she apparently wanted none of that. Her

ears flattened back and she squirmed out of his reach.

I handed him the mug of hot chocolate and sat down opposite him.

“Geoffrey, I have news,” I told him warily, knowing he probably

wouldn’t be as happy as I was.

“What is it?”

“I’m going back to Hawaii.” I waited for his reaction.

“That’s nice. It’ll do you good to get out of this weather for a

while.”

He obviously wasn’t getting it. “No, not for a while. I’m moving

back. For good.”

I was right. He was not happy. In fact, he looked stricken, his eyes

wide and his mouth agape. “What do you mean, for good?” he asked,

choking on his hot chocolate.

“I mean, I just can’t stand it here any longer. I’m never going to

get used to the weather, I miss my parents, and my niece is growing

up without her auntie. It’s time to go back. This is something I’ve

been thinking about for a long time.

“I’ll miss you, Geoffrey, but this is what’s best for me,” I added,

trying to soften the blow.

He looked like he was struggling for words.

“But . . . but . . . what will you do?”

“I’ll do the same thing I do here, Geoffrey. Sous-chefs are not

unique to DC.”

“Okay, but what will I do? Without you, I mean?”

I felt sorry for him. He looked crestfallen.

“Geoffrey,” I said gently, “there are lots of women in Washington

who are looking for someone as wonderful and kind and handsome

and successful as you are. I have to do what my heart is telling me to

do, and that’s to go back to Hawaii.”

He nodded slowly, his eyes downcast. “Is there anything I can say

to keep you here?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“When are you leaving?”

“I don’t know. I just made the decision this morning.”

He sighed and leaned back against the couch cushions, holding

his mug on his lap and staring into space.

“Geoffrey? You okay?” I asked.

He set his mug on the coffee table and pushed himself up from the

sofa. “I guess I should get going, then. Will you keep working at the

restaurant until you leave?”

I was surprised that he wanted to leave already, but I didn’t men-

tion it.

“Of course. I’ll give you plenty of time to find another fabulous

sous-chef.”

I watched Geoffrey as he walked down the hallway of my apart-

ment building. His shoulders were stooped and his gait slow. He

looked like a forlorn little boy. Poor Geoffrey. At the end of the hall-

way, right by the elevator, he turned around and made a pleading

motion with his hands and walked back toward me.

Uh-oh.

“Kailani, how can you just throw away all the time we’ve spent

together?”

I was a little taken aback, but I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Such

dramatic statements were normal with him. “Geoffrey, we haven’t really

spent too much time together. We haven’t been dating very long.”

“But doesn’t that time mean something to you?”

“Yes, of course it does. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and we’ve

had fun together. But it’s time for me to go home. And I’m afraid a

long-distance relationship just isn’t possible. It’s too far away.”

“There’s got to be a way, Kailani. I just can’t stand the thought of

losing you.”

“I’m sorry, Geoffrey. I’ve got to go. I’ll see you at work tomor-

row.” I closed the door gently and stood there until I heard the ding

of the elevator.

I waited a few hours before calling my mother since there was a

five-hour time difference between DC and Hawaii.

She and my father were both thrilled by my news, as I knew they

would be. They had a million questions for me, like when I would be

coming home, where I would be looking for a new job, and whether

I could live with them for a while.

“I don’t know!” I laughed. “I’m going to start putting out some

feelers right away for jobs in restaurants and resorts along the Kohala

Someone must need a sous-chef. Or even a head chef. But I’ll

be home soon, don’t worry. I can’t stand another day of this winter

weather.”

I hung up, promising to keep them posted about my job hunt.

Suddenly, the winter seemed a little warmer.

I knew I should have stayed home.

I bent my head as the wind whipped down Massachusetts Avenue, hurling snowflakes at my face, stinging my cheeks with hard, frosty pellets. The icy sidewalks were treacherous, making my walk to work precarious and slow. There were very few others brave or foolish enough to be out in this weather. I passed one man out walking his dog and silently praised him for being so devoted.

I finally arrived at the restaurant. I stamped on the snow that had piled up against the front door and slipped my key into the lock with fingers stiff and clumsy from the cold. Once inside, it only took me a second to realize that no one else was there. On a normal day, one without a blizzard, my assistant Nunzio would already have come in through the back and flipped on the kitchen lights before I arrived.

I groaned. Even Nunzio, whom I could always count on, had stayed home. I moved through the darkened dining room and turned on the lights in the kitchen. As they blinked to life, I heard a heavy knock at the front door. Hurrying to open it, I recognized the face of Geoffrey, the restaurant’s owner and my current boyfriend, bundled up in a thick scarf and hat.

“Kailani, what are you doing here?” he exclaimed, brushing snow off his boots in the vestibule.

“Someone has to be here to get things started,” I answered testily.

“I don’t think we can open today,” Geoffrey said. “There’s no way the delivery trucks can get through, and I don’t think we’d have any customers even if they could.”

“You mean I came all this way for nothing?” I whined.

Geoffrey smiled down at me. “Sorry. I just assumed you’d know not to come in on a day like this.”

“Why did you come in, then?”

“To catch up on paperwork. Plus, snowstorms don’t bother me.”

“Ugh. They bother me. Well, I guess if you don’t need me here, I’ll head back home.”

“Want me to stop by later?”

I didn’t, but I nodded. Geoffrey and I hadn’t been dating for long. He was already becoming a little too clingy.

He leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. “Be safe getting home. I’d call you a cab, but there isn’t a single one on the streets.”

“Believe me, I know.”

I trudged home the same way I had come, the snow falling even harder now and blowing sideways, making it difficult for me to see.

When I finally made it to my apartment building, I clumped up the stairs in my heavy boots and stood inside my apartment, leaning against the door for several moments to catch my breath. It took me a while to peel off all my layers. I left them lying on the floor while I heated up milk on the stove for hot chocolate. As the milk warmed, I gazed at a canvas photo that hung in my front hall. It was a faraway view of the beach, taken from my parents’ backyard, overlooking the black sand and the curling waves of the azure Pacific Ocean.

“We’ve got to go home,” I said aloud to my cat, Meli, as she stepped daintily around me. This wasn’t the first time I had expressed this sentiment to Meli, but this time she stopped and looked up at me. She blinked and twitched her ears.

It was the sign I needed.

I watched the snow continue to fall for several hours from the warmth and safety of my apartment. Meli and I curled up on the couch while I tried to read a book, but I couldn’t concentrate. My thoughts returned again and again to palm trees and warm, caressing trade winds, to the faces of my mother and father, of my sister and her little girl.

Geoffrey eventually stopped by, bringing with him an icy blast of air as I opened the door to the hallway.

He laughed. “Looks like this storm may never end.”

I invited him into the warmth of the apartment. “Take off your stuff. Want some hot chocolate?” I called over my shoulder as I walked into the kitchen.

“Sure,” he answered, struggling with one of his boots. I joined him in the living room a few minutes later. He was trying to stroke Meli’s chin, but she apparently wanted none of that. Her

ears flattened back and she squirmed out of his reach.

I handed him the mug of hot chocolate and sat down opposite him.

“Geoffrey, I have news,” I told him warily, knowing he probably wouldn’t be as happy as I was.

“What is it?”

“I’m going back to Hawaii.” I waited for his reaction.

“That’s nice. It’ll do you good to get out of this weather for a while.”

He obviously wasn’t getting it. “No, not for a while. I’m moving back. For good.”

I was right. He was not happy. In fact, he looked stricken, his eyes wide and his mouth agape. “What do you mean, for good?” he asked, choking on his hot chocolate.

“I mean, I just can’t stand it here any longer. I’m never going to get used to the weather, I miss my parents, and my niece is growing up without her auntie. It’s time to go back. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

“I’ll miss you, Geoffrey, but this is what’s best for me,” I added, trying to soften the blow.

He looked like he was struggling for words.

“But . . . but . . . what will you do?”

“I’ll do the same thing I do here, Geoffrey. Sous-chefs are not unique to DC.”

“Okay, but what will I do? Without you, I mean?”

I felt sorry for him. He looked crestfallen.

“Geoffrey,” I said gently, “there are lots of women in Washington who are looking for someone as wonderful and kind and handsome and successful as you are. I have to do what my heart is telling me to do, and that’s to go back to Hawaii.”

He nodded slowly, his eyes downcast. “Is there anything I can say to keep you here?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“When are you leaving?”

“I don’t know. I just made the decision this morning.”

He sighed and leaned back against the couch cushions, holding his mug on his lap and staring into space.

“Geoffrey? You okay?” I asked.

He set his mug on the coffee table and pushed himself up from the sofa. “I guess I should get going, then. Will you keep working at the restaurant until you leave?”

I was surprised that he wanted to leave already, but I didn’t mention it.

“Of course. I’ll give you plenty of time to find another fabulous sous-chef.”

I watched Geoffrey as he walked down the hallway of my apartment building. His shoulders were stooped and his gait slow. He looked like a forlorn little boy. Poor Geoffrey. At the end of the hallway, right by the elevator, he turned around and made a pleading motion with his hands and walked back toward me.

Uh-oh.


About Amy Reade

Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, two cats, and a fish. She writes full time and is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade. She is currently working on the second and third books of a series set in the United Kingdom (Book 1 has an expected release date in early 2017). She loves cooking, reading, and traveling.

 

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “Author Talk – Amy Reade

  1. Congrats on your upcoming release! I just pre-ordered my copy!
    BTW, I share your love of poke; I went to Hawaii in March and ate it every single day. Mmmmm, poke…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Poke is very fresh fish (often ahi), cut into small cubes and tossed with a simple dressing. It’s common with shoyu dressing (soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, and salt), but my favorite is spicy ahi, with mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, a bit of soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, and masago, a type of roe that’s orange and lends a little crunch to the poke. Places along the California coast might have poke, but otherwise the closest thing is probably tuna tartare. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

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

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