Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Cliffhanger Book Tour: An Interview with Amy Saunders
Tell me about Cliffhanger...what was the inspiration for the book?
Belinda Kittridge has come home to Portside, Rhode Island, to oversee her family's home renovation while her parents pop around Europe. She doesn't imagine she'll find much more than destroyed tile - and her twin brother's mess. But coming home gets interesting when a former classmate ends up at the bottom of a cliff, bringing back memories of a tragic sailing accident, and exposing a stalker. But it also means the introduction of Bennett Tate in Belinda's life, which she decides isn't such a bad thing.
So I got the seeds for the the plot of Cliffhanger one summer touring one of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island (which Portside is based on). The people who lived there and the incredible scenery on the Atlantic all sparked an idea for a murder mystery. I originally thought of it as taking place during the Gilded Age, but I prefer writing in modern settings. So I kept that idea on file. Eventually, I got the idea for Belinda and Bennett. And I realized how well my Gilded Age story would work in that world. So that's what I did!
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
I definitely see myself in Belinda. Sometimes I'll have Bennett comment on some aspect of Belinda's personality and then I'm like, "Hey! That's me!". So we're definitely similar though she's gutsier than me, but that's part of why I love writing. You get to have your characters do and say things you wouldn't necessarily do or say yourself...though you might want to! But I think a little bit of me is in each of them, even if I don't always see it.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, I did. As early as I can recall, I always had stories going on in my head, and once I learned to write, I started putting them on paper. I would use free time at school to write, and the greater part of my teen life was spent writing something - stories, poems, plays, articles. But I really found my place when I wrote my first book. I'd always focused on short stories and I shied from trying out novel writing because I didn't think I had the patience. But once I gave it a go, there was no turning back. I loved it and that was kind of it.
Do you have pets at home?
I don't! (Well, I did have a couple hermit crabs...but they both died.) But I would love to get a golden retriever. They're my favorite dogs ever.
What do you do in your free time?
My initial response to this question was, "Uh...write?" But that's not really true. I read as much as I can. Mysteries, naturally, but I really love my YA sci-fi/dystopian, and YA in general. Currently, I'm working on the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. They're so much fun!
I also love to bake and I pick about one thing per week that I want to learn how to make. It's my Saturday afternoon thing. I crank up the radio in the kitchen and go to it. Baking is so opposite of everything else I do and I love that. And it's just for fun, so it's relaxing.
I'm also addicted to Netflix, and I play video games.
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
This was a hard one, but I'd have to say learning to surf, living in London for at least a year, and mastering the art of cake baking.
Favorite literary characters?
Well, I have to say Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice) first off. But I love Percy Jackson (and basically the entire cast of both series), Cammie (Gallagher Girls), Tris and Four (Divergent), Robin Hood (he counts, right?), Dinah and Inspector Harding (Georgette Heyer), and Tommy and Tuppence (Agatha Christie mysteries) to name a few.
What are you working on now?
I'm making final revisions to Auf'd, book two in The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries. I'm loving working on a series because I get to learn new things about my main characters with each book. So in Auf'd we'll get to learn a little more about Bennett's background, and see a slightly different angle to his personality. And I'm having fun with Belinda because she was kind of growing into doing gutsy things in Cliffhanger, but in Auf'd I get to have her be feisty right from page one. So she gets all kinds of deliciously crazy things to do and say! And new themes are introduced that will be carried into future books in the series.
Making her grand re-entry into Portside, Rhode Island, Belinda Kittridge expected fun, sun, and sugar cookies.
Instead, she gets one jilted lover braced for round two, an old rival on the hunt, and the murder of a former classmate and friend. Even worse, Belinda must return to the events surrounding a tragic sailing accident to set things right.
But new possibilities emerge in the form of security expert Bennett Tate. Between her connections and his know-how, they're bound to catch the killer - and kick the skeletons out of the closet for good.
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I've written two mystery novels so far. My first, Dead Locked, is about Imogen Bell who works for a team of underwater archaeologists and ends up embroiled in a deadly treasure hunt. My second mystery, The Jester's Apprentice, is about Philippa, a woman caught between her new husband Edric and his smoky past - and hers.
I've always loved mysteries, even in elementary school. My mother raised me on TV show reruns like Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, and Magnum, P.I, and later I picked up her Agatha Christie addiction.
However, sometimes I just want a hot (but intelligent) guy and a strong woman bantering for pages. Or a gripping action sequence. Or some fun sci-fi/fantasy elements. And sometimes I want it all in the same book. So with mystery as the backbone of my stories, I blend in romance, action, adventure, and soon sci-fi to keep it fresh and exciting.
Why should you take a chance on my books? Well, I write what I'm passionate about, and I'm passionate about people and mysteries. I make my characters passionate too: about each other, about what they're hunting, fixing, or piecing together. Above all, I want my readers to have fun, and leave happy!