Friday, August 15, 2014

Interview with Amy Patrick, author of Channel 20Something

Channel 20Something by Amy Patrick
(20Something #1)


From award-winning author and two-time GOLDEN HEART® finalist Amy Patrick comes a New Adult contemporary series about twenty-somethings entering the world of TV broadcasting, where what happens behind the scenes is the real news.

22-year-old Heidi Haynes is almost one year into her “real life”. She has her first reporting job, her first apartment, and a comfortable relationship with her college sweetheart. But for some reason she’s not as eager to talk about walking down the aisle as he is.

Heidi secretly longs for big cities, big-market breaking news, and real independence from her way-too-close-by helicopter parents. Problem is, the last time she left the security of home for new places and new people, things didn’t go so well. Disastrously, in fact, and she came running back to a local college and a “safe” boyfriend.

Aric Serrano is definitely not safe.

He’s six-feet-four-inches of missing-Hemsworth-brother-hotness and plans to stay in small-market-Southern-Hell just long enough to grab a cup of coffee and put together a kick-ass “escape tape”. He’ll serve his one-year contract, then he’s taking off for a higher rung on the TV sports ladder—alone—the way he likes it. Then he meets his new co-anchor.

Heidi would be so much more comfortable if she could simply ignore Aric. He’s just her type—the type she’s so careful to avoid these days. But that becomes impossible when she's forced to work closely with him on the weekend newscast. Now the attraction between them is growing even faster than the ratings, and what happens behind the scenes is the real news.


Amy is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Young Adult fiction as Amy DeLuca and New Adult romance as Amy Patrick.  She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up. She's been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.

What kind of books do you most love to read? Do you have a favorite author?

I sometimes read outside the genre (big Game of Thrones fan), but I mostly read romance. All kinds. I love New Adult! Cora Carmack, Jules Barnard, Chanel Cleeton, and Colleen Hoover are some of my favorites. I also love contemporary romance—Kristan Higgins and Lisa Kleypas are two of my favorite authors. And as well as writing New Adult romance, I also write YA, so I read a lot of that, too.

What do you do outside of writing? Do you have a day job?

I have too many, actually! For many years I was a news anchor, working at 6 different stations in 4 different states over the course of 12 years. Now I’m a station host at a Boston TV station, I do voiceovers for radio and TV ads and narrate audio books, and do freelance video work. It’s all very interesting in its own way and inspires so many story ideas I’ll have to work into my nineties to actually write them all.

Are you from the South? Because you really seem to understand 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity.

I live in New England now, and I’ve also lived in California (while working as a news anchor), but I grew up in Mississippi (with 5 years in Texas thrown in for flavor). I do love the South (even the heat), and I love books that accurately portray the loveliness of its places and people. I try to do that in my books, which tend to have Southern settings, because when the voices start speaking to me, they usually have a bit of a drawl. ;)

Will any of Heidi’s friends get their own stories?

Yes! I’ve already written Book 2, Mara’s story. It’s called STILL YOURS- A 20 SOMETHING NOVEL and will be available in September. It’s an exception to the Southern setting trend, taking place in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. I’ve also written Book 3, Kenley’s story. It’s called STILL ME- A 20 SOMETHING NOVEL and comes out in October. I’m currently writing Book 4.

What’s one crazy fact about you that most people who meet you probably wouldn’t guess was true?

I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 17 times back-to-back when I was in middle school. I was destined to become either a writer… or a Hobbit.

Your main character in CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, Heidi, is a first-year TV news reporter/anchor. You were also a TV news reporter, right? Is Heidi anything like you?
Well, she’s definitely not me, but I did give her some of the same struggles and experiences I had as a newbie reporter/anchor. And like me, she grew up in a small Mississippi town. We also shared the same *unfortunate* nervous-stomach issue.

Did you actually throw up in front of the governor of Mississippi one minute before going on live TV like Heidi did?

Why yes. Yes I did. Nothing like rookie reporter nerves. J Happy to report I did eventually get over that little problem and can now appear on television without any threat of my lunch reappearing.

Do you have a favorite character in CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING?

It’s really hard to choose. I really relate to some of Heidi’s passion and confusion and mistakes. I love her sister Jane Elaine. But I’d have to say Aric is my favorite. I mean, what’s not to love? Ultra-hot guy who’s also funny and kind? Yes please.

Do all the 20 Something novels take place in the South?

As you know, book 1, CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, is set in Mississippi, where Heidi gets her first job. Book 2, STILL YOURS, takes place in Providence, Rhode Island, the news market where Heidi’s friend Mara is starting a new job (and running into the ex she hoped she’d never lay eyes on again). Meanwhile, Heidi’s other best friend Kenley has moved to Atlanta and is starting a job at WNN. We’ll hear her story in Book 3, STILL ME.

Beyond being a writer, what’s going on in your life?

I narrate audiobooks for other authors, and I’m in the middle of a fun small-town mystery series for author Sandra Balzo. I have a small recording studio in my house where I lay down my tracks, then I send them to a sound engineering for post-production. I also have two boys who are about to go back to school, so we’re making preparations for that while trying to squeeze in a bit more summer fun. It goes so fast!

What sets your book apart from other New Adult books on the market?

I think CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING is unique in that it gives the reader a peek inside a profession not many have inside access to, TV news, and what it’s like for people just starting out in the broadcasting business. Because that was my career for 12 years, I’m able to write about it in an informed way while telling an entertaining and romantic story. I also focus more heavily on the romance than the sex in my series. There are some hot scenes, but CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING and the upcoming books fall more into the category of fun and flirty than erotic romance.

What made you decide to write New Adult romance?

I think it’s a fantastic time period in life to write about because SO MUCH happens during the years you’re 18-26, and the decisions you make during that time can determine the entire direction of your life (yeah, no pressure there). There’s probably no other time of life that holds more possibility or more romance than those years. My own life during that time was an exciting, crazy, wonderful mess. I did so many stupid things, but also many amazing things, and I’m sure a lot of people can say the same.

Your main character Heidi grew up in a small Mississippi town, but always longed to get away, go exciting places, see exciting things. Where did you dream of going when you were in high school and college?

I always wanted to visit Hawaii, and I grew up without a lot of money, so that was a real dream. I did have the opportunity to vacation there a few years ago when I worked in California, so I can check that one off the list. Career-wise, I dreamed of making it to New York, the top news market, and working at the network someday. As I got older and further along in my TV news career, I did have the chance to do that, but my dreams had changed by then.

Biggest celebrity crush?
As you may have guessed from the story blurb for CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING, I have a little thing for Chris Hemsworth. Liam’s up there on my list, too. And I have a huge crush on Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in the Marvel movies.

Where do your story ideas come from?

I work in television, so I get to go and see a lot of interesting places and things and meet a lot of interesting people. Often, that will spark ideas. I also look into my own past relationships and experiences to bring authenticity to the characters I write. For the 20 SOMETHING series, I drew on my career as a news anchor and reporter working in 4 different states over the years to write the stories of my twenty-something TV news newbies. Some of the stories they cover and the newsroom situations they encounter are inspired by my own experiences.

Favorite thing to do other than write?

I’d have to say reading. I also love movies, so basically all my interests seem to revolve around stories, don’t they?

Speaking of movies, have any favorites? Favorite TV shows?

I’m a big fan of the Marvel Universe movies. I also love Avatar, When Harry Met Sally, and I’ve seen Bladerunner at least a hundred times. Because I spend so much time writing, I don’t get to watch much TV, but I have been watching Game of Thrones, and I got sucked into Outlander on Starz by their free online premier episode. Now I’m hooked.  *curses Starz marketing team while shaking fist*

How long have you been writing?

I started trying to write a novel during my first year out of college, but stalled out a few chapters into it. I had no idea how to write a novel! Unfortunately, I took only Journalism courses and NO creative writing in school. I know—what was I thinking, right? I guess I just never thought a fiction writer was something I could be. But the writing bug wouldn’t leave me alone. I started several more novels over the years. Finally, after leaving my full-time TV news career, I started learning the craft of novel-writing. I finished my first novel in 2010 and started pursuing publication then. I started writing on a more-or-less full-time basis about a year ago.

When do you like to write, and where do you write?

I wish I was one of those super-focused people who can write anywhere anytime, but I’m the world’s worst multi-tasker. I can edit at home, but for first drafts, I banish myself to the library. There’s a particular chair in a particular corner—in the far back, facing a boring wall. No internet access. No temptation. I sit down and the words flow. They know they’re supposed to turn on when I get to my hidey-hole.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book and become published?

I’ve seen the statistic that 90% of people want to write a book and only 10% actually do. I think lack of know-how stops most people. So my advice would be to join a great writer’s group like RWA (Romance Writers of America) and a local chapter. It’s such a great resource for information on good writing as well as for support. Having writer friends to trade work with made an incredible difference for me. I also enjoyed writing more and had more success when I got a firm grasp on story structure. I loved the book Save the Cat by Blake Snyder for that. It’s very accessible and clear, besides being funny and enjoyable. When I read it, a lightbulb went off for me.  

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me on the blog today and for helping make CHANNEL 20 SOMETHING'S release week wonderful! It was so much fun to hang out with you awhile. :) Amy