Interview with YA author Amy Nichols
Welcome to debut YA author Amy Nichols!
Now That You’re Here is a scifi I can’t wait to get my hands on, releasing Tuesday, December 9.
Kirkus review, October 2014:
“While the world-jumping is fantastical, the personalities and characters (fully individual, without reaching trying-too-hard levels of quirkiness) ring true….
A debut with great characters and huge nerd appeal.”
Sign me up! This is right up my ally.
I met Amy this summer at the Annual ALA conference in Las Vegas and she is positively awesome.
She loves music as much as the writers here at ATWN, so check out how music has influenced her debut novel!
Can you give us the blurb or even an elevator pitch about Now That You’re Here?
One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body—his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee—a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom—may be his only hope of getting home.
Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.
How did you come up with the initial premise for the novel?
One of the first manuscripts I completed was a novel about a girl and her troubled relationship with her older sister. It was horrible, as most beginning novels are. I did, however, really like the main character, Eevee, and her best friend, Warren; so I decided to write a different story involving them. The new manuscript began with a scene of Eevee in English class. Suddenly the boy next to her woke up and didn’t know where he was or how he got there. He did, however, recognize her, which I found fascinating. I followed their interaction and discovered that he had somehow jumped from a parallel universe. The story took off from there and before long I’d written the manuscript that became Now That You’re Here.
What music influenced Now That You’re Here?
Music played a huge role in writing the book. Around the time I began writing it I was really into the Silversun Pickups, and their song, “Panic Switch” became my go-to song for getting into the vibe of the story. Panic Switch even became the working title for the book, which was difficult to explain to my agent later. “What is the significance of the title?” “Uh…a song that feels like I hope the book reads…?” Anyway, I tend to find songs that match up with the tone and feeling of each chapter, and I’ll literally listen to those songs on repeat as I write. Some of the chapter “theme songs” for this book are “The Beginning of the End” by Nine Inch Nails, “Starlight” by Muse, “Satellite” by Guster, “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers, and “Atom Bomb” by Fluke. I remember driving in the car one day and Rihanna’s “Stay” came on the radio, and I was in awe, listening to the words. It was like she was singing Eevee and Danny’s story. If Now That You’re Here has a theme song, it would be “Stay”.
If you could choose one song for each of your main characters, which song would you choose and why?
What a fun question! One thing that’s been interesting about writing Now That You’re Here, and its sequel, While You Were Gone, is getting to know the characters and their parallel universe counterparts. (While You Were Gonefollows the other Eevee and other Danny in the parallel universe.) Music has really helped me lock into their characters, and help me understand the differences between them.
The song for Eevee of Now That You’re Here would be either “I Can’t Explain” by Sixpence None the Richer or “Walking Man” by Zoe Keating, while the song for Eevee of While You Were Gone would be “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne.
The song for Danny of Now That You’re Here would be “Starlight” by Muse. The song for Danny of While You Were Gone would be either “Vicarious” by Tool or “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobestank.
What traits of your own did you infuse into your characters, if any?
I don’t set out intending to put any of my own traits into my characters, but I have to say, I had a lot of fun writing my geeky fangirl side into Warren, Eevee’s nerdy best friend. I’m not a brainiac like Eevee, nor am I a graffiti-artist-rebel like Danny. I am a nerd, though, and like Warren, I wear that badge with pride.
Do you listen to different music depending on what you are doing or writing? Can you give examples?
My music tastes are all over the map, and I’m always on the lookout for new tunes to add to my collection. Of all the apps on my phone, Shazam definitely gets the most use. Whenever I sit down to write, I start by pulling up the song that goes with whatever piece I’m working on. For Now That You’re Here, the playlist varied from pretty intense rock to angsty love ballads. While You Were Gone had much of the same but threw more electronica into the mix. One of the manuscripts I’m writing now has me listening to more folk and instrumental music along the lines of The Lumineers and Explosions in the Sky. Another has me listening to very current alternative songs from Cage the Elephant and Young the Giant. So yeah, it’s all over the place.
What other categories/genres do you read and/or write?
Most everything I write has some kind of fantastical element to it, whether it be ghosts or magic or portals to other worlds. The same goes for reading: I gravitate toward the weird, the odd, the inexplicable. I don’t tend to write straight contemporary, but if the right story came along, I wouldn’t turn it down.
What are a couple of your favorite tunes right now?
It’s hard to limit it to just a couple. Let’s see… “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant, “Ends of the Earth” by Lord Huron, “Beggin for Thread” by Banks, anything from Florence + the Machine. When Florence plays on Pandora or the car radio, she gets turned up loud.
Amy K. Nichols lives on the edge of the Phoenix desert with her husband and children. In the evenings, she enjoys sitting outside, counting bats and naming star. Sometimes she names the bats. Now That You’re Here is her first novel. Visit her online at amyknichols.com.
Find Amy online:
Website – http://amyknichols.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/amyknichols
Tumblr – http://amyknichols.tumblr.com
Thanks for stopping by, Amy!