Vele Young Adult-lezers zullen haar al kennen: Amy Ewing, de schrijfster van de Jewel-serie. Ze was te gast op YALFEST op 23 april en ik had de kans om haar tijdens de persmiddag te interviewen. Ze vond het zelf allemaal ook nog een beetje spannend, maar ze was erg blij dat de Nederlandse covers zo mooi zijn geworden en dat wij, als Nederlandse lezers, ze zo goed hebben ontvangen. Ze vond het wel jammer dat er geen kaas aanwezig was tijdens de persvoorstelling. Lees snel het hele interview hieronder!
The first question: I heard you like cheese (A LOT!), so what is your favorite kind of cheese?
Oh my god! Well, I mean, it’s such an impossible question to answer. I will say, and this is embarrassing, but my favorite go-to cheese is like string cheese (Cheesestrings hier in Nederland, red.). I love string cheese, which I know is kind of crap. But I do love it! I love all Frech cheeses as well, like brie and camembert, and I love manchego. There is a shop in New York called Murray’s and there is just only cheese and they opened a restaurant and I was like: ‘Well, I will go there all the time!’. It’s just heaven.
You’ve had a lot of career switches through the years, is writing or being a writer the job you really want to do or is there something you like more than write?
Being a writer was never a job that I envisioned or at least something I envisioned doing as a career. I wanted to be an actor. So, I guess I would write for fun, and when I look back, I see that I was always writing things as fanfiction, but when I really invested some time in it, it felt like ‘how would I not write?’. I just think like at acting you need to audition and I’m terrible at doing that. I was so scared of failing that I never tried. With writing, I managed to pick myself up again after the first failure. And with that, I thought to myself, this is something you truly love.
Talking about the two books you’ve written (because in the Netherlands there are only two books translated, the first book and the first novella), who is your favorite character?
At first: I love Raven and I love all the other characters. It is so hard to choose, because there are only two characters that I totally don’t like in the story and they are the Countess of the Stone and Fedric. They have no redeeming qualities, because they are sadists. I really feel the Duchess of the Lake is my favorite character, because she was so interesting to write. Some may say that she’s the villain, but to me she isn’t really. She is the ultimate example of nature versus nurture: if she had been raised on the farm with a loving father, she could’ve been an entire different person. That’s because she has the capability and empathy to love and to care about people, but it sort have been beaten out of her. And also I love Garnet, because he is SO much fun. He has his own novella too, after book two, so hopefully you’re going to read it in Dutch sometime! His novella is the whole plot of The Jewel, written by his perspective, but just not every scene.
A group of Dutch readers are in doubt to pick up your books or not, so how would you pitch your books to them?
What I like about it, is that you get so much rich scenes and backdrop settings: the palaces, the jewels, the gowns, the crowns and the food. I think there is really so much to explore about things that are actually happening in our world right now. Specifically when I wrote it, or when I started writing it, the world wasn’t quite the same as it is now. And as the years progress, there are so many lawmakers that are trying to restrict women’s access to health care. For me, ownership over your own body, regardless of it is about women or men, is so important. I feel like people are looking at the cover and think that it’s just like the Selection-series by Kiera Cass, but when they read it, they discover that is NOT like the Selection-series. It is so much darker than that series. So don’t let the cover deceive you to think that it’s just a glamourous book. For me, it’s the glamour mixed with the darker parts that makes my book so interesting.
What is your favorite Young Adult-book?
My own? Haha no, I can’t pick that one. But it is so hard! If you can call Harry Potter as Young Adult, this would be a really simple, but satisfying answer. If it would be possible to have a magical power, that would be to erase my mind to read some books all over again for the first time. I love high fantasy and I love losing myself in magical stories and other worlds. Tolkien was my heart and soul in my teenage years. At this point in my life, I love Rainbow Rowell as well, I loved Eleanor & Park, because it gave me so many feels. I enjoy a lot of different types of books, but I feel like my heart is sold to fantasy.
Are you currently working on something?
I am! A whole brand new series that will come out next year. They call The Jewel dystopian (but I call it fantasy), but my new series is even more fantasy-ish, it is very high fantasy. It’s about two different countries plus a sort of alien city in the sky populated by magical, lesbian creatures. I’m very excited about it. I really hope they are going to translate it into Dutch, but it haven’t been sent out yet to foreign publishers, because my first draft was terrible, so I’m in the middle of revising that draft and I think that this draft is much better than the first one. It is such a hard time writing, especially with the three different cultures that are in it, but as a fantasy writer, I wanted to keep pushing myself.
Do you have any tattoos?
I do! My first one is a symbol of flaming chalice, which is the symbol of my religion: Unitarian Univeralism, which no one knows, but it’s a very hippie-ish, tree-hugging and loving way of life. The second tattoo is a swallow for a friend of mine who died and this was my favorite tattoo of hers that she had, so I got it on the one year anniversary of her death. The third tattoo is for the Jewel-series, it is my black key, which is part of something that comes later in the series, but I got it like for the memory of the series. The fourth tattoo I recently got, and this is from Mathilda by Roald Dahl, because Roald Dahl is my favorite author and I love the illustrations by Quentin Blake, so I got one from that book. I almost got a new one a short time ago, but I haven’t got it. I would like to get something in Elvish, which is one of the the languages spoken in Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’, even if it’s SO NERDY, but I don’t care. I love my nerd-flag flying all the time. (Wil je de tattoos van Amy zien? In de vlog van Fleurine kun je ze gelukkig zien, want ze heeft ze gefilmd! red.)
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Well, I love Twilight, even if it’s not even something to be guilty about, but there are so many people bashing about Twilight. But with that on the side, I’m really into The Great British Bake-off (de Engelse versie van Heel Holland Bakt, red.) at this moment. So when I give myself a break from revising, I’ll have a large glass of wine, several cheese sticks or other types of cheese and then watch The Great Britisch Bake-off.
Do you have any plans in the Netherlands this weekend, except for YALFEST?
Well, I just met all the other authors whose books I know and it’s so great to meet them in person. I met Megan Shepherd briefly, but not to the point that I’m like ‘hey, friend!’. We took a cab together and it is so great to be able to talk to everyone. I hoop to see them and walk around in the cities, so I don’t have really solid plans. But tomorrow, we have a meeting in a boat and an interview for booksellers and tonight there is a dinner where we are going to.
What are you looking forward to this Sunday at YALFEST?
I’m so excited to meet all of the readers and fans. It’s incredible to have your book published in another country and to know that people know you and reading your books. It’s so good to meet all of you, I feel so lucky and honored. I heard the venue is gorgeous, so I really can’t wait. I hope they have cheese and wine at the cocktail party!
Stay tuned voor een interview met David Arnold, Victor Dixen en Lesley Livingston! Deze komen de komende tijd online!