Friday, September 2, 2011

Amy Plum Interview

Our August read was Die For Me by Amy Plum.  When we all, the BookNerds, finished the book we could not stop talking about how great it was.  Then we got into contact with Amy Plum herself and asked if we could ask a few questions.  She was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.

1.       One of the great things about Die For Me is the way history and the arts are so seamlessly blended into the narrative. Can you tell us briefly about how you blend fact and fiction?

That was one of my favorite parts about writing DIE FOR ME. I’m an art historian (my M.A. is in 13th century Sienese painting), and, besides books, history and art are my life’s passions. So historical events and art are already there in the forefront of my mind, not needing to be researched. There is such a wealth of events and images already out there, that for me it’s like picking strawberries. I pluck the biggest, juiciest ones and weave them in with my story. It’s not like I think ahead of time “I want to include Picasso and Léger and Modigliani in Book 1”. It’s just that when I need an image, they’re all there waiting for me to choose between them.
And as for the characters’ fictional histories being set in actual history, I’m a bit of a mystic about that. I feel like my characters already exist and it’s up to me to discover them. I feel like I’m digging for their histories instead of making them up. But it does help to have done a lot of reading in history because the basis for those stories are already there in my subconscious, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I come across something similar in the course of my research. (Such as Lucien and Ambrose. I knew who they were, and almost fell over when I found actual stories that defined them more clearly. Lucien is Philippe Henriot, and you’ll find out who Ambrose is later!)

2. We can see the parallels in this book with your background in art, literature, and antiques.  We found it very interesting that the heroine in this story had these same interests.  On the other hand, her party oriented sister became unintentionally involved with a bad crowd.  How have the arts influenced you as a writer?  Was it your intention to encourage readers to explore their own interest in the arts?
That was not my agenda going into the writing of the book. I just based Kate on myself in a very shameless manner! J They say, “Write what you know”, so I thought that with this first foray into fiction, I would imbue my protagonist with my own personality and character in order to make her as realistic as possible. However, once I began including the history and art, I thought, “Wouldn’t that be cool if I actually interested my readers in the stories and artwork and places that I’m mentioning?” My editor actually had me cut a few parts because she said it was beginning to sound like I was giving my readers a history lesson!

3. Vincent is chivalrous, well spoken, and respectful.  We are drawn to individuals like him, but they seem very far and few between in today's society.  What do you hope young readers will take from these characters?
Perhaps individuals like Vincent are far and few between today, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept less in a potential partner. I expect a lot of people. I set my own personal bar high. Maybe – subconsciously – I want to tell my readers, “You deserve someone like him.”
Then again, DIE FOR ME is fiction. I don’t want my readers to compare Vincent to their husband/boyfriend and find their partners lacking. But I do think that we can expect chivalry, good manners, a good heart, and intelligence—if that is what we’re looking for. As for saying the perfect thing at the perfect time, buying the ultimate gift that touches the girls’ heart, swoonworthy dates, and the rest...those aren’t very realistic expectations on a consistent basis. But that’s the reason we read novels with romance!

4. We loved all the extras you have on your website Amy Plum, such as a Die For Me scene from Vincent’s point of view and an interactive map of Paris highlighting important landmarks from the book. Are you planning on doing the same type of thing for Until I Die, the next book in the trilogy?
I had so much fun doing those extras. I am definitely going to do the same for UNTIL I DIE, and am hoping to go even further with a separate DIE FOR ME site with character pages if I can find the time!

5.   Where are you in the process of writing Until I Die? Can you give us any hints about this book?
I am done with UNTIL I DIE and am starting the third novel. In UNTIL I DIE, Kate and Vincent’s relationship has already begun and now they will have to figure out how to make it work with all of the hardships they will face in combining two completely different worlds. There is a lot of romance, there are some new characters as well as all of the old characters, a new evil will be faced – oh I wish I could tell you it all, but we’re all going to have to wait! (How I hate waiting!)

Please visit Amy Plum's Site where there are FAQ's, a special verison of Vincent's Point of View, and many others.  Again we would like to thank Amy Plum for taking time to answer our questions. 

We cannot wait for Until I Die!!!!!!!!!!

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