Today we're excited to chat Amy Giles, author of Now Is Everything. Read on for more about Amy and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Amy Giles!
Amy Giles is a copywriter and has written everything from cereal commercials to animated webisodes to commercial fishing catalogs. Her true love is writing for and about teens. She lives on an Island that is Long with her husband, her two daughters, and their rescue dog.
Now Is Everything is a stirring debut novel told in alternating THEN and NOW chapters, perfect for Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Niven fans, about what one girl is willing to do to protect her past, present, and future.
The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.
Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.
When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The idea for Now Is Everything started with a news story about a little girl who was the sole survivor of a small plane crash. I imagined the hell she must have endured, not only crawling away from the wreckage, but leaving behind her entire family, all dead, then walking miles looking for help. The story haunted me. Eventually, I started thinking about it in “what ifs”: what if the girl wasn’t seven, but seventeen? What if being in a plane crash isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to her?
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Is it okay to have more than one? I love Lila’s spunk and spirit. I love Charlie’s pure heart. I love Noah because I’m someone who needs that friend who can make me laugh.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. It took me a bit longer to come up with a title, and at that, I have to credit my editor for coming up with it. Once she said, “How about Now Is Everything?” I wondered why I never thought of it myself.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
One of my favorite scenes is Hadley’s therapy session while she’s in the psychiatric hospital. To write that scene, I Skyped with a friend who is a therapist and we role played what Hadley was thinking and how a therapist would respond. This exercise allowed me to write against someone else’s questions and, I feel, made Hadley’s answers all the more revealing and painful.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Finding honest people to critique your work is important. Otherwise you have no way to gauge what is working and what isn’t.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
All of it! I love this cover, especially how the optimism of the blue sky plays against the more foreboding ground. We used Magritte’s Empire of Light paintings as inspiration to set the mood. Although the skywriting looks carefree and wistful, it also feels like a warning of what’s to come, like in The Wizard of Oz (“SURRENDER DOROTHY”). And then there’s Hadley. Her figure stands so heroically against the sky and landscape. Her pose and stance are contemplative, suggesting the dark secret in her life beneath her bright exterior.
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Amber Smith’s The Last to Let Go; I’m a huge fan of Amber’s! Also Katie Henry’s Heretics Anonymous. I read a very early draft of this book and Katie’s writing is as sharp, hilarious, and brilliant as she is.
8. What was your favorite book in 2017?
A List of Cages by Robin Roe.
9. What’s up next for you?
My next book, That Night, comes out October 2018.
10. Is there anything that you would like to add?
Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. If you are being abused or neglected, or suspect someone you know is, please let someone know. CALL 911 if you believe you or someone you know is in immediate danger from child abuse or neglect. Or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 24/7: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
11. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
When Hadley’s father hits her and she realizes that it’s not the pain that she remembers when it’s over, it’s the violence, the hate. That still makes me cry. How awful to have this awareness as a teenager, that pain caused by your parent is something you can learn to endure.
12. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In my new book, That Night, I struggled with Jess’s mother, who is suffering from complicated grief disorder after losing her son. Complex grief disorder is a tricky and complicated diagnosis to treat. It implies a treatment resistant depression. Writing about a mother who was suffering so greatly from grief that she cannot connect with the living, and how that affected her daughter who was also grieving, was painful to write and balance.
13. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Editing?
Drafting, which I know is an unpopular opinion. It’s like new love, when you still haven’t figured out the flaws in the relationship yet. This is the part of the process where I am still excited by what’s going to happen, because plenty of times when I sit down to write, I have no idea what I’ll come up with that day.
14. What would you say is your superpower?
Is self-effacing humor a recognized superpower yet? If not, I’m going to have to keep thinking. My talents are limited.
15. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Three, off the top of my head:
The American Cancer Society: I lost a dear friend a few years ago to cancer, and they will always have my support to help them find a cure.
Make-A-Wish: My daughter runs a fundraiser each year for Make-A-Wish and our entire family gets behind it to make it as successful as possible.
WHY Hunger: My neighbor Bill Ayres is a co-founder of this organization that strives to “end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment.”
Now Is Everything
By: Amy Giles
Release Date: November 7, 2017