What inspired you to write Amy Inspired?
The story was inspired by many of my experiences as an English teacher in Ohio. I was getting ready to leave the university I’d been a part of for seven years, when my editor at the time approached me with the idea of writing a story about a young professor in small-town America, a sort of Bridget Jones goes academic. The idea of creating an imaginary town that mirrored the one I’d grown to love appealed to me, especially while I was in the painful process of saying good-bye. The fictional Copenhagen campus and its colorful characters gave me a kind of home away from home during the emotional upheaval of moving, marrying, and starting over in a new place.
Any deleted scenes you’d like to share now? (Please set it up before you share it.)
Honestly I can’t think of a single deleted scene I miss, which is a real testament to my editors. There are some very poorly written sections we deleted, but I’ll spare us all the embarrassment.
What is your favorite holiday recipe?
I love making and eating buckeyes, which are little peanut butter/chocolate candies that resemble the fruit of the Ohio Buckeye tree. In our family, the making of buckeyes resembles a factory assembly line: We roll the endless batter into balls, methodically freeze the rows upon rows of candy centers, then sit around the table and dip the peanut butter middles in the hot chocolate while watching long marathons of holiday movie favorites. Dad participates, inasmuch as we need quality control, eating whatever’s lopsided or marred (a task we are thankful for because we take inordinate pride in the perfection of our Christmas goodies).
Can you share a favorite memory from the holidays?
I have too many to list, but my thoughts go first to my late grandparents. I loved waiting for them to arrive in their huge blue van, a veritable Christmas sleigh weighed down with gifts we would stack into fortresses in the living room. I remember waking up before sunrise Christmas morning to sit with my brother and sister on either side of Grandma, vying for her attention, watching fat snowflakes fall outside in the yellow light of the streetlamp. We would talk her ear off, and she loved it.
My grandmother made Christmas magical„Ÿshe was the most childlike of all of us in her wonder. She was the one who ran into the living room, breathless, just to see Santa at the end of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. She was also the one who clapped at a particularly good gift.
What is your favorite Christmas song/hymn?
Silent Night. But I’ll confess, I’m a Christmas music junkie„Ÿanything from the old Amy Grant specials to the most jangling rendition of All I Want for Christmas. I’m usually very finicky about my music, especially in my studio, but this time of year, if I didn’t share the space with another artist more discerning in his musical taste, I’d play holiday easy-listening for hours.