YA author Amy Giles’s newest book is entitled “Now Is Everything.” The YA novel, released last month, is a gripping story for readers of any age. Told in alternating timelines, the book deals with issues such as domestic abuse and handling emotional distress. YEM spoke with Amy Giles about writing her new novel and how she handled heavy subjects in a realistic way for young readers.
Young Entertainment Mag: This is your first novel! What advice would you give to young aspiring authors?
Amy Giles: It’s my first published novel! So my first bit of advice to aspiring authors is: don’t be discouraged. Rejections can sting, but every published author was once an unpublished author. Think of critiques and feedback as ways to hone your craft.
Second bit of advice: Read! Some days I feel as if I cannot for the life of me scratch out a sentence. Walking away and reading helps jumpstart my brain.
YEM: When did you first know you wanted to become an author?
AG: I want to say always but I remember being seven and looking at all the glorious books at the school library, thinking, “One day I’ll have a book of my own up there.”
YEM: Were there any authors that inspired your style of writing?
AG: I’m not sure if anyone inspired my style of writing, but I’m always inspired to be a better writer after reading a great book. What I often love about some of my favorite authors is that their style is so different than mine. I loved Kathleen Glasgow’s “A Girl In Pieces,” and Ruth Lehrer’s “Being Fishkill.” Their writing is so lyrical and poetic.
YEM: Did you base any of the characters in the books off of people in your life?
AG: I try so hard not to! In fact, I’m horrified when people ask me, “Is this based on so-and- so?” I’d lose a lot of friends if I put them in my books, especially considering the situations I put my characters in.
YEM: What character from the book do you relate to the most?
AG: As a younger sister, I relate to Lila. My family was in no way like the McCauley family, but the role of older siblings is often to protect the baby in the family.
YEM: How did it feel to receive your first review for the book?
AG: It’s somewhat terrifying when your book goes out into the world to be critiqued by people you don’t know! Thankfully, the first review was positive. That was the first time I felt like an Author with a capital A.
YEM: This book tackles some deep subjects. What made you want to write about them?
AG: Too many people have either grown up witnessing domestic violence or are themselves victims of child abuse. To them, it’s a shameful secret, something the victim is either embarrassed or afraid to share. It’s very easy to feel that this is something that only happens in your family. But by exposing it, you can break the cycle of abuse.
YEM: What inspired you to write for young adults? What makes writing for this age group so unique?
AG: What I love about young adult books is that no matter how heavy the subject, the stories always end on a hopeful note. Teenagers are resilient and they have their entire lives ahead of them. Knowing that they’re just beginning to live their lives, that what they’re going through right now is temporary, is a positive message, especially when so many kids are really struggling. I want them to know that they shouldn’t struggle alone though, and they should seek help if the burden is more than they can bear.
Amy Giles’s novel Now Is Everything is available now from HarperTeen! Find Amy on social media at amygilesauthor on Facebook and @AmySGiles on Twitter.