Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Rivers.
Hi Amy, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always loved to write. I wrote my first book in third grade as part of the Melton Book program and participated in creative writing projects and programs throughout school. But I never considered writing as a full-time career. As a result, most of the writing I did as an adult was academic or business-related. Lots of technical manuals and marketing copy.
It wasn’t until moving to Colorado about seven years ago that I started writing professionally. My journey started with writing personal essays about my time working with a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program in Southern New Mexico. One of those essays was picked up by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses and I was hooked. I started writing my first novel, Wallflower Blooming, focusing on the many roles that women juggle in their lives and how trauma and loss can impact our direction. The sequel, Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, followed along the same lines, but something was pulling me along a darker path.
I wanted to explore the effects of trauma and violence, especially sexual assault and domestic violence. I’ve always believed that readers gain a lot of their knowledge and perspective from fiction, whether intentionally or not, and I thought these heavy topics might be easier to consider when presented through the lens of fiction. So, I shifted gears and wrote All The Broken People, my first work of psychological suspense.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
As is true to most beginning writers, I stumbled all along the way. It’s hard to parse through all the information and conflicting views on publication that exist in this industry and I spent the first few years bouncing around: querying agents, working with a small progress, publishing short pieces, and then circling back around to traditional publishing again. Finally, at a conference in Nashville, one of the keynotes asked the question, “Why aren’t you self-publishing?” It was a real wake-up call for me. Despite all the years I had counseled clients to take an honest look at their situation when making decisions, I realized that I had done the exact opposite. I’d been following trends or advice without really determining my goals.
That examination led me to create my own imprint and choose self-publishing as my path to publication. There are still lots of bumps. No matter what kind of author you are, you have to deal with rejection and bad reviews. You have to figure out how to deal with writers’ block, lack of motivation, and all the interruptions and hiccups that life presents. For me, the pandemic has had a major impact on my work, both in positive and negative terms. Between my personal writing and my writing organization, I find it hard sometimes to just focusing on finishing up my stories. But that’s the writing life, encountering these obstacles and learning how to overcome them.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a voracious reader of crime fiction, but my own style of writing is somewhat different. I am certainly interested in entertaining my readers, but I’m equally invested in presenting perspective and details about the effects of trauma on people in different situations, so I try very hard to strike a balance. I love to read those books where the roguish detective breaks all protocol to take down the serial killer lurking in the shadows, but I write about more realistic situations. I write about how alcoholism and addiction travel through generations. How childhood trauma can impair a person’s judgment much later in life. How the people we trust are sometimes the people we should fear most.
As a former director of a sexual assault program, I’ve been part of the system that seeks justice for victims but often re-victimizes them throughout the process. I’ve worked alongside law enforcement, attorneys, judges, advocates, counselors, and all manner of service providers, witnesses their successes and failures in a system that often puts them at odds. It’s not always a pretty picture, and most people, thankfully, do not have to navigate that system. But for those who do, I hope my books will help to educate and inspire families and communities to provide more support and understanding for those who’ve been harmed.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
To keep writing. Finishing a book—taking it from an idea to a paper copy that you can hold—is a long, involved, and often arduous process. It’s not surprising that many people who want to be authors never get there. Even with four published books under my belt, it’s still hard to get started sometimes. And then, when the book is out there is the world, there’s still a ton of work to do. So, my advice to aspiring writers, and also to myself, is just keep writing. No matter what.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.amyrivers.com
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/amy.rivers38
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amyrivers.writer
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingRivers
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@amyriverswrites