Amy Fellner Dominy's Blog
May 17, 2015
After 55 months of labor, I’m so happy to welcome my newest bundle of joy:
A Matter of Heart officially released last Tuesday, May 12th. It was pretty much like giving birth to a baby but without the epidural.
I was having pains all morning. My stomach hurt and I hadn’t been able to sleep much in days. I was in a bit of a stupor just wanting it to be over, hoping it would go well, hoping it wouldn’t hurt too much, hoping for no complications.
OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating the drama a little. After all, a book launch party isn’t life and death. But on the other hand, I was introducing my book baby to a whole audience of people who would soon hold my baby. They would be able to look it over, head to toe, and would they find flaws? Well, just in case they did, I was prepared with a distraction.
As it turned out, it was an amazing night. The party was at Changing Hands Bookstore, one of the coolest independent bookstores anywhere. Brandi Stewart, the amazing bookseller, had lots of books on hand, all spread out in a—yes, you guessed it— heart shape.
A wonderful group of people turned out. Friends, family, book lovers…an old teacher of mine from high school who saw the announcement in the paper. Wow.
A wonderful audience
Best of all, I got to share the spotlight with Sharon Bates, founder of the Anthony Bates Foundation. (For those of you who don’t know this already, A Matter of Heart features a character with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that strikes teen athletes.) Sharon lost her son to HCM and her mission is to bring heart tests to high schools so no other teen athlete will ever die from a hidden heart condition. A portion of sales from this book will go the foundation and I was very happy to give Sharon a first check at the party.
Sharon Bates, the heart and soul of the Anthony Bates Foundation
So, that’s the story of my book baby’s birthday. I’m thrilled that Heart is out in the world. I hope my baby will bring happiness to many readers. Including you!
The post Ready Set LAUNCH! appeared first on Amy Fellner Dominy, Award-Winning Author of Teen Novels.
March 11, 2015
I’m just going to blurt out my news because I’m so excited: Delacorte is going to publish my next young adult novel! (Imagine a dancing smiling face here. I REALLY need to learn how to insert emoticons.) The title:
DIE FOR YOU
It’s a little different from my other books. Edgier maybe. More tragic. More…. Well, you can let me know what you think once it comes out in Fall of 2016. Here’s the official announcement from Publisher’s Weekly:
Krista Vitola at Delacorte has acquired Amy Fellner Dominy’s latest YA novel, Die for You, about 17-year-old Emma Lorde, whose beloved may do more than just steal her heart when Emma is offered an internship in Rome.
I’m thrilled because I’ll get to keep working with the same amazing, talented, dedicated people at Delacorte and Random House who are bringing A MATTER OF HEART to the world in just two more months. (May 12th, to be exact!)
So, that’s my news. And why I’m feeling very goosebumpy these days. Reality will strike when it’s time to start writing the next book and my usual fears and worries will retake control of my stomach. But for now it’s time to celebrate.
Thanks for being a friend…a fan…a reader…(or even just a human being who stumbled onto this).
The post News to Die For appeared first on Amy Fellner Dominy, Award-Winning Author of Teen Novels.
December 19, 2014
by Kelly Hager
1) What could you go to the Olympics for (even if it's not a traditionally recognized event)? For example, I could medal in sleeping, reading, marathon movie and TV viewing and consumption of crab wontons.
I could compete in the Olympic event: “Most time soaking in a bubble bath with red wine and a good book”. But, I would WIN the gold medal in the event: “Number of books dropped and ruined in bubble baths.”
2) Is there anything you love so much that you would continue doing it even if you could literally die?
This is such a great question. Lately I’ve been paying attention to how many times we say things in passing like: “I’d die without coffee. I’d die without my phone. I’d die without air conditioning.” (We say that in Phoenix a lot!)
But if we knew we would actually die?
Part of me wants to say that I’d die if I couldn’t write because it sounds so passionate and dedicated. But the truth is that the thing I’m most passionate about is living. So the simple answer to your question is no. (But you still might hear me say I’d die for a good apple fritter.)
3) Part of the proceeds will go toward preventing sudden cardiac arrest. Talk about that :)
I learned about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) when I brought my kids to be heart-tested at a screening event. That’s where I met Sharon Bates who lost her son, Anthony, to HCM. Sharon started a foundation to provide free screenings so other student athletes can be tested and lives can be saved. Her story inspired me—and inspired my book. So when the book sold, I wanted to help support her in any way I could. A donation seemed like a no-brainer. I’m also hoping to make Sharon’s foundation part of my launch event and help her do what she does in any way I can.
4) What are you reading now?
I just finished listening to Orphan Train by Christine Klein. Though the main character is a teen, I think it’s classified as an adult book. Whatever—it’s excellent!
5) What are your five favorite books? You can do authors, if that's easier.
Five favorite books—that’s just an evil question. Here are four books, one author and why:
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl. This is the book that first inspired me to write.
Judy Blume. I felt like I learned about life and myself in her books.
WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams. I tear up every single time I read it and they’re freaking rabbits!
LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien. I read the trilogy every year growing up. I even read all the appendices! Most of the time I think books are too long. This series, well over 1,000 pages, wasn’t nearly long enough.
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. I was just blown away. I don’t think I could stand to read it again, but wow.
6) If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be?
If I could make one book mandatory, I’d say every child should have to keep a personal journal. For me, writing about my life was a type of therapy. Journals make you think, make you consider, make you face the things you’re dealing with. Plus, they get kids writing which I’m afraid is turning into a lost art. Every time I do a school visit, I encourage kids to start a journal. I always tell them: be the hero of your own story!
7) What books are you looking forward to in 2015?
You mean my book isn’t the only one coming out? J
Honestly, I don’t read many series so I’m rarely waiting for a “next” book. The one exception to that is GAME OF THRONES. I’ll be waiting for that one the day it releases!! Otherwise, I usually take my cues from savvy bloggers like you, and read the books that strike a chord. Contemporary books are my favorite but any kind of story with strong characters will pull me in.
July 10, 2014
This is one of the most exciting parts of the whole process for me: Seeing the cover design of my new book!
It’s kind of a crazy thing when you think about it. I wrote the book, imagined the characters and the setting and each moment as it plays out. But the image that defines the book, that graces the cover and will likely be the first thing people see—that comes from the mind and the heart of someone else.
What will it be? Will I like it?
It’s exciting and nerve-wracking and stressful and magical. In this case, mostly magical. Because somehow the designer has created a cover that is nothing like I imagined but exactly right. And that tagline…it’s perfect. I didn’t write it but I wish I had.
The cover is being revealed today on Gae Polisner’s blog where I’m guest hosting a post for Teachers Write! (If you don’t know what that is, it’s an amazing summer program that educates educators on writing. Teachers Write! is spearheaded by Kate Messner, Gae Polisner and a wonderful lineup of authors—you can find them on Facebook here.) I wanted to share the cover on my page, as well, for all of you. So, without further ado: the front cover for A Matter of Heart coming from Random House/Delacorte on May 12, 2015. So, what do you think? Can you feel yourself reaching for it on the shelf….
A Matter of Heart
December 30, 2013
New Years is our chance to give birth to our new selves—our better selves—the people we want to be. The ones who eat healthy and exercise and have infinite patience and volunteer and never raise our voices and are always kind to animals and children and make the world a better place.
New Years is when we reinvent ourselves with a handy little list we call RESOLUTIONS which is actually the word SOLUTIONS preceded by the prefix RE. You know the significance of this?
But I think it could be important. Rather than concentrating so much on the SOLUTIONS, I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t focus on the RE? So, in honor of the coming year, I invite you to join me and RE our way to a great 2014.
Re Solutions for 2014
RE Cast: In the world of theater, you’re cast in a role. But that happens in real life, too. Sometimes, we’re given roles we don’t really want. If you don’t like the role you’ve been playing, now is the time to Re Cast yourself. Stop doing all the things you feel you have to, or only do because it’s expected. Do the things that you want to do and that matter to you. Play the role of a lifetime: Yourself!
RE Vision: Look ahead to 2014. See it? Well, I don’t. I don’t know what a year looks like but instead try and see yourself. Doesn’t matter what you’re doing—writing maybe? I’m sitting on my couch with my laptop where it belongs (on my lap) and (Here’s the important part:) I’m smiling. Go ahead—try that. Picture yourself smiling. Did you know that when you smile the physical action sends a message to your brain and tells it that you’re happy? Yes, really. At least, that’s what my gym instructor told me. So smile. See yourself smile. Already it’s a better year, isn’t it?
RE Read: This is a writer’s blog, so don’t be too surprised but this is exactly what it sounds like. Go back to your favorite books and RE Read. Stories are food for the soul—they’re just so satisfying, aren’t they? Reading old books I love always makes me happy. It reminds me of who I am, of what matters, of what has meaning to me. Sometimes, it just allows me to fall in love again and isn’t that a nice way to start a new year?
RE Define: New Year’s Resolutions are often about success. They’re about meeting goals and accomplishing things we set out as important. But what are those things and why are they important? Often times, the two things are very different. Here’s an example.
GOAL: Increase my running mileage in the coming year.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT: Because my friends go on runs 3 mornings a week and I really love when I can go along. We talk and laugh and I come home with a clear head and more energy than if I’d slept in. But I have hamstring issues (and knee issues…don’t get me started) and I never stretch or do the things I should do so I can’t run as far as they do and I miss out on a lot of runs.
What does this have to do with RE Define? Well, instead of thinking I need to increase my mileage—which sounds like NO fun—I’m going to concentrate on spending more time with my friends. And that does sound like fun. In the end, I suppose I’ll have to stretch more and use that darn foam roller. But I digress. Figure out what matters and define your goals in that way.
RE Joyce: This only works if you know someone named Joyce who is an inspiration to you.
So those are just a few that will get me started–and hopefully you, too. As the new year arrives, think RE.
RE, I might add, is a PREFIX. Think about it. Pre Fix.
Wishing you and your family and the world in general, a year of good, and a year of doing good.
October 11, 2013
I turned in copyedits yesterday for my next book, and I don’t want there to be any mistakes.
But there are.
When you write 70,000 words, things slip by you. Words end up misspelled to read like another word. Red nail polish somehow becomes pink in the next scene. A class schedule shifts from chapter 1 to chapter 60. These are the trees you miss for the forest.
What else am I missing?
I want this book to be perfect.
In my quest for perfection, I’ve gone through this book over and over. I read it once online and made all the editorial changes. I printed it out and read through it again and made hard copy notes. Then, I read it all OUT LOUD, and caught a whole bunch of other little oddities.
And each time I made a fix, instead of feeling happy, I only worried more. If I found that, there must be more.
Then there are the content mistakes. The facts. Sure, there are some situations that stretch the bounds of reality. This is fiction and for the sake of the plot, things happen on the page that might not happen quite the same way in life. But I want the facts to be true. I want the experience to be real. So, to be sure, I had appointments with two experts about issues in my book. I went over everything and made more changes. And still…
What am I missing?
The book won’t be out until Spring, 2015. (It’s called A MATTER OF HEART, and I’m thrilled that it’s being published by Random House/Delacorte.) That means it still has more edits to come. It’ll be read by my editor, and then proofread and I’ll have another pass (or two) at it. So, there’s lots more chances to catch anything and everything. But I’m still worried.
When have I ever attained perfection? And aren’t I wise enough to realize I never can?
Which is why I’m writing you now. Please forgive me, in advance.
October 4, 2013
Me, I’m thinking about NaNo.
For those of you unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November when people come together online and pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. http://nanowrimo.org/ It’s an amazing way to motivate yourself, to forget about perfection and concentrate on telling a story.
It’s also completely insane. I know, I’ve done it the last few years.
But here’s the REALLY INSANE PART:
If I do it again this year, I’ll be writing the same story I wrote during NaNo last year.
How can that be?
How can I have written 7 drafts (yes, SEVEN) of a novel over the course of 10 months and only just discovered that I goofed and must rewrite—completely—from the beginning?
The literal answer (for those who want to avoid the same mistake) is that I was trying to structure a story with two POVs. I somehow ended up making the story about one person, but I gave all the stakes to the other person.
There’s also a figurative, more philosophical answer: Writing is a journey and no matter how far down the path you go, there are new lessons to be learned (and new mistakes to be made.)
So, back to the original dilemma: Do I NaNo or not? I know what I should say.
Heck yeah, I want to do NaNo!
I should face this challenge head on and take 30 days to write a killer new draft and overcome this setback and then I should climb a set of stairs somewhere and pump my fists in time to the Rocky music.
(I’m feeling very dramatic about all this, if you haven’t figured that out.)
Unfortunately, I just don’t want to. I’m tired. I’m mad at myself. I’m frustrated. I’m broken-hearted over the lost time. I just want to watch old episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and not think about anything. I want to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself and enjoy it.
Ever feel like this before? (Because it sucks.)
And, in fact, this is what I’ve been doing for the past couple weeks until the other day when I was watching one of these episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and Coach Taylor, the coolest high school football coach ever, tells these two guys,
“You get one chance in life. You can either take it,
or you spend the rest of your life regretting it.”
Really? Did he have to go there?
Now I feel like Coach Taylor is talking to me. I feel like this is a chance and I should take it. (Next time I’m going to watch reruns of something WITHOUT a message.)
So, I’m looking at the calendar. It’s October. And I can’t wait for my kids to be home for fall break and I think this year I will dress up for Halloween and yes, I think I will NaNo. I’m still not sure I want to, but I think I need to. Because the hardest part of any difficult job is to START. I have a story to tell and I think it might be a really great story and the only way I’ll know is if I get it down on paper.
So that’s where I am and what I’m thinking. What about you? Is there a story living inside of you? Is NaNo the trigger you need to get started? Or is there something else that will motivate you?
If so, I highly recommend Friday Night Lights.
August 23, 2013
That’s how long it’s been since I began writing a new YA, and blogging about the process.
If you’re just joining me now, I started this blog as a way of sharing the journey with other writers. And it is a journey—a process. For me, books don’t just spill out like a dream come to life. (I wish!) Struggling and pitfalls are part of the deal. Which is why I share a writerly lesson/wisdom each week in the hope that I can spare you from falling into the same traps I seem to keep stumbling into.
So, after a long summer off, what happened to that book I started during NaNoWriMo? That book I rewrote SEVEN times? That book whose main character hid from me for at least four of those revisions? That book I began FORTY-TWO weeks ago?
I’m back to revising. (Just shoot me now!)
Okay, it’s really not that bad. In fact, the book is pretty great. With one tiny problem. I wrote the book in third-person past POV. And now that it’s done and I have some perspective and I have the feedback of my critique partners and my agent, well…. I think it needs to be told in first-person present.
And it gets worse.
I wanted to experiment with multiple POVs and now that I’m done, I realize that might not have been the best idea. So, that’s what I’ll be working on for the next month or two: rewriting to get the POV correct. Is it frustrating? Yeah. But I also have a much better understanding of my characters because of the work I did. Which brings me to my Writerly Wisdom for the week:
No writing is ever a waste of time.
Don’t worry about being wrong a few times before you’re right. As long as you get there—that’s what counts.
In the meantime, my next book, A MATTER OF HEART, is with my editor at Delacorte/Random House. I’ll be getting revision notes from her next month. I’m excited, and also nervous. I’ll keep you posted.
What about you? Whatever your goals, and however many weeks it might take you to get there, I hope you’re still moving forward.
Happy weekend everyone!
August 10, 2013
I’m so excited to announce my new book deal:
A MATTER OF HEART
will be published Spring, 2015
by Random House/Delacorte.
Here’s the write up in Publishers Weekly:
Krista Vitola at Delacorte has bought a contemporary YA novel by Amy Dominy, called A Matter of Heart. In the book, 16-year-old Abby is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials, when the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition forces Abby to discover who she is without the one thing that has defined her entire life. Publication is planned for spring 2015; Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the deal.
There was even a picture of me.
Me, having a good hair day.
I’m not going to lie. Seeing myself in Publishers Weekly is a very cool thing!
A MATTER OF HEART is a story I started a couple of years ago. Inspiration first came when I learned about a young athlete who had attended my kids’ high school—and who had died from a heart condition when he was twenty years old. In his honor, his mother created The Anthony Bates Foundation, and the foundation was providing heart tests at the school. I brought my kids to be tested and met Sharon Bates. I’m a mom, I have children who are athletes —how could I not be moved by this family’s tragedy? How could I not be affected by the reality of this heart condition that kills adolescents? I knew I had a story to write.
The first draft actually came easier to me than any story before (or since.) From the very beginning, I knew Abby so well, I understood what she was facing, and I needed to see what she would do. It was a book I couldn’t put down once I started writing. When I finished, I set it aside so I could come back to revisions with a clear mind. But other projects got in the way and it wasn’t until this year that I finished the book and it went out on submission.
If you want to know the scary truth, I felt like a brand new writer going out on submission for the first time. Yes, I have two published books that I’m very proud of. But they were geared for a tween market and my publisher, Walker, wanted me to write only for middle grade. The problem? A MATTER OF HEART had to be older. Abby had to be about sixteen.
That meant I was suddenly a YA author and on my own.
I needed a new publisher.
A new editor.
A new start.
It began coming together this summer. Wonderful feedback, contact from interested editors… I got that goose-bumpy feeling that something amazing would happen. And it did: In the form of Krista Vitola at Delacorte.
Over the past few weeks while this was coming together, I’ve done more than a few Happy Dances (and toasted with more than a few glasses of red wine.) But it’s never the same when you can’t share the news. So I’m thrilled that I can tell the world now. And I’m thrilled that A MATTER OF HEART is going to find it’s way into the world. It’s so cool to be with a publisher like Random House and with an imprint like Delacorte that has such a wonderful reputation. And it’s a writer’s dream to find an editor like Krista who believes in my story.
Spring 2015 feels like a long way off, but it’ll be fun to share the process along the way.
Thanks for all your friendship and support along the way.
And now, a new chapter begins.
June 14, 2013
Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. I spent Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. and April revising. In May it went to critique partners and then my agent. Each week I share writing tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale.
Week 34 Recap
“Is this normal?”
How often do we ask ourselves this question? I think it’s a universal thing but I’m sure it’s a writer thing. We’re always hungry to know every detail of other writer’s lives—I’m the same way.We want to know what time people write, in what conditions, on what programs, how many words a day, what sort of process, is there music, snacks, coffee or tea, are you a pantser or a plotter and on and on. It just feels safer sometimes to do things the way others do them. And we want to compare and be able to say to ourselves, “This is normal. I’m normal.”
But of course we all know there is no such thing as normal.
I just went through this myself on the question of how long should it take to write a book.
On the one hand, I watch many of my published friends who are on deadline with at least one (and many of them two) books each year. They are completing 75,000 word novels in 3 – 6 months. I’m impressed as hell, for one thing. But I’ve also realized that it’s made me feel slow. And a little anxious about being slow. The anxiety level is also due to the quickness and ease afforded by self-publishing. Because at the same time, I’m also watching friends who self-publish put up two or three new titles each year. (Or more!)
On the other hand, some of my favorite adult novelists spend 10 years researching and writing a book. 10 YEARS. And as I read WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, Donald Maass says writing the breakout novel requires a commitment of time. To paraphrase: it might take a couple of years to write one novel.
In fact, I underlined that part. Twice. Why? Because it makes me happy. Because, as much as there’s no normal and I don’t aspire to be normal anyway, I still feel like that means I’m doing okay.
We all have things that worry us, that make us feel uncertain and insecure. That force us to question what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. In fact, you might have something worrying at the back of your mind right now. If so, let me put your mind at ease.
It’s perfectly normal.
Finally, a quick update on my manuscript, DETOURS. It’s been with my agent about 3 weeks, and I had an email this week. She’s read it and (drum roll) she really loves it! Notes are coming, but I feel like I’ve passed the first giant hurdle. (The one that spans the Grand Canyon!) More work to do, definitely, but that’s normal, too.
I also wanted to let you all know that I’m signing off for the next month or so. Summer is here and I’ll be heading off on a few family adventures. I hope you’ll have a chance for some R & R, too. And of course some creative joy—whatever that might mean for you.
When I’m back, let’s continue on shall we?