Interview With Author Amryn Cross
Please welcome Amryn Cross, author of the US Marshal's series of books. She has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her debut novel, LEARNING TO DIE, and some personal questions about her as an author.
In addition, she's giving away a copy of the ebook. All you have to do is comment, and leave your email address. You can spell it out if you prefer. For example: jane(underscore)doe(at)gmail(dot)com
Thank you so much for agreeing to join us on Sleuths and Suspects.
Where are you from?
I’ve lived in the Knoxville, TN area my entire life, and I wouldn't trade being a southern girl for anything. There’s something in the air around here, especially this time of year, that speaks to me. It’s where I learned, from an early age, to love God, SEC football, and sweet tea.
I hope to visit Tennessee someday. As a Texas girl, I understand the love of the south. Can you tell us your latest news?
I just released my debut novel, Learning to Die, from Desert Breeze Publishing. This book is near and dear to my heart because I’d never had a character speak to me quite as loudly as Kate James did in this book. It’s definitely a suspense novel, but it’s also Kate’s story, and I’m so excited to be able to share it.
Since I've had the privilege of being your critique partner, I love Kate, too. As soon as the book was released, I bought it and plan to start on it very soon. I'm so excited to read it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
This is a tough one to answer. Probably after I finished a draft of my first novel. Looking back on it now, I see all the problems with it, but it was the first thing I’d written with completely original characters that was of any substantial length. I tend to get bored with things easily, so when I disciplined myself enough to write a 100,000+ word manuscript, I knew I could do this. That’s when the hard work really began—learning the craft, researching new characters and locations, building a support community—but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I have to say, I love your writing style. Do you have a job other than writing?
Very few people are fortunate enough to land their one dream job, while I’m blessed to have two. Writing has always been a dream for me—one I didn't take serious until the last five years—but I always planned on having a career outside of it. My day job is as a forensic scientist for a crime lab, and it really is just as cool as it sounds. Thank God he knew exactly what he was doing when he put me there.
Being a forensic scientist must help your writing, in addition to being an awesome job. Who do you credit with supporting you the most in your writing journey?
There are so many people who've had a hand in this process that I couldn't list them all. However, my family has supported me since day one and made me laugh when I sorely needed it (when you come home from your job working criminal cases and write about murders and suspense, things can get a little dark). My mom and my sister have read everything I’ve written and provided valuable feedback and encouragement. I sat down with the two of them when I began to write Learning to Die, and we plotted out the whole thing at my parent’s kitchen table. They were tossing out ideas faster than I could write them down! And my dad, who really doesn't like to read, believed in me just as much. As far as I know, he’s never read my stories, but his support is just as precious because he believes in me anyway.
Sometimes, those non-readers can be our biggest cheerleaders. Any words of advice for novice writers?
Keep writing. Seriously, it sounds obvious, but it really wasn't to me. I was so proud for having finished my first novel, I threw all my energy into editing, pitching, and querying that novel. Unfortunately, that didn't leave me much time for writing something new. When I gave myself permission to move on from that story, amazing things started to happen. The only way you’re going to grow and improve as a writer is to write. Learning to Die was the second novel I wrote, and the difference between it and the first is amazing. And when I read the two manuscripts I finished since then, I see even more improvement. Just know that you’re never going to be perfect, but always push to be a little better.
Great advice. The more we write, the better we become. Tell us a little bit about your debut novel.
Learning to Die picks up with Miami criminalist Kate James who’s hiding a big secret from everyone around her, and it’s slowly killing her spirit. She’s been through something traumatic and never really dealt with it because she had no one to turn to. Instead of processing and grieving, she’s made some bad choices and has reached the point where she’s sure that even God couldn't love this person she’s become.
Back Cover Copy:
Graham Shepherd is a US Marshal who is keeping a secret or tow of his own--at least one of which involves Kate. He's on a mission to save her in every way possible, and she resents it more than a little. Not a great combination since Graham is the marshal in charge of escorting Kate back to her home town to testify in a high profile trial.
Kate and Graham have two separate missions, which don't exactly mesh. Graham just wants to her alive, but Kate will stop at nothing to get justice for her brother. They have to learn to trust each other while staying one step ahead of a man who may be closer than either of them realize.