She is married to her beautiful wife, Lou. They share a love of Dolly Parton, have a beautiful cat named Alice, and a mischievous little dog named Kimmy.
She loves exploring and writing different genres, setting all of her novels in the UK, and starring vibrant lesbian characters.
Amy’s debut novel, Secret Lies, won a Golden Crown Literary Award in 2014 for the Young Adult category.
A brief description of your writing:
Lesbian romance set in the UK that explores different genres.
One word to describe your books:
Who/What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved reading books. My family are Irish and have always been great at telling stories. I always knew I wanted to be a writer but it didn’t really happen until after I accepted my sexuality and met my beautiful wife.
She gave me the encouragement to sit down and actually attempt to write. Whenever I’ve tried to give up (which has happened a few times), she’s refused to let me and has given me the boost I need to keep going. Without her love and support, I don’t think I’d have ever got close to finishing my first manuscript. I owe everything to her.
Why lesbian fiction?
The world of lesbian fiction changed everything for me. It gave me the courage to accept who I was and go out and live the life I wanted. I’d returned home after graduating from university and splitting from my first girlfriend. I felt alone, depressed, and confused. While buying books online, I happened to stumble across the Lesbian Fiction section. I ordered a few books with the intention of hiding them away and only reading them in secret at night.
The first book I ever read was Curious Wine by Katherine V. Forrest and it blew my mind. Within a week, I’d read everything she’d written. Those characters and stories gave me the confidence to live the life I wanted and more importantly, accept who I was once and for all. To this day, I’m still indebted to those authors. I have no doubt whatsoever, that I’m where I am today because of those stories. I’ll never, ever, underestimate the power a story can have on someone’s life. And that’s what made me determined to try and write my own lesbian fiction novels. I hope readers enjoy the stories I write and perhaps one or two of them may find solace in them too.
If someone is new to your work, which of your books should she read first?
My debut novel, Secret Lies, is Young Adult fiction and explores the positive and negatives that come with experiencing first love and dealing with abuse and self-harm.
My second novel, Season’s Meetings is a light-hearted festive romance, perfect for snuggling up with on a cold day, with a hot drink, and a crackling fire.
My novel, The Renegade, is speculative fiction and is more of an urban thriller.
All of my books have romance as a fundamental part of their story, and I’m very fortunate that readers seem to enjoy joining me on the adventure of exploring a new genre.
What inspired you to write Secret Lies?
At the time, I was working with vulnerable young people in care. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a YA novel, because I knew if I could have read one when I was a teenager, it would’ve changed my life for the better.
One afternoon, I was talking to a couple of the young people about books and reading. One girl said she hated books and stormed off. I followed her and asked her why she hated books. She told me that she hated books because all of the characters were beautiful and had perfect lives. Not in one book that she’d read had the main characters had to experience or deal with real life problems. It was a constant reminder that she was different to everyone else and that she would never be perfect like those characters. This broke my heart but also forced into motion my desire to attempt to write a YA Lesbian novel.
I intended to write a story that was explored first love but was also gritty, and dealt unashamedly with tough and realistic situations and experiences. I wanted the main characters to represent the amazing young people I’d worked with.
To show the world their resourcefulness, strength, humour, and resilience. I also wanted to include helpful tips and resources for people who are experiencing domestic abuse and self-harm. I appreciate that Secret Lies sounds very dark and gritty, but it’s important to point out that there is a balance of dark and light. There’s plenty of humour and many positives that come with experiencing first love.
See our review of Secret Lies
What inspired you to write Season’s Meetings?
After writing, Secret Lies, I wanted to try my hand at writing a romantic comedy. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. My wife and I love Christmas so much, that our family think we’re a bit too enthusiastic. We can’t help it. It’s our favourite time of year.
One night I was struggling to sleep because of the excitement of putting up decorations and the tree. I started thinking about what it would take for someone who hates Christmas, to completely change their perspective. I wanted to include fun family traditions, everything that makes Christmas special to my wife and our family, and a setting that made me wistful. The story and characters quickly snowballed and the proposal was accepted by my publisher and yet I felt there was something missing, something extra special. Then it hit me. I needed to include our very own little Cairn Terrier, Kimmy. And that was it! Everything worked out perfectly and I had so much fun writing the story.
My wife complained on multiple occasions about me waking her up because I was laughing out loud. Three months later, the finished draft was sent to my editor. And Kimmy got a starring role on the book’s cover
See our review of Season’s Meetings
What inspired you to write The Renegade?
As I’ve already said, I really love reading and will generally give any genre a go. One of my favourite genre’s is speculative fiction. Building a realistic and believable world is an incredible gift, and I really just wanted to see if I could pull it off.
Plus, after the sweet romance of Season’s Meetings, I wanted to have another go at writing dark and gritty scenes. I have a degree in Philosophy and Psychology and am fascinated by people’s motives and behaviours. The concept of most of the human population being wiped out by a pandemic leaving only a few survivors alive was too intriguing to resist. How would those survivors live? What of the world we know would remain the same and what would change? Would we remain reliant on technology? Have we lost the basic instincts to survive? What would happen to religion, governing laws, ethics, human rights, responsibilities, equality, diversity, punishment, resources, and perhaps the biggest issue, repopulation of the human race? It really is a fascinating concept.
Recently a reader asked me if I was worried about the story being too farfetched and losing readers. It’s something that I feel very strongly about. My aim throughout has been to make the story and characters feel realistic. I want it to make us question how we think we could / would survive. How we would change as a person. How our beliefs, principles, priorities, responsibilities, desires, and ambitions, would develop and change over time.
See our review of The Renegade
Anything else you think readers may find interesting?
From the ages of 8 – 22 I genuinely thought I was going to become a Catholic nun. I blame Sister Act. Fortunately, I saw the light and accepted I was a lesbian instead.
I was recently asked by a reader if I thought I’d be able to survive living in the world of The Renegade, my answer is nope. As much as I’d like to think I could, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t last a year. I have OCD and can’t go anywhere without my anti-bacterial hand gel, I’m ridiculously accident prone, have no sense of direction, and am very short in height. Basically, I’d be screwed.
Our first German shepherd, Paddy who passed away a few years ago now, has a starring role in The Renegade. I love to be able to include aspects of loved ones in my stories, so that a part of them always lives on and is never forgotten. It was only after reading the page roofs for Season’s Meetings that I realised there was a common theme in both Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings.
The ongoing grief felt by one of the main character’s regarding the death of their beloved gran. I think my subconscious was revealing and trying to get me to come to terms with the acute grief I felt after losing my wonderful Grandma Bridie. It was a revelation, but it has helped me to come to terms with the loss.
When editing, I have only three artists that I can listen to: Dolly Parton (who my wife and I love), Fleetwood Mac, and Florence and the Machine. The first official date my wife and I went on, was front row tickets to see Dolly Parton in concert and Dolly winked at me. It was amazing.
I’m a huge prude in real life. Just the mention of the word sex makes me bask in blazing embarrassment. And as much as I hate writing sex scenes, I appreciate how important they are to the story and character development. I normally have to have a few glasses of cider before I’m brave enough to attempt writing an intimate scene.
Worst still, in Season’s Meetings, Catherine and Holly took great delight in adding an unplanned sex scene to the story. Characters, you do your best to raise them right and then they do anything they frigging well want to. My family and friends think it’s hilarious.
And finally, considering the above admission, the only genre I can categorically say I’m not likely to write is erotica.
Other Works In The Lesbian Genre
Your favourite lesbian book (not written by you):
Oh no. I can’t pick just one book—that’s impossible! How about I pick my two absolute favourite authors? I love all of Katherine V. Forrest’s and Gill McKnight’s novels.
Your favourite lesbian movie:
See Amy Dunne’s books here