Amanda, what was your inspiration for writing WATCH YOU BURN?
Watch You Burn came from many little pieces that melded together in my head. I used to drive past an abandoned, crumbling historic Route 66 motel on my way home from work. Its redevelopment had been very controversial, which left it empty for years. The motel also sits near the bosque—the cottonwood forest that lines the Rio Grande the entire length of New Mexico. Fires (mostly manmade) are always a problem in the spring and summer and cause sleepless nights for the people who live near there.
Jenny and her friend Ro, popped into my head when I was half asleep one night. I saw this image of two girls in the ruins of the motel huddled around a kitten lapping up a saucer of milk. And then as I thought more about them, I knew fire was going to be an important part of their story.
I built the rest of the book around that. It evolved a lot along the way, but Jenny and Ro are still there just as I had originally envisioned them.
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
I learned you really can’t be precious about your writing. “Killing your darlings” is right. You want to write the best possible book, and when time is limited, you can’t spend days (weeks) hemming and hawing over cutting/rewriting scenes because they’re your favorites. If something isn’t working, you have to let it go and move on. That was a good lesson for me because I get really attached to my characters and settings. Creating that bit of distance lets you see that what works for you in your head doesn’t always work for the reader, and it has to be about the reader—not the author.
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I’m a morning person, so I write before I go to my day job. I write perched on the edge of the couch with my laptop on the coffee table and the hum of the refrigerator in the background (and my cat sleeping on my feet). I’ve done exactly this for so many years it feels strange to try to write anywhere else. My brain knows this is my spot, and it almost instantly puts me into writing mode, so I end up wasting very little time. (I do think it would be fun to be a writer who camps out in a coffee shop!)
ABOUT THE BOOKWatch You Burn
by Amanda Searcy
Jenny didn't want to move to the creepy, possibly haunted town with her dad. But the cops are on to her, and the only way she can protect herself is by moving as far away from her hometown as possible and staying out of trouble.
But even after she moves, Jenny still gets the itch. The itch to light a match and then watch it burn.
It's something she hasn't been able to stop, ever since an accident years ago. Now, in a new town, Jenny has the strange feeling that someone is watching her every move. Will her arsonist ways be exposed? Or is the burning truth deep inside her a greater danger?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Have you had a chance to read WATCH YOU BURN yet? If something isn't working, are you able to let it go and move on? Do you have a spot that puts you into writing mode? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
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