Amy Daws: From Writer's Block To The Silver Screen

Anyone who is familiar with Amy Daws' books would expect the author to be a fun person to talk to - and she is that and a whole lot more! Amy's bubbly and fun personality shines through as she talks about her family and her stories... and we will never look at a tire store waiting room the same again!
Join our Executive Editor, Katy Nielsen, as she gets to know one of her favorite authors… And see why Amy’s books are so addicting and fun to read. You will laugh out loud - guaranteed!

InD: Tell us a little bit about you. Where were you born, and grew up?
I grew up in Iowa and I went to college there. I am now living in South Dakota, just two hours from my hometown, so I am definitely a Midwest girl at heart. I grew up on a farm, where we raised animals and all of that stuff. I went to college for Electronic Media Communication. I really wanted to make commercials or do something in television, and I did that for about 10 years in South Dakota before I found my passion with writing.
InD: That is really cool. I bet growing up on a farm you have some funny stories to share.
Yes, definitely! There was always excitement like roosters chasing you around the acreage and things like that. I was definitely a Freddy's 4H'er. We had animals in the fair every year. Now that I am such a city girl, I find it kind of hard to believe I lived a whole other life for so long.
InD: It is quite the change to go from farm girl to city girl, isn't it? Do you ever wish that you could go back?
No, not necessarily. I kind of like my life the way it is right now.
InD: Did you have siblings getting into trouble with you on the farm?
Yes, I have two sisters, and I am the classic middle child. I was always seeking attention everywhere I would go, and I am definitely someone who likes to be heard in a room, so that is that middle child coming out of me, I am afraid.
InD: So you are the stereotypical middle child. It’s awesome that you still live so close to your parents.
Yes, it’s great. My dad recently passed away this last summer, so it’s been hard, but it was good to be close. We were all with him in the end, and now we are there for our mom. My two sisters actually live here in South Dakota, in the same town I do, so when my mom comes and visits us, it works out really well.
InD: Wow, that is really cool. So besides being the typical middle child, what were you like when you were younger? What sort of things did you like to do?
I was definitely a jack of all trades. I did sports. I did theater. I was very musical. I was first chair trombone player. I was in choir, and all of that. I almost majored in music in college, but I did not really have a passion for it, it was just something that I was good at, so when I decided to go to college I figured it was time to find my own identity. I was a very active, busy kid, and I always had a job working to earn money, so it was a busy childhood.
InD: Now for the big question… were you a reader?
Oddly enough, I was not! I didn't start reading until I was in college. My older sister handed me a paperback and told me to read it because it was the book that was turned into a movie I liked, "The Wedding Date" with Deborah Messing. The book was called “Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young. I read it, loved it, and became obsessed with British chic-lit.
I consumed all sorts of British Romances. They weren't real steamy. They were light and fluffy, but there was always a love story happening and that was what I loved about it. I don't know for sure, but I think that is kind of why my books end up taking place in London or overseas somewhere, because I just enjoyed that extra escape a different location in the novel provided for me. It was almost like a fantasy for me. I had not traveled abroad back then, so it felt like it was a magical place I had never visited, so why would I not want to write about it?
InD: I actually love that about your books because I grew up in the U.K. I was born and raised there, so when I run across some city or town in the U.K. the book is based in, it’s an extra dose of excitement for me, especially if something or somewhere is mentioned that I have been to or seen. I think it’s really great when the author has done such thorough research, or they have actually been there and include it.
Yes, and it is a little bit of both for me. With the first book I wrote before actually going there, I had a lot of British theater readers helping me and I did a lot of research. I really try to honor the city in the country of whatever I write to be true to the area. I have been overseas and to London a few times since then, but I am sure there are probably some locals who would criticize some of my lingo.
InD: People say the Americans and British people speak the same language, but we really don't. It is completely different. I was actually pretty impressed that you managed to catch the British lingo, and you actually did it very well.
So going back to that first book from your sister, is that what made you decide to write your own book? Or was there something else that made you decide to delve into the writing world?
For sure! Actually, stepping back a little further, my husband and I had struggled with fertility issues for almost five years and suffered through a lot of miscarriages. I have lost six babies, but I have a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, now. The first book I wrote was a memoir about those struggles, “Chasing Hope”, and it covered the experience of pregnancy loss and the struggle that goes along with it. I kind of wrote that for myself.
It was sort of therapeutic and it helped me out, and when I finished it, I had learned so much about the publishing industry and self-publishing, so I thought I would like to try my hand at fiction because I have always been kind of a creative person. I was making TV ads at the time and reading copy for script, and I enjoyed the writing process so I decided "What if I could take my experience with infertility and apply it to a romance novel?"
That was when I wrote my first book called “Broken Us”, which was my first fiction novel. That one was almost an alternate ending for my life, because my husband and I were struggling with fertility so much, I had a fantasy of, "What if I left everything behind and moved overseas and started a new life? One where I was not this Midwest girl focusing on starting a family and all the pressures coming from where I live and just moved overseas…"
I wrote a book about a heroine who breaks up with her partner and moves to London to stay with her best friend, and of course it includes a second chance romance after she goes through a lot of her infertility emotions. The majority of the book was set over there.
That was how it started, and it basically grew like crazy from there. I kind of got stuck in London with all of the secondary characters she met while she was on her journey.
InD: And of course, they needed their own stories, didn’t they?
InD: Having suffered through miscarriages myself, I would imagine that was hard to write in some ways, because of having to draw on your own experiences and getting re-immersed in all of the emotions you went through at the time. Was it hard for you in that way, or was it just more therapeutic than anything else? You made it incredibly realistic and heartbreaking, that’s for sure.
When you look at the early books from my London Lover’s series, they are very angsty, very emotional, and you can tell I was still really working through a trauma, as I am sure you can relate. I was just healing through the act of writing. So as my books progressed – there are 22 out there now – they get lighter and brighter and funnier. Still, there is always still a trace of emotion in all of my books.
I think that if you live with the trauma of suffering a great loss, that trauma always stays with you a little bit, and you’re always connected to that part of you. That touch of angst will probably be in my books forever, but definitely my brand has shifted more towards comedy and they’re a bit more light with touches of emotion, whereas in the beginning, they were very emotional romances.
InD: You get all of these feelings out and put them on paper, and it helps you heal in ways you never would have thought. And people say that books are not therapy… I think they are wrong.
Oh yeah, and it was very therapeutic for me.
InD: Tell us about this husband of yours. How did you guys meet?
Oddly enough, he went to the Community College in my hometown when I was still in high school, and we met at a party. I kind of knew him from around town, but I was not even in college yet. Then, he had moved on to a four-year school when I reached college age and I thought I would never see him again. But three years later we ran into each other, and I said, "I met you at a party when I was in high school."
At this time I learned we happened to be going to the same college. He was a few years older and I was a freshman, so it was this sort of crazy second chance romance, not that there was a romance when we first met, but there were sparks. It's kind of funny how the universe put us back in each other's path when we were both ready.

Read the entire interview in the May 2023 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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