Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. Learn more at http://www.amyrivers.com

ABOUT THE BOOK: 

A tangled web of deception and duplicity where predators are shielded by respectability and no one is safe

Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. She’s retreated to her hometown where it’s safe, accepting a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the youth. It’s not the career she envisioned

Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate’s position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds.

When the girl’s body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadow. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear—no one can be trusted.

INTERVIEW: 

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about your writing background?

I’ve always loved to write. As a child, our elementary school did an annual program where we got to write and produce our own books. I wrote my first romance novel in third grade and I was hooked. Over the years, most of my writing was either business-related or academic, but for the past 6 years I’ve had the opportunity to write fiction full-time and it’s been a truly wonderful experience. 

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it.

My fiction writing has always been grounded in the roles that women play in life. As I moved into the thriller/suspense genre, I remained devoted to tackling women’s issues and the problem of interpersonal violence. Complicit is a story about domestic trafficking in a small town. It is also about surviving and recovering from traumatic events. The main character, Kate Medina, is bent on taking down the people who are preying on young girls in her community, but she has a lot of personal baggage that she has to sift through. 

What was your goal when writing this book? (What will the reader learn after reading your book?)

I want my readers to enjoy the story, but I also hope to shed some light on topics like domestic human trafficking and sexual assault services, and to spread the word about the forensic nurses who help victims of interpersonal violence. Violence prevention efforts definitely require wider empathy for the victims and a clearer perspective on what the criminal justice system looks like for these individuals, as well as what services are available to them. 

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

Before moving to Colorado, I was the director for a sexual assault nurse examiners program. I was also pursuing my Master’s degree with a focus on violence prevention, so it’s probably not terribly surprising that sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and human behavior are ever-present in my writing. I tend to write about women, partly because I am one and my perspective is certainly impacted by that fact. But also, partly because I am constantly amazed at the resilience of women in the face of violence, disaster, and even simply juggling all the different roles that society and culture impose, and those they create for themselves. 

What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?

Critique groups are invaluable to aspiring writers, but I have two pieces of advice. First, check your expectations. Giving and receiving constructive criticism is not as easy as it sounds. Before joining others, do some research on what makes a good group, how to offer constructive critique, and how to process incoming criticism without letting it overwhelm you. We’re all told that we have to develop a thick skin, but a little preparation can also go a long way to making the experience more rewarding.

Second, make sure the critique group has ground rules and that you understand them. A good critique group is not a coffee or wine social. There is real work to be done, and it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself in to and how you can get yourself out if it isn’t a good fit. Don’t be afraid to leave a group that isn’t productive. In the end, you need to make choices that serve your writing and your career goals. 

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

Because I don’t do much outlining ahead of time, much of my writing process happens in revision. The things I tend to struggle with are knowing the right place for the book to actually start (it’s not uncommon for me to delete my first few chapters before publication) and balancing the movement of the plot with character development. I love character so I like to dive deep, and in revision I really have balance that will action. 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

The best writing advice I ever received came in the form of a question. An established author asked me why I wasn’t self-publishing and I realized that I didn’t have a good answer. I honestly hadn’t thoroughly considered my options. I’d been going along with a prescribed process that wasn’t based on my personal goals or skills. Once I looked at my goals, I realized that self-publishing was the right choice for me. I 100% recommend that all authors have a good long talk with themselves about what they’re trying to accomplish so that they can pick a path that makes sense for them. It’s too easy in this industry to get swept up in the “right” way of doing things without really understanding if those ways are right for you.

 

 

 

 

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