Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Amy Stilgenbauer for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Author: Amy Stilgenbauer
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance
Release Date: 08/25/2016
Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.
Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.
Today we’re very happy to be interviewing Amy Stilgenbauer author of Sideshow.
Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks for having me! I’m a writer from Michigan who plays the cello and enjoys attempting to swing dance to classic rock cover bands at carnivals. Sideshow is, unfortunately, pre-classic rock cover bands, but it does take place at a carnival and there is a little bit of swing dancing. The novel follows Abby Amaro, and what happens when she leaves her comfort zone of 1950s Cleveland behind to flee a disastrous ex, and finds love with a traveling carnival.
What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your writing?
I once received a second-hand story from my mother. It was shortly after Legend of League Park came out and she was being amazing and talking it up to basically everyone. A woman who had purchased a copy on her recommendation said that she had given it to her daughter and the daughter had reported back that she had loved it because wanted to play baseball too. That’s the goal of my writing. I keep a little post-it above my desk that reads “Be the person who could have saved you” and in that moment I actually was.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that impact your writing?
I am a part-time writer. I have a day job or two and they take up a fair bit of my time. It does limit my writing and I do believe that I would get a lot more accomplished if I were able to dedicate a full day to my creative work. I think this is probably a common theme for a lot of writers and people doing creative work. I, personally, am very lucky that because my work is mostly independently contracted, I can take a day off here and there to do major project work when deadlines come up. Not everyone is so lucky and I think about that a lot.
What interested you about the theme of this book?
There are a number of themes present in Sideshow and all of them are subjects very near and dear to my heart. Finding a way to be true to oneself and outsiders developing their own communities are both needs that I believe many people have in the lonely corners of their mind. I have struggled with both in my own life. Of course, my means of accomplishing these goals were very different than Abby’s, but the feelings were there nonetheless.
What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
The one aspect of writing that absolutely cripples me is deciding on which idea I want to proceed with. I am very lucky to be able to find inspiration in a wide variety of places. Unfortunately, I fall in love with these ideas very rapidly, write outlines for them, and then out of the blue will get another one. I end up with five or six stories that I am absolutely in love with at any one time and then have no idea to which one I want to dedicate the time and mental energy to complete. Usually, I don’t end up finishing any of them, and then the cycle begins again. The only way I’ve found that I’ve been able to push through this is by giving myself deadlines.
Name your four most important food groups.
I love to eat, cook, and am very passionate about food. The ones I am most passionate about though are:
- All kinds. One of my ultimate comfort foods is toast. To the degree that after the death of my grandfather, one of my dear friends brought me a loaf of bread and said, “I asked the baker which one made the best toast.”
- Tomatoes: Choosing and tending my tomato plants is one of the highlights of my spring and summer each year, and canning tomato sauce and salsa is one of the highlights of my fall. Even more ultimate as a comfort food is toast with sliced tomato on top.
- Potatoes: When I was younger I used to choose mashed potatoes and french fries whenever treated to one of those restaurants where you could choose two sides. Waitstaff always commented, “you love potatoes, huh?” And my answer was “It is the holy starch.” I was a weird child.
- Wine: Specifically dry, red wines. I’m a terrible wine drinker though, because I so strongly prefer dry reds that I order them almost every time I order wine, even when another pairing would probably be better, and I know I upset some knowledgable people. I apologize to all sommeliers that ever encounter me.
About the Author
Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/amystilgenbauerwrites
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