Today we have an interview with author Amy Grech. Enjoy!
Hi, Amy! Congratulations on your book. Tell us about your latest release, please!
Amy: New Pulp just published my collection of crime stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City! Here’s the publisher’s description: Amy Grech’s stories shock, like a sudden, splash of cold water. This latest collection delivers gritty profiles of people snarled in the crime and seething anger of inner city New York at its most violent. Here you’ll encounter five dark tales: “Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City”, “.38 Special”, “Cold Comfort”, “Prevention”, and “Hoi Polloi Cannoli”. These startling stories will convince you that Grech is noir and horror writer you want to watch.
Lee: What piece of fiction are you most proud of? Why?
Amy: Definitely the lead novella from Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City. It’s my most brutal work to date. It’s set in NYC’s gritty Alphabet City, where a young, aspiring Author, Ruby Fuji meets Dr. Trevor Braeburn, an Eye Doctor looking for a thrill. She invites him up to her apartment, a potent cocktail of overwhelming lust, coupled with lax inhibitions leads to poor judgment on Ruby’s part, with tragic consequences for the young girl. Ruby’s older sister Gia seduces Trevor and their father, Mr. Fuji seeks Redemption after Gia lures the doctor back to their apartment. It’s extremely visceral, with lots of unexpected twists and turns…
Lee: Very cool. Who are some of your literary heroes? Your biggest influence?
Amy: My literary heroes include: Franz Kafka, H. P. Lovecraft, Joyce Carol Oates, Edgar Allan Poe, and Mary Shelley. I know I’m not the only one, but Stephen King is my biggest influence. An Aunt introduced me to his novels when I was 12. I started with Cujo and have been hooked ever since!
Lee: What is your process like?
Amy: For shorter works, I go where my muse takes me! Sometimes, I start with a title, like “Dead Eye”, and build the characters around it, or I’ll start with a place, like Hell’s Kitchen, in NYC and go from there. For the novellas I keep several pages of notes, which is a new way to work for me, but it’s actually extremely helpful!
Lee: I’m a note taker, too. I love it. Where has your work been published?
Amy: I have sold 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Dead Harvest, Expiration Date, Fear on Demand, Funeral Party 2, Inhuman Magazine, Needle Magazine, Reel Dark, Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine, Space & Time, The Horror Within, Under the Bed, and many others.
I have stories forthcoming in Detectives of the Fantastic, Volume II and Fright Mare.
Lee: What have you had to learn the hard way?
Amy: It’s virtually impossible to be a perfectionist. In fact, it’s downright stressful, so I’ve learned to let things go – no matter how many rounds of edits there are, typos will still escape the Editor’s attention and wind up in the finished book – it’s just human nature!
Lee: I hear you on that. What are you working on now?
Amy: I’m working on several horror stories; some of them might evolve into novellas…
Lee: How did you come up with the title for your collection?
Amy: The title actually popped into my head while I was in the shower one day; it sums up the lead novella, which takes place in Alphabet City in NYC and features equal parts rage and also redemption, thus Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City was born.
Lee: Is there a message in this collection that you want readers to ponder?
Amy: It’s a good idea to tread lightly when meeting a stranger in a bar. Never let lust trump logic. Always trust your instincts—if someone makes you uneasy, find a non-confrontational way to remove yourself from the situation, before someone gets hurt…
Lee: Are any of the events—or any of the characters—in these stories based on real life?
Amy: Most of the stories feature various sections of NYC: Alphabet City, Central Park, Hell’s Kitchen, and finally the posh Upper East Side. I actually have a fraternal twin brother, but I wanted to play with the idea of having identical twins trade places in “Prevention”. The character Jack Masoch in “Cold Comfort” was modeled after an ex-boyfriend I had in college. He was my first serious boyfriend, so I our relationship was intense—ah, young love—I was devastated when he broke up with me, so I wrote about the traumatic experience to help me heal.
Lee: Where can readers sample your writing?
Amy: New Pulp Press has an excerpt from Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City available on their website. (Sample is here.)
Lee: What was most challenging about writing the collection?
Amy: I’d have to say fleshing out the characters, giving them little quirks my readers could relate to, so they’d be eager to learn what fate had in store…I kept detailed notes for the two novellas in the collection, “Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City” and “Hoi Polloi Cannoli”, so I could ensure all of my thoughts wound up in the finished works.
Lee: Do you have any advice for novice writers?
Amy: For writers who are just starting out, I recommend carrying a notebook at all times—there’s no telling where inspiration will strike, so be sure to jot down seemingly random thoughts before they vanish into the ether. Read other authors in the genre to get a sense of what’s being published and how/where your work fits.
Lee: Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, Amy! Best of luck with Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City!