Please welcome Amy Jones, debut author of Soul Quest (part one of Soul Quest trilogy).
AJ: Amy Jones
E: Welcome to Bookish Amy! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
AJ: I am a 1993 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education. I have seventeen years of experience in education and currently teach Dance and Theater Arts to high school students in the small yet distinctive southeastern North Carolina town, Tabor City. I was born a Yankee but was converted into a Rebel fairly easily when I met my own Edward Cullen (hubby, Kelly Jones) in college. I led a very happy childhood in York, Pennsylvania, being blessed with loving parents. I am a mother of two gorgeous and brilliant children, Olivia (named after a character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) and Keaton (named for the silent film great, Buster Keaton). In addition to being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, dancer, director and writer I have been a girl scout, acrobat, violinist (very briefly), cheer leader, painter, singer (not a very good one, admittedly) and a summer park director.
E: Who or what inspired you to write Soul Quest?
AJ: Soul Quest was inspired by a really weird dream. My hubby is a night owl and loves to stay up late watching the History Channel. I had this dream about a little boy standing in the middle of mirrored room. The little boy looked just like my son when he was 3 years old. He had cute chubby cheeks, curly blond ringlets and beautiful hazel green eyes. Anyway, the little boy was watching images flicker on the mirrored walls in the room. They showed images from historical disasters such as Hitler's dictatorship, Martin Luther King Jr. and Kennedy's shootings and Nine Eleven... you get the gist. Anyway, it had a major impact on me. The next day I asked my husband what he was watching on TV the night before. He said it was a special episode on the History Channel dedicated to the worst events in history. He acknowledged all of the above mentioned tragedies were a part of the episode. I suppose as a mother the dream was symbolic of the wrath of the world posing a threat against my children. Anyway, I decided to turn it into a positive thing. In this effort my little boy became Hala, the Great Spirit. Hala is a being as old as time, a spirit who resembles a child in physical form. Before I knew it, a quest for justice against evil began. Since I work with teenagers it was only natural that they become the heroes in the plot. The basis of the book is good verses evil but I tried to weave into the underlying tone that life is about choices, good and bad.
E: Would you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write it?
AJ: I’m a public school teacher and much of my time during the school year gets divided between my family (care taking, homework, fun time, etc…) and my students (after school plays, concerts, festivals, game duty, etc…). I began writing Soul Quest in late October of 2009. I had finished about 1/3 of the book by school’s end in June. During the summer break had a steady flow of time to write and I completed the manuscript in early August of 2010. I can’t give an exact timeline for the writing because it was so sporadic. October to August is ten months, but I wasn’t writing steadily prior to June.
E: Are any of your characters or scenes based on people/events in your own life?
AJ: Yes, Laith Lightfoot, Brayan Akin, Meena Sodden, Druesilla Sommers and Amber White strongly resemble five of my Theater students (Alex (Laith), Tyler (Brayan), Andrea (Meena), Shaneice (Druesilla) and Amber (Amber) – Amber’s first name is the only name I kept the same). I didn’t intentionally write about them. They all have very unique and wonderful personalities that just kind of snuck their way into my writing. You’ll notice the main character is not listed above, this is not coincidence. She has an inspiration too, a very unexpected and surprising one, me (granted, a much younger me)! I didn’t plan that either.
E: If your book was made into a movie who would you cast for it?
E: Soul Quest is the first part of the trilogy, when can we expect the second book?
AJ: I am a little over 38,000 words into the second book, Guardians of Souls. I anticipate publishing it in August of 2011 (cross your fingers).
E: What genres do you like to read in your free time?
AJ: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thrillers, Romance
E: Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
AJ: Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series
E: Do you have any role models?
AJ: My mom and dad, my high school cheer leading coach, my high school English and Creative Writing teacher and a gazillion amazing artists and writers.
E: What are your biggest pet peeves?
AJ: Laziness and mean people
E: Tell us five random facts about yourself.
- Most of my acquaintances don’t know I’m a writer.
- I love chocolate!
- When I was little my first grade teacher thought I was deaf because I was too shy to respond to her when she spoke to me (now no one can get me to shut up).
- I am afraid of clowns.
- I have two rare connective tissue disorders (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hyper Mobility Type and MASS Phenotype). One in five thousand people have one of these disorders.
E: If you could have a dinner with three people/characters (real, imaginary, famous or not, even dead!) who would you choose?
- Carlisle Cullen, because he is so darn smart!
- Martha Graham, because she is my modern dance idol.
- My husband (alone), because our lives are so crazy I miss him all of the time (even though we live under the same roof).
- White or dark chocolate? Dark chocolate
- Coffee or tea? Coffee
- Favorite fictional character? Today? My favorite female character is Bridhid from P.C Cast’s Partholon series. My favorite male character is Jace from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. This information could charge tomorrow depending upon what book I pick up next.
- Favorite movie? Blade (1998) with Wesley Snipes
- Favorite song? Anything by Michael Jackson
- Favorite TV show? Bones
- Vampires or Werewolves? Vampires… sorry Jacob.
- Harry Potter or Twilight? It’s too close. I love them both and can’t choose.
Amy, thank you so much for joining us today!
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next book!
I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Amy and her books, please visit her website: Amy Jones Young Adult Fiction or/and read my review of Soul Quest
If you're wondering where to get Soul Quest, here are the links: