I read The Everafter by Amy Huntley a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it so I was very happy to interview Amy.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved telling stories, even if they were just to myself and in my head. As a kid I was frequently lost in a fantasy daydream world. It wasn’t until I was in late elementary, though, that I started thinking about writing stories down, and once I started, I discovered it was pretty fun. I wrote consistently through high school,and then got a bit distracted by my teaching career and starting a family. But once all that was in motion, I longed to be writing again, and here I am!
Where did the premise for The Everafter come from?
I get asked this question a lot. And usually I tell the story of how I was sitting at lunch when some colleagues were talking about little things they had recently lost. One of them wondered aloud about how funny it would be if all those objects turned up after people were dead. That conversation did prompt me to think about how to use the notion of lost objects showing up after death in a novel, but another key aspect of my premise is the setting of IS–which actually came from my own fears. Someone once asked me what my greatest fear about death was, and I immediately thought, “Floating around in space with no one around me. Forever.” That image just lurked in the depths of my mind for many years as a fear–until my fellow teacher made an offhand comment at lunch about lost items. That comment almost instantly paired itself up with my afterlife fears, and IS–as a place from which life could be revisited and then gracefully moved beyond–was born.
What authors influenced you?
The authors that influenced me very early in life still echo in my heart. A.A. Milne reached me with his humor even when I was four and being read to by my parents. I was an avid reader of Nancy Drew mysteries once I started being able to read on my own. C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia had a profound influence on me. In middle school I remember reading over and over Richard Peck’s Ghosts I Have Been. When I was in college I made a special trip to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London because of that book. The next big wave of authors who influenced me greatly were those I made contact with in my 20’s–Orson Scott Card, Jane Austen, Chris Crutcher, L.M. Montgomery (whom I liked in middle school but rediscovered in a whole new way in my twenties!)
Do you often lose things?
All. The. Time. Who doesn’t? If there’s anyone who manages not to lose at least five things a day, I really envy them. But part of the reason I lose so many things is that I’m a daydreamer. It’s part of what makes me write, too, so I guess in it’s own frustrating way, the fact that I lose things has a beautiful side as well!
What’s next for you?
I’m working on another young adult novel that will be published by Balzer and Bray at HarperCollins.
Thanks Amy for the great interview! Now everyone run out and read The Everafter!