Today in the library we have Amy Maroney, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Thank you for having me on the blog, Pam! I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with my family, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction before turning my hand to historical fiction. When I’m not diving down research rabbit holes, I enjoy hiking, drawing, dancing, traveling, and reading. I am the author of the Miramonde Series, a trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I write historical fiction. My family lived in Germany for two years when I was an impressionable middle-schooler. Whenever we found an English language bookshop, I bought as many used historical romances as my mother would allow. This early foray into the thrilling combination of history and fiction kicked off a lifelong passion for the genre. I’ve subsequently lived in Europe three more times, and each experience deepened my love of European history, its landscapes, and its cultures.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a small child. As a kid I loved mysteries and fantasy series, but I also devoured nonfiction titles. Historical fiction continues to be my favorite genre, but I occasionally branch out into psychological thrillers, women’s fiction, science fiction, and Swedish crime mysteries.
Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?
I am an independently published author. That means I hire a team of professionals (cover designers, mapmakers, editors, and more) to help me produce and publish my fiction. I love working this way. It gives me a lot of flexibility and it challenges me by forcing me to wear lots of different hats.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
All the authors of the books I’ve read over my lifetime. I’m a firm believer that reading makes a good writer. Absorbing and comparing different writing styles, whether it’s conscious or subconscious, forces me to think about what I could be doing better. I also was very lucky as a young person to have journalist parents whose love for reading and writing was passed on to me. They taught me a lot about good editing.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I’ve been drawing and painting for the past twenty years or so, but as my author career has taken off I’ve had to step back from art. I think if I wasn’t writing, I would be drawing and painting instead. I have a strong creative streak and I’m not happy if I’m not engaged in some kind of art practice.
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
My books focus on the late medieval/early Renaissance era in Europe (1450-1500). I find this a fascinating time in history. Europe is emerging from the devastation of the plague, the Renaissance is blossoming, the merchant class is making great strides, there’s an incredible maritime economy connecting all these vibrant societies, women still wield autonomy in powerful abbeys and convents. It’s all wonderful fodder for fiction.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My Miramonde Series tells the story of a Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar linked by a 500-year-old mystery.
In Book 1, The Girl from Oto, the heroine of the series is born into a ruthless and violent noble family; her mother names her Miramonde, ‘one who sees the world.’ Raised in a convent, Mira becomes an extraordinary artist—never dreaming she will one day fulfill the promise of her name.
Mira’s modern-day counterpart, Zari Durrell, is a young American scholar doing research in Europe who discovers traces of a mysterious woman artist in several sixteenth-century paintings. Soon she’s tracing a path through history to Mira herself. But the art world ignores her findings, dazzled by a rival academic’s claim that the portraits were in fact made by a famous male artist.
The Girl from Oto can be purchased on all the major online platforms at: https://books2read.com/u/4ED9VA