Hi guys, we have Amy Stilgenbauer popping in today with her new F/F release Sideshow, we have a short interview with Amy, a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link <3 ~Pixie~
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 I’m very lucky 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.
Glad to be here! I’m a writer from Michigan who also studies history and how to make plants grow. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic who is fascinated by the way people react to major shifts in their life trajectory, which I think are two facts that really contributed to the development of Sideshow. In the novel we follow, Abby Amaro, a young woman growing up in late 1950s Cleveland, who could probably lead a fairly comfortable life if she stayed right where she was, but instead, she escapes her infuriating ex and runs away to join a travel carnival where she finds herself, and, of course, love.
When did you write your first story/book? How old were you?
I’m not sure. The first story that I can remember writing though was a comic book called “The Super Six” it was about the adventures of my sister and my six stuffed cats, who were, of course, a superhero team. I was probably around seven, maybe younger, so I really cannot vouch for the quality, especially of the illustrations, but the concept of cat superheroes isn’t terrible. I must admit.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
A little bit of both? I know that’s not really an answer, but it’s true. I try so hard to plan and outline, but somehow, by chapter four things have already gone so far off script that forcing it back into the outline would ruin everything, so I just make a new outline and go from there. The same thing will happen again a few chapters later.
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Well, for starters, the cover is absolutely gorgeous! I mean, look at it! But if I have to talk about something I did to make it stand out, I like to think that I’ve written a compelling story with interesting characters and focused on some themes that aren’t often explored, but I’ll have to let the readers be the judge of that.
How do you find or make time to write?
Whenever I can. Get up early, stay up late, use work breaks, etc, etc. I am very lucky that I have an incredibly flexible day job (yay freelance!) and employers who support my writing goals. Even so, finding time to write, often involves carving out small bits of time in my schedule and forcing myself to work as hard as I can in those small bits of time.
What do you like to read in your free time?
Everything! I love to read and I will devour anything I can get my hands on if it sounds even vaguely interesting to me. Also, I am non-monogamous when it comes to books. I can never read just one at a time. Right now I am reading: Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States by Edward Foley, Speakeasy by Suzey Ingold, and A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. It really all just depends what sort of mood I’m in which one I pick up at a given time.
Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.
Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined that when she departed the Coventry neighborhood again, it would be in a burlesque dancer’s trailer.
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.
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