Today I’m sharing with you another interview with an author who worked with me via The Writer’s Block™ program. It was such a thrill to meet with Amy Impellizzeri and get to know her better. She’s not only a wonderful author, but a great person! And her book, Lemongrass Hope is awesome! I hope you’ve had a chance to check it out over the past few days as I showcased the book and it’s inspired candle.
So grab a cuppa and learn a little more about author Amy Impellizzeri!
Thank you, Amy, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with my readers about yourself and your new book, Lemongrass Hope.
Thank you! I am a huge fan of what you are doing with Book Scents. Such a creative way to bring a little magic from some of our favorite books “home.”
I’d like to start things off by asking about you. What are your hobbies and interests outside of writing? What are your favorite guilty pleasures?
Hmmm. Are salted caramels and loud country music guilty pleasures? Probably, although I don’t usually feel too guilty about them … I should also admit that I’m actually a little TOO good at blackjack and craps. The scene in Lemongrass Hope where Ian is teaching Kate to play blackjack was very fun (and very easy!) for me to write.
I have to say that I have a pretty busy life outside of writing – which actually inspires and feeds my writing, I believe. I have three energetic kids, ages 10 and under, and I help run a wonderfully inspiring virtual start-up company called ShopFunder, and I am also involved in a variety of local volunteer and philanthropic organizations. I love to travel. When I am not traveling, I am usually planning my next vacation. There have been many times in recent years that I have considered whether it would be prudent to scale back everything else in my life and just …. WRITE. But I am convinced that if I did that – there would be nothing left to write … ABOUT.
Tell us how you became an author? Have you always been a writer?
Well, I think I have always been a writer, you know, in my soul. I love the Flannery O’Connor quote: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” That’s always been me. As long as I can remember. And for a while, I was a different kind of “professional” writer. I was a corporate litigator for thirteen years. In fact, for ten of those years, I had an office in Times Square with a view of the Empire State Building and what I wrote for a living was very different than what I write now – summary judgment motions, deposition outlines, legal briefs of all sorts – which is probably not at all what people picture as the beginnings of a career as an “author” – certainly not a novel author. But in fact, that’s how my writing and my written voice developed and that part of my journey is a huge part of the story of how I became an “author.”
Since its early release on Amazon, your book only has 5 Star ratings. Readers are saying things like: “Too good to call fabulous” and “A celebration of optimism” and “A delightful and magical journey…”. Tell us how you feel about all these rave reviews and how it impacts you as you move forward as an author.
Oh, it’s amazing and humbling. I’m looking for some wood to knock on. Please, oh please, let the 5-star review trend continue! But I have to tell you, it’s not just the stars – it’s WHAT people are saying that gives me happy goosebumps when I look at those reviews. That people are still thinking about the book days and weeks after they read it. That people instantly want to talk about and share the book with friends. That people want to flip the book over and start it anew. Those kind of compliments leave me speechless. Also, I have always been a reader who – if I read something that really moves me in an extraordinary way – will track down an author and send them a note. And now I’VE been getting those kind of notes – some of them actually handwritten on stationery (LOVE THOSE!) and others via email at 2 am saying “I just had to reach out. This book moved me because …” Really, those little connections are just invaluable and EXACTLY how I will continue to measure the success of Lemongrass Hope. And yes, they are hugely validating and encouraging. I knew I would write another novel after Lemongrass Hope (and hopefully more!) but now I have hope that someone will actually read them too!
Do you have a message you’d like to share with anyone who hasn’t read your book, but is interested in doing so in the future?
Great question. What I really want to tell people is: don’t try to find out too much about the book in advance. Is that strange advice? Everyone always wants to know what the book is “about.” And I would like to say “I don’t want to tell you because I don’t want to give anything away!” But of course, who wants to read a book based on that synopsis? So here’s the thing. Lemongrass Hope explores those mysterious “What If’s” in all of our lives – those choices we make about love, and life, and work, and friendship, at a very critical time in our life, and sometimes – end up re-thinking for the rest of our lives. But the book does so in a way that I really believe (and now readers are confirming!) is unlike any way you have previously thought about those roads not taken.
When we worked together on your Book Scents candle fragrance, you asked that each candle have Marula Oil in it. Can you share, without too many spoilers, why this was important to you?
I LOVE the idea of creating a candle that captures the essence of a book – but how could we do that for THIS book without including some genuine-fair-trade-imported-from-Africa-marula-oil? The African Marula tree – a central character in my book and the tree that is pictured on the cover of Lemongrass Hope – is a tree that has much legend surrounding it. Some say its fruit has mystical qualities, healing qualities, and some say that elephants who eat the fruit from the marula tree actually become “drunk.” When I tracked down the photographer of the stunning photo that is now the cover of Lemongrass Hope, she told me about how she had taken the picture while on vacation in Africa in 2004, and when I told her about the book and why I wanted the marula tree on the cover, she loved it instantly. This book is threaded with magical realism that is made possible by the fact that the marula tree is indeed a real tree and is a truly special tree.
Now that your book is available, do you have any plans to do a book tour? How can readers connect with you?
Yes! I am doing a “Book Club” tour – with several Book Club events planned in the upcoming weeks and months and events at independent bookstores as well. (Check out – http://www.amyimpellizzeri.com). And when readers choose Lemongrass Hope as a book club pick – I will try to call in or Skype in to several per month. I’m the kind of reader that – when I finish a book I love – I want to talk to people about it. I love that people want to TALK about Lemongrass Hope and I love hearing the different perspectives. Plus, at its core, Lemongrass Hope is about connection in all of it forms, so there is no better way to celebrate its release than by all of these connections!
Finally, what’s next for you? Will there be a sequel to Lemongrass Hope?
I think it is very, very, very, very unlikely that I will ever write a sequel to Lemongrass Hope. I suspected, and now I am learning – that readers will interpret the book – and particularly the ending – in a variety of different – and completely viable ways. I have another – totally separate from Lemongrass Hope – novel idea that I am developing right now and I also keep mulling over a book that would explore one of the arguably peripheral characters of the book – Dee. Stay tuned! (Oh! And in the meantime, I am finishing up work on my first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted, which will come out in Spring 2015!)
Amy, it was an absolute pleasure to interview you and to read your amazing novel. Thank you again for your time!
Thank you, Nalana! And a BIG congratulations on your 1-year anniversary!
To find out more about Amy and her book check out these links:
Amy Impellizzeri’s on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImpellizzeriAmy?ref=hl
Amy Impellizzeri’s Website: http://www.amyimpellizzeri.com
Lemongrass Hope on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lemongrass-Hope-Amy-Impellizzeri/dp/1939288533
And here’s an amazing video about the book, Lemongrass Hope.