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Today I’m excited to have debut author Lisa Amowitz here to share about her book, BREAKING GLASS. It’s a mystery filled with compelling characters. From reading the reviews, I can’t wait to read it. Lisa’s also a very talented cover designer, including the gorgeous cover of DJINN: THE BINDING STONE for Lisa Gail Green. We’ll talk about that a bit too.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

Hi Lisa. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer and illustrator.

I was always a dreamer who thought about things a little too much for my own good. Art had been my identity my main mode of self-expression until design kind of took over from there. Though I’d dabbled with it, the writing part came way later after reading the first three books of Harry Potter. I decided I was finally going to write a book that I could illustrate. Except, that the writing edged out the illustration and over my life. The book I wrote was terrible (though some friends of mine would beg to differ and are currently trying to convince me to resurrect it!) but it was too late. I discovered that the type of book I liked to write did not require the type of illustration I wanted to do. My styles did not fit together. I am no picture book writer. Years later I turned my visual expression to designing book covers, so finally my writing and my art work nicely together!

2. A lot of writers, including me, were inspired to start writing after reading the Harry Potter series. How did you come up with the idea for your story?

I wish I could remember exactly—but I know it started as one of those story seeds you ot down somewhere and file away. I had written a paragraph about a convalescing boy who conjures up the ghost of the girl he is obsessed with. I wanted a kind of Hitchcock-Rear Window kind of vibe. I called it SPECTACULAR. That idea sat around for years until Jeremy started whispering in my ear.

3. Interesting how an idea from years ago could turn into a book. It reminds us all that we should save all our ideas. Jeremy suffers from alcoholism, but you had no personal experiences with this in your family. What research did you do into alcoholism so that you could portray Jeremy realistically? 

Funny, a few people have told me that—and that is really flattering. I’m happy to say I have not experienced it in my family life, but I have known people here and there with this issue. I did a lot of reading and such, talked to some psychologist friends, but also thought about my own compulsive habits! I am quite a compulsive person—when I should go to bed I either write or go on Twitter. I actually hid my writing from other people for years, so weirdly, I channeled that strange secrecy into Jeremy and how me might construct a persona to hide his addiction.

4. Ha! I must be compulsive too because I can’t go to bed without reading for a bit. I read that you created the town in BREAKING GLASS as a fictionalized version of Croton-on-Hudson in New York. What made you choose this as a setting? 

Croton chose me! I have good friends who live there and we also stayed nearby a few summers. With the
story percolating in my head, I just kept seeing Jeremy trying to drive on those creepy twisting roads on a rainy night. He seemed to belong in that town, which is semi-rural, but also populated by a lot of very interesting intellectual and artistic people. It also has an actual Gorge and views of the Hudson River. I love that town and the people in it! Luckily, no one I’ve met there is as nasty as Patrick Morgan, the bad guy in BREAKING GLASS. Oh—and plus, my friends’s son was a theater lighting guy, so we went to a lot of plays where he worked the lights! But the boy is totally not the inspiration for Jeremy—I can assure you.

5. That must have made it a bit easier that you knew your setting so well. Reviews of your book rave about your compelling characters. What’s your character creation process like and what tips do you have for the rest of us? 

Aww—I’m blushing. I’ve also read that some people detest them! I tend to start out on Scrivner where I create a character profile with personality traits, physical appearance, back story and little personal oddities. A lot of this stuff changes and morphs as I write, but I am very interested in character so I give it a lot of thought and attention. I like to make sure even the most minor character has a story arc that relates to the main narrative. I guess characters are what I love the most about writing, right after spooky settings.

6. I’ve never tried Scrivner, though I’ve heard it’s good for character development. You’re also a book cover designer and designed your own awesome cover. Tell us what went into creating your cover and what you consider in designing a cover in general.

Thank you! First let me say that designing my own cover was the scariest thing I ever had to do. It was so difficult to figure out how to portray something I was that close to. I was lucky that Spencer Hill Press gave me the incredible opportunity to do this, and that Kate Kaynak was so patient with me! I must have driven her nuts. I think I sent her about 35 mockups. Luckily for both of us, designing other people’s covers is much easier and more fun.

I’ve also discovered that not reading the entire book helps me get to the true essence of it. I designed the cover for the forthcoming SHP title, EXTRACTED, by Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley last summer before having read it. I was thrilled with the outcome and so were they. I just read this amazing book this summer and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it suited the book. I’d even imagined the cover model for the main character, Lex. And the funniest thing ever is that Sherry found our cover model in Poland, a beautiful guy named Lucasz Omniotek. He is a model there and is thinking about doing his own EXTRACTED inspired photo shoot for his blog. In a nutshell, working directly with authors, which is the amazing thing SHP lets me do, is like an amazing dream come true. I get so invested in them and their books! And luckily for me Spencer Hill Press authors are the nicest people in the world.

7. So interesting that you don’t read the entire book before creating the cover. I can imagine that it’d be even more challenging to design your own cover. What’s been your experience working with Spencer Hill Press, your publisher? 

Spencer Hill Press is like a family. I’ve gotten friendly with my fellow authors and the line of communication between my editor and the head of the company, Kate Kaynak is comfortable and easy. I also work closely with Kate and the authors on cover design, so it’s a very interesting perspective to be both an author and a sort of consultant for hire. I have a lot of hopes for the company’s future and am very invested in their continuing success. I also have two more books coming out with them and love the fact that they are so enthusiastic and supportive of my writing. They are entering my covers and books an a number of contests which really makes me feel appreciated!

8. That’s great that they’re so easy to work with. I read that you went to BEA (Book Expo America). Tell us about that and how it helped you promote your book. 

You really do your research, Natalie! I’m impressed. BEA is amazing on so many levels. Spencer Hill Press set up incredible successful signings for us where our arcs vanished in what felt like minutes. We had lines waiting to see us! It’s also a networking bonanza. I met a few agents, and many wonderful bloggers including Emily Trunko and Lisa Dess, who read my book, loved it, and are now card-carrying members of Team Breaking Glass. You can pick up tons of arcs and meet authors you admire. I also got to bond my fellow SHP authors better, met some other cover designers, got to hang with my editor, etc. It’s like a three-day sugar rush high. It’s incredible.

9. That’s cool that you had lines of people waiting for the signings. How was your blog tour set up and the blogs to visit picked? What advice do you have for the rest of us from your experience? 

Blog tours are a lot of work. If your company is willing to do it for you, let them, if not hire a reputable blog tour operator to do it for you. My publisher helped me set up my tour, but I ended up adding a number of stops to it by approaching people who had reviewed it and reaching out to other bloggers I knew. Next time, I will probably try to do less of it on my own. My tour is probably the longest blog tour in the history of blogging and the bloggers I’ve recruited have been amazing supporters. I’ve picked up a few friends along the way who are now really invested in my book and even gave them a name: Team Breaking Glass. Getting to know great bloggers is such a vital part of getting your book out there. If a blogger loves your book, you will never find a more passionate advocate, except maybe your own editor.
In addition to my blog tour, I hired YA bound to do a book blast for me. They signed up 107 additional bloggers to get my book out there. I highly recommend signing up for one with either them, or other websites that offer that service (like this one?). It’s two weeks later and people are still visiting those blogs and entering my giveaway contest.

10. Wow! You’ve done a lot to spread the word about your book. I think hiring someone to set up the tour and to do a book blast later are great ideas. What are you working on now? 

In a couple of weeks my editor is going to be sending me edits for my next book with Spencer Hill Press. VISION due out in May 2014, is about a boy whose blinding migraines present him with psychic clues to the crimes of a serial killer. My WIP is a non-paranormal YA murder mystery. I’m also working on a number of cover designs, including Darby Karchut’s sequel to Finn Finnegan; Gideon’s Sword, which has its cover reveal this week.

Thanks for sharing your advice, Lisa. You can find Lisa at:

Here's the giveaway details. Sorry for any confusion to those who stopped by earlier.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here’s what’s coming up:

Tomorrow I’m participating in the Summer Hop Giveaway. I have lots of great book choices I can’t wait to share with you.

Next Monday I’ll be interviewing debut author Cristin Terrell and giving away an ARC of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS. It’s a time travel/dystopian story that I loved. I can’t wait to share it with you.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Ellen Boorman and giving away a copy of TEXTING THE UNIVERSE, a middle grade paranormal story told from a boy’s POV. This is Ellen’s third book so I know she’ll have a lot of great advice to share with us.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you tomorrow!


S.P. Bowers said...

I love scrivenor.

I'm in awe of people who have not only the knowledge but the artistic ability to create covers. It's not something I could do.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I envy people who can illustrate. Great interview with Lisa.

mshatch said...

Breaking Glass sounds like my kind of read - I do like a ghost or two :)
Congrats to Lisa :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to meet Lisa and best wishes with Broken Glass! Who doesn't like a good ghost story? I know I do.

Brenda said...

Great interview. The cover really captures the feel of the book.

Crystal Collier said...

Working with a publisher that's like family... That could be a dream come true right there. --And 35 mock ups? I think my forehead would be flat--from banging it against the desk. Lisa, you must be a special brand of patient.

Beth said...

Sounds like a great book. "Compelling characters" is at the top of my wish list!

Carina Olsen said...

Sounds like an awesome book! I love the cover :D Thank you for sharing. <3 Amazing interview too :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the cover love, everyone. I am my own worst client. :) My publisher is terrific to work with. It's a lot smoother than when I do my own! Acch. But stay tuned, because in the next month or so the cover for my next book, VISION will be revealed.

Anonymous said...

Great interview and I've added the book to my wish list.

I never gave Scrivener a chance. It was installed on my old computer and I tried it once.