Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .
Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
I can't remember a time when I wasn't a writer - I have piles of handwritten stories in notebooks from elementary and middle school, and a folder of Microsoft Word documents from high school and college. When I'm not writing or editing manuscripts, I work in book publishing, run in Riverside Park, and cultivate a respectable cookbook collection in my tiny kitchen.
2. That's awesome that you always wanted to write and did it consistently. Where did you get the idea for DAMAGE DONE?
I was reading an article about a suicide bomber, and the article mentioned, in passing, the bomber's siblings. That got me thinking: what would it be like to grow up with someone who had done such a terrible thing, and to balance your grief at their death with your guilt and horror over said terrible thing? My protagonist, Julia, grew from there.
3. I'm always amazed at how ideas like yours are in our every day world. I read that you’ve written about seven trunk novels before DAMAGE DONE. What did you learn from this process, and how did it help you in writing this book?
I learned a lot about plotting and revising, but the most important thing I learned from those trunk novels was when and how to set something aside when it just isn't working. Sometimes, for whatever reason and no matter how much you keep editing it, a book isn't going to be a commercially viable project. I'm by no means saying you should give up easily or not try a bunch of agents and/or publishers, but if you stay stuck on one book for years and years and forgo other projects, you might never get the chance to grow as a writer and write the book that WILL work.
4. I have one of those books. DAMAGE DONE is a thriller and keeping the tension up in the plot seems critical. What are your tips for doing this and writing a thriller in general?
My general rule was that if I was bored writing a scene, the reader was probably going to be bored reading it. Any time I felt myself stalling a bit, I'd drop in a piece of new information or insert a twist.
5. That's a good rule of thumb. Share about the character development of Lucy (Julia) and her relationship to her twin brother. What challenges did you face in creating both of them?
It's tough to answer this question without spoilers! The hardest part, I think, was figuring out Julia's
6. Even though you’re an associate literary agent, I read that you didn’t tell anyone you were a writer too and didn’t try to use your agent contacts to get your own agent. Share how Merrilee Heifetz became your agent and how you got your book deal?
I queried a couple of books (unsuccessfully) in college, and started working in publishing soon after. The thought of querying while working in publishing made me queasy - I didn't want anyone to feel obligated to read my book, and I didn't want anything (like, if they didn't like it) to taint my working relationships with colleagues. I ended up participating in an online pitch contest, where my name wasn't attached to my submission, and ended up receiving a few offers of representation through that. I also sent the book to Merrilee, who I'd interned for in 2011-2012, and the rest was history.
7. I didn't think about how querying someone you work with could be awkward, but you're right. What are you planning to do to help promote your book? What advice do you have on this for other authors who are planning out their book release?
I'm taking it one day at a time. I'll be having a launch party at Books of Wonder in NYC on release date (all are welcome!) and I'm participating in blog interviews and guest posts. I have a more-than-full-time job right now so it's hard to carve out space to go on tour or do events far away, but I'm hoping to take some vacation days and do some more readings or panels. My advice is not to stress too much over the little things, and don't feel like you have to say yes to everything - better to give your best efforts to a few things than stretch yourself too thin.
8. I like the don't stress out advice! What are you working on now?
I'm working on edits for my second YA novel, NEVER MISSING, NEVER FOUND, which will be released in Summer 2016. It's a stand-alone psychological thriller inspired by my summers working for Six Flags: Great Adventure (though there's significantly more kidnapping and murder in the novel than there was in real life).
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Amanda. You can find Amanda at:
Author website: www.amandapanitch.com
Order links for signed/personalized copies:
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for U.S. only.
Here's what's coming up:
Next Monday I have a guest post by debut author David Fulk and a giveaway of his MG adventure RAISING RUFUS.
Next Friday I'm participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great books to choose from.
Then I'm off until September 2nd. I just didn't see any great books to spotlight in August and it tends to be a quiet month. I will be stopping by your blogs though. I just won't be posting.
Hope to see you on Monday!