I'm so happy to welcome Amy Trueblood on today's blog! Amy is one of my favorite people in the writing community, and she has a way of writing historical fiction that jumps right off the page. Her books let readers experience a time and place they might not have known much about before, and ACROSS A BROKEN SHORE is no exception!
Amy grew up in California only ten minutes from Disneyland which sparked an early interest in storytelling. As the youngest of five, she spent most of her time trying to find a quiet place to curl up with her favorite books. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism, she worked in entertainment in Los Angeles before returning to work in Arizona. Fueled by good coffee and an awesome Spotify playlist, you can often find Amy working on the next post for her blog (which is loaded with amazing information for writers!). Check it out here.
ACROSS A BROKEN SHORE is Amy's second novel with Flux Books and a winter 2020 Junior Library Guild Selection! Check out the synopsis below!
The last thing eighteen-year-old Wilhelmina "Willa" MacCarthy wants is to be a nun. It’s 1936, and as the only daughter amongst four sons, her Irish–Catholic family is counting on her to take her vows—but Willa’s found another calling. Each day she sneaks away to help Doctor Katherine Winston in her medical clinic in San Francisco’s Richmond District.
Keeping secrets from her family only becomes more complicated when Willa agrees to help the doctor at a field hospital near the new bridge being built over the Golden Gate. Willa thinks she can handle her new chaotic life, but as she draws closer to a dashing young ironworker and risks grow at the bridge, she discovers that hiding from what she truly wants may be her biggest lie of all.
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Hi, Amy! Welcome and congrats on Across a Broken Shore. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired it?
In 1936 San Francisco, eighteen-year-old Willa is supposed to become a nun, but a chance encounter with a female physician turns her life upside down. She begins sneaking out to work with the doctor who is caring for the men building the Golden Gate Bridge.
The way this book idea came together was a little odd. I was trying to figure out what my next book was going to be after my debut, Nothing But Sky. I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not more than a minute later, a photo of the first woman to earn a medical degree west of the Rockies (Dr. Lucy Wanzer), appeared in the same feed. At that point, I pieced two and two together and the idea for Across a Broken Shore was born.
What’s your favorite thing about writing girls who break societal boundaries?
I think it is the fact that while my characters are fiction they are inspired by real women from the time period who took enormous risks to follow their dreams. Unfortunately, most of the women have become a footnote in American history. By writing stories like Across a Broken Shore, I hope to bring their lives and accomplishments to light.
I find a lot of writers are intimidated to write historical fiction. What’s your best advice for someone looking to take the plunge?
Start small. If you have an idea, focus on one aspect first. For this book, I started with researching the Golden Gate Bridge construction. Once I had all the facts I needed, I moved on to researching women in medicine, and the facilities in San Francisco where they may have studied and worked at the time. I was very methodical about what needed to be done in order to write the story I wanted, and I gave myself plenty of time to do it.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing Across a Broken Shore teach you?
That even though you can research something on the internet, it is a thousand times better if you can experience it in real life. Going into this book, I knew I would have to make the reader feel the mixed emotions of the men working on the Golden Gate Bridge. The conditions they experienced while working day in and day out amongst the elements. It wasn’t until I walked the bridge on an extremely windy day that I realized how difficult the job must have been. I worked every single sense from that experience (the whip of the wind, the chill on my cheeks) onto the page. My goal was to do everything I could to totally immerse the reader in the scene.
And finally, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned (so far) in your publishing career?
You must advocate for yourself. If you’re unhappy about something regarding your experience, speak up. Things move fast in publishing. You must stand your ground when it comes to things in the process that don’t align with your vision for your book.
Many thanks go out to Amy for taking the time to tell us more about the inspiration behind ACROSS A BROKEN SHORE, as well as for sharing her advice on how to start writing historical fiction, and more. Be to sure to add this richly rendered YA your Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy (WRITE) NOW from retail sites like Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or request it at your library, or local independent bookstore!
For more information, keep up with Amy on Twitter, and Instagram, and visit her author website at amytruebloodauthor.com.
And, as always,