Amy Wolf’s latest novel, The Misses Bronte’s Establishment, is a Kindle Scout Winner. She has published 38 short stories in the sf/fantasy press, and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop. She has an honors English B.A. from the University of London.
What is the background noise when you write and why is it there?
Silence. I can’t concentrate with music or other distractions. Stop barking, for God’s sake!
What is your most recent excellent read (book, short story or essay) and why.
I reread Charlotte Bronte’s Villette before embarking on my novel. I have to say that it’s an absolute work of genius, better even than Jane Eyre: Bronte manages to capture the essence of a depressive personality without being gloomy or unentertaining. The sequence in the park where Lucy is under the influence of opium is just a kaleidoscopic trip.
Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between and why?
Plotter, babe! I sketch out each chapter in a Visio diagram (yes, I am a nerd). This is just a general outline but I need to know where I’m going! I was that way as a student, ultra-prepared for each test.
When you start reading a book do you always finish it? If not, what causes you to permanently put a book down?
No. I can tell almost immediately if something is good or not. A pedestrian style will put me off more than anything, or overblown hyperbole. I also can’t stand fantasies that start with: “And so Zabyn-ar-Kluth stared at the angry scarred vistas of Mon Argoth Subbaron, bidding her companion Zales nur A’aen to remain inside the zurth.” Aiieeee, run away!
Yes, I can’t help it. I love the good ones and usually have a pretty good chuckle at the bad ones. I love it when a reader claims “you can’t learn the truth about the Brontes from this book!” when it is clearly labeled as “a novel” and an “alternate history”!
When you compare your first draft to your final draft, do you net add words or subtract words? In general, what is it that you add or subtract between first and final draft?
You know, I do so many drafts there is never a direct comparison. But I can tell you that the final draft has been purged of all extraneous language, word repetitions, and ungraceful sentences. It has to sound rhythmically right to me.
How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?
I love the work of the Brontes, and have been researching their lives on and off for the past fifteen years.
What language error, when you hear or see it, grates on you like the screech of fingernails on a chalkboard?
I can’t stand the confusion between its and it’s. Come on, people, if it’s a contraction for “it is”, use “it’s.” Don’t make me come down there!
What is a piece of writing advice you think is worth sharing?
“Writing = ass in chair.” – Oliver Stone
To find more information about Amy and her writing go to: www.missesbrontes.com and amazon.com/author/amywolf It couldn't hurt!
What if. . . Branwell Bronte had not died before Emily?
What if. . .Charlotte was able to marry her “Mr. Rochester”?
What if. . .the Misses Bronte's Establishment actually found a pupil: one who is taught by three geniuses?
Meet Maria Shelby, the spoiled – and rich – daughter of an English knight. She has a habit of getting into trouble: at eighteen, she’s already been sacked from six schools. No one else will have her, except: The Misses Brontë’s Establishment in Haworth, a remote Yorkshire village. With time, Maria comes to appreciate the genius of her teachers: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë.
Part suspense, part Victorian novel, this novel takes the reader on a profound literary journey along with young Maria.