This week I had amazing author Amy Rivers do a guest blog post!
When I started writing my first novel, Wallflower Blooming, I was focused on writing about women’s lives the way they actually happen. The good: love, friendships, parties, pedicures. The bad: breakups, job stress, bad hair days. And the ugly: harassment, bullying, and even violence. Our lives are a combination of all of these. Throw in personality, attitude and all the things that have happened to us in our lives, and you get a pretty complex picture. My latest novel, Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, is a continuation of my exploration of the intriguing lives of women.
Two things surprised me during the writing process: 1) how much of me went into the book, and 2) to a much greater extent, how my characters shaped their own destines. Believe it or not, I didn’t set out to incorporate so many of my own experiences and encounters into my writing, but what they say about writing what you know is absolutely true. There’s nothing so authentic as reality. That being said, it came as a real shock when the characters started writing their own stories, taking me in directions I didn’t expect, thwarting my best laid plans. Once I was able to let go of my “illusion of control,” everything came together.
In Wallflower Blooming, Val deals with her own insecurities and her tendency to stay in the background of things. She stumbles into love, acts like a real baby at times, but perseveres, which is what I think we all hope we can do. In the follow-up novel, Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, Gwen is confronted with unexpected and permanent changes to her life plans, making her irritable, fearful and a real pain to be around. That’s the funny thing about life, right? We don’t always react well when things don’t go our way. And for Gwen, as is often the case, drama manifests on all the different planes of our life, and frequently all at once. It’s not enough that we have relationship drama, but it never fails that work and health and all the other parts start to fall apart as well. Gwen has to pull herself past the drama and learn to move forward, healthily and happily.
My greatest hope for readers is that they take what they need from my books. Whether you’re looking for an easy escape from the chaos of real life or you’re ready to ponder the complexities of love, politics, motherhood, friendship and more, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for in my books. I certainly hope you do.
About Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters
A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen Marsh’s career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.
“Chicken soup for the working woman’s soul.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Witty, warm, and compulsively readable. Rivers has deftly created lovably flawed and relatable characters you don’t want to miss.” — Amy Avanzino, author of Wake-Up Call and From the Sideline
“In Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters, Amy Rivers unfolds relatable characters struggling to sort out complex issues. Relationships are never easy, and in this tightly woven tapestry of real life challenges each character must roll with the punches and redefine their goals going forward. It will suck you in, hold you tight and keep you on edge as you turn the pages to discover their hard-pressed solutions.” — Kathryn Mattingly, author of Benjamin, Journey, and Olivia’s Ghost