Untold - Amy Spitzfaden
I've made it pretty clear on my blog that I'm picky about romance books. I grew up reading Lori Wick and Janette Oak because that's what my mom was reading. As a result, I burned out quickly. My attention was turned to Tolkien, Bradbury, and yes, Stephen King, who all write genres I found to be more realistic than romance. (and yes, you caught that right - fantasy more realistic than your average romance novel).
I still occasionally enjoy a romance, but it takes a really good one, one with a deeper plot than a superficial "he's hot and she's sexy" couple to hold my attention.
In Untold, Amy Spitzfaden gives just that. She gives much more than your average romance novel offers up. Katie is a very well developed character with legitimate and realistic life issues. I appreciated the process in which she comes to understand the strange feelings she's struggling with and found them completely believable.
Seeing the plot unfold between her and Robin and watching as they both begin to realize what they may have been through in the past was fascinating and I felt my heart break a little as Katie made, what she thought was, the best possible decision for the two of them.
Without giving any specific spoilers, I just want to thank the author for not stopping the book there. THANK YOU! I was feeling severely disappointed.
What made me happiest through all of this is that both Katie and Robin come to the conclusion that it's all a choice. Sure love can seem like an overwhelming roller coaster ride that you have no control over, but we all have a choice. Watching Robin and Katie make their choices confidently, despite knowing what the future holds for them, was incredibly satisfying and left me with a smile. It felt so much closer to real life than the vast majority of romance books that I've read.
Some Bio Information
Amy Spitzfaden graduated with a literature and writing degree from Maharishi University of Management in 2012 and now lives in Temple, New Hampshire with her husband, Ravi. She works as an Engagement Manager at PSCS Consulting in Peterborough, and is currently writing her second book Fingerprinted Hearts, and aiming for a release date in 2017.
1) What inspired you to write this book?
The story originated from a feeling I had when I first started dating my husband. I so immediately knew it was right that I felt a certain kind of frustration and confusion that it hadn't happened sooner. There was this feeling of "Why did this take so long?", and this led me to wondering "What if there really was a reason?" That question is what brought me to the premise of Untold.
2) Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
I'm not super good with outlines, largely because I don't tend to start out with plot ideas. For me it tends to start with a character, situation, or premise I want to explore and the first draft helps me figure out what shape the story is going to take. I usually will write a first draft in a month or two if I'm working hard, then I'll go through, grab a few scenes that I like, and pretty much start the whole thing over from scratch. This can definitely be frustrating as I'm writing my first draft and looking ahead to my second, but it's also what keeps me moving forward without worrying too much about getting it right.
After the first draft, the story tends to have a much more defined shape in my head, which is when I start really getting into the plot. One of my favorite things for the writing process is going for a walk with someone - usually my mom, sisters, or husband - and getting their input on how best to shape certain parts of my story that I might be having trouble with. I'm extremely lucky to be around creative people almost all the time, and this is really what helps push my writing forward.
3) What types of readers would most enjoy your work?
I definitely think Untold resonates with a young/new adult audience, but some of the best responses I've gotten have been from far outside that demographic, so it's hard to pinpoint. I think anyone looking for something a little deeper than mainstream fiction yet still with a fast and modern tone would enjoy it, as well as anyone interested in why we love who we do, and possible spiritual or mystical reasons that could be behind it.
4) What do you hope that readers take away from your work?
Overall, I'm hoping to add a feeling of legitimacy to my genre. Books written primarily for or about young women tend not to be taken seriously, especially if they are light or more realistic in tone. All of my writing tends to reflect a deep emotional undercurrent that goes along with the real-life challenges and experiences that go along with this time of life: friendships, romantic relationships, budding careers, etc. I don't know why stories focused around that tend to be considered solely "fluffy", but if someone leaves my work feeling as though they have just gone through a worthwhile journey, then I'm happy.
5) Who is your favorite fictional character?
Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. That's been my favorite show for more than ten years, and each time I watch it I get more and more respect for Lorelai. She's a perfect example of someone who on the surface seems fairly frivolous but she has depth and power all over the place. Everyone in that show does, which is what makes it so great.
6) How would you describe your writing style?
Contemporary with a literary twist. I like to use a modern and sometimes conversational tone, but also really enjoy playing with language and imagery, so I try to tie all of that together.
7) What’s your ultimate writing goal?
I have so many that it's hard to pick one. While of course I'd love to see my books on bestseller lists and get turned into movies, things like develop a fan base who care deeply about the characters and get sent some fan art of fic are also currently high on my list. Right now, what I'd really love is to be able to support myself from my books enough that I can do it full time.