Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication)
I wrote FALLING INTO PLACE during NaNoWriMo the year before last year, sort if in a fit of self-pity. My first novel had just been rejected at acquisitions, school sucked, and I was generally not in a fantastic place, emotionally. So I wrote about a girl who made a lot of mistakes and the imaginary friend who would never let her go. And I felt better.
I sent it to my agent, who was really excited about it. We revised it for about two months, and then we sent it out on subs. It sold within the week—the craziest, most mind-blowingly awesome week EVER. I hyperventilated and cried and laughed a lot. S/O to the world for not committing me to an asylum (love you, world <3).
What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?
The GR pitch: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly narrated by Liz’s imaginary friend from childhood, a friend she long ago abandoned, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher
The Amy pitch: It’s about the laws of motion and Newton the Virgin and making wishes on scenic towers and being a good friend and being a bad friend. It’s about being afraid of silence and hating gravity and losing at hide-and-seek. It’s about the day you stop believing in heroes and the day you start again. And most of all it’s about being a teenager. Making mistakes. Hating school. Dating the wrong people. Cheating on tests. Forgetting your calculator. Experimenting. Regretting it. And finding the strength to move on.
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
The first book that ever made me cry was Charlotte’s Web. I sleep with a decorative dagger behind my bed because it makes me feel badass. I used to sleep with books under my pillow. I broke my typewriter and am still trying to find a place to fix it (if anyone has a local typewriter-fixer, please share). Sometimes I walk around the house and interpret Disney songs as dramatic monologues. I like ceramics. I’m super talented when it comes to marathoning TV shows. I like pumpkin frozen yogurt. I’ve been stuck on level 65 of Candy Crush for a ridiculously long time.
…I have very loose definition of “cool.”
Do you have any writing quirks–places you need to write or things you need to have with you?
Okay, don’t judge. I write best in my bathtub. I fill it with pillows and blankets and I write. It’s relaxing and the curvature of the tub totally helps the creative juices or something (actually, mostly I write there because the door locks and there are no distractions). It’s totally normal and not weird at all and it’s RELAXING, okay? Okay.