Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Armstrong, whose latest book Pride and Prejudice, one of the Clandestine Classics from Total-E-Bound is now available. Amy will give one commenter on today's interview a copy of Pride and Prejudice.
"Pride and Prejudice, and indeed all the Clandestine Classics titles have been getting a lot of press recently, and not all of it positive. One of the most frustrating comments I’ve seen is that I just slotted in a couple of sex scenes. This is completely untrue," she assured me. "In order for Elizabeth and Darcy to embark on a sexual relationship, I had to develop the romance in the story so that when they do get together, those scenes fit seamlessly into the existing plot. Yes there are some very steamy scenes in the book, but readers will also find that the sexual tension, and thoughts and feelings of Elizabeth and Darcy have also been developed."
She would love to be able to spend the day with Jane Austen to be able to get her take on the whole Clandestine Classics situation.
"As an author, I’d be incredibly flattered to learn that two hundred years from now my books were so popular that authors were reworking the stories in some way," she told me. "But how would she feel? It would be fascinating to be able to talk to her about what it was like to be a woman in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. I’d love to know if she - as a writer, felt constricted by convention and what she would do differently if she were alive today. She was an incredible woman that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for women in her day and I’d like to think she’d continue to do so now."
Amy's been writing since she asked her parents for a typewriter for Christmas when she was eleven.
"I’d shut myself away in my bedroom for hours making up stories and it’s a passion that has never diminished," she told me. "I first tried my hand at writing romance at the age of nineteen, but it was only a couple of years ago that I decided to seriously pursue becoming published and achieving my dream of writing for a living."
Amy has nine books published, but eight of those are M/M romance published under her pen name of Lavinia Lewis. She has three more under that name that are contracted and due to come out in the next few months. She also has three M/F erotic romance novels that are very close to completion.
"Which is your favorite?" I asked.
"I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but several are important to me for different reasons. Luke’s Surprise was my first ever published so that book will always be special. My favourite character is Lucas ― one of the leads in Mobsters and Miracles and Pride and Prejudice is also special because it was the most challenging to write."
When Amy's not writing, one of her passions is traveling. When she was younger, she did a lot of backpacking and she's not been able to get the travel bug out of her system.
"Of course, the great thing about being an author is that it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I can still write," she said.
"Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book," I said. "Where would you most likely want to go?"
"There are several countries I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t made it to yet. Any South American country would do just nicely. I’d love to go to a carnival in Rio, visit the Angel Falls in Venezuela or follow the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. India is another country that just calls out to me. But, if my publisher would be kind enough to buy me a Winnebago, I’d happily drive through every state in America. Well, okay forty-eight states. Alaska is way too cold for my liking and I’ve already visited Hawaii, though if they’re feeling generous and want to throw in a luxury cruise, I’d happily go back."
Amy told me that she thinks one reason she enjoys traveling so much is because it's always too cold in her native Britain and rains far too much.
"There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping of a plane and having the heat hit you. Bliss!" she said.
"Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?" I wondered. "If so, what do you do about it?"
"My answer to this question would have to be yes and no. Clear as mud? Let me try to explain. I’m never short on story ideas and in fact I have about fifty works in progress at various stages of completion. I do try to concentrate on one or two stories at a time, but as I’m a total pantser, I sometimes reach a point in a story where I have no idea what is going to happen next. And yes, I have been known to stare at my laptop screen in frustration, annoyed that the next part of the story doesn’t magically appear in my mind in flashing neon signs. But I’ve learned that when that happens, the best thing for me to do is to work on something else. Let the original story tick over for a day or two and then go back to it. A little time and distance seems to work wonders on the creative juices. Always have a back up (or several) so that if you do get stuck, you are not wasting your time writing nothing."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? "
"My advice would be to study the craft tirelessly. And by that I mean everything from reading books on writing, attending creative writing classes either in person or online and reading books in general, particularly in the genre you are interested in writing yourself. Most writers are also voracious readers. But the important thing when reading I think is to study each sentence closely. Pay attention to how they are constructed, to word choice and punctuation. Maybe find an online critique group that gives you feedback on what you’ve written. But the most important advice I can give is just to write. That might sound obvious, but writing is a skill and is something that can be learned and improved upon. The more you write, the better you will become. "
About the Author:
Find Amy online at
When the highly eligible and overtly handsome Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy first arrives in Hertfordshire, Elizabeth Bennet is instantly captivated, but his proud and arrogant manner is at odds with the heated glances he throws her way. Electrifying sexual tension soon leads to an unexpected kiss and Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down.
Misconceptions ensue and judgments abound but the attraction between the young couple endures. Can Elizabeth overlook social convention and give in to her desires for Darcy or will their Pride and Prejudice tear them apart?