I’m excited to welcome Lisa Amowitz to the blog today to discuss her new novel, Breaking Glass
. You can see my review of Breaking Glass here, along with a chance to win an ARC
. Check out my interview with Lisa, and see below for a fantastic giveaway. You can visit other tour stops here
Publication Date: July 9, 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
Synopsis: On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.
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My review: Jeremy Glass has a lot on his plate. His mother committed suicide when he was young. He’s been in love with Susannah since they were children, but when they became teenagers, his best friend, Ryan, got the girl. Jeremy attempts to numb himself with alcohol, and one night, he makes an ill-fated decision to drive drunk, leading to an accident that causes him to lose his leg. That same night, Ryan and Susannah fight, and Susannah disappears. Whew!
As Jeremy attempts to find out what happened to Susannah, he begins to uncover long-buried secrets of his parents and of his friends’ parents that may be tied to Susannah’s disappearance. There is a large cast of secondary characters, all of whom may be key to the central plot. Jeremy is also suspicious of Ryan, who can’t give a good accounting of exactly how Susannah disappeared. There were so many entanglements among the adults, both in the present and in flashbacks to their teen years, it was difficult to keep track of everyone. However, the presence of the adults’ back-stories added some very intriguing elements to the plot.
My feelings about Susannah swung wildly during the course of the book. Initially she seemed pretty harmless; she was Jeremy’s unrequited love, although she, perhaps, took a bit too much pleasure in that. As time progressed, her behavior seemed a bit more sinister and destructive. However, by the end of the book, Amowitz revealed so much more depth to Susannah, and she gave very plausible and very heart-breaking reasons for Susannah’s behavior. On the other hand, it was always easy to sympathize with Jeremy, even when he made some terrible decisions.
There were some truly frightening moments, and at various times, different characters’ lives were at risk. Is Susannah alive? Is she dead? Jeremy experiences some eerie “visitations,” but he doesn’t know if it’s the ghost of Susannah or something else. The spooky tone of Breaking Glass kept me intrigued through the final pages.
Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot.
When she hit her teens, she realized that Long Island was too small for her and she needed to escape. So she went to college in Pittsburgh. Go figure.
On leaving college, Lisa became a graphic designer living in New York City. She eventually married her husband of a zillion years, had two lovely children, and was swept away to a fairy tale life in the Bronx, where, unbelievably there are more trees and wilderness than her hometown. She can see the Hudson River from her kitchen window.
Lisa has been a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.
BREAKING GLASS which will be released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in 2014, along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will also be released in the near future, along with graphic novel style art.
Q. I was fascinated to learn that you designed the cover for Breaking Glass. I imagine that this is something that all authors, assuming they have the skill, would love to do. But was it difficult getting Spencer Hill Press to allow you to design your cover?
A. When I learned that Spencer Hill Press had made an offer on my manuscript, I decided that one of the benefits of going with such a small house (they’ve pretty much tripled in size since then and aren’t all that small anymore!) was the opportunity to do my own covers. As a trained graphic designer and professor, I felt qualified. It took a little convincing, but after looking over some of my sample work ( I hadn’t done that much cover design at the time, but wanted to do more of it) Kate Kaynak, the editor-in-chief decided to give me a chance. It was a lot harder to do my own cover than I expected, but in the end, we were both really pleased with the result. After that, Kate started hiring me to do a good deal of other cover commissions. Keep an eye out for a few coming very soon, the first being AWOKEN, which releases next month, followed by EXTRACTED in November, and SWAMP ANGEL in December. There are a lot more on the way, including the one for my next book, coming out in May 2014, VISION.
Q. For those unfamiliar with Breaking Glass, what did you want to convey on the cover?
A. The main bulk of the story of Breaking Glass takes place from November to January. I wanted to convey that cold barren time of year, here in New York State, as well as the creepy and mysterious tone of the book. There is a real town that inspired the story called Croton-on-Hudson and it has that kind of vibe. I had done a lot of mockups with a boy’s face, but my then sixteen-year-old daughter and her friends demanded that I use the one that became the cover. They pointed out that some of their favorite books, such as LOOKING FOR ALASKA, by John Green did not have faces on their covers and they preferred to imagine the characters themselves. I, however, personally have nothing against books with faces on their covers and have designed quite a few of them myself!
Q. Jeremy, the main character in Breaking Glass, suffers from an alcohol addiction, and he makes some bad decisions in the story as a result. How did you maintain the reader’s sympathy in him, even when we don’t always sympathize with his actions?
A. Jeremy Glass is, hands down, my favorite character I ever wrote. Since I love Jeremy, and I cared what happened to him, I could only hope others would feel the same. One little trick I used was to have him use self-deprecating humor rather than complain outwardly, though when alone, he did tend to wallow in self-pity. Basically, there were a lot of times when Jeremy really cracked me up (yeah, writers are crazy that way—I actually talk about Jeremy as if he is real). I also sympathized with his deep longing for Susannah and felt that though it was somewhat misplaced, when properly channeled would make him a hell of a devoted partner to the right girl. I also loved the way that he, though tormented on the inside maintained his principles and even though he often did ridiculously inappropriate things, in the end, chose to do what was right. I have a lot of hope that Jeremy will grow up to be a very decent man!
Q. Susannah, Jeremy’s long-time crush, on the other hand, wasn’t always sympathetic. My feelings
about her changed dramatically during the course of the book. Was that your intention with her
A.Yes. Jeremy is what you call an unreliable narrator—his view of reality is skewed, so therefore, since you are seeing Susannah through his eyes, your opinion of her changes along with Jeremy’s.
Q. One of the big mysteries of the story is what happened to Susannah. She disappears early in the plot, and she may or may not be paying some ghostly visitations to Jeremy. Do you have any favorite paranormal stories that inspired you while writing Breaking Glass?
A. Hmmm, well, the books that inspire me are not always paranormal. Let’s see. I am a HUGE Maggie Stiefvater fan so for certain the entire SHIVER series, and its sense of deep longing and finely wrought characters had a big impact on me. Also, for the male voice and tone—John Green’s PAPERTOWNS. Also, for just the total amazingness of the writing, THE BOOK THIEF. And I am a nut over Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming projects?
A. My next book with Spencer Hill Press, VISION releases in May 2013 and it is the first book in the Finder series. It’s about a dirt poor, but super talented guitar playing country boy named Bobby Pendell. Bobby is about as different from Jeremy Glass as you can get. Bobby would probably want to sock spoiled Jeremy in the nose. Bobby’s problems begin on a fishing trip when he thinks he sees a skeleton at the bottom of the lake and is then overcome by a debilitating migraine. The migraines and the visions worsen until Bobby begins to believe he is on the trail of a long time killer who has been preying on his small town for years. What follows is a game of cat and mouse as Bobby attempts to solve the crime before the killer or the blinding migraines get him first.
Thanks so much, Lisa, for visiting Inspiring Insomnia!
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