Connect with John Amory on Twitter @JohnAmory or visit his website: http://www.goodreads.com/JohnAmory.
Q&A with Author John Amory:
- Tell us about your cover design for A Christmas Caroler. Is there any symbolism from the story reflected in the cover?
I love this question, because I thought a lot about what I wanted the cover to convey. The focal image is a pair of silver bells, which obviously harkens back to the famous Christmas song of the same name. That song plays a huge part in A Christmas Caroler, so I knew they needed to be on the cover somewhere. There’s also a really cute image next to the title of two connected eight notes, where the note heads are bells. The bells in both images, for me, represent Jeremy and Zach, my main characters. In each case, the bells are connected or tied together, which was important to me to symbolize the connection between Jeremy and Zach. I also wanted to make sure the colors said “Christmas” but didn’t necessarily scream it, you know? I didn’t want a red background with green font or anything like that. The white and blues and grays still evoke winter, particularly the snow falling in the story’s final scene. I think Brandon Clay, Prizm’s cover artist, did a great job.
- In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?
I like to think that I gave an authentic voice to my teenage characters. I’m not too far out of my teenage years, so I always get annoyed when I read a young adult book (or watch a TV show/movie geared toward a teen audience) written by an adult who thinks they know how teenagers talk: every sentence ends in “bro” or “dude” or “man” or “oh em gee,” and everyone’s obsessed with lip gloss or sports. Teenagers are more diverse and, honestly, usually more intelligent than that. Yes, there are those who do speak like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s all they’re capable of. When you write a story about high school seniors, there needs to be some consideration made for the fact that these are (or soon to be) legal adults who are making huge, life-altering decisions about college, work, or the future, in general. You can’t just “oh em gee” your way through that stuff.
- Which of your characters is most like you?
Definitely Jeremy. He’s equal parts me in high school and me now. His whole speech to Zach late in the story about not knowing who he is or where he’s heading got a little too real a few weeks after I wrote it when I found myself in much the same predicament in my professional life. His overall attitude, his drive, and even his jealousy, are all things we have in common. Also, we’re both perpetual runners-up when it comes to high school choir. It’s okay, Jeremy, I never got that solo either.
- What other interests do you have outside of writing?
I’m really into theatre. I minored in it in college, which gave me the opportunity to really learn the ins and outs of multiple positions on a production staff and in a cast, and I still love doing it as much as I can. In fact, I’m dancing in a production of White Christmas right now! I started out only ever performing, but over the years I’ve gotten my feet wet as a stage manager, director and choreographer. The latter two are my favorite things to do; I love the creative process, the expression. And I like being in charge, so there’s that. ☺ I’ve also recently tried my hand at playwriting, and I’ve already had productions mounted in New Jersey and New York City.
- Is there one genre of YA that you would love to write but haven’t?
I would love to write a sci-fi YA novel. I’ve had this idea for a while now about a dystopian future where the gay gene has been discovered and LGBT people are being eliminated because gene therapy can “fix” them. I just don’t have any idea how to go about writing that type of story, or the research that would be involved… so if anyone out there wants to collaborate, get in touch. ;-)
- What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
Honestly, I’m just hoping for a smile. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I especially love all the beautiful, cheerful music. There’s a kind of happiness that permeates everything and everyone in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and I just hope that that happiness and goodwill is present in my story as well and can bring a smile to readers’ faces.
Now Available from John Amory:
A Christmas Caroler Jeremy Walsh is a high school senior who's got big plans for his future -- namely, to perform at Carnegie Hall. But before he can get there, he needs to secure the solo in his renowned high school choir's Christmas concert and get into college. Everything seems to be on track until a cute new student, Zach Brooks, shows up and ruins all of Jeremy's plans by snatching the solo out from under him. With his college auditions looming and the Christmas concert fast approaching, Jeremy has more on his plate than he can handle. Can the magic of the Christmas season bring Jeremy and Zach together?