- Chasing Hope
- Sure Thing
- Asking For Trouble
- A Broken Us
Visit Amy Daws at amydawsauthor.com
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to "Books in 30" with me, C.G. Cooper. Here at "Books in 30," we discuss great books with some of today's top authors. Don't forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at cg-cooper.com/podcast, along with the full transcript of the episode. So welcome to our listeners, and a big "Books in 30" welcome to today's guest, Amy Daws.
Amy is a Amazon Top 100 best selling author of the Harris Brothers series, and is most known for her punny, footy-playing, British playboys. The Harris Brothers and her London Lovers series fuel her passion for all things London. When Amy's not writing, she's watching "Gilmore Girls" or singing karaoke in the living room with her daughter, while daddy awkwardly smiles from a distance. For more of Amy's work, visit amydawsauthor.com. Welcome, Amy. How you doing today?
Amy Daws: Hey, good. How are you?
C. G. Cooper: I am good. I love that last line, " When Amy's not writing, she's watching 'Gilmore Girls'" and then "daddy's awkward smiles from a distance." How often does that happen?
Amy Daws: My daughter and I, we are a pair and my husband is just always shaking his head. He's just always shaking his head at us. So, yes.
C. G. Cooper: Well, cool. Tell me, where are you calling in from today?
Amy Daws: I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I'm originally an Iowa girl, but I'm right by the border between Iowa and South Dakota. So I'm technically in South Dakota, but I always identify more with Iowans.
C. G. Cooper: So are you, do you guys have snow yet?
Amy Daws: No. We got a few flurries right before- I went to Las Vegas for a signing this past weekend and we had flurries when I was flying out. And then Las Vegas was, of course, super hot so that was just weird.
C. G. Cooper: Going back and forth between that.
Amy Daws: Yeah, yes.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. Can you give the listeners a little bit of a snapshot of when or how you became an author?
Amy Daws: Sure. I had kind of an interesting start in the book world. My first book was a memoir that I wrote called "Chasing Hope" and it was my story of infertility. I had a lot of miscarriages before I had my daughter, Lorelei, and it was just a really hard time then. But once I had my daughter, I was so happy, but for some reason I didn't want to forget the bad, I always like to say because the bad got me to the good.
So I started writing all my memories of the miscarriages that I had - very detail for detail, dialogue my husband and I would have - and I realized I was kind of writing it like a book. And I was like, "You know, I think I could turn this into a book and maybe other women that are going through this might feel a little bit more understood." Or they could pass it off to their mother or their sister who maybe doesn't understand what they're going through, and they kind of get a little glimpse of what the daily struggle someone who's either gone through either miscarriages or infertility goes through. So I wrote "Chasing Hope," and it was a really great experience.
But the problem is, I love reading romance. I've always been a romance novel junkie, and so I knew that I got the itch for writing but I didn't want to continue in non-fiction, so I started writing romance novels. Two months ago, I published my 10th book, so I have nine romance novels and one memoir. So as you can see, my career has taken a turn but it's a very fun story that I'm excited about, what "Chasing Hope" brought into my life, because it's brought lots of adventures. So, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That is awesome. Isn't it interesting how therapeutic our writing can be sometimes?
Amy Daws: Yeah. Oh, man. It was totally therapeutic. I mean, it just really helped me see the whole picture of the experience I had. And even though I had so many dark years, by the time I got to the end it was a beautiful story. So, yeah. I totally see what you're saying there.
C. G. Cooper: Have you been able to have some good conversations with readers or friends, anybody that's experienced that book?
Amy Daws: Oh, yeah. There's always a tiny little pocket of readers that show up to these- Because most of the signings I go to are romance signings; they're romance conventions. Romance readers are ravenous, so they come in hoards for these big conferences where lots of authors all show up. But there's always one or two that have read "Chasing Hope," and it's always an emotional meeting because they really ... with "Chasing Hope," you get a really close glimpse of my life and I don't hold anything back. So it's very personal, it's very graphic, and it's heart wrenching. So I think when they see me, it's just a super emotional moment to put a face to the book.
And they're always really surprised because I'm a very happy person, and I think they expect me to just look like "Debbie Downer" or something. And I'm like, "Don't be sad. Look at my table of books. Look at all that's come from that." So it's a really cool ... I love when I meet readers that have read "Chasing Hope." It's very special.
C. G. Cooper: That's neat. I had a conversation - actually, her episode went live today - with Laura Pritchett. And she wrote ... it's supposed to be funny and uplifting, but basically her close, her struggles with death. And it's interesting because most of her other stuff is fiction, but this was very much based on her life. And it's amazing to me- First of all, kudos for having the courage to actually write something like that because as artists, we're a little freaked out by that sometimes, being in the spotlight and putting ourselves out there, so that's- It's just I love meeting authors that have the bravery to stand out and say, "Hey, this is my life. Maybe you can relate to it."
Amy Daws: Yeah. I'm definitely not a shy writer. There's a lot of writers that are introverts, and even going to signings really drains them. But for me, it feeds my extroverted personality. So I think I'm a unique one in that regard.
C. G. Cooper: Well, that's good. There needs to be more of us, right?
Amy Daws: Yeah, right.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Well, let's get into the meat of it. Let's talk about a book that you're currently reading or one that you've finished that you think the listeners would love to latch on to.
Amy Daws: Sure. I just got done reading a fun book. I like to try to space my fun books with my soul searching books. So I just finished a fun one that I'm going to talk about because it's fresh in my mind.
It was called "Sure Thing" by Jana Aston. Jana is an indie author like myself. I met her for the first time this year, actually, at a signing in Atlanta. And it was just this really fun, froppy, romantic comedy where the hero was British which, obviously with my love for London, that appealed to me. And the heroine was a twin and she was kind of posing as her sister through most of the book and the hero didn't know it. And so ... there's this really fun, a lot of information that they weren't telling each other, and you're just waiting until the end until they finally reveal who the other person is. Because it turns out that they guy, the British hero, was actually the girl's boss. And she didn't know that, and she's posing as her sister at her job. And so it was so fun. I laughed a lot. It's like one of those epic love stories, so the ending has this great, big, grand gesture, and that's what I love to read.
C. G. Cooper: Very cool. So I have a couple of follow-on questions for you. The first, because as guys we're like, "Oh, we don't want to read romance. It's not my thing." But I'm a great example, okay? I'm maybe a manly-ish man. I was a Marine; I do all these things that are manly-ish. But then I love movies like "Love Actually." "Notting Hill" is one of my favorites. "You've Got Mail"- all these romance-laced stories, but I've never read anything like that. So being a guy, how do you get into what you do? Where should somebody start if you've never even touched that genre?
Amy Daws: You know, my husband read my first romance novel. So I wrote "Chasing Hope" and then I wrote my first romance novel, and he was like, "So, you just made all this up?" It was so funny. And he's such a sports guy, so he's not a reader. Reading for him is not something he enjoys. And I always tell people that aren't big readers - because I have a lot of friends that are trying to read my books or they just never get around to them - I'm like, "Don't worry about it. If reading feels like homework to you, you might just not be a reader. That's okay."
But my husband, though, he started reading it and then he was hooked. And every night he had to grab it and pick it up until he got to the end because he didn't realize how much it can pull you into the story because it's not just the sappy romance exchanges. It's the funny secondary best friends that are the perfect punchlines. And it's usually an emotional journey for the heroine or the hero, where they're trying to find themselves either in a career or something like that, so there's always a secondary aspect.
For guys, though, I really do think they would like rom com just because it's lighter and fluffier. Sports romance, which is something I write a lot of, would especially appeal to them I think because there's usually always a good sports aspect in. And my husband's read my sports ones and those are definitely his favorite, too.
C. G. Cooper: I'm going to admit something right now that I actually didn't realize it until you were just talking. I'm going to admit something to you and to my listeners, and obviously to my readers who are used to military thrillers that I write, that I'm pretty eclectic. I just realized that I've read all the "Fifty Shades of Grey" books, and I've also read, I think three times through, all the "Twilight" series as well.
Amy Daws: See?
C. G. Cooper: So you got me. All right? You got me.
Amy Daws: That's romance, that's romance. Those are great places to start, especially because they have such a presence in our pop culture right now. So it's fun to at least be at a party and you know what they're talking about when they talk about, what was it, the silver balls or something. We won't go any further than that. Don't worry. But you know, there's people that make jokes about that because they've all seen the movies now.
I have a male, Australian reviewer that reviews all my books, and he's married with six kids. Him and his wife have six children together. I think his blog is called "Dave Loves Romance" or something like that. And he is so funny. He's kind of the token male in all the Facebook romance reader groups. And don't know, I think there's a lot of benefit from a man reading a romance novel. It just kind of makes your more hyper aware of the feelings of a situation, and just maybe being more in tuned to having more of an emotional connection with your wife or girlfriend, your partner, whatever. Because it's all the fields; we write all the fields in these books, so I think it could be highly beneficial.
C. G. Cooper: All right. You heard it, guys. If you're listening right now, Amy said it. If you want insight into the female psyche, you might want to start reading her stuff. All right, next question, which is the loaded question I think of the entire show: what is your favorite book of all time?
Amy Daws: That's a hard one, but I think I have to go with, it's called "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young. It's hard because you love different books for different reasons. But "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young, she's a British chick-lit author, and if you've ever seen the movie "The Wedding Date" with Debra Messing, the movie was based off this book, which most people don't know. I tell people in the romance industry and they're like, "What? I love that movie. I didn't know it was based on a book." And like most movies, the book is better only because you get more in a book than you ever can in a movie. They really have to condense a lot in a movie.
So it's "Asking for Trouble" by Elizabeth Young because it is just British chick-lit at its finest. It's like such- I don't know, the British humor to me has always been really appealing, which is probably why I base a lot of my books in London because I love their dry, sharp wit. It's what got my start in reading. I wasn't much of a reader in my 20's. I was in college and all I could do was read textbooks. And my sister's like, "You just try to read something for fun. Here, read this. It's about the movie. It's what the movie 'The Wedding Date' was based off of."
And I was hooked. And then I consumed all Elizabeth Young's novels. And then I got hooked on British chick-lit, so I moved on to Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, and just a lot of those British chick-lit greats. And now I'm basing my books in London, so I think it's kind of all come full circle for me.
C. G. Cooper: Well, that was actually my second question, was why the love for London? And tell us more about that.
Amy Daws: My first novel that I wrote after my memoir was called "A Broken Us." And I wanted, my goal with that was ... as wonderful as the memoir industry is and that genre, if you're not a Kim Kardashian book sales are never going to blow up for you because most people care about reading about the real life of Kim Kardashian or somebody famous than someone who's maybe just undergone a struggle.
So I really wanted to get the world of infertility brought into a larger platform, so I thought, "I'm going to write a romance novel with an infertility storyline for the heroine." And so I had my heroine break up with her boyfriend right at the beginning of the book, and she moves overseas to London to live with her best friend. And I just think I thought ... I remember when I was going through miscarriages that there was a time in my life where I was like, "I just want to get away. I want to move to a different country. Start over. Stop obsessing about babies and fertility charts. And I want an adventure that's not family-oriented."
And I'm in the Midwest. Women have babies in their lower 20's around here. It's just a very family-friendly place to live in the States. And so it was just around me all the time and I thought, "I could go to London. There's no language barrier." So that kind of started my obsession with London. And then the British chick-lit aspect I think added to that.
So yeah, my first heroine went overseas, and then she met all these cool friends, and I just kind of happily got stuck over there with the series called the "London Lovers" series, and then that spun off into my "Harris Brothers" series, and they're all a bunch of Brits.
C. G. Cooper: Do you have a big following overseas?
Amy Daws: Yeah. Actually, I do have a pretty good following. My best book signing to date happened in Birmingham, England. But the British are ravenous romance readers, too, I've noticed. And I think when a United States author comes over there, they want to buy all the books because- for signed copies at home, because I think they're ... you might never come back or it could be years until you come back. I did really well in Birmingham, England. That was a lot of fun. Those British readers are fun.
C. G. Cooper: That's awesome. That is cool. That is something that I still haven't done. I don't know. I've got three young ones at home, so getting away for something like that- Now, we do go overseas for research trips for books, but London is still on the top of my list. I've been all over the world; I've never been there before. I finally got to Paris for the first time last year and loved it. So I know as a history buff that London is right up my alley.
Amy Daws: Yeah. We had the best trip to London when we went recently. And it's always research for me, so I never say 'no' to a trip to London.
C. G. Cooper: Maybe we'll meet you over there sometime. How about that?
Amy Daws: Yeah, sounds good. We'll book that trip.
C. G. Cooper: There you go. All right, cool. Well, what about your work? Did you bring a snippet to read for the listeners?
Amy Daws: Yes. Let me find my page. I'm literally reading out of my paperback. This is just a little half a page I'll read from my book called, "Keeper." It's my book that just released two months ago. So this is the third book in my "Harris Brothers" series, and my "Harris Brothers" are about these four brothers that all play professional soccer in England; it's called 'football' in my books. They're British. I always have to be very clear about that because the British people or Europeans get mad at me if they hear me say 'soccer' in videos. And they're like, "But you write in England. You need to make sure you say football." I'm like, "All right, okay, I'm sorry."
So this "Keeper" is a best-friends-to-lovers romance novel about Booker Harris, who is the youngest of these four brothers, and he is the goal keeper for the team that two of them play on. And his best friend, Poppy McAdams from childhood, returns after being away for six years. She went to university and to grad school in Germany, and now she's back. And she needed a place to stay, and she's going to be staying with Booker.
So my heroine is British, but if I try to do this in a British accent, it's going to go Australian and it's going to get ugly. It's going to get ugly real quick, so I'm just going to read it in the Amy Daws accent of South Dakota.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. I do the same thing. Why do we slip into Australian? I don't know.
Amy Daws: I don't know. I just gets worse, it gets worse. I read some of my daughter's children's books in a British accent and it sounds so good. But my own stuff? I don't know. I just can't do it. I can't; I tried. So I'll go ahead. This is from Chapter 3, and it's in Poppy's point of view.
I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I'm moving in with Booker Harris. I sing the last bit in my head because then the statement seems to resonate a bit longer. It sounds peculiar, even in a B flat. I was prepared to take my time moving back to London when my lease started in July. But one good job offer later, and here I am in Booker's building with his brothers like nothing's changed.
Booker's offer was awfully sweet and incredibly unexpected, especially considering the last time we saw each other was six years ago, and it wasn't the best of goodbyes. But, commuting would have been a nightmare and his flat is very close to the school I'll be working at, so it was silly of me to try and refuse. Right? Right. That's totally it. Booker's my best friend and I haven't seen him since I was 19. What better way to reconnect with an old friend than move in with him for an extended period of time, where there's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide? Nevermind that I'll have to share a bathroom with him.
Oh, wait. I don't want to read the rest of this page and I want to stop. My humor can get a little saucy, so we'll just end it at that.
C. G. Cooper: Okay.
Amy Daws: It's clean. It's clean this way. I thought I could read the next paragraph, but it escalates.
C. G. Cooper: I think you were just about to dive into an Australian accent. That's why you stopped, right?
Amy Daws: That's probably it, yes. That's totally it.
C. G. Cooper: Well, cool. Well, thank you for sharing that. And again, just for the readers, that's "Keeper" right?
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: And you said that's the third book in the one series.
Amy Daws: Yes. And they're all standalones because each book covers a brother. But it is the third one in the "Harris Brothers" series that's been released. So, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Good to know. So they can pick them up in any order they want.
Amy Daws: Yeah, absolutely.
C. G. Cooper: Fantastic. All right. Well tell you what, Amy, you ready for the speed round? You ready for some good questions?
Amy Daws: I'm ready. I did not prepare myself. I was like I just want to answer cold-
C. G. Cooper: Yeah.
Amy Daws: so I'm ready.
C. G. Cooper: It's more fun that way. Why prep, right? We're casual around here.
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: All right, first question: what's your favorite thing about being an author?
Amy Daws: Working from home in my pajamas.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. All right. What is the best advice you ever received? And it does not have to be about writing.
Amy Daws: I was going to say "just keep writing." The best advice I've ever received, it was "finish." You've got to finish what you're doing. It's very easy in the author world to start a project, leave it; start another one, leave it; start it, leave it. And then you have all these unfinished things all over, whether it's writing or business marketing tasks. You've got to finish everything you do before you can move on.
C. G. Cooper: Amen a thousand times. All right, third one: what is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Amy Daws: It's my phone. I'm addicted. It's my phone.
C. G. Cooper: Aren't we all?
Amy Daws: Yep.
C. G. Cooper: All right. What is one thing you wish you could change about publishing? And it could be about the industry, the process, whatever you want.
Amy Daws: Hmm. I need a quick answer, don't I? There's so much. For some reason, this came up - and this is going to get a little bit deep quickly - but it's very prevalent in the romance industry that interracial couples on covers is a big no-no, or people are afraid to market that because they think it won't sell, and that makes me really sad. And I think we need to try harder at pushing different races on covers besides just Caucasian people.
C. G. Cooper: I like it, I like it. Inclusion, right?
Amy Daws: Yes.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. All right. What genre do you wish you could write in?
Amy Daws: I would love to write a sick vampire romance.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah? Okay.
Amy Daws: Still romance, but I want some vamps sometime. Someday.
C. G. Cooper: Me, too. I have this thing about vampires. I've read all of Anne Rice's novels-
Amy Daws: Yes.
C. G. Cooper: -and her non-fiction stuff, too. I read that stuff back when I was I think in my early 20's. And I don't know, something about that vampire world. I tell my wife that I want to be a vampire one day.
Amy Daws: Yeah, right? Me, too. They never need sleep. We could write all night and all day. It'd be amazing.
C. G. Cooper: Heck, yeah. And forever and ever. What's wrong with that?
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: All right. What's on your bucket list?
Amy Daws: I really want to go to Africa on a safari.
C. G. Cooper: Safari.
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: You are brave. All right, next one: if you could teach a college course, what subject or class would you teach?
Amy Daws: Probably ... no, not a writing class. I hate teaching writing; I think it's very hard. My background is in video production, so probably video editing.
C. G. Cooper: Really?
Amy Daws: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Video production?
Amy Daws: Yep.
C. G. Cooper: See? I love it. You figure out interesting things about interesting people when you do this kind of stuff. All right. Last one; this is a fun one since I'm a foodie: if you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Amy Daws: Oh, man. It's got to be ... I love British chocolate and I almost said that, but I'd get tired of it. It's probably something salty like chips, like Pringles, the originals.
C. G. Cooper: Ooh, the original Pringles. In the tube, right?
Amy Daws: Exactly.
C. G. Cooper: Yes. All right. Well, cool. Well, Amy, thank you again so much for being on the show. Can you give a few last words to our listeners and let them know where they can find you, and maybe something ... I know you've got a new book out, so please let them know about that.
Amy Daws: Sure. My newest, "Keeper," just came out on audio just literally on the first of this month. And my audio is really cool because it's duet style narrating for most of my audio books, all my "Harris Brothers," and one other book of mine. And duet style is a little bit different than what you're used to because-
So there's male and female point of view chapters, but the male reads all the male dialogue in any chapter, and the female reads all the female. So it's very conversational, and it's like a movie in your ears. And I'm always really proud about duet sound narrating because there's not very much of it in the audio industry yet because it's a little bit, it takes a little more production to do.
So, yeah. "Keeper" is available on audio now. All my books are on audio. You can always find more information about my stuff at my website, which is just amydawsauthor.com.
C. G. Cooper: Amydawsauthor.com. All right. Well Amy, thanks again. Listeners, this has been "Books in 30" with C.G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don't forget to email me at cg (at) cg-cooper.com to say hello, or let me know of an author you'd like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C.G. Cooper. Out.
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