Wednesday 9 November 2016

Interview with Amy Matayo

By Andrea Grigg

I can’t remember who introduced me to Amy Matayo’s books. God bless whoever it was! It wasn’t long before I was spreading the word about my new fave author and telling everyone who reads contemporary Christian romance they must read Sway. (Don’t think I’ll ever stop saying it.) 

Amy, who is from Arkansas in the USA, has been kind enough to let me interview her. Fan girl moment!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Depends on the age. From 5-8, a gymnast. Bless my parents for going along with that dream even though I was hopelessly awkward (still am). From 9-12, a model (because I was delusional and completely disproportionate). From 13-15, a songwriter (wrote a few complete with cheesy rhymes, but at least writing was involved). From 15 on, an author. That one stuck. Though I still haven’t given up on the gymnast thing...

If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I would go back in (fake) time and be Mrs. Darcy, and he would ardently admire me and love me and we would have a couple of cute little Darcy’s and a nanny.

What does a typical day in the life of Amy Matayo look like?
My days are actually boringly typical and routine, and go something like this: Wake up, wake two kids, make breakfast, set plates in front of kids, shower, dry hair, slap on makeup, take kids to school, come home to write except get distracted by laundry and pets and Facebook, write a little, get coffee, sit back down, stare at computer, get more coffee, head outside with laptop, get distracted by falling leaves, write a little, watch more leaves, go back inside, write a little, give up, pack bag, head to coffee shop where actual writing happens until it’s time to pick up kids again. A writer’s life. It’s super-glamorous.

When and how did you get the writing bug?
It was there all my life, but it hit hard in seventh grade. My English teacher gave us a short-story assignment, and I wrote about a psychopath who kills an entire family. A little different than what I write today. But she loved the story, read it to the class, entered the story into a contest (I didn’t win), and told me I should be a writer. That’s when I really began to think about it. I never stopped.

What was the inspiration for your latest book, The Thirteenth Chance?
My neighbor. He played for the New York Mets and the Detroit Tigers, so I had first-hand access to research.

The Thirteenth Chance and The End of the World aren’t predominately Christian books. Can you tell us about your transition into the general market?

I’ve never really thought about it as a purposeful transition, even though I know others might. For me, my faith is always there, always constant. But the stories I feel an urge to write are always different. Sometimes I want to talk about faith, sometimes abandonment, sometimes adventure, sometimes crazy women with OCD issues. Sometimes the faith message fits the story, and sometimes it seems too much of a stretch to be included. But my sole purpose for writing (other than the fact that it’s necessary for me to do), is to entertain, be as real as I can, and hopefully deliver a good story. I write for me—often about things that indirectly relate to my current circumstances—and my moods change. The book I’m currently writing brings faith back into the equation a bit, but the next book might not. I realize that might make a book hard to market or fit into a specific category, but I’ve always been okay with that. I just want the name “Amy Matayo” to mean you’ll get a good, relatively clean story that will both entertain and maybe kill a few stereotypes. If I had a mission statement, that might be it.

Your first books were written in third person, your last three in first person. Personally, I love it, but what was your reason for the switch?
Initially I switched to challenge myself to a different style, just to see if I could do it. Turned out that I liked that style better. But soon I’m going back to third to challenge myself again. Or maybe first, but from only one point-of-view. I’ve only done that in novella form. I’d like to see if I can manage a full-length.
I hear you’re a sucker for an Australian accent. Any comment?
A total sucker. I mean seriously, do you guys hear yourselves when you talk? Best accent ever.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas, hands down.

What kind of music do you listen to?
Any and all. My kids (I have 4) listen to everything, so I do by default. They’ll pass songs along to me. And then I have a couple of close friends who text me songs and introduce me to new artists. Some of my favorites have come from that.

Favorite treat?
Pizza, ice cream, Snickers bars.

Which author(s) inspire you?
My favorite author is Tarryn Fisher, because all her books are different in style and she’s a fantastic writer. I also like Colleen Hoover, Jenny B. Jones, Nicole Deese, Sarah Maas, Liane Moriarty, Stephen King.

What do you do to relax?
Go for walks, sit by the lake, drive, go to movies.

What are you working on now?
I’m rewriting a book that I wrote six years ago, the third book I ever wrote. It’s my daughter’s favorite of mine, and I promised that I would redo it for her. It involves a famous musician and I’m be intentionally vague, but it’s called The Whys Have It. Will be out next summer.

Any plans for a trip Down Under?
Yes. I’m coming to your house. Did I forget to tell you? ;)

Haha. You know you're welcome :) Amy, thanks so much for the fun interview, for the intriguing mission statement, for the love of our accent, and for mentioning our own Liane Moriarty as one of your favourite authors. (She's one of mine too. After you, of course.) 

If you would like to check out Amy's books further, click on the Amazon link here

Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is a writer of two contemporary Christian romance novels, ‘A Simple Mistake’ and ‘Too Pretty’. Her Christmas novella, 'All is Bright', was released September 27 in a boxset along with five other authors, entitled, 'An Aussie Summer Christmas', and is now available as a single title. You can find her books here.
She would love to connect with you via: 


  1. Andrea, you and Rel have been harping on about Amy's novels ever since "Sway." I downloaded it and a couple of others but never got around to reading them. Because I briefly met Amy in Nashville and "The Thirteenth Chance" came out soon after I decided to dive in.

    And you and Rel were right. This girl can write! Loved it. And Olivia Pratt - what a marvellous creation. That line sounds a bit like Frankenstein but hey Mary Shelley's novel is still an all time fave of mine so I'll stick to it.

    So Amy's got another fan from down under. But don't tell anyone otherwise I might be banished to the stands for giving up my "man card" to regularly to read her works.

    Fun interview, Andrea. Thanks for sharing Amy with us all.

  2. Hi Ian - glad you enjoyed the interview. Amy's a fun gal! And I don't think your 'man-card' has been compromised at all. Make sure you read 'The End of the World' too, ok?

  3. Hi Amy! So great to hear more about your writing process. Very similar to mine. Distraction. Attempts at productivity. Appearance of productivity. Actual productivity ... usually accomplished with a retreat, chocolate (hint hint!) and Andrea Grigg chasing me with a call to 'Get my Amy Matayo on!'
    Seriously, we love your work, would love to show our neck of the world. Iola Goulton and I will show you the Land of the Long White Cloud if you make it that far after Aussie. Middle Earth is a bit special :)

  4. Oh and Ian, it takes a real man to read a romance! Your man-card is still valid ;)

  5. Andrea and Amy, great interview! I'm yet to read an Amy Matayo book I haven't enjoyed and I absolutely loved Sway :)

  6. Fair comment Narelle. Me either :)

  7. Great review. Another author to add to my list...

  8. LOVED your interview with Amy. I'm glad you introduced me to "SWAY". I've got some other books on my Kindle to get to.

    1. Thanks NIcki. Have fun getting that TBR pile down!


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