If you were to ask Amalie Howard about love, she would tell you that there are many different facets, especially in a teen’s world.
“Love triangles highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each connection. I think if a love triangle is well done, which is the case in many good YA books, it allows the heroine or hero to have more choices with relationships, and consequently to make the choice that works best for him or her in the framework of the story,” said Howard.
Love triangles were just one of many things Howard addressed during the Q&A part of her signing on November 8th at The Voracious Reader, where she celebrated the release of her second book Waterfell with a packed audience full of excited young readers.
The night was much more than just a signing, though. Howard read from Waterfell – blushing during certain romantic scenes- and answered questions about writing, dream casts, love triangles and her upcoming releases. A body painter gave people ocean-themed body art as readers won Catching Fire posters as raffle prizes and yummy Waterfell-inspired blue M&Ms.
“I was so humbled by all the love and support. Interacting with fans is honestly one of my favorite things to do. I adore talking with readers about my books, and also fangirling with them about authors and books I love,” said Howard.
Francine Lucidon, proprietress of The Voracious Reader, wasn’t surprised at all by the incredible turnout for Howard’s signing.
“Amalie is a joy to host because she’s as invested in making it a wonderful party as we are. That gets everyone in the spirit and the excitement just builds from there. She’s completely adored by her town, as well as her far-reaching fans and so her events feel like a homecoming fest,” said Lucidon.
Howard believes being a teenager is all about discovery and firsts, and first love was one of the major elements that drew her into writing young adult novels.
“I’m a bit of an incurable romantic at heart. I’m a fan of relationships in general and enjoy exploring those relationships, even *gasp* love triangles. I think in a teen’s world, it is highly probable that you could love a close friend and yet be in love with someone else, say from school or your neighborhood,” said Howard.
Unlike some, Howard enjoys ‘insta-love’ in young adult romance.
“Insta-love has sort of gotten an infamous reputation. People tend to enjoy the slow build up of a relationship because that’s how they want to experience love and imagine a relationship in a book. But the truth is in real life, insta-love or love at first sight happens everyday,” said Howard.
Howard knows from personal experience that insta-love is real.
“The future love of my life and I had never met before. We didn’t go to high school together or sit in the same Biology class. We weren’t even from the same country. We met in a smoke-filled room with fifty other people. We talked. We exchanged addresses. We said goodbyes because the logistics of our lives were impossible. But then it happened—the magic that makes the impossible, possible. We kissed. And everything changed in that single heart-stopping moment. Even though he lived in London and I lived in New York, we weren’t ready to let each other go just yet … all it took was that one single kiss to seal our fates. One. Kiss. We got engaged after 6 months, and are going on 14 years of marriage. Tell me you still don’t think insta-love exists,” said Howard.
Eager readers also asked Howard about the fate of Bloodspell’s proposed sequel. Howard explained that, unfortunately, the Bloodspell sequel is in limbo right now.
“Currently, there is interest from two major publishers to publish the trilogy, but everything in this business is dependent on sales, in this case, sales of current titles. Hence the limbo. And not the cool dance kind … the endless waiting kind,” said Howard.
These days, though, Howard has been busy with a number of different projects. Though Waterfell just released on October 29, Howard already has two other upcoming releases – The Almost Girl in January and Alpha Goddess in March. Despite the hectic schedule, Howard said things weren’t as crazy as they might seem.
“The good thing is that all of those books had already been written when they were sold, so it was just a matter of working with my various editors to get them into shipshape for publication and release. I’ll admit that that was an incredibly hectic time, and an army of my very own Despicable Me minions would have been an ideal solution. Luckily, I managed to stay sane while meeting all my deadlines,” said Howard.
And though all her books are very different, she says she doesn’t have a favorite. “That’s like asking a mom to choose her favorite kid! I love them all, but they were each my special baby at certain points in time.”
Though all her novels have been YA, Howard says that she is trying to venture into adult novels about growing up as a person of color. For now, she loves writing about the intensity of being a teenager and all the things that come with it.
“In my writing, I love incorporating the intensity of teenage life—the discovery, the defiance, the self-confidence, the flaws of youth, the vibrancy of it, the all-or-nothing mentality—because it makes the stakes so much higher and the scenarios far more compelling. I like drama, what can I say?”
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Photos by Merideth Maresco.