Welcome to author Amy McNulty and thank her for taking time away from her writing, editing, and fan-girling duties!
Describe your current writing spot or space.
I’ve written in a bowl chair and a rocker floor chair, but I wrote the first three Spooky Games Club Mysteries books in a recliner. I use the AlphaSmart word processor to write. It’s portable (when I do leave the house…), the screen has no glare, and it’s Internet-distraction-free. So I usually curl up on the recliner and put the AlphaSmart on my lap desk over my lap, then write away. Hours pass by in what feels like minutes. (I try to remember to get up and stretch—there are usually chores to be done anyway.) It’s not a very picturesque writing spot—and I don’t have a view—but it’s comfortable and it works for me.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m a full-time freelance editor for other authors, so I already work from home. Ideally, I’m able to adjust my schedule so I can spend two weeks straight editing and two weeks straight writing, though sometimes if I’m overloaded with work, I write for just an hour or two in the late mornings and spend the rest of the day editing for clients. I work (edit or write) eight to ten hours a day, without taking weekends off, but it’s very flexible and I happily sleep from 2 to 10 a.m. most days.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It depends on my editing work schedule, what else is going on in my life, how long the book is, and how easily the words are flowing, but the shortest I’ve taken to write a first draft is eight days and the longest is five months. A month and a half is probably the average.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Four partially written books, including two that I put 50,000 words into each before I gave up. (It was actually for the same idea—I just tried it again with a few core changes and it still didn’t work.) I don’t have any completed books I didn’t wind up publishing.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
Amy McNulty is not a pen name, but I write under two other names. Joy Penny is my contemporary romance name, though I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from those works. I also have an erotica pen name, though I keep that one separate from my other names, which offer PG to PG-13 fare.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Baby name websites. If I want the names to mean something specifically, I may google the meaning first and decide from the list of names that come up. Otherwise, I look for names I haven’t used before that don’t seem too common. In Spooky Games Club, my favorite names are Dahlia, Cable, Draven, and Faine.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Yes! When I sit down to write a scene, I have a vague idea of what I need to cover and what the characters are going to do, but I don’t know exactly how it’ll go until the characters act out the scene in my head. They often surprise me and may take the scene in a new direction. Then I have to adjust the outline accordingly.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read and watch TV and movies. I also play games (board games and video games) when I can. When things are normal, I like to eat out and I grew obsessed with escape rooms in 2018. I’ve been to almost twenty of them, but I had to stop during the pandemic.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Yes! There are many other people with my name, but for a while, thanks to my books, I was the first one popping up. Then Amybeth McNulty starred in Anne with an E and now she usually comes up first, even though she has the “beth” in her name.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
The Chronicles of Prydain, The Baby-Sitters Club, and Sweet Valley High.
Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not reviewing anime professionally or editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.