My guest today is Canadian author Amy Tector. Her novel, The Honeybee Emeralds sounds brilliant and is on my reading list for March. I am in love with the cover which you will see later in the post.
Thanks for joining me Amy. First of all, would you tell my blog readers what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a huge reader and as a kid it seemed natural to start writing my own stories. I remember going to my dad’s office on weekends and playing around with the typewriter and composing my own novels.
Tell me about your journey to publication.
It was a long road! I wrote my first novel in 2000 and started trying to sell it to agents immediately. I made every mistake it was possible to make in both the writing and querying of that book and I was unsuccessful. In 2001 I hooked up with a critiquing group, and we have basically been together ever since. The critiquing group was my MFA and working with other aspiring writers taught me about craft and character. I had been querying THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS for about a year, and had given myself to the end of January 2021. If I hadn’t made a connection by then, I’d shelve the manuscript and move on to the next. On January 10, 2021, I got “the call” from Turner Publishing, Keylight Books and it was one of the best phone calls of my life.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS is the story of four disparate women in expat Paris. When they discover a stunning diamond and emerald necklace their search for its owner launches them into a thrilling adventure, including trips to Loire wineries, exclusive jewellers and stunning archives. Along the way they discover the secrets of three fabulous real-life historical divas: Napoleon III’s sauciest mistress, spy Mata Hari and Jazz sensation, Josephine Baker. During their research they also challenge their own notions of belonging, motherhood, marriage and friendship.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
For a long time, the novel was called “Bonjour Paris,” after the name of the magazine at the centre of the story. At one point in my querying process a very kind agent told me that my title wasn’t great. It was easy to come up with a title after that, as “the honeybee emeralds” — a gorgeous jewel encrusted necklace designed by an exclusive Parisian jeweller and worn by some of history’s most fabulous women — is the focus of almost all of the novel’s action.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
We’re hoping to have a big launch at a local independent bookseller, Perfect Books, in my hometown, of Ottawa, Canada. Fingers crossed that Covid allows us to have that in-person event. If not, we’ll do some online events, that will have the advantage of allowing people from further afield to join. On a personal level, I plan to take the day off work and buy myself a big bouquet of beautiful flowers!
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes! I’ve got a series of mysteries set in the archives coming out. The first will be published in autumn 2022 and I’m working on the follow-up. Each of the mysteries relies on historical events and clues from the past to assist in solving a modern day murder. They are a lot of fun to write, as I get to explore my love of archives and history within the fun of a mystery.
What one book would you recommend to a friend and why?
Anything and everything written by Lianne Moriarty. She’s so warm and hilarious and her plotting is just stupendous. My mother is Australian from North Sydney so I get an extra kick from her novels, which are often set in my mum’s old stomping ground.
What are you reading just now?
As a debut writer I’ve been devouring debuts. Liv Straman’s Cheat Day; Kirthana Ramsetti’s Dava Shastri’s Last Day, Stacey Swann’s Olympus, Texas, and Ethan Joella’s A Little Hope have all been recent joys. I also love everything that Kim Hooper writes.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Jane Eyre. I’ve been reading and re-reading that book since I was twelve years old and every time I go back to it, I get something different. I used to swoon at the love story, on further reads I fell in love with Jane’s scrappy humour. Now I love the proto-feminism and the complex depiction of Mr. Rochester’s first wife. So many layers!
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
I think Stacey Swann’s recent book, Olympus Texas, would make a very fun, sweltering Texan family drama.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Weekly newsletter: www.amytector.substack.com
The Honeybee Emeralds will be published by Keylight Books in ebook in late March and in paperback in April. You can pre-order here: The Honeybee Emeralds