Friday, November 22, 2013

Debut Novelist Amy Matayo—Forget the Excuses and Follow Your Dreams!

by Edie Melson

Today I’m excited to introduce debut novelist, Amy Matayo. Her first book, The Wedding Game, just released on November 16.

Cannon James has a plan: Sign on as a contestant for his father’s new reality show, marry a blonde hand-picked by the producers, and walk away two million dollars richer. It’s all been arranged. Easy. Clean. No regrets. Until Ellie McAllister ruins everything by winning the viewer’s vote. Now he has to convince America that he’s head over heels in love with her. Not easy to do since she’s a walking disaster.

Ellie McAllister has her own problems. She needs money, and she needs it now. Despite her parent’s objections and her belief that marriage is sacred, she signs on to The Wedding Game…and wins. Now she’s married to a guy she can’t stand, and if she wants her hands on the money, she has six months to make voters believe she loves him. Not easy to do since he’s the most arrogant man in America.

It doesn’t take long for Ellie and Cannon to realize they’ve made a mess of things…even less time for their feelings for one another to change. But is it too late for them? More importantly, can the worst decision they've ever made actually become one of the best?

NR: I first met Amy first during ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) 2012. She had just won the Genesis Contest in the Contemporary Romance category, for this specific book. How fun is that? 

Amy, can you give us a little background on your writing journey?

Amy: Well, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl—maybe nine or ten—when I began pinning silly songs about angst and love (songs filled with heartbreak and longing, which I had absolutely no experience in but decided to write anyway—who knows why?). It’s an absolute mystery to me why none of those songs were ever picked up by a major record label.

When that career track didn’t work out, I moved on to writing short stories, poems, and anything else that popped into my mind. Eventually I wound up working at DaySpring Cards, where I worked as a writer and editor for seven years.

It wasn’t until five years ago that I began writing my first novel. Becoming an author had been my dream forever, but it took years for me to stop coming up with excuses not to start.

NR: I hear a lot of writers say that the first book they’ve written isn’t the first book published. Has that been the case for you or was The Wedding Game your first novel?

Amy: Haha no. The Wedding Game was my fourth book to write. I’ve written seven in all, and two others will release next year. On that note, the first two books I wrote will never see the light of day.

NR: You and I are both represented by Literary Agent, Jessica Kirkland, of the Blythe Daniel Agency. How did you meet your agent?

Amy: Well, that’s an interesting story. I spent years querying agents—have a shoebox full of over a hundred rejection letters to prove it. In 2012 I entered The Wedding Game in the ACFW Genesis contest, and it finaled in the Contemporary Romance category. One day while at work, I opened my email and saw one a subject line that read “Literary Representation.” With my heart pounding, I opened it and discovered that she had seen my book on the lists of finalists and was interested in the subject. She requested the full, and in only a couple of weeks I had an agent. A non-traditional way of going about it, but we work really well together.

NR: I know you’re recovering from the first week of your book launch, can you share some highlights and maybe something you’d have done differently during your career?

Amy: One thing I would do differently is time management. I am the world’s worst procrastinator. A lot of sleepless nights might have been avoided if I could learn to pace myself a little better.

As for highlights—just seeing my book release has been the biggest one. It’s a little weird to see your book release...almost like watching it happen to someone else. But it’s fun!

NR: I know you have other books in line to release. Can you give us a hint of what’s to come?

Amy: Love Gone Wild is a sort-of sequel to The Wedding Game. It’s also reality-show based and takes place in the Alaskan wilderness—a Survivor-type scenario.  And then later next year will come Sway, a New Adult romance that intersperses a political theme of separation of church and state.

NR: Final question, if you could travel back in time, what would you share with your earlier self to encourage her on the writing journey?

I would tell myself to start earlier! I’ve had this dream my whole life and with it came a list of excuses why the timing was all wrong. I would also tell myself to write what I want to write without following a strict set of guidelines. For me, it’s the only way to be creative.

Amy Matayo graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. Afterwards, she went to work at DaySpring Cards, where she worked for seven years. After the birth of her first child, she became a freelance writer for David C. Cook before pursuing novel writing full time. 

As the mother of four children with a husband immersed in political life, Amy has very little free time, preferring to spend that time enjoying intellectual pursuits such as: watching television with her feet propped up, watching movies with a bucket of popcorn, and watching her laundry pile high—with no desire to do it.

Connect with Amy through her website,, Twitter and Facebook.


Heather Day Gilbert said...

Amy, congrats on your novel! Great agent story. Your book sounds interesting, as does the upcoming NA novel! All the best to you.

Nicole said...

Good for you on all counts, Amy. You stayed with it - that's ultimately what matters. Congratualtions. Sounds good. Sway sounds intriguing too.

Beth K. Vogt said...

Congratulations, Amy! Love the premise of your debut novel & your advice not to procrastinate. (Not that I ever do that.)

Maryann Miller said...

Congratulations on your new release. I love a woman who can watch the laundry pile up and not mind it at all. Happy writing.