Ask the Author: Amy Giles
What would you like readers to know about you?
Want to know the three things I must have to write or how to pronounce Giles, or why I was written up at one of my first jobs? Check out my Fun Facts page at amygiles.net/facts/
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
One night in March, a terrible tragedy shakes the Queens neighborhood where Jessica Nolan and Lucas Rossi live.
The year since the shooting has played out differently for Jess and Lucas, both of whom were affected by that night in eerily similar, and deeply personal, ways. Lucas has taken up boxing and lives under the ever-watchful eye of his overprotective parents, while trying to put good into the world through random acts of kindness — to pay back a debt he feels he owes the universe for taking the wrong brother.
Jess struggles to take care of her depressed mother, with the help of her elderly next-door neighbor, and tries to make ends meet. Without her best friend, who’s across the country at a special post-trauma boarding school, and her brother, who died that night, Jess feels totally alone in the world.
When Jess and Lucas’s paths cross at their shared after-school job, they start to become friends… and then more.
Their community — and their families — were irrevocably changed by a senseless act of violence. But as Jess and Lucas fall in love, they’ll learn to help each other heal and move forward — together.
That Night is an emotional and ultimately hopeful story about tragedy, love, and learning to heal
Short answer: Told in alternating chapters from two POVs, That Night follows Jess and Lucas, who each lost a brother in a mass shooting, as they slowly become friends and then something more, learning to heal and move forward together.
What has been your inspiration for writing That Night?
I was watching the news one day. Two people were shot at their part-time jobs at the mall. The coverage lasted all of sixty seconds before it moved on to the weather, but I couldn’t stop thinking about those two victims and their families that were left behind. We spend so much time focusing on those we lost (understandably), but we forget about the people who survived and their families. That’s how I started thinking of Jess and Lucas, two teens who each lost a brother in a mass shooting, and how that loss affected each deeply and yet differently.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? Jess and Lucas riffing about their favorite (grossest) food and their mutual love for Young Frankenstein is second only to their very awkward first kiss.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was little. I was maybe seven in my school library, looking up at all the shelves filled with books when I thought, “Some day, I’m going to have a book up there, too.” So if you want to know what books I was obsessed with when I was seven: Curious George!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? Write because you love to write, because you have to write, because you feel incomplete when you’re not writing. It has to be a labor of love. Also, read, read, read. Read in the genre you want to write, and read broadly because knowledge is fodder for your books.