Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
I’m Amy Ruth Allen and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it’s still winter! I grew up abroad but spent summers with my grandparents in a small town in western Pennsylvania, called Scottdale, which is the inspiration for my fictional town of Finch’s Crossing. I write small-town, wholesome romance featuring strong women and a parade of eccentric supporting characters, such as a tea shop owner who learns to tweet in her nineties! The series focuses on four sisters, each named after a season, and each with her own personal challenges. Each book has several plot lines, a lot of romance and humor, and even a bit of mystery.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a girl, and don’t think I could do or be anything else. I wrote for my high school newspaper and yearbook. In college and graduate school, I studied English and journalism and wrote for newspapers and magazines as a freelancer steadily for the next 10 years. My first “real job” was as the editor of a children’s history magazine. From there I graduated to writing for middle-school readers, and then I wrote a young adult novel. I made the switch to romance about five years ago, and haven’t looked back!
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
I am finishing my Finch’s Crossing series. The second book, Spring, came out March 8 as an e-book on Amazon. The paperback will follow shortly. Summer will be out in August and Winter will be available in the fall. The first book, Autumn, and a holiday novella, Martha, are both available as well. If you want sneak peek, you can visit my website, amyruthallen.com, and read the first chapters of Autumn, Spring and Summer. Because I love to write about small towns, my next series will also be set in a cozy community…somewhere. I’m still exploring all of my options and enjoying the delicious feeling that comes from starting something totally new!
What is the most challenging part of writing romance?
Probably meeting readers’ expectations. I write clean romance, and so I have to walk the line between making it, well, romantic, but keeping it clean.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
I tend to do my research as I go along. For example, the main character in my work in progress, Summer, has just opened a yoga studio. I did a little reading about yoga before I started, but as I’m writing I’m researching what I need when and where I need it. I find this is very efficient. One thing I am a stickler for, however, is keeping a style guide of all the characters, places, events, businesses, street names, etc. that appear in my books. I have descriptions for each character, including what their houses look like and what cars they drive. I also keep an actual map of the town of Finch’s Crossing so I can consult it as needed. It’s important to me to be accurate and consistent, down to what side of the street a shop is on or how long it takes to walk from one place to another.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you? Or, what did someone tell you that you’d like to pass on to others?
Traditional convention is that you should write every day. If that works for you, great. It doesn’t work for me. However, my advice is this: Don’t let too much time pass between writing sessions. You’ll lose your place and momentum. I learned this the hard way.
If you could live in any time in history, when and where would it be?
Part of me would love to go back to the 1980s before the digital explosion. I used to correspond through the mail (actual handwritten letters) with friends and family. I still do that, but I don’t get as many responses as I used to.
Any last words before we go into the speed round?
Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about myself and my books!
City, suburb, or small-town?
Small town! I love the cozy, comfortable feeling of belonging.
What’s your favorite type of chocolate?
Hershey’s Bar. And truffles. And Heath bars. And milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts. And…
Wine, whiskey or punch?
Wine. Rose in summer, red in winter, and champagne on book release day!
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, or other?
Thanksgiving and Christmas
Leather, lace, or silk?
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
Cats, dogs, or exotics?
Dogs. All of my dogs have been named after literary figures! Jane Austen, George Eliot, and my current little cutie, Jessica Fletcher.
March 8, 2020
Contemporary Small Town ~ Sweet ~ Women's Fiction
Finch's Crossing is a heart-warming, small-town fiction series, following the lives of the four Hamilton sisters, Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter, who are all searching for the same thing: sustaining, unconditional love. The series features a supporting cast of lovable eccentrics, and a lot of small town quirkiness. Fans of Debbie Macomber, Oliva Miles and Kay Correll will be happily drawn into the life of this charming town.
In book two of the Finch's Crossing series, thirty-six, Spring Hamilton is at a crossroads in her modeling career. Not as young as she used to be, but still beautiful, she has severed ties with her controlling manager, and for the first time must shape her future alone. She knows if she doesn’t transition her career now, she will end up as an elderly model in mail-order catalogs. As she relocates from Los Angeles to New York City, she detours to Finch’s Crossing, her hometown which is nestled in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania, for a quick visit with her sister, Autumn.
Meanwhile, the merchants of Finch’s Crossing’s retail shopping district are planning a Bridal Expo to promote the town as a wedding destination. When Spring discovers that the well-meaning but quirky merchants are going to “practice” on Autumn’s sudden nuptials, she seizes the opportunity to help Autumn keep control of her own wedding. And armed with her project-oriented personality and an MBA, Spring can help with the Expo, while considering what comes next in her own life. She decides to stay in Finch’s Crossing for a few weeks to lend her celebrity status to the event before she moves on to New York and her new life.
But a chance encounter with Gabriel Vignaroli, Spring’s high school sweetheart, rekindles feelings she didn’t know she still had, launching her into reckless circumstances she never could have predicted. She couldn’t possibly be the kind of person who would fall in love with another woman’s husband, could she?
And to further complicate matters, during Spring’s time of self-discovery and renewal, a nameless, faceless bully is wreaking havoc on the town with a flurry of poison pen letters, threatening to reveal the residents’ darkest secrets. Some find it too coincidental that the letters began as soon as Spring arrived. Others are looking over their shoulders and around corners for the culprit. Suddenly, trusted and loved friends and neighbors are suspects in a vicious game. And Gabe, the man who broke Spring’s heart almost two decades earlier, is clinging to his secret for dear life, hoping no one, especially the cruel letter writer, discovers it.
After you've enjoyed Spring, you'll want to return to Finch's Crossing! Check out Book One Autumn, and Martha, a Christmas golden years novella, both available on Amazon.
More About Amy
I'm an American girl who grew up overseas, riding elephants in Thailand, dancing around the Maypole in Sweden, drinking tea in the United Kingdom, and touring castles across Europe. In these foreign (to me) and exotic locales, books were both my anchor and my escape. They connected me to my native land (and English-speakers in general), while introducing me to worlds even more awesome than my own. Fast forward to present day in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I am the author of the YA novel, Stealing Away, the small town cozy fiction series Finch's Crossing, and seven non-fiction books for young adults.