Allison's Book Bag

Interview with Amanda von Hoffman

Posted on: June 12, 2011

One of the perks of an online reviewer is having the opportunity to highlight a relatively unknown gem. Behind Green Glass is such a book. If you haven’t already checked out the book or my review of it, this fantasy novel is a sweet coming-of-age story about friendship, romance, and acceptance.

Another perk is the doors it opens to meet authors. It is my delight today to chat with newcomer Amanda von Hoffman. Many thanks to her for quickly sending me out a review copy of her book! My apologies for taking a couple of months to finally post my review of it. Additional thanks for her timely turnaround on questions, just two days, and even responding to a follow-up question. 

Allison: Are you like Isolde? Did the inspiration for any of your characters from personal life?

Amanda: I am quite a bit like Isolde.  I am shy, I was homeschooled, and I grew up in a rural town. Unlike Isolde, I grew up with two parents, a brother and a sister. Sadly, I don’t have Isolde’s ability to paint.

Matt Richards is a bit like my husband. Physically, they don’t resemble each other, but Matt is very talkative like my husband Kirk. They both play guitar.

Allison: You gave Isolde the surname of Rackham as a tribute to Arthur Rackham, one of your favorite fairy tale artists. Is there significance to the names of any of your other characters?

Amanda: “Matt” was one of the names my mother-in-law considered when naming my husband Kirk. “Richards” was my mother-in-law’s maiden name. I also have a niece named Maddy.

Allison: You live in upstate New York. Did this locale influence any of your scenic descriptions? (By the way, I really liked your descriptions!)

Amanda: Thank you 🙂 My life in northern New York definitely has influenced the setting in Behind Green Glass. This area practically begs to be written about. The autumns here are breathtakingly vibrant and lovely.

Allison: How does it feel being a writer amongst a family of painters?

Amanda: I wish I could paint like my father, sister and brother! I envied them, but I’m glad I can express myself through writing.

Allison: How does being a librarian influence your writing of fiction?

Amanda: I don’t have my MLS degree, so technically I am not a librarian. I do work in a public library as the Patron Services Supervisor. I’m lucky to have books always at my fingertips, and I love reading. My coworkers and patrons also recommend books I wouldn’t have thought to pick up, and I’m usually pleasantly surprised. The stories I read inspire my own.

Allison: What are some of your favorite finds as a librarian for young people?

Amanda: I love being a reader’s advisory! A few of the books I recommend to teens are The Bloody Jack adventures by L.A. Meyer, Juliet Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones.

Allison: In Behind Green Glass, Isolde finds a book at the library called Fairie Lore. What books would you recommend to readers who wish to know more about fairies?

Amanda: I recommend Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.”  Modern faerie novels often draw from this play. Juliet Marillier and O.R. Melling are two authors who provide rich historical background about faeries, in particular Irish legends and tales of the Sidhe (“The Good People”).

Allison: You said you’d like to attempt a fairy tale retelling. What would you like to tackle?

Amanda: I’d like to retell Twelve Months or The Snow Queen in novel form.

Allison: What has the reception of Behind Green Glass been like amongst your library patrons and in your community?

Amanda: I’ve had patrons and coworkers tell me they really enjoyed the novel and ask for a sequel. Their responses make me feel wonderful. I appreciate all of their support.

Thank you for this opportunity! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Allison: You know, I do have another. What are you working on next?

Amanda: I’m working on a steam punk novel and a couple of stories for different anthologies.

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