Amy Carol Reeves is a Hoosier by birth, a South Carolinian by marriage, and a Victorian governess in her imagination. She has a PhD in nineteenth-century British literature and published academic articles before deciding that it would be much more fun to write novels about Jack the Ripper.
Amy wishes that bloomers were still in fashion. She also wishes that men still had names like Rochester or Darcy and that they wore cravats.
Her dream job is to be Dr. Who’s assistant. Though she likes to think she would be a better assistant than Amy Pond, the reality is that she is really terrible with directions so she would get the TARDIS lost in some far part of the universe.
She fantasizes about having lunch with Jane Austen with tiny English teacups and biscuits. That’s her G-rated fantasy. Her dream date is with Lord Byron, which is not so very G-rated.
When she is not writing or teaching college classes atColumbia College, she enjoys running around her neighborhood with her giant Labrador retriever and serial reading Jane Austen novels. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and two children.Find out more about Amy on herWebsite
Teresa: Hey Amy it’s great to have you back with us. I promise I won’t make this as long as the last one. 😉
First off how have you been?
ACR: Great. Busy writing as always.
Teresa: Have you read anything good lately?
ACR: Oh, far too many too count. I’m teaching a World Literature course, so I’m re-reading some of my favorites: King Lear, The God of Small Things. Then I’m getting ready for my annual reading of Jane Eyre. In terms of YA books, I recently read Victoria Schwab’s The Near Witch. Gorgeous moors and a dark fairy tale setting…Loved it!
Teresa: With the release of book two have your students said anything new?
ACR: Some of them are very excited, especially the ones who read a lot and are interested in Jack the Ripper.
Teresa: In Ripper you write about a historical figure, but in Renegade you reach further back to Greek mythology. Is Greek mythology another interest?
ACR: Truthfully, I’m not terribly interested in Greek mythology. My inspiration for the lamia came more from nineteenth-century artists’ obsession with her. I think it’s so interesting how in a time period where women were supposed to be domestic and submissive so many male artists were obsessed with the lamia as a devouring seductress.
Teresa: Did you know you were going to pull from Greek mythology when you were writing Ripper?
ACR: Absolutely. I knew very early on that Seraphina was going to be in the Ripper series.
Teresa: Out of all the mythological creatures out there why a Lamia?
ACR: Like the sphinx, she’s a fascinating female monster, deadly and powerful. My lamia has all of the traits of the mythological monster, but Seraphina is also a woman with the very real nineteenth-century problems of having to live the life that the men around her would have her live. This happens both in her pre-lamia and lamia existence.
Teresa: Did Shawn have to talk you off any cliffs in this book?
ACR: Absolutely. I think my favorite “cliff” was: “Oh my goodness, Shawn! My lamia won’t stop eating people! She’s like completely out of control!”
Teresa: Last time we also talked a little about Lord Byron and how he was a scoundrel. I have to ask were you thinking about Byron when you wrote some of William’s scenes. I ask because there is one scene that made me think of Lord Byron.
ACR: That’s funny that you would think that because William, although somewhat of a cad, isn’t nearly as much of a cad as Lord Byron was. Byron, who had a baby with his married half-sister, is pretty hard to match on the cad-scale! William is impetuous, hot-headed, and well…just plain hot. But he’s also needy in his own way, and I think that his desperate need for Abbie (not just any woman) is what makes him unique.
Teresa: You said you had a connection with Ripper do you still feel that connection when writing Renegade?
ACR: Truthfully, I felt more connected to Renegade. With the groundwork laid out in Ripper, I could develop my characters at a deeper level. We learn more about Simon’s traumatic past. We learn more about Abbie’s background, where she learned to fight, the loss of her best friend in Ireland. The book also raises more questions about her mother and her mother’s relationship with the Ripper. Finally, the lamia—I became a bit obsessed with her character. Yes, ok, she eats people, but I was really obsessed with her fury and loneliness, what drives her to kill.
Teresa: In this novel Abbie talks about her past a little more and we also see her knife throwing abilities. Do you know how to throw knives?
ACR: No, but I often accidently cut myself with them in the kitchen
Teresa: Abbie comes across a little tougher in this novel is that because of what she went through in the last?
ACR: Yes. She’s more confident. Also, being chased by an immortal Conclave would make one a bit edgy.
Teresa: Also we see a little more of Abbie’s tomboy side in this novel. Will we see more of it in the next book?
ACR: She’s tough, but I’m not sure I’d call her a tomboy. Did you see how much sheloved inheriting Seraphina’s imported gowns at the end of the novel???
Teresa: In Ripper we discussed the different types of research you had to do. What research did you have to do this time?
ACR: I did a lot of research on the mythological lamia, and I studied many Pre-Raphaelite depictions of her. I also watched many clips of lions and komodo dragons hunting on youtube so that I could depict her as a predator fairly accurately. Also, I had to do a lot of research on the geography and landscape of the Orkney Islands.
Teresa: Twice we see some version of the Queen’s Coat of Arm or Arms of Dominion in Renegade will we learn more about it or the people who wear the coat of arms in the next installment.
ACR: Absolutely. But I’m not saying anything else.
Teresa: How long has Richard worked for Lady Westfield?
ACR: We’ll learn a lot more about Richard’s history in the third book, Resurrection.
Teresa: How many books do you plan to write for Abbie?
ACR: The next book, Resurrection, will be out next year. From the start, I planned this series as a trilogy, and I see that book as pretty final. But who knows what the future might hold?