I’m very happy to have Amy Alward on the blog today. I really enjoyed her debut duology as Amy McCulloch and I’m really looking forward to this new series about alchemy and love potions in the real world! She’s also a super talented editor so her talent knows now bounds. Today, we have an exclusive excerpt from The Potion Diaries and Amy talking about her bookish firsts!
With author Amy Alward
What is the first book you ever read/remember reading?
The first full book I remember reading on my own was a Nancy Drew mysteries novel called The Mystery of the 99 Steps. I was a reluctant early reader, but my parents used to persist in getting me to like books by reading stories with big cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. I eventually realized that the story didn’t have to end when my parents stopped reading – I could just pick up the book and finish it myself! Once I learned that, there was no stopping me…
What is the first book your wrote (can be published or unpublished)?
The first book I wrote (and finished) was a time travel novel called The Rose and the Thorn, where two characters (a boy and a girl) are thrown back in time after they touch the pages of a mysterious book. The girl wakes up in a highborn Tudor household and loves her new life, whereas the boy wakes as a pauper living on the disgusting streets of sixteenth century London. They have a chance meeting in the stables of the wealthy household and discover that they can return to their own time – but only if they do it together.
I don’t even know if a copy of the book exists any more! But it felt like a huge accomplishment to finish it. I was 15 and I had an unhealthy obsession with Tudor England – and was definitely inspired by all the Shakespeare we were studying at the time.
I wrote one more novel before writing what would become my debut book, The Oathbreaker’s Shadow – so I had a lot of practice!
What is the first book you will pack on your upcoming holiday?
The first book I’ll pack on my upcoming holiday is A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I loved Life after Life, so I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one. I don’t often get a chance to read the Big, Important adult literary novels since my head is way more likely to be found in a YA book! But on holiday I try and widen my range a bit and remind myself there are other kinds of books out there other than YA.
About The Potion Diaries
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.
Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?
And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.
No big deal, then.
Click to read an exclusive excerpt from The Potion Diaries!
About Amy Alward
Amy Alward is a Canadian author living in Winchester, fitting her writing around her work as Editorial Director at a leading children’s publisher where she is also Zoella’s editor. In 2013, she was listed as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars. Her debut fantasy adventure novel, The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, was published in 2013 under the name Amy McCulloch and was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award for best UK debut children’s book in 2014.
She can be found on Twitter @amy_alward and Instagram as @amyalward.
Check out the rest of the blog tour this week!