Please join us in welcoming author Amy Stilgenbauer here today with us on Love Bytes with her blog tour for Sideshow.
Thanks for dropping by, Amy!
Author Name: Amy Stilgenbauer
Book Name: Sideshow
Release Date: August 25, 2016
Pages or Words: 61,000 words
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.
Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.
Categories: Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance, Romance
Today I’m happy to be interviewing Amy Stilgenbauer author of Sideshow. Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks for having me! I’m a hopeless romantic history buff, who believes quite strongly in the power of stories. One of my favorite kinds of stories to tell are those about big life transitions, the decisions that cause them, the events that impact those decisions, and the aftermath. Sideshow is exactly this kind of story. It is the tale of a young woman growing up in the late 1950s who, in order to get away from her ex, joins a traveling carnival and learns a lot about herself, and love, on the road.
How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I feel as a history nerd who went to “library school” that people expect me to fall very adamantly into the “print-only-ebooks-are-evil” camp. They tend to be surprised when my stance on this issue is way more neutral than that. I believe that they both have a place and whichever gets you reading is the right choice for you. For me, personally, print is for books that I love, or I think I might want to share with my friends. E-books are for things I’m not sure about yet or an extra copy I want to be portable, and a ton of other reasons. Things that aren’t in those categories really end up going either way depending on what is most accessible to me at the time. I have a lot of e-books, and a lot print books, and a lot of audiobooks, come to think of it.
What process did you go through to get your first book published?
I self published my first book. I was in a bad emotional place about my life and career and I decided that I needed to take a drastic step. Self-publishing was that. It’s a lonely process, writing the novel, finding editors and designers, beg borrow and pleading your way through marketing, etc, but it was what I needed to do and I truly believe it was worth it. The process of publishing Sideshow has been completely different: getting to know the Interlude team through Summer Love then pitching them a continuation of the story and crossing my fingers that they liked the idea. Luckily, they did!
How do you find or make time to write?
Making time to write is a bit of a daily struggle for me. I work full time, then there’s the house and garden to tend to, and of course my cats are very demanding about their attention and feather wand time. Still, I try to carve out at least an hour a day for words and nothing but words. Sometimes that means getting up early or staying up late or writing on my lunch or not doing laundry for months. I’m not always successful at finding the time, but I try to make it happen as often as possible.
Name one person who you feel supported you outside of your family members?
Once upon a middle school, I told a girl to go away and leave me alone (according to her anyway, I don’t remember this incident at all). She didn’t and I am forever grateful that she made that decision as she’s been my best friend for almost 20 years, which is a completely incomprehensible amount of time. Her name is Rachel Blackburn and she’s also an amazing writer, so you should check her out too (in Summer Love and surely many other works to come).
Tell us about a book you’re reading now.
I am so late to the party (I always am), but I’ve finally gotten around to reading Suzy Ingold’s Speakeasy. I’ve been looking forward to reading it for awhile now because, oh man, do I love reading stories set in the 1920s. It’s kind of been my kryptonite ever since we had to read The Great Gatsby in high school and I fell in love. I am definitely enjoying it so far.
Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.
Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined that when she departed the Coventry neighborhood again, it would be in a burlesque dancer’s trailer.
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Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
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Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card for one winner, an e-copy of ‘Sideshow’ for five winners