Today I'm delighted to chat with author Amy Impellizzeri, who so kindly has supported me in the launch of my latest novel, The Creepshow. Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and award-winning author of Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014) and Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015). (I loved Lemongrass Hope; a truly magical book that you'll want to add to your reading list!)
Amy, you worked at a big Manhattan law firm. Did you write Lawyer Interrupted before or after your departure, and what inspired you to write the book?
I left my Manhattan corporate law gig in 2009 for what was supposed to be a one year sabbatical. By the end of the year, however, I had done something I had not originally expected to do. I had successfully transitioned from a 13-year litigation career. I had joined the executive team of a start-up company and I had started a book that would ultimately become my fiction debut, Lemongrass Hope. I wrote in various journals about my transition from Biglaw, but in 2013, when an agent named Kathy Welton called me out of the blue to talk about pitching Lawyer Interrupted, I said “You have just described the book I have been wanting to write for 4 years now!”
I know you’re a big supporter of equality in the workplace. What can we as authors and readers do to support the cause?
Well writing a book like The Creepshow is a great start!
I love the conversation that this book is generating. I have spent a lot of time lobbying for legislation (particularly in my home state of Pennsylvania) that would make it illegal to discriminate based on parental status. Did you know that in most U.S. states, it is perfectly legal to ask a job candidate whether they are a parent – and whether they are a single parent – and to make hiring and firing decisions based on that information? As long as you ask BOTH men and women the question, it is not considered gender discrimination. But we know from the statistics that this loophole results in discrimination against largely single mothers – much as described in The Creepshow.
How did you transition from law to becoming an author of fiction? Was fiction writing something you’d always wanted to do?
I was always a writer. But in college, I put away my creative writing journals and decided to focus exclusively on legal writing. I spent the next 20 years of legal training and my legal career writing in other people’s voices – and not my own. When I left the law in 2009, I broke out those old journals, found my voice again, and never looked back. I love writing fiction - love writing in my own voice finally! - and hope it’s something I can continue to do for a long, long time!
Is there anything you miss (or things you don’t miss) about your legal career? Will we ever find the courtroom in any of your future books, in fiction or nonfiction?
I wouldn’t say I miss my legal career. For me it was a leg of the journey that I loved for a long time. Until I didn’t. I definitely attack my writing like a litigator (searching for plot holes, and painstaking attention to detail, for example) so it has definitely affected me in this leg of my journey as well. Funny that you ask about courtroom scenes in my novels! In the manuscript I am working on (which with any luck will be my THIRD novel – more about my second novel below!) there is indeed a trial scene or two with a very unique defense put forth by an expert witness. I specialized in expert witness testimony in the later years of my litigation career so these are scenes that are really fun to write!
Lemongrass Hope is a magical realism/time travel love story. What can we expect from you next? Will your next book be in the same genre?
My second novel (which does not have a publication date just yet, but I hope to have some good news on that front very soon!) is entitled Secrets of Worry Dolls. It does not involve time travel, but it does span over two decades and takes place in both Guatemala and New York City. There is indeed a bit of magical realism and mysticism in Secrets of Worry Dolls. I don’t want to reveal too much more just yet other than to say it is a story about mothers, daughters, and sisters, and of course … secrets!
Thanks, Amy, for stopping by!
You can keep up with Amy by checking out her website, or following her on Facebook and Twitter.
Here's what Amy had to say about The Creepshow: "An insider's look inside the messy world of high finance--a kind of 'Devil Wears Prada' for international investment firms--The Creepshow also delivers a poignant modern love story set in Paris. What's not to love?"