A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She spent much of her childhood compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a notebook she still keeps. As a former English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms and teen book/writing clubs to discuss reading, writing and publishing. When she isn’t writing or chasing her two young children around town, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. Of Breakable Things is her first novel.
What is your full name?
Amy Lynden Rolland.
When is your birthday?
How old are you?
Strawberry pop tarts or Boston Crème Donuts. Favorite drink = juice boxes. Weird, right? It doesn’t taste the same out of a cup.
Sometimes green, sometimes orange.
Anything by OAR. I also love Johnny Cash and the Rolling Stones.
Favorite TV show?
I don’t watch too much television, and when I do it’s pretty mindless.
Favorite place to read and/or write?
Barnes and Noble.
THE GREAT GATSBY!!!! I’m obsessed. When I was a teacher intern, I taught Gatsby to a tenth grade honors class, and they appreciated my obsession so much that they threw me a Gatsby party when I graduated! They were the ultimate class.
Who are you when you’re writing?
When I’m writing I can be whoever I want to be. I can say things I don’t normally say, and do things I wish I could do. There aren’t any rules, and that suits me well. I’ve never really liked rules.
Who are you when you’re not writing?
Funny you should suggest this. I wear many hats, and one of them comes with a cape, a superhero cape to be specific. I have two little boys, so I spend my time being a Jedi or a Ninja Turtle. When I’m not being a mommy, I’m also a part-time writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. I only get to write from about 9 pm until whenever I crash.
Which do you prefer more?
If my creativity is on a roll, I do enjoy being in that mindset, of escaping reality for a while. I love sitting in my office way past midnight and dreaming up stories while everyone around me is sleeping. But I get to hang out with my kids all day, and they’re pretty amazing, so I enjoy ‘me’ when I’m not a writer, too.
What drives you to write more?
Because I used to be a high school English teacher, I still visit classrooms, book clubs, teen writing groups, libraries, etc to talk about reading, writing, and publishing. I meet some of coolest kids, and they are my inspiration.
How often do you experience writer’s block and what do you do to get out of it?
Writer’s block creeps in everyone once in a while. Sometimes I need to just go for a run and blast some music. Or I need to sit in a dark room listening to my story playlists. Stopping to plot and outline helps. If I’m having trouble with a particular scene, I’ll go to Pinterest and find pictures that depict the mood I’m trying to create. I’ll jot down dozens of description words or sensory details and then that gets me back on track.
Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your work?
Do you like making outlines when you write, or do you prefer to start from scratch and work your way from there?
I didn’t use an outline with Of Breakable Things because I never intended to publish it. I had a world in my mind and characters that wouldn’t leave me alone, so I just wrote and wrote until I finished the story. 800 pages later, I had the first version of OBT. I went to the university of google to figure out how to get it published, and I researched agents while the chopped the manuscript in half. That took a LONG time. Everything I’ve written since OBT has been outlined. My writing is much smoother (and shorter) that way.
If you could do both at the same speed, which would you prefer: Writing on paper or typing your words? Why?
I would say writing on paper, but I have the worst handwriting known to man.
What is the best writing advice that you could share with us?
Someone once said to me, “Figure out what you love doing, and then figure out a way to get paid for it.” After so many rejections, and so many tears, and so many hours reworking, rewriting, and revising, writing is a love affair for me. I never really understood what it was like to fall in love with a profession. I didn’t get it. Now I understand.
If you aren’t loving it, it isn’t worth it.
Of all the things that you’ve ever written, which one is the most special to you?
The letters I write to my children. They can’t read yet, but I keep the letters in their keepsake boxes, so one day they can find them and know what sorts of things they were doing at this age and how much their mommy loves them.
What inspired the idea of your first book?
I couldn’t imagine that when the body died, all of its mental energy disappeared— the energy to love, to hate, to think, to learn. Maybe those emotions and that intelligence could come alive into a projection of a person. Mind, body, and spirit without the body. Imagine if the memory of a person could latch on to its former emotions and thoughts, and then it could exist adjacent to the living.
I began to brainstorm a world that the mind can manipulate. People see things they want to see, and that molds their perception. If the characters aren’t looking for something, their minds won’t catch it.
What message would you like your readers to learn from that book?
To keep an open mind. If we aren’t looking for things, we don’t see them. If we aren’t trying to understand things, we will limit ourselves.
What inspired the idea of your upcoming book?
UGHHHH- this one might have to hit the virtual filing cabinet. We couldn’t find an editor who loved it enough to buy it. Can we change this one to the sequel for Of Breakable Things? It should be released next year.
The sequel branches out to show the flaws of Alex’s afterworld. The interactions between the living (who can see spirits) and dead have created a civil rights movement of sorts. It also expands upon Alex’s importance in the Eidolon and why other spirits either love her or hate her.
What message would you like your readers to learn from that book?
I want them to question the power of suggestion. How much do we allow others to influence our choices? Our choices to believe in things: people, possibilities, ideas, prejudices.
What is the greatest challenge that you have encountered in the publishing world and how did you overcome it?
I internalize things. (And I think many writers are the same way. We are a wonderful sort of crazy.) Because of this, we have to grow very thick skin to withstand the knives of rejection. It never stops. Realizing this was the hardest part. Rejection doesn’t end when you finally sign with an agent. It doesn’t end when you find an editor or a publisher because readers will reject your work, as well. The world is subjective, thank goodness, so I have to understand and accept that not everyone will enjoy my book.
Amy will be giving away a swag pack which includes a signed copy of Of Breakable Things, a bookmark and a button. The giveaway will be open for US & PH residents. 🙂 Stay tuned for updates!