Interview: Amie Kaufman, YA Author

amie165c-twitterAmie Kaufman is the co-author with Meagan Spooner of the These Broken Stars, the first in the Starbound trilogy, and writes science fiction and fantasy for teens. Amie had the good fortune to be raised just one block from her local library, and took full advantage of that fact growing up. She and her sister spent their childhood summers re-creating their favourite books by camping in the back yard, mapping their neighbourhood, climbing trees, stepping through magical doors and sailing the local seas. Raised in Australia and Ireland, she has kissed the Blarney stone six times, thoroughly cementing her gift of the gab.

TBSBookCoverAs she grew older (but not up), she continued her education, and graduated with honors degrees in history, literature and law, and a master’s degree in conflict resolution. These days she combines writing with work as a mediator, as well as regular travel throughout the US, Europe and Asia. A few of her top travel moments include camping in the Sahara overnight, climbing a mountain in Vietnam, standing on the Great Wall of China and cycling the Loire Valley, but she has a huge list left to cover.

Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and their very quirky rescue dog, Jack. She’s a huge fan of chocolate and naps, has an enormous music collection, and an entire room of her house is devoted to her library. She still sails, and though she climbs fewer trees, she remains partial to investigating the occasional magical door.

Follow Amie on Twitter at @AmieKaufman

Now, let’s see how Amie answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Packing a suitcase to head off on my next adventure.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
Music is one of my great loves, so this is an impossible question for me! On this particular day I’ll choose Mr. Brightside by The Killers. I first heard it when my husband played it to me (which is how I get a lot of my music), and one of my favourite gigs was when I got to hear it from the front of the mosh pit.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, I would love to be able to sing! Meg has a gorgeous voice, and though I belt songs out in the car like a superstar, it’s not something I should inflict on anyone else.

On what occasion do you lie?
I have been known to say a gift is absolutely lovely and just what I wanted. Otherwise, I try to keep on the right side of the line.

What is your present state of mind?
As I write this, Meg and I have finished the first draft of our second book and we’re diving into our third, which I’m really excited to begin. I’m feeling both excited and accomplished.

What is your motto?
You make your own luck.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
The ability to share an easy silence.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I know, right?”

Your favorite painting?
This is like the music question! I could cheerfully spend the rest of my life in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I love impressionist works, and one of my favourites is Poppies by Monet. I love the vivid reds, and I love wondering what’s in that house on the horizon.

Monet, 1878

Monet, Poppies (1878)

What is your favorite time of day?

About 11pm—my favourite time to really get down to writing, especially if I don’t have to get up the next morning!

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Susan Cooper, author of the Dark Is Rising Sequence. Though I would almost certainly embarrass myself with excessive fangirling.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I have a wonderful home, family and friends around me, I’ve been amazing places and seen some very cool things. I’ve slept under the stars in the Sahara, explored Roman ruins and seen Australia’s incredible, untouched wilderness. I plan on living for a very long time to come, but I could die happy tomorrow.

What’s your favorite journey?
I can’t pick just one––travel makes up a large part of every year for me. I love to go back to Ireland where most of my family is, I love to visit New York (in large part for the food), I love Paris for the art, and I love the road trips my husband and I make with Meg, no matter where we’re heading.

Who or what is your first love?
Reading. Under the covers with a torch, under the desk at school, at the dinner table if I could get away with it.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I remember all my dreams, and Meg barely ever remembers hers––we are agreed that mine are crazy enough for both of us. The last dream I remember, I was sailing, which I love to do. I woke up smiling.

What’s your madeleine?
The smell of mango––that’s how I know summer has truly arrived.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Adventure.

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