Author Spotlight: Amy B. Mucha
November 5, 2021
We are excited to feature author Amy Mucha and her debut picture book, A GIRL’S BILL OF RIGHTS illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Beaming Books) out now! Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
Like so many of us, I first dreamt of being a children's book author when I was a child myself. So, naturally, I spent the next three decades of my life singularly focused on my goal, practicing for hours each day until I was 100% confident I had perfected the craft. Just kidding. I actually spent the next several decades doing very little writing at all. What finally jolted me out of being a Writer-Who-Doesn't-Write was joining a fabulous critique group. The combination of weekly accountability with quality feedback was the trick to get me learning, growing, and producing as a writer.
Congrats on your debut picture book, A Girl's Bill of Rights! Tell us about the book and what inspired you.
Thank you! I always feel a bit sheepish admitting this, but I wrote the original version of this book entirely for myself. Like so many women my age, I grew up believing that nothing is more important than making other people comfortable. As an adult I got so fed up with my soggy spine and people-pleasing ways, I finally sat myself down to write a pledge, which took the form of a declaration of rights. It wasn’t until years later that I stumbled across it and thought that with a bit of editing it might make a good picture book. Thankfully Beaming Books agreed!
Was your initial road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Even once I found my fabulous writing group, I still had a long and winding path to publication. I spent years learning the craft, then took a few more to learn the industry. I attended classes, SCBWI conferences, and writing workshops for nearly a decade before I felt ready to query and pitch my work. Once I did, it was a middle grade novel that led me to sign with my dream agent, Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd., and a Twitter pitch event that got me the offer from Beaming Books for A Girl's Bill of Rights.
What are you working on now?
Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but at the moment I’m working on a big fat bunch of nothing. The pandemic has put a real kibosh on my productivity. I've sorely missed in-person meetings with my writing friends, and then when things were finally opening up this summer I moved to a state where still nothing is happening in-person. Sigh. What I *should* be doing is restructuring a middle grade novel I finished years ago then polishing it up for submission.
What advice would you give your younger self? Is this the same you'd give to aspiring authors?
I'd explain to younger me that writing is a craft that can be learned. I had somehow formed the mistaken belief that good writers are born, not made. I thought near-perfect works simply flowed through their fingers and onto the page, fully formed. When I attempted my first novel in my twenties and clunked out a stinker, I took that to mean I didn't have what it takes. In truth, a couple of good craft books with basic beginner tips could have helped me through the rough start. That and a good writing group, of course.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Once, long ago, I spent a summer as a re-enactor in a Victorian mining town in Shropshire, England. I was the only live-in volunteer that summer which meant I had to sleep alone in an empty dorm room above the old-fashioned chemist's shop. No one with a fanciful imagination should ever live alone in a dorm room for a whole summer, let alone be the only living soul sleeping each night in a recreated Victorian village. That chemist's shop was haunted for sure.
Where can people find you online?
Amy B. Mucha grew up in New York and New Jersey and now lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with her husband, two kids, six pets, and hundreds of books. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found daydreaming, sipping tea, and eating chocolate medicinally.
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