By Graham Chalmers
Her’s is not a story of a feminist writer battling for success in the male-dominated world of publishing, not even a little.
Still, the image of Harrogate novelist and married mum Amy Keen with a baby in one hand and a laptop in the other is not one that’s easy to apply to the average man who happens to have a family as well as a writing career.
But this published author of ‘young adult’ stories who has just unveiled the final instalment in her slightly Twilight-esque trilogy takes it all in her stride.
Amy, born and bred in Harrogate, said: “I’ve never seen it as ‘juggling’ because I love my family and I love writing.
“When I had the first book published, I didn’t have any children but now I’ve got two.
“It was easier when they were tiny and sleepy but, as they’ve grown, I’ve had to learn to wait to write until they’ve gone to bed.”
After winning fans in both the US and the UK with Embers, the first of her stories built round the central character of Scarlett Roth, an 18-year-old with trying to come to terms not only with her parents’ divorce, her new home in Salem, Massacusetts but also her own nascent paranormal powers, Keen has seen follow-up Ashes perform even better.
And she has high hopes for new book Phoenix which brings the series to a definite and decisive conclusion.
Former Rossett School student Amy said: “To have the ability to make people happy, excited, scared or sad feels incredible.
“I love reading for escapism so it’s nice to think it’s possible to create something people can use to escape, too. One reader told me my book was better than Twilight.”
Being a successful novelist doesn’t always pay the bills these days and Amy, who started writing aged four, earns a living in PR.
The biggest joy which her writing career brings, she says, isn’t the book signings so much as the invitation to hold writing workshops with pupils.
“The chance to visit schools schools and interact with young readers is the best thing to come from the whole experience.
“I’ve had some great Q&A sessions in schools. I love sharing my knowledge and passion with youngsters. After the last session I did, I got a note from the school saying some of the pupils had been inspired to set up their own newspaper afterwards while another one had started up a book review blog. That felt wonderful.”