About the AuthorAmy Talkington is an award-winning screenwriter and director living in Los Angeles. Before all that she wrote about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun, Interview, and Seventeen (mostly just as a way to get to hang out with rock stars). As a teenager in Dallas, Texas, Amy painted lots of angsty self-portraits, listened to The Velvet Underground and was difficult enough that her parents finally let her go to boarding school on the East Coast. Liv, Forever is her first novel.
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Tell us a little about your writer's journey so far:
My writer’s journey is long and winding (and bumpy!). I started out writing for magazines. Back in college and grad school, I wrote—mostly about music—for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun and Seventeen. Then, I transitioned into screenwriting, which is still my “day job.” I’ve written a few TV movies, an indie feature (that I also directed), and I have several projects in development at the studios, including a remake of “Valley Girl” for MGM and a several originals. I’d actually originally imagined Liv, Forever as a movie but then I realized it should be a book. I’d always wanted to write a book so I went for it. And, well, here I am.
Okay, let's hear your Twitter Pitch! (140 characters or less.)
New to boarding school, Liv dies just as she's falling in love. A ghost, she must solve her own murder & find a way to reconnect to her love
And, that’s exactly 140, by the way. That’s why there’s no period at the end!
What inspired you to write this book? How is it a book only you could write?
Well, Liv is not terribly different than the teenage me. No, I wasn’t a foster kid. No I didn’t go to a school exactly like Wickham Hall. But, like Liv, I had attitude and bravado but when it came down to it I was terrified to be emotionally vulnerable. On the inside I was deeply emotional, deeply feeling, probably more than most people. So, I wrote from a very honest place that I remember vividly.
And, like Liv, I was obsessed with art. I think that might be something unique to this book and to Liv’s voice—how she sees the world through art. Not just the art references but the idea that she lives kind of outside of herself, looking at herself as if she was a painting. And yet she never really sees herself until... she’s dead.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
What's your least favorite thing?
Being alone. (Oh, and that pain I feel in my forearms at the end of a long day. I guess it’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but I’m in denial.)
Now it's time to brag a little--What do you love most about your book?
I really love the “Ghost Death Statements” that are interspersed throughout the book. That’s something that I discovered as I was writing the book (meaning it wasn’t in the detailed outline I worked off of). I loved writing them, assuming these very different girls’ voices (all from different decades) and layering their stories with clues to the mystery.
What has surprised you most about publishing post-agent (in other words, something unpublished writers may not know about how the process goes after you get an agent)?
I actually don’t have a book agent! I have a longtime movie and TV agent but I did not use an agent in the book deal. I reached out to the one single editor I know in the business, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and he wanted to publish the book. So my experience was pretty unique (and lucky!) in that way.
Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
Appalling. My mom would always call me that when I misbehaved.
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
Private Investigator or Trapeze Artist (and I’ve dabbled in both)
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear G-d say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Man, I thought I was gonna see you a long, long time ago.
Finally, what's the one question you've always wanted to answer in an interview? (And of course, you have to answer it!)
What’s the most random job you ever had?
I was Kiss’ private videographer when the original members of the band got back together to practice for their MTV Unplugged performance in 1996. It was all very top secret and intense. But I wasn’t really a fan at the time, so I found it more amusing than stressful. I got to hear them all complaining behind each other’s backs and lamenting the old days “when we’d take four limos instead of just one.” Gene Simmons hit on me (of course), saying I had “childbearing hips” shared his mother’s traditional Jewish pastries with me. It was all pretty hilarious but then Gene didn’t want to pay me my agreed-upon rate and I got into a haggling match with him. Proud to say, I won.
Hilariously enough a few years later a film producer asked me to join a meeting with Gene while we were at Sundance with one of my shorts. We both kind of pretended the whole “haggling over a thousand bucks” thing hadn’t happened and talked movies over pizza. He actually had some smart ideas.
PS: Speaking of music, Dannie, I know you’re a big U2 fan so I’ll tell you that my husband, Robbie Adams, is from Dublin worked with them quite a bit. He was engineer and mixer on both Zooropa and Achtung Baby (there’s even a picture of him in the album cover collage!). He also toured with them a number of times and co-produced the music on “U23D” (the movie). We even got a wedding present from Bono! That was pretty awesome.
About LIV, FOREVER
When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.
Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.
But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.
Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.