Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Defending Happiness by Amy Shea

Welcome to Author Amy Shea.

Amy Shea’s first short story was featured in a national magazine when she was just 13 years old. She has continued to write throughout her life, publishing numerous poems in literary journals and anthologies, receiving the prestigous Dylan Thomas Poetry Fellowship in Paris, France, sponsored by the Paris Review, as well as a coveted residency at the world-famous MacDowell Colony. Delighting in narration, Ms. Shea continues as a chronicler of human behavior, with her book of short  stories, “Defending Happiness, and other acts of bravery.” In this collection she shares, with unsparing wit and candor, her take on mother/daughter relationships, parenthood, and the unfortunate lack of speed-bumps in online dating. Her hilarious account of aging, along with her tough and tender story of being diagnosed with breast cancer, take the reader on a deeply-felt ride, each account making Ms. Shea’s point: it’s not enough to find your bliss; you have to fight for it.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You will have a good hard laugh, while being reminded that your happiness is worth breaking a sweat over.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I was on Facebook, avoiding loading the dishwasher. As I was scanning a page, about ready to click and move on, I saw the title of my book in a post from a person I did not know. It turns out she had bought the book. She was taking it to the beach with her, and commenting on how much she loved the stories, recommending it to her friend. Just coming upon it like that, seeing evidence that it was out in the world now, making its way, turned me into a weeping toddler.  I cried for twenty minutes, then put myself down for a nap.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Sherlock Holmes. I believed in the power of deduction, that paying very close attention to clues would get me out of the projects–which was a very dangerous and dull place–and into a better life. I was right about that.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

What is your favorite Quote?
The closing line of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
Tall. I believed there were a lot of wonderful things going on above my sight line that I was missing out on. Beyond that, I wanted to be an actress. My father proclaimed regularly that I was, so I moved on to writer, my thespian dreams fulfilled.

How did you know you should become an author?
Writing chose me, so it must have known something I didn’t. I’m better at writing than anything else I can do, especially math and golf. My face is on posters in golf clubhouses across our great nation. Turns out golfers hold a grudge when you maim their caddy. He didn’t need that surgery in the end, but they never got over it.

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Any one of them that ever wrote one original and honest thought, especially when no one was paying them.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
A 100 year-old woman was asked what advice she had for a long life. She said, “don’t stop.” I will pass that along. Also, don’t cut your own hair.

If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be?
Harm coming to my children. I would be like Harrison Ford in Air Force One. I don’t negotiate with terrorists until they have my kid. Then I’d discuss Heidegger for three hours, without alcohol.

Which authors have influence you most how?
Shakespeare, because he was unrestricted. He was funny, subtle, bawdy, deft, and intelligent all in the same piece. I adore how inclusive his work was, both of the writer’s nature and the audience’s range. That makes the work layered, and I admire that.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Stephen King. He sells a lot of books, and I have a very macabre imagination. I think it would work out for both of us.

Favorite quote from a movie?
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” That’s spoken by the Virginia Woolf character in “The Hours” after she has pleaded with her husband to support her living her life on her own terms.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I’ve been able to make a living off my wits. I know I’m constantly surprised by it.

Defending Happiness

Defending Happiness, and Other Acts of Bravery is a book about fighting for your bliss. The collection of stories demonstrates how one woman faced off with breast cancer, online dating, and motherhood, using audacity and wit to not only survive, but repeatedly reclaim her human right to happiness.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Defending Happiness
Open to US only
Ends 9/17/12

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