Amy Rivers is an award-winning novelist and the Director of the Writing Heights Writers Association. She was named 2021 Indie Author of the Year by the Indie Author Project. Her psychological suspense novels incorporate important social issues with a focus on the complexities of human behavior. Amy was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children.
ELEVATOR PITCH Ripple Effect – Forensic psychologist Kate Medina continues to pursue the leaders of a trafficking ring that has plagued her hometown. Still, time is running out, and her sister’s life is on the line. Will Kate uncover the truth in time to save Tilly?
Ripple Effect, the final installment of my psychological suspense series, A Legacy of Silence, was published on October 24, 2023. I’m both elated and relieved. I figure most authors experience this feeling. You pour your blood, sweat, and tears into your creative work like a parent preparing their children for adulthood. You do the best you can to prepare it for the world, but then you have to let go, knowing that you won’t be able to protect it from harsh critics, but also hopeful that it will find someone who will love it for exactly who it is.
Readers who will love our book as much as we do.
Like any relationship, we want to find the perfect match. A reader who will feel all the things we intended them to feel when we wrote the book. Someone who will introduce our book to their friends, taking our work from relative obscurity all the way to the bestseller lists.
Have I taken the metaphor too far? Seriously, my husband says that no matter what I’m writing, it’s a relationship book, and I guess that extends to all aspects of my life. I’ve always been fascinated with human motivation, prompting me to study psychology, victimology, and criminal behavior. I want to know what makes people tick, and the easiest way for me to understand this is through relationships.
This was certainly true in my work as the director of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program serving two rural counties in my home state of New Mexico. Working closely with the first responders who provided services to victims of sexual assault and abuse, it was often my job to talk through secondary trauma and attend to the emotional needs of the nurses in my program. Empathy and a genuine desire to understand people supported those efforts and has inspired me to write about issues of interpersonal violence in what I hope is an authentic and accurate way.
A Legacy of Silence deals with human trafficking and also sisterhood. The books touch on family bonds and romantic relationships while also looking at PTSD, anxiety, sexual predation, and murder. And there’s a reason. Real life is complicated. As humans, we’re constantly juggling–family, career, ambition, passion–and when life throws us some turmoil, those other things don’t just disappear. We work through them with varying degrees of success, and our behavior and actions affect our relationships.
I’m excited that the story is now complete. Ripple Effect marks the end of the saga and hopefully the beginning of some peace for Kate and Tilly and all the people they love. I’ve been immersed in A Legacy of Silence for four years, and I’m looking forward to starting something new. That said, I have a feeling that Kate and Tilly aren’t done with me. I hope everyone enjoys the complete series!
https://hype.co/@amyrivers (contains all my social media links)
Barbara Nickless is a Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author. Her newest series features forensic semiotician Dr. Evan Wilding—a man whose gift for interpreting the signs left by killers has led him to consult on some of the world’s grisliest cases.
“Dr. Evan Wilding is absolutely my new favorite fictional human.” (Danielle Girard, USA Today & Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of The Ex)
Dark of Night: When an historian is found dead from a cobra bite, only Dr. Evan Wilding can read the signs around her strange death—and follow the path to the priceless treasure behind her murder.
Groups: Mystery Writers of America (including the Colorado chapter—RMMWA) and Sisters in Crime (including Sisters in Crime – Colorado).
Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? I’m fortunate to have a room of my own, filled with books and decorated with items that inspire me—Egyptian paintings on papyrus, black and white photos taken in Africa, globes, and maps. I wish I could say I don’t allow any distractions, but I’m not that disciplined. My phone and internet access are right there in the room with me. But I always start my day with the phone in a drawer, and I don’t allow myself to log on to the internet until lunch unless I know there’s something I have to take care of.
Tell us about your writing process: I wish I could go straight from my bed to my desk—Dennis Lehane says he prefers to write first thing in the morning when he’s still in a dream state. But I have to start my day with breakfast, or I’d pass out at my computer after the first hour. So, breakfast while I read the news, then I make coffee and head upstairs to my study. I spend the morning writing new material and the afternoon editing and doing research, taking an early afternoon break for exercise. The late afternoon and evening hours are for items related to the business of writing or social media. Maybe a glass of wine and some reflection on the day’s work. Almost always a walk. I try to preserve my weekends as much as possible to spend with family and friends.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process? The fact of a deadline. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m so very grateful to have a deadline because it means my book will go out into the world after my publisher has worked their magic. But I never feel I can give the book everything it deserves. It’s a bit reminiscent of a time in college when I was taking a trig test, and the professor gave us a twenty-minute warning. After that, all my brain could process was “twenty minutes.”
What are you currently working on? I’m writing the third book in the Evan Wilding series, tentatively titled Play of Shadows. It’s about sibling rivalry, domineering fathers, and the question of how early in life humans show a penchant for evil. It’s also about mazes and the minotaur and the undeciphered hieroglyphic script of Crete.
Has an association membership helped you with your writing? Yes, in the most wonderful ways. The combination of moral support, shared stories, and practical craft lessons is invaluable. Writing can be lonely, and even though I’m a profound introvert, I’ve learned that having a writing community is priceless.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? For me, it’s describing men and women from the POV of a man. As a writer, I have to portray a woman the way a man (in particular, my protagonist) would see her—the details he would notice, the things about her he’d find most important. And I have to be equally careful to describe a male character the way another man would see him.
Do your protagonists ever disappoint you? It’s more the other way around. If I’m not bringing everything to the table, I’ll disappoint my characters—and I’ll be disappointed in the results.
Do you have any advice for new writers? Separate your goals into two categories: Those you have control over (improving your craft, reading a lot of other authors, how much time you spend at the desk) and those you don’t (whether or not a particular story or novel sells, how it will be received by the reading public, what the reviewers will say). Focus all of your energy on the things you can control and do your best to forget the rest.
Readers can reach me through my website: https://www.barbaranickless.com
And they can buy my books on Amazon (or at any other bookseller): Amazon Barbara Nickless