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Interview with Dean Amory,

author of "YOUNG LOVE"

Interview with Dean Amory, author of "YOUNG LOVE"


Who are you?
My real name is Edgard (Eddy) Adriaens. I was
born 21.09.1953 in the Flemish city of Aalst.
I grew up in a family of seven and married to
Arlette Scheerlinck.
We have a beautiful
daughter, Tamara and are living in Nederhasselt
- Ninove, a small village in Flanders'
countryside.
After finishing high school, I worked at a few
local SMEs as a correspondent and assistant
(sales) executive. In 1986 I was recruited by
Bacob Bank, and started as a relationship
manager. After the banks merger with the
Dexia Bank, I moved on to be an Electronic
Banking Expertise Officer at Dexia, later
renamed Belfius bank.
I am the author of "Young Love", a set of two
teenage high school romance novels and
compiled a number of theme books about
coaching, mindfulness, hypnosis, cold reading, influencing, communication and dating. I also
publish poetry, short stories, novels and compilation works in Dutch (Flemish) and Spanish.

What inspires you to write romance stories?


I draw my inspiration mainly from events in my own life, but I also keep my mind open to
ideas from any other source: movies, television series and programs, newspaper and magazine
articles, people I know, etc

Why did you decide to write young and new adult romance?
There is something endearing, fresh, compelling and innocent about young love that makes it
irresistible. Stories about young love are open minded, unpretentious, have a strong sense of
hope, and take us to a period in life where nothing is definitive yet: imagination still reigns
and cynicism isn't present yet.
The first cut is the deepest. Because romance is about a time in life when our life is filled with
new emotions, new perspectives, new dreams and new experiences. Because they are new,
they are felt more intense, and also the drama is more intense. At a young age, we still have
this capacity to love unconditionally.
Every decision in this phase of life still has the potential of creating a totally different future.
In considering the possible consequences of the main characters' decisions, we enter a world

with new morals and new choices that invite us to consider applying them to our own daily
actions. Since the theme is universal, we can draw from what is happening in the story and
learn from the characters' behaviour and growth how to conquer problems in our own life.

Romance Stories are inspiring and empowering. Teens and young twens are still at the
outskirts of society. They aren't really part of the system yet, which allows them to revolt and
kick ass. As such, they remind us of our own ideals, which makes it easy to feel empathy for
the characters and be empowered by them. Watching them grow and learn from their
mistakes, makes us reconnect with our younger self, which makes the characters easy to root
for.
The characters are easily relatable: we all experienced this period in our own life, which
allows us to identify easily and communicate more openly, honestly and candidly with the
main characters than is possible in most adult novels.
Romance stories are good adventures, because traditionally the hero and heroine fall in love
very soon, but have to conquer a lot of opposition and go through a roller-coaster of
experiences and emotions before finally finding love in each other's arms. Like in real life,
love stories usually have a clear plot, but there are a lot of uncertainties at the start, obstacles
to overcome and misunderstandings to clear before the love is accomplished.
To some adults, reality is a disappointment. They want to experience true love and, live all
these emotions and believe in a happily ever after, but often can't. Reading about it is the next

best thing and has the power to turn every day into a love story. Romance novels offer hope
and feed optimism. There is nothing that makes you feel better than reading about people
who become happy. You also know that any emerging problem can be easily solved by
reading the story all the way to the end.

When did you begin writing?


I wrote a couple of short stories during my
high school years and wrote my first novel at
the age of 18. When I started working, there
really was no time for writing during a long
period.
After 25 years, I traded my
commercial function for a desk job and finally
recovered the time and energy necessary to
resume writing

What other genres do you write?


Teenage romance short stories, biography,
poetry and non fiction compilation theme
books.

Tell us about how you write:


The question sounds simple enough. Yet there is no easy answer: A lot depends on the
nature of the book that I have in mind.
If you visit my web shop at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Jaimelavie , you will find a great
variety in the kind of works offered and each type of book requires a specific approach.
- I produce works in Dutch, English and Spanish. It goes without saying that books written
in another language than my native, will require a different approach.
- Amongst the various works, there are compilations dealing with social and scientific
subjects, collections of poems, collections of short stories and novels.
When talking about how to write a romance novel, here are the steps I use:
1. Writing a fiction novel starts with an idea: What do I want to write about? This will
typically be a situation that I have some knowledge about and that I am interested in sharing.
2. Each story requires a basic conflict. Something prevents the hero and heroine to fall in
each other's arms on page one and live happily for ever after. What exactly is keeping them
apart and why, is key to the story.
4. The conflict alone isn't enough: next I need to have an interesting story about the topic.
Each year, thousands of love stories are being published. If my topic is a love story: what
makes it worth while? what makes it different from the other romance novels? Do I have a
unique angle, a hook or a catching metaphor that readers will love to read about ?

5. How will my story develop? By now I have decided on my topic and I have a story in
mind. It's time now to draw up my itinerary.
Who are my main characters? What is their situation? What is their goal in this phase of their
life? Where does the conflict between them originate? What are the consequences? Who are
the people they will meet on their voyage towards their goal? Do they have allies, enemies?
What obstacles will they meet with? What resources do they have or can they acquire along
the road that will help them overcome these obstacles?
At the start, this information needs not be too elaborated. More details will be added as the
project grows.
6. With the information from step 3 in mind, I write an outline and a table of contents. In the
outline, I plan the important events per chapter. But again: all this is very provisionally. Just
like in real life, I need a travel scheme with indication of important landmarks lest I'd stray;
but once on the road I'm still free to allow a detour or even decide a change of direction.
7. I start writing. This is so evident, that it almost sounds easy to do. In reality, though my
wife will warn me every now and then not to get obsessed with my writing, writing to me is a
steeplechase with many hurdles: I have a full time job and I need to reserve time for family
affairs. Also, writing is a creative act, which implies that it's not really recommended to start
writing when I'm too tired or the available timeframe is too limited.
8. Rereading and editing and rewriting are important: With the writing process regularly
interrupted, I need to reread a lot to bring myself back in the mood of the story and to avoid
all contradictions and repetitions.

What's special about writing about teen romantic


relationships?
I just try to avoid clichs and truthfully tell a story about
authentic young people. Nobody is ever perfect or one
dimensional: people are complex and flawed; they make
mistakes and often even behave in illogic and contradictory
ways. They learn and grow through their experiences.

Do you have a special routine?


I don't. I am a hobby writer. I write when I have no
professional or familial obligations to attend to and when I
feel like writing and I know that I will be able to concentrate on it for a number of hours.
When I started writing, there were no personal computers yet. For years, I've done my
writing on a mechanical type writer on the living table. Since I got my first computer, I do
my writing in my home office.

Is it easy to remain motivated?


I write to entertain myself, which allows me a maximum
of freedom: I don't have to consider whether some
publisher will like what I write. When other people find
my books on the internet and like them as well or add
them to their reading stacks, then that's extra motivating.
But in the end, I don't write for the market. I write for
me. I collect information about subjects that I like to
know more about and use them to create compilation
works, which I love reading; or I write down stories
from my personal life because I would hate to see them
lost. And of course, I love it when others tell me that
they loved reading my books as well and that makes me
want to write more books.
Motivation is a flow. When you do things because you like doing them and are under no
obligation to do them, then they are more of a luxury than of a work. Yet also a flow has it's
tops and bottoms: sometimes, writing feels like an obsession and if I lived alone I might
forget to eat or sleep because at such moments, the complete story has taken possession of me
and I then get afraid that I might forget important elements should I dare to take a pause.
At other times, desperation will awake: is my story really worth telling? is it good enough?
aren't there already enough good stories sitting on the shelves? That's when discipline proves
to be a valued helper.

Your novels are set in the Flemish towns of Aalst and Ninove.
this setting?

Why have you chosen

I am Flemish and so are my main characters. Each country


and region has its distinct idiosyncrasies and charms.
Young people in U.K. have customs and norms that are
somewhat different from the way Americans or Belgians of
the same age behave. With that in mind, I've made the
decision to stay as close to home as possible, in order to
safeguard the authenticity of my novels.
Do you listen to or talk to your characters?
My characters are "living people". I get to know them as
good as possible. Being a very visual person, I first search
for pictures of people that I can identify them with. On my train commutes to work, or
whenever time allows, I wonder what makes them tick, how they think, what they want and
need, what makes them happy or unhappy, what they are frustrated about, which elements are
likely to cause frictions when they communicate with the other characters in the book, how
they will respond to what is happening, etc ...

I do a lot of inter-acting with my characters, without however actually making real


conversations with them. They become members of my family, lovers, friends and colleagues
but I don't talk with them: the writing is my talking.

Do you imagine you're telling your story to somebody while you are writing?
As a writer, I have to speak my audience's language. When
I'm writing a story about 17 year olds, I am talking to 17
year olds. When writing for adults, I'm addressing myself
to adults. But apart from the dialogues, I never tell my
stories to one special person.
Also, I have things to tell, not lessons to give. I love to
hear that people feel empowered after reading my stories. I
love it when they come to me and tell me they liked what I
wrote about the necessity to having goals in life and a plan
to realise them. But I couldn't start writing a novel with the
idea that I had to somehow teach people how to go about
their life.

How would you describe Young Love? What is it about?


Young Love is about relations that fail because the main characters, though of the same age,
have different priorities and ideas about what it is like to be young, Young Love is not just
about Sean and Katherine however, not just about a failed relationship, or the gradual descent
into depression when their relationship changes into a holding pattern. Its mainly about
Seans coming of age : how he learns to deal with a failed relationship and move on with his
life without blaming Katherine, others or even himself; and about how his experiences force
him to look inside for answers and learn that its ok to accept that some decisions are a
consequence of elements that are outside his own circle of influence.
Young Love is about the uncertainties and overpowering emotions that come with true young
love. It's about the sweetness of young love, but also about the anguish of regret, the sadness
of time and energy lost, the importance of open communication and trust. It depicts the
heroes psychological struggle in a honest and genuine way.
Personally, I would describe Young Life as a story about overcoming life events and
experiencing the wondrous realization of how strong human nature actually is. Young Life is
about rediscovering hope, falling in love, and learning to love life. This book is about growing
up, new beginnings, recognizing that although we do have limitations these are definitely
outweighed by our strengths. In a world seemingly without a cure, there is always hope in
one form or another, but it just takes a little time to learn that.

When you were writing Young Love, did you think or even hope it would be popular or
did you assume the manuscript would sit in a drawer for the rest of your life?
There are some rules about teen love stories.
First of all, since most readers are female, the
stories are nearly always told from the point of view
of the heroine.
Secondly, in order to make the plot more
interesting, there is nearly always an added element:
the unsuspected inheritance, the bad boy, the dark
past, and as if thats not enough yet, the young
adult books are often flooded with paranormal
aspects and supernatural creatures: zombies,
vampires, werewolves,
Thirdly, theres always a happy end: the sweethearts
conquer all obstacles, resolve all differences and
live happily ever after the end line of the novel.
Real life is not like that. I knew I was taking a big
risk by writing about ordinary teens living in a
normal world. On the other hand, I also knew that the Young Love theme is an universal one
and that the story of Sean and Katherine is representative of what were all going through,
which means that everybody will easily emotionally connect with what they are going
through. As such, their experience struck me as something that Is certainly worth telling.

Do you remember what sparked the idea for this book?


When I wrote A Schoolyard Love Story, the first part of the Young Love Series, I was
eighteen and still searching for
answers that could explain a failed
relationship that resembled very
much to what Sean and Katherine
went through. I didnt understand
how a girl could break up with me
and yet claim she loved me and
appeal to my feelings for her every
time I tried to move on. I didnt
know how to react and the longer we
turned in circles around each other,
the more bitter and emotionally
crippled I became. I felt small, limited, worthless, unfit for this world and incapable to build
and maintain balanced and satisfying relationships.

Until I met her, my life had been very much like the ocean: idyllic and peaceful at some
times, dangerous and hostile at other times; but always something basically unpredictable in
which boring periods happened to alternate with exciting moments in spite of myself.
Something mysterious that I tried to accept for what it was, without ruminating too much
about what I expected from it or how I could get the best of it. Things were what they were
and so was I. I was extremely egocentric, extremely irresponsible, extremely careless,
extremely inconsiderate and extremely passive at the time
I wrote First Loves Shadow one or two years later. In the course of the couple of months
that separated the two periods of my life, I had totally changed. I had become a lot more
understanding and empathic, felt responsible for my life, knew what I wanted and was
prepared to work for my goals, but also ready to make compromises where necessary.
Putting unto paper the experiences that awoke and changed me, and telling about how I took
the lessons to heart and put them into practice by trial and error was something I did for
myself. Only after I reread the story, did I realize that the story transcended my personal
experience. So, what started with a desire to remember, ended with a story that shows how
we can get past negative and dark thoughts and embrace life.

How did you come up with the title?


Originally, I named the story after my high school
sweetheart, because she was the catalyst who started
the reaction and our relationship had become the
touchstone for my following romances. But when I
decided to publish the books, I realized that I needed a
title that would tell the reader what the stories were
about.

What do you like about your main characters?


Some people read books in order to escape reality.
They want to read about magic, great adventures, romances with rock stars and nobility,
paranormal gifts and supernatural creatures. They wont find these in my books.
I write about normal young people living in an ordinary world and struggling with love, loss
and growing up. Life isnt a fairy tale. It is not full of princes and werewolves. It is not a
sweet everlasting romance where everything always turns out exactly the way we want it.
I love my characters exactly because they are ordinary people like you and me. I love their
authenticity and realism. They are not perfect, not famous, or brilliant, but they confront the
ups and downs of life, learn and grow throughout the process and refuse to withdraw into
themselves or to settle for less than what is possible to make the best they can of their life.

Looking back, why do you Sean and Katherine didnt work as a couple?
The relationship didnt work in Young Love part 1, A Schoolyard Love Story, but whos to
say the two of them dont outgrow their differences and get together in part 2?
However, the main reason why I think they didnt
work as a couple is that they were too young.
Without going into detail, it is clear that a lot of the
problems they faced were a direct consequence of
their age: their isolation both at school and during
the weekends, the opposition of Katherines
parents, the fear for repercussions from the
teachers at school .
Another reason were the differences in what they
expected from life at that time: Sean was already
bored with hanging around in discothques at a
time when Katherine only just started going out
during the weekends. He was not planning on
continuing his studies and was ready to settle
down, whereas for her study came first, followed by the dream of enjoying her young life for
a few more years.
Thirdly, there are indications that they just didnt fit after all: in many fields Sean was a lot
more immature than Katherine and both young people were very different when it comes to
the way how they communicated and handled information, which led to a steady stream of
frustration on both sides.
Finally, they both may have loved one another, but what they called love was very
different: Katherine was first of all looking for a buddy who would offer her companionship
and support through her last years at high school, whereas Sean was hoping they might stay
together for ever and was constantly pushing her to formalize their relationship.
Its a pity they didnt realize sooner that the two visions werent compatible: instead of
crushing the spirit out of each other over and over again, Katherine might have gotten what
she wanted and Sean would have been saved a lot of pain and doubt.

What pitfalls have you experienced during the writing process?


I tend to tell too much, instead of allowing my characters to show through their conversations
what's going on and how they feel about it. I should drop a lot of interior dialogue and
concentrate more on dialogue itself.
Language is one of my most important personal points of attention: Not being a native
English speaker is a handicap when writing in English, just like not being a teen is a handicap

when writing for a teen audience. After all, speaking the language of your audience is the
first law of successful communication.

Has your writing process or style changed over the years and In what way?
On a technical level, I improved my dialogues, and worked hard to tell less through narrative
language and internal dialogues, and more through the characters actual conversations.

Is writing a lonely experience?


It's all about balances. Writing is something I do on my own, but so are working in the
garden, cleaning or doing odd jobs around the house. I don't need people around me while
doing any of them. But writing doesn't prevent me to share quality time with others or to
engage in social activities at other moments. Also, I'm writing as a hobby. I have no
financial considerations or deadlines to get stressed about. When I'm writing, I'm very
conscious that I'm writing because I like to write, not because I must.

Are you working on a new novel? What can your readers


expect next from you?
I am working on a new young love novel, which doesnt have a
definitive title yet. The new book is about the romantic life of a
teenage girl. At the start of the book shes only about fifteen and
unlike Sean, is still accepting that people come into ones life and
sooner or later are likely to also disappear from it again. Im
really excited about this new project, which allows me to treat a
number of subjects that where outside the range of interest in A
Schoolyard Love Story and First Loves Shadow: abusive
relationships, rape, teenage pregnancy, internet dating, .

What influenced you to publish with a publisher or self-publish your book.


What would you advise new authors to explore?
At the start, I didn't feel the need to share my writings. All that I wanted was to have my
writings and compilations printed, so that they wouldn't get lost and I could read them myself.
Within this context, the decision of a POD publisher was a logical consequence.
Soon I discovered that relatives and friends were interested in also having a copy of my books
and that, occasionally somebody would order a copy from the Publisher's Site. I discovered
that, given a little bit of promotion, more books were purchased.
However, POD books are extremely expensive. This is not the right channel if you want to
compete on the market. Also, chances of getting known to the larger public only by
publishing POD books are almost nil. Exceptions of course do exist, but generally there is
another story, unknown to the general public, behind their success.

If you are a new author, convinced of the quality of your writings, and you want to
commercialise your work on a national or international level, I recommend you search for a
good agent to introduce your works. However, bear in mind that over the past decade the
publishing sector has seen it's number of sales drop dramatically, while there has been a
disproportional increase in the number of authors, resulting in long waiting lists and
extremely tight selection criteria.

What advice would you give other romance writers?


Live consciously, mindfully, interested in how people are and what motivates them.
As much as possible: Read, Think, Analyse, Learn, Exercise, Keep improving.
Involve others: share your thoughts and writings, discuss about them.
Find your voice: try out different genres and find out what you are doing well. Maybe readers
won't like your adult novels so much, but teens will be enthusiast about your young adult
stories.
Write. Write. Write.
Never give up.