Thursday, August 2, 2012

Literary Circles: Blogger Interview with Amy Sonnichsen!

Today I’m talking with Amy Sonnichsen of The Green Bathtub. Earlier this summer, Amy hosted “My So-Called Teenage Bloghop,” one of the funnier blog hops I’ve ever come across. Amy clearly has a great sense of humor, but one of my favorite parts of Amy’s blog is her natural integration between writing and life. Amy has a beautiful stand-out voice in her writing and posts. Go ahead – stop by her blog. Pick any post. You’ll want to read more. Amy is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong. She lives with her husband and five children in Washington. 
Thank you so much for being here today Amy! I’m so intrigued by the title of your blog. Can you tell us a bit about your blog’s concept and what inspired you to start blogging?
I started my completely-clueless blogging journey in 2009. I begged my sister to be my first follower because I hated looking at “Members (0).” Blogging was a way for me to come out of the closet about my writing. Before I started, hardly anyone knew I wrote novels. I never talked about it. It was a secret I shared with my husband, but hardly even with him. Now I’m much more open about my writing and I have my blog to thank for that.

A couple years ago I gave my blog a title overhaul, because I got the crazy idea to call it The Green Bathtub. I have this running joke with myself that I write all the time and never do housework (which is *ahem* only partly true), so the idea of a green, algae-filled bathtub tickled me. My amazing sister helped me out with the artwork, and The Green Bathtub was born. (Note: Since I changed my blog’s name, I have realized that bathtub algae is generally a weird shade of reddish-orange, not green, but … oh well. I won’t tell you how I know that.)

Sadly, I know exactly what kind of reddish-orange color you are talking about.

saw your video featuring your stellar Hacky Sack skills. I feel it’s only fair to link to it here. What is the Hacky Sack Club and how did you come up with it?
Oh boy, that was random. One of the things I LOVE about blogging is making friends with other writers. The Hacky Sack Club grew out of a silly conversation with bloggy friend Janet Johnson. She ended up sending me a hacky sack in the mail as a joke, so I sent one back to her. Then we challenged each other to post videos and the rest is history. The Hacky Sack Club is open to new members and as soon as Janet settles in to her new home (she just moved!) we’re planning another (optional) “activity.” *cue evil laughter* Kimberly, I hope we’ll be able to recruit you!
I have absolutely no cool talents to showcase! However, I typically succumb to peer pressure rather easily.

How has blogging affected your writing and/or your path to publication?
I don’t have a gigantic following to boast about, so I’m not sure my blog actually helped me land an agent and I’m not sure it is helping me look good to editors, either. What it has done, however, is introduce me to a bunch of amazing writers from all over the world. Not only that, it keeps me accountable to my dream. Because I’ve gone public about my writing passion, I’m less likely to give up.

I love that blogging helps hold you accountable - very true!

What lessons have you learned from blogging? Good, bad and/or ugly?
I've learned so much from other bloggers. There’s so much fantastic writing advice available on writerly blogs. I feel like I got the equivalent of a college education in publishing from following editor, agent and fellow-writers’ blogs. When people approach me asking, “How do I get started as a writer?” I point them straight to blogs that have been helpful to me.

On a practical note, over the years I’ve learned to make my blog posts shorter. I was pretty long-winded in the beginning. *blush*   

What is one of your favorite blogs? What makes it one of your favorites?
Yikes! Tough question. The answer has changed over the years. I started off devoted to agent blogs because I was looking for an agent. I learned so much about the industry from those! Rachelle Gardner comes to mind.  

Now that I feel like I know my way around the publishing world a little better, I’m more focused on my writerly friends’ blogs. I’ve met a few of my indispensible critique partners through blogging: Krista (Mother. Write. Repeat), Christa (Christa Rambles and Writes), Kristin (Kristin Creative), Myrna (Night Writer), and Melodie (Forever Rewrighting).

Sorry, I know I cheated! That was WAY more than one favorite!

Great picks - I know several of them! In fact, Melodie was my very first blogger interview. 

Can you talk a little bit about a current project you are working on?
Sure! I currently have one novel on submission with editors. Seagull Rising is a contemporary YA about a sixteen-year-old American girl who must find herself all over again when her family makes an abrupt move back to the U.S. after twelve years in China. 

My work-in-progress is tentatively titled The Crazy Part and is another contemporary YA. This one is about a sixteen-year-old girl who goes on a cross-state road trip with two boys—one, a wanna-be skater, the other, an ultra-conservative farm boy whose gigantic family stars on a reality show—to stop her brother from committing suicide, all while being chased by the reality show’s TV crew.
(Wow, that was a mouthful.)

Thanks so much for having me, Kimberly! I so appreciated your thoughtful questions and I’m so honored to be a guest on your wonderful blog!

Thank you so much for stopping by Amy! As I said, I'm a big fan of your blog and your manuscripts sound really intriguing! I look forward to picking them up off the shelf some day.


  1. Great interview, have been following Amy since in the beginning. Wishing her the best on her novel!

  2. Best to you, Amy, with your submission! I appreciate shorter bog posts too and try to keep mine succinct, realizing people visit many blogs per day...

  3. Fantastic interview!! LOVE Amy! So excited for her submissions!!!

  4. Great interview! I'm off to check out her green bathtub of a blog ;-)....

  5. I love Amy :) Such a wonderful interview. I can't wait to read her books!

  6. Amy's awesome, and it's cool to hear about her contemp YA projects (my fave genre to read!). So nice to meet you, Kimberly!

  7. Hi, Amy! *waves wildly* :) I loved this interview and it was awesome to hear about your mss!
    Kimberly, it's nice to meet you--and I love all your great questions!

  8. *blush blush blush* Thanks for having me, Kimberly! This was such a fun interview to do! Thank you for all your very kind words!

  9. Wonderful interview, Amy and Kimberly! Great questions, great answers.

    It's funny how similar our paths have been, Amy. I started blogging in 2009, too (although I think you beat me by a few months), and while I used to read agents' blogs almost exclusively, now I'm much more inclined to read other writers' blogs.

    Thanks for sharing, ladies! Keep up the good work!

    1. P.S. You hit the nail on the head in your introduction, Kimberly. Amy is fantastic at blending writing and real life on her blog. Myrna Foster--Amy mentioned her in one of her answers--is also really great at that.

  10. I love reading your interviews! The Green Bathtub is a great blog and I have ALWAYS wondered, "Why that name?" hehe

  11. Always inspiring and encouraging to hear about the journey. Thanks for such a humble and candid interview.

  12. I feel so lucky to have met Amy (and kids) in person! She is wonderful and I thinks hers was the first blog I followed. Great interview Kimberly!

  13. Love this blog name story!! Thanks ladies!

  14. I feel like so many of the questions I have had about writing/publishing lately could be answered if I followed some of the breadcrumbs you threw out here! Great interview!

  15. Great interview! I can't wait to read "Seagull Rising", so I hope the submission process moves along (I'm in the same position now). I love how Amy can keep a terrific sense of humor throughout it all--publishing, raising five kids, and even house work!!

  16. Cool. I don't think I've heard much on what Amy's writing projects are. That's fun to see.

    And I'm 100% against housework too, when you could be writing. My bathtub isn't green, thanks to Scrubbing Bubbles. Spray, walk away, and come back to rinse. Wish it were that easy with the floor.

  17. Love Amy! So glad you interviewed her, she deserves to be highlighted! :)

  18. Hi Kimberly - Thanks for visiting my blog! It's great to read about writers on the road to success, so nice to meet you and Amy too!

    Amy J.

  19. What a great interview... and I love the sound of that WIP! I am so glad I joined the blogging world because of all the writers I have met. Blogging may be a marketing tool for some, but it's a moral support tool for me personally - haha. I love knowing others who are in the same boat as me, whether it's struggling to draft a novel, revise, or query.

  20. Amy, I totally agree on the lessons learn and feeling like it was a college education.

    I think blogging helps with staying on schedule and as an extra creative outlet. I like the community of writers I'm involved with too.

    Honestly, I don't read a lot of YA but I do like the premise of both your books! Wishing you the very best with this!!


  21. Great interview, as someone new to the blogging world it was nice to see the benefits of having one. I took Creepy Query Girls advice and checked out some blogs,and am glad I stumbled on yours. Anyway good luck with your writing.

  22. Great interview. I'm a new follower from IWSG. It's nice to meet you. I know, I'm a little late this month, but I made it. :)

  23. Wow! I'm so glad you found my blog so I could find yours! I enjoyed the interview.

  24. Hello beautiful Kimberly and your beautiful blue blog! Lovely to meet you and thank you for the intro to amazing Amy!! Love how The Green Bathtub got its name! Although not part of the Hacky Sack club I thoroughly enjoy the Club members' exploits - super duper AWESOME!!

    Take care

  25. I just love Amy! I really can't wait to read her work. And her hacky sack video is the bomb. New video challenge coming up soon, soon, soon!

    (And I found you through Amy. Nice to meet you Kimberly!)

  26. I love interviews like this where we get to know our blogging buddies better. Hacky Sack...who knew? :)

  27. Great interview! So cool to get to know people better, esp. such talented people like Amy. Her WIP is really great - she's going to go far with that.