I'm happy to welcome Amy Young to Cozy Up With Kathy. Amy writes the Lakeview Mystery series. The Water Tower is the first book in the series and was released last month.
Kathy: Josie Ashbury was a successful actress before a breakdown sent her back home where she accepts a teaching job. Both of these careers are quite stressful, but if you had to choose one, which would you prefer?
AY: I agree that both careers are stressful, but if I had to, I would choose acting. But that’s only because I don’t think I’m the greatest teacher! I taught for a year with Great Lakes Theater Festival doing week-long Shakespeare residencies at schools, and though it was an enjoyable experience for me, I could feel that teaching wasn’t one of my callings.
Kathy: Josie becomes a teacher at her old high school. Do you have fond high school memories or would you rather forget those days? Would you ever want to return to work there?
AY: I think like many people, I have both fond and terrible memories of high school. It’s a stressful time in life, and every little thing feels like the most important thing that’s ever happened. You really can’t see the forest for the trees until you’re out of the forest, fifty miles away, living in a log cabin. Funnily enough, I did return to work at my old high school when I was doing the residencies I mentioned above. There were a lot of kids in my class that I remembered being born.
Kathy: Josie deals with debilitating insomnia. Have you ever battled it?
AY: Insomnia runs in my family on my father’s side, and unfortunately, I do experience it. It’s not always debilitating, but there have been a few periods in my life where I didn’t sleep a full night for months, and that takes a crazy toll on your body. As I’ve gotten older, my sleep habits have changed as well – I used to be able to sleep through anything, now I wake up if a pin drops.
Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?
AY: Mysteries have always been a genre I’ve read, beginning with books like Bunnicula when I was quite young, then graduating to Nancy Drew as a pre-teen. Something about solving a puzzle has always appealed to me.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AY: Since I’m a comedian in my other life, I write my own material. I play around with humorous essays from time to time, but I haven’t written enough to put together a book.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AY: The series is going to continue to follow Josie, and at least one of the books is going to take place in Lakeview. I’m thinking about having her back in Los Angeles or on a film location for the third book, but I haven’t written it yet.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AY: Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. There is something special about each of them, and it’s difficult to choose just one.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AY: My inspiration was more setting than character based. I knew I wanted to write a book that took place near Cleveland – I haven’t read many, and it’s a great city. And I wanted to write a small-town mystery.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AY: For me, publishing was a natural step in the writing process. I knew I wanted to get the book out there in some way; the choice for me was between publishing traditionally or self-publishing. I have friends who self-publish quite successfully, but ultimately traditional was the route I felt was best for The Water Tower.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AY: Ooooh, great question! Let’s see, Ruth Ware, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jenny Lawson. It would be a weird party – good weird.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AY: Currently, I’m re-reading The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I recently went to a used bookshop and bought a bunch of books (some that I’ve read, some that I haven’t), so I’ve got a nice stack to make my way through.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AY: Sure! I love doing yoga, going to the theatre, standup comedy (both performing and watching), and working with animals. I just relocated from LA to Ohio, and I need to find an animal rescue near my house where I can volunteer.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AY: Ollipop, Gardein plant-based “meat,” graham crackers, and red wine
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
AY: I do! I’m editing a standalone thriller, which will hopefully be finished by the fall, then I’ll start working on book two of this series.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AY: I love being able to bring a story to life. I hate that it takes longer than I’d like, LOL, but that’s my favorite thing about being an author.
The Water Tower: A Lakeview Mystery by Amy Young
About The Water Tower
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – A fictional Ohio town in the suburbs of Cleveland called Lakeview
Level Best Books (June 20, 2023)
Paperback: 250 pages
Josie Ashbury was a successful Hollywood actress with a booming career—until an on-set breakdown sends her back to her small Ohio hometown to recover. Taking a job teaching at her old high school, Josie is beginning to put the pieces of her life back together when one of her students dies under suspicious circumstances. The police close the case quickly, without any real answers. Josie is determined to find the truth behind the girl's death.
At the same time, Josie is battling demons of her own. As she faces debilitating insomnia that leaves her with gaps in her memory, she dives into the tangled secrets surrounding the investigation. When she finally unravels the web, she discovers that the truth lies much closer to home than she could have ever imagined.
She stood on the water tower, looking at the skyline she had only observed from the ground. You really could see the whole town from up here. Funny how your whole life can fit into one 360-degree glance. Peering down at the ground, she was no longer able to see individual blades of grass, all of them blurring into a sea of perfect emerald green. To her right was the roof of Lakeview High School, looking small from this vantage point. She felt as though if she leaned over far enough, she could almost touch it. But that was ridiculous; the school had to be several hundred feet away. Her vision came in and out of focus as she swayed, thinking about her life, her past, her future... Reaching out her slender arm, she twirled her wrist. She could hardly wait for graduation when, everyone said, “real life” would begin. “I can't wait to get out of here,” her friends exclaimed, dreaming of big cities and even bigger lives in far-off places: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, anywhere but here. But she knew they would return, just like their parents, raising 2.5 kids with a Labradoodle and a balding husband in one of the best-little-suburbs in the country. Was it really so bad? She watched all these super-educated women who had given up their careers to stay home and clean up after the kids and drive to soccer practice, instead of changing the world as they'd so hopefully planned when plotting their escape years earlier. Was that her fate? Was that what awaited her now? Dozens of similar thoughts swirled and crashed like waves in front of her, mixing in a fantastic spray of colors, lights, and sounds.
About Amy Young
Amy Young is an author, comedian, and actor based in Cleveland. After spending a decade in Los Angeles working in the entertainment industry and writing her debut novel, The Water Tower, she returned to Ohio to be closer to family. Amy is working on her second book, a thriller, and in her free time she enjoys going to the theatre, bingeing reality TV, and spending time with her husband and many, many cats. She has a B.A. in English from Kenyon College.