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August 7, 2023

Member Spotlight: Amy Hutton

We are thrilled to share our August Member Spotlight features Amy Hutton! This month Amy’s debut rom-com Sit, Stay, Love will be published by Simon & Schuster Australia.

Amy grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. An award-winning Television Producer, she gave up her full-time job in network television to follow her full-time love of writing. She loves writing and reading romance and loves to surround herself with books. An owner of a rescue dog named Buffy, Amy is an avid supporter of animal rescue organisations. She is an enthusiastic traveller with a passion for Disneyland, adores anything Star Wars, has never missed a season of Survivor, and has a fierce commitment to Hallmark Christmas movies. Amy is an active member of Romance Writers of Australia, and several other Australian and international writing organisations. 


What inspired you to begin a writing career?

Writing has always been something I’ve loved doing. Whether writing a story, or blogging, or writing essays at school. I’ve even been known to love writing a memo. I just love words.

I was working full-time in television as a producer in network TV, and it was incredibly busy and stressful. One day I looked around and realised I’d completely stopped writing. I used to do it in my spare time, but I’d stopped. Just because I was creatively, and in nearly every other way, exhausted. It stuck with me, the fact that I was no longer doing the thing that I loved, and a germ of an idea started brewing from that disappointment. 

About a year later after many conversations with friends and family, I sold my unit, quit my job and moved into the family home to pursue writing full-time. This was nearly five years ago. The first year I spent a lot of hours learning and attending different craft courses and then just writing and writing. I’ve always treated it as my job. I go into my office in the morning and put in a full day’s work on whatever I’m writing at the time. The fact that it has become an actual career though, is a little mind blowing.

What does it mean to you to be publishing your debut novel, Sit, Stay, Love? What has the experience been like?

I was hoping for a traditional publishing career, not knowing if that was just a pipe dream or not. But everything I was learning was with my eye on that outcome.

To actually get published is amazing. To have my book come out and see it in people’s hands is emotional. I’m so excited for readers to discover Sit, Stay, Love. I’m loving seeing people posting about the book. It still all feels a bit surreal. I need to pinch myself when I remember that there’s a book out there with my name on it and that it’s on shelves and in catalogues and in people’s lives. I was listening to the audio book on the night it dropped and I was just going to check it to see how it sounded and ended up listening to nine chapters! I had to remind myself I wrote it! I know what happens!

The last 12 months has been a whirlwind. The publishing process was an incredibly speedy experience. I pitched the book last August and it was on the shelves less than a year later. It was a dream process. The team at Simon & Schuster Australia has put so much care into my book and into me. They are so supportive of me, they’re like my cheer squad. I honestly got so lucky. I couldn’t be happier with my experience.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

Gosh. I know so much more now. But I still have so much more to learn. I’m not sure I’d have any tips or advice to my past self. I was pretty determined to learn and I’m pretty happy with how I went about absorbing information, joining organisations and making contacts. Those things are still happening of course. I think because, before writing, I worked in a job where I was given creative feedback every day – sometimes not delicately – I never got gutted by rejection. I understood that was one person and there was another person out there who might not reject whatever story I was pitching. I just kept going. So I would probably say to past me – just keep doing what you’re doing, and remember to enjoy the moment. Take a breather to enjoy the wins.

Which Australian authors/illustrators have been influential for you?

I write romance – rom-coms specifically – so I look to the wide range of Australian romance authors. There are so many that have had long, book-filled careers. I look to authors who have diverse romance careers, who might write different genres within the genre or even outside of the genre itself. So I looked to authors like Amy Andrews and Rachael Johns who both write different kinds of romance or even books outside of strictly romance, and they do it while embracing up and coming writers, which I think is amazing. I want to be able to tell lots of different stories under the rom-com and romance umbrella.

Why do you think it’s important to be a member of the ASA?

Every new writer I speak to, I tell them to join the ASA. It’s great to know that there is an organisation who has your back. But also, who helps you learn. I have done a lot of the ASA courses, including Pitch Perfect, which I have done multiple times. My pitch for Sit, Stay, Love was structured as advised in the Pitch Perfect course, and that pitch got me a contract. Sure, you have to have a story, but you also have to have the tools to understand how to quickly convey that story and why someone just has to read it. I think that’s why the Virtual Literary Speed Dating events are also so important, because you get to try your pitch out, see if it works – and by works I mean receives a material request. Those two things alone make the ASA an essential part of any writer starting out. But beyond that, it’s the advocacy and the pool of knowledge and the continued support given to Australian writers and illustrators that makes the ASA invaluable.


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