The Andover Beacon asked me to interview Andover’s Amy Makechnie and to write an article about her as a new book author. Seeing as I had just read her new book, Ten Thousand Tries, which was published on July 13, for my monthly Beacon column Through the Reading Glasses, this seemed like a nice fit.
When I asked Amy about finding time to write, she struck a familiar chord from my own child-raising years: when the kids were napping, one hour of “furious” writing. It’s amazing what a deadline will do for one’s inspirations; quick, get those words down on paper or read the last chapter before the first child wakes up. Nowadays, she has more time, although it appears that she fills her hours with a variety of activities.
She has coached all four children in AE/MS soccer, an activity reflected in Golden’s family in Ten Thousand Tries. Small town schools are often only able to field a team if it’s boys and girls together, and Amy clearly drew on her family’s experiences when she created Lucy, Benny, and Golden Maroni (rabid Lionel Messi fan that he is) as well as Ziggy, Slick, Sunny, Archie, and Sam, among other truly memorable characters. What a team! She also coached soccer and strength and conditioning at Proctor and continues In Andover with the middle school team.
When she’s not coaching, she’s teaching. One class of anatomy and physiology at Proctor fills school time, while she keeps her hand in at her church, participating in all kinds of activities with the young women there.
When I asked Amy if she read much growing up, she gleefully admitted that reading was her favorite part of school. Sports were right up there, too. She played just about every sport, finally succumbing to the allure of soccer and running. The two really go hand in hand, and it sounds like she runs through books as well. She’s in the middle of reading a hot new non-fiction selection called Atomic Habits, and a lesser known book called The Common Reader is also in the stack. Lucky person, she’s also reading advance reader copies of two new middle grade books.
She freely admits that her tastes lean heavily toward realistic family dramas. And why not? As the oldest of five children growing up, she now has four of her own, so it’s a natural fit. As she says, “There is no shortage of quotable quotes, laughable moments, and arguments. I’m always stealing good material from overheard conversations.”
When I asked Amy about her hopes for her children as they progress into adulthood, she did mention that she is fervent about their continuing to read good books. There are so many out there, and digital media is an obsession the world might want to conquer.
However, I’ll end with a quote that truly sums up not only her hopes for them but how she views her responsibilities as a writer: “I think we all hope our children will be kind and compassionate humans who take care of their families, communities, and planet.”