When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents' divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden's life.
Twenty years later, Eden runs a successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he's been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has been no word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it's time to find her father. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest.
As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found.
Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs - some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books.
Outside The Lines
Allen and Unwin
Author: Amy Hatvany
Question: What was the main motivation behind the story of Outside The Lines?
Amy Hatvany: I actually had a dream that sparked the idea of writing about a woman searching for her homeless father. I'd written much about mother-daughter relationships, and thought focusing on father-daughter relationship dynamics was a logical next step. I'm also very interested in the concept that a little madness often accompanies the creative life, so I was moved to explore that in the story.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Eden?
Amy Hatvany: As I wrote about Eden, I thought deeply about the sometimes emotionally tumultuous relationship I had with my own father, who passed away a couple of years before I began the book. I thought about how much I loved him, and yet, for whatever reason, how we never seemed to connect the way I hoped, similar to how Eden felt about her relationship with David. So for me, the best thing that happened as a result of creating Eden, working through her relationship with her father, it became a sort of catharsis in working through my own.
Question: Why did you want to write this story?
Amy Hatvany: It wasn't so much that I wanted to write it; it was more that I felt compelled to. I didn't know what I was going to write about next - in fact, I'd begun to feel a little panicky about it (Will I ever write again? Maybe I'm just a fraud!) - and then, out of nowhere, I had a dream a few months after my father had died: I was walking along a sandy beach, wind whipping my hair around my face, the sun still shining on an icy winter day. Suddenly, I spotted a blue tarp over a pile of driftwood, and as I lifted it up, I realized my father was curled beneath. He was skinny, bedraggled, and appeared disoriented. When I woke, I was struck by the overwhelming feeling that he had been lost, was suffering, and I'd been looking for him for a long time. In that moment, the premise of OUTSIDE THE LINES was born.
Question: You've based the story in the town you were born in; is this a case of write what you know?
Amy Hatvany: I think it's more a case of me loving where I live, and feeling as though this great city is under-represented in books. So many stories are set in New York or Los Angeles, places I've visited and loved, but when it comes right down to it, Seattle is where I will always call home. In writing about it, I want to share my love for this town with my readers.
Question: What's the best thing about being an author?
Amy Hatvany: Oh, wow! There are so many things I love about my job, but I suppose my favorite aspect is when a reader reaches out to me, via email or social media, to let me know how one of the stories I've written has touched their heart, or helped them see a social issue in a different light. Also? I get to work in my pajamas!
Interview by Brooke Hunter