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IN A NUTSHELL

Amy Beatty grew up in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park as part of an experiment in crossing the genes of a respected research biologist with those of a grammar aficionado. She spent her summers making forts under the sagebrush with her friends and catching garter snakes by the creek to populate elaborate sandbox villages—or holed up in her bunk bed exploring the exotic worlds hidden between the covers of books.

She currently lives in Utah with her husband and their two delightfully unconventional children. Amy has been featured as a poet in a  three-generation showcase reading of mentors and their students, and has had a short story published in Belle Reve Literary  Journal.  In 2015, Amy joined the organizing committee for the Life, The Universe, and Everything Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy, a three-day academic symposium on all aspects of science fiction and fantasy held each year in Provo, Utah.

 

THE REST OF THE STORY

Early Life and Education

I grew up in Yellowstone Park. During the summers my friends and I built forts under the sagebrush and caught garter snakes to populate the villages we constructed in our backyard sandbox. During the winter, I walked to school in the snow through the herds of elk that wintered in the valley. At night, the coyotes sang me to sleep. I still miss that sound.

After graduating from high school, I attended the Savannah College of Art and design, where I graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Illustration. Savannah was a whole new world, with its historic charm, warmer climate, and unfamiliar cultural dynamics. I miss the ocean and the oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.

Having decided I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be an illustrator after all, I spent a few years exploring other things, from furniture and fashion design to portrait and landscape painting. I especially enjoyed a poetry writing course, after which I was honored to be invited to participate in a “generational” poetry recital featuring my instructor, her college poetry mentor, and a small number of select fellow students.

Love and Life

When I began dating Tom Beatty after several years of casual acquaintance, a mutual friend declared that just the idea of the two of us together was a disruption to the space-time continuum. We’re not sure what getting married did to the fabric of reality, but twenty years in we’re still enjoying the chaos.

We’ve welcomed two amazing, smart, challenging children into our family, and they’ve kept me on my toes, exploring with them the quirky, mysterious, sometimes exhausting, always fascinating alien landscapes of autism, anxiety, and ADHD. In many ways, my children have been my most profound teachers.

My primary employment for the past couple of decades has been as a full-time care-giver for my children. Since traditional schooling has turned out to be problematic, I’ve had the interesting experience of becoming a home educator, which has given me the opportunity to explore science, and history, and the worlds of words and numbers in ways I never could have anticipated.

I’ve also had fun on a part-time basis creating graphics for online video games through The Dimension's Edge, a company that worked with major corporations and television conglomerates, and I've illustrated the odd book cover and crafted quilts that have been included in juried exhibitions at the local art museum.

Becoming a Writer

I’ve always loved stories. As a child, I spent hours curled up with books—in the bottom of an empty locker in the Yellowstone Park Elementary School library, flopped on a blanket in a sagebrush fort, hiding out in the top level of the triple-decker bunk bed with the curtains closed. When I got older, I always had a novel stashed in my purse, or in my stack of school books. I’ve spent long, sleepless nights and interminable waiting room days making up stories in my head to distract myself from some of life’s more distressing moments. I’ve even dabbled occasionally with trying to write them down.

But I didn’t get serious about becoming a writer until 2013, when life reminded me how fleeting it can truly be. New Year’s Day of 2013 found me lying in a hospital bed reflecting on how a hemorrhagic stroke out of the blue at the age of 41 can give you time to evaluate your life.

Like everyone else on the planet, I have a list of Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die If Only I Had Time—it’s a long list, it’s not written down, and it changes regularly, but writing has always been right there at the tippy top. So I decided, somewhere between lying there in bed waiting for the morphine to wear off and standing at the sink trying to remember how a toothbrush works, that it was time to get serious about writing.

And thus began my quest.

I currently live in Utah with my incredible husband and delightfully unconventional children, under the benevolent dictatorship of a toy fox terrier who plans to take over the world as soon as she gets her minions whipped into shape.