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The Water Tower: Debut Thriller

The Water Tower, the debut crime thriller by Amy Young

Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!

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The Water Tower

The Water Tower

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.


To purchase The Water Tower, click on the following link: Books2Read

Interview with Amy Young, author of The Water Tower

The Water Tower takes place in a small Ohio town. Tell us about that location and why you chose it for your debut novel: 

I chose a small Ohio town for a few reasons. First, I’m from a small Ohio town, and Lakeview is loosely based on that suburb.

Second, I’ve read a lot of books that take place in larger cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, or smaller towns outside of those cities, and I thought, why not Cleveland? I’ve read a few books that take place in Ohio, but I’ve never read one that directly involved the Cleveland area (though I’m certain they’re out there). 

What should readers know about Josie Ashbury, protagonist of The Water Tower

Josie is a successful actress who left Los Angeles to return to her hometown after a public breakdown. An important thing to know about Josie is that she didn’t get swept up in the Hollywood hullabaloo. I think that when a person achieves a crazy level of success (in any profession, but especially one that comes with fame), it’s easier for them to start to believe their own hype than it is to maintain a sense of humility. After all, if everyone around you is constantly saying “you’re amazing, you’re amazing, you’re amazing, you can do no wrong,” that gets ingrained.

Josie knew early on that she would be happy if she could even make a living as an actor in Hollywood, since there was so much competition; her overwhelming success came as somewhat of a shock. 

Like your protagonist, you lived in LA for a decade, and worked in the entertainment industry. How much do your own experiences find their way into The Water Tower

I think since the story takes place in Ohio, my experiences growing up there makes their way into the story more than my experiences in LA. But I do know what it’s like to spend long, crazy days on set – you often have a 6:00 a.m. call time, so you’re up at 4:00, maybe earlier depending on which studio you’re traveling to, and it’s not uncommon for filming to go for 16 hours. It’s not an easy task day after day. Plus, just in general, there’s a huge amount of pressure to look your best all the time.

There are gorgeous people everywhere, but in Los Angeles, there are so many people and they have tons of money to commit to beauty treatments. But I digress. I am toying with the idea of having Josie head back to LA to film a movie for one of the next books, and if I do, I’ll definitely be pulling from my Hollywood experience. 

Tell us about your road to publication: 

My road to publication felt long, but I think it works that way for many writers. I participated in #PITMAD on Twitter, which I don’t believe is running anymore. While I received some positive feedback and interest the first couple times I did it, ultimately the agents passed on the project.

Between PITMADs, I sent out some individual query letters; again, I got a handful of requests for partials and fulls, but ultimately the agents passed. Then in early 2021 during PITMAD, an agent from Birch Literary reached out and asked me to send her my materials. Birch was brand new at the time, so there wasn’t much information available about the company.

Cindy Bullard, my agent, scheduled a call and offered me representation, and to be honest, I considered it for a good stretch. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad actors out there trying to take advantage of writers, and with so little information available, I wasn’t sure what to do. But I followed my gut and signed with Cindy, and I’m so happy I did. She has been wonderful, and I’m thrilled that Birch is growing every day.

When I went out on submission, Cindy felt that Level Best was the ideal place for the book. Shawn Reilly Simmons, my editor, offered a three-book deal, and The Water Tower was slated for release in late 2022. Due to some complications on both my end and their end, the release date ultimately got pushed to June 2023. Things like that can be frustrating, but my view was, I get to have a book published! How cool is that? It’s okay if everything doesn’t go as planned, as long as we get there. 

You are also a standup comedian. Tell us about that experience and how it does (or does not) impact your writing: 

You know, a lot of people ask me if my books are funny. They are not, LOL.

Though I’ve been an actor since I was 15, I didn’t start doing standup comedy until late 2019. The two kinds of writing are siloed in my brain, for whatever reason, but I think any kind of writing you do makes you a better writer. 

What are you working on now? 

Right now, I’m editing a thriller that I’ve been working on since last year. I got a great start on it with my own NaNoWriMo in March 2022, but then my dog passed away unexpectedly. The grief was breathtaking in a way I didn’t expect; I had had pets pass away before, but this time, it was different.

Creatively, I stalled for a while, and I didn’t start editing the thriller until recently. I’m working out some kinks with a DE, and I hope to have it finished by the end of the summer. 

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers: 

I know this is going to sound lame, but just write. I’m one of those people who will do anything to talk myself out of writing; I’ll exercise, watch TV, run errands, even do chores. But when I sit down to write, I always walk away feeling amazing (even if what I wrote isn’t great). Perfection is rarely achieved on your first try, so just getting your butt into a seat and writing is the most important thing. Everything else comes later, but you can’t finish a book if you don’t start one. 

Great advice!

Author Pet Corner

I have six cats that I love with my whole being. Four are foster fails, two were adopted. PrettyThe Water Tower
much if an animal can get into my house, they have a home.

 Kiki is Moonshine’s mama. We fostered them through The Cat’s Meow animal rescue in LA, then ended up adopting them.

Oreo, my pup who passed away last year. She was only seven, but lung cancer crept up and despite all our best efforts, it was too much. This is a photo from the day we got her; she was three years old and had been dumped at a shelter by a family because “the kids got bored.” Their loss was my blessing; she was my little BFF. I miss her all the time.

Petunia. My husband found her in a chair outside of a thrift store on Sherman Way. Another foster fail.

Desmond. He’s much bigger now (17 pounds!). My husband found him in a car engine outside of work. We intended to adopt him out but, well, look at that face.

Bert “Mack” Macklin (from Parks & Recreation). He does this when he wants my attention. 

Anya. We got her from a no-kill shelter in Van Nuys in 2013. She’s very ladylike.

Amy Young author of The Water Tower

The Water Tower

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.

To learn more about Amy, click on any of the following links: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, BookBub.

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

Amazon #1 bestseller

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plota Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook.


Header image by Ina Hoekstra on Pixabay

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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