Gotham Ghostwriters Craft Interviews highlight the extraordinary talent of our writer community. Each month, L. M. Archer interviews a member of our network about one of their books, delving into their inspiration and creative process.
This month, Archer asks writer Amy L. Bernstein all about her new book, The Potrero Complex.
You have a new book, The Potrero Complex. When was the book published, and what was the impetus for writing it?
The Potrero Complex was published in August 2022. I took my cues for the story from the earliest days of the Covid pandemic. I suspected we’d be living through an historic time, and I wanted to imagine how society might change after a fictional deadly pandemic had ended. Pandemic-weary readers should know the story is not focused on living through a pandemic, but rather, an imagined aftermath.
How long did the process of writing the book take, from start to finish?
I wrote the book faster than I expected, and probably faster than I should have. Start to finish, roughly six months.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered while writing it?
The Potrero Complex is the first mystery novel I’d attempted. One of the toughest challenges was plotting out a mystery that would keep readers guessing, while also ensuring that all the loose ends were tied up in a way that made sense.
Any unexpected lessons learned while writing the book?
Subordinate characters became more important than I expected. By which I mean, I cared about them as much as the main characters and in one case, the emotional arc of a secondary character took a surprising turn.
Any favorite chapter(s) and/or section(s)? If so, which one(s) and why?
The excerpt I’ve been reading at bookstore events is one of my favorites because it’s a scene relatively late in the book when the protagonist, Rags Goldner, gets a chilling glimpse of the evil forces emerging in the small town where she’s living. Small hint: it involves a pack of feral dogs being rounded up and shot.
How has your affiliation with Gotham Ghostwriters (GG) helped inform your writing life?
For years, I’ve enjoyed exploring the range of author queries that come through GG. Now that I’m a certified nonfiction book coach, I especially appreciate the breadth and depth of nonfiction queries that GG shares with its members. GG is a phenomenal resource for aspiring authors seeking assistance to complete complex long-form literary projects.
Where may readers obtain a copy of your book?
Anything else I haven’t asked you that you think is important for GG readers to know about your new book?
The Potrero Complex is a dark, dystopian mystery-thriller that one critic calls “a scarily prescient novel that deftly explores the fraught connections between individuality, society, public policy, and technology.”