I pursued a spiritual path to uncover my true self because I spent most of my life pretending. I had no idea who I was, so I played varied roles to fit in. Yet, I wanted to feel authentic—to feel real, happy and fulfilled—and be genuine and truly present for others. Decade by decade, seeking spiritual fulfillment, I became my authentic self.
It was just a couple of years ago, I finally said, “Well, I will be me,” and began writing what I truly felt. Publishing The Cage and The Key was the next step. I’m learning that your inner light shines forth when you relinquish your veils. It’s a relief to be real. I was surprised that others find my authenticity and vulnerability appealing. Many who read the book assume the story is my story. I am always flattered that the characters and narrative seem so real to readers that they think it’s my story. Well, it sorta is…the narrative arc is my arc…but it’s fiction, not fact. Technically, it’s semi-autobiographical.
After studying art history, I climbed the ladder in art magazine publishing to executive positions…first, in New York City at Art & Antiques magazine; then, landing a spot in Washington, DC, as the Associate Publisher of Museum & Arts Washington magazine. After marriage and motherhood, I stayed home to raise my daughter and began writing—mostly about the arts. I built a successful freelance writing career in regional, then national magazines including The Wall Street Journal, Art in America, National Public Radio’s magazine and Village Voice Media. I had a column in a national newspaper, as well as lectured about art and journalism at museums and universities. I got my first book contract about a prominent Pop artist: Schenck in the 21st Century–The Myth of the Hero and the Truth of America. It won the 2013 U.S. Literary Award for Fine Arts. Subsequently, I’ve authored/published the coffee table art books Gregory Hull: Journey Home to the Authentic Self and Anne Coe: Wisdom of the Wild. All the while, I was trying to progress spiritually through my devotion to meditation, yoga and Eastern philosophy. I shared these pursuits with almost no one, until the release of my novel, The Cage and The Key. I hope the book helps people push their limits of self-discovery to gain personal freedom.
Visit www.AmyAbramsWrite.com for more information about my arts writing.
Question and Answer with Author Amy Abrams
Q: For many years, you wrote articles for magazines and newspapers. Tell me about turning your focus to fiction writing…
A I began writing short stories. At first, they were cringe-material. To get better, I began reading short stories by renowned writers…the classics, as well as the works of contemporary short story writers. I also read novels, as well as books about how to write fiction with a focus on the short story. I aimed to learn a lot about plot, character, dialog, setting and point of view. About two years in, something clicked. I guess I had learned the basics and began speaking with my own voice. A story was picked up by an online magazine, then Denver Quarterly—a respected literary journal. From there, I formed the idea of The Cage and The Key, which I wrote in 11 months, but tweaked for a couple of years.
Q: How autobiographical is the novel?
A The Cage and The Key is semi-autobiographical. The basic unfolding of the novel is based on my own life story. I struggled to feel a sense of “self” in the world and find a way to feel “real” and happy. I pursued self-healing on many levels from traditional to alternative modalities. My experiences with healers are described in the book—including my guided meditation practice—a practice I’ve been devoted to for over fifteen years.
Q: What kinds of things do you like to do in your spare time?
A What spare time? Well, the usual suspects for writers: I love to read, write and watch movies. I love to go to the gym and eat healthfully and be outside. I like to listen to music and see musicians in small venues.