Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Heart Amy Fellner Dominy and A MATTER OF HEART

Today I’m welcoming my friend and awesome author Amy Fellner Dominy, whose latest YA, A MATTER OF HEART, just arrived in May from Delacorte. Amy is delightful and funny and very smart, and I was fortunate to be able to hang out with her at TLA in Austin this past April. She’s also the author of one of my favorite books,  the award-winning, OyMG, about a Jewish girl who wins a scholarship to a Christian speech camp and the things that ensue, both comic and serious from there.

Here’s the basic premise of A MATTER OF HEART, which author Lauren Myracle calls, “A novel that will make your heart pound—anxiously, joyfully, triumphantly.”

Readers will happily sink into this emotionally grounded, contemporary young adult novel about the sudden end of one girl’s Olympic swimming dreams and the struggles she endures before realizing there are many things that define who we are.

Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that’s defined her entire life.

Hopefully you are as excited to read this on as I am!

I asked Amy about her inspiration for A MATTER OF HEART, and here’s what she said:

What would you do if the one thing you love, the one thing you’ve ever dreamed of doing, the only thing you’re good at…is the thing that will kill you?

That’s the question Abby faces in A MATTER OF HEART. Abby is sixteen, she’s a swimmer good enough to compete for a spot on the Olympic team in three weeks when she discovers that she has a heart condition. One that could kill her if she swims.

So what would you do?

What would I do?

That’s how I usually start writing a novel—with a question that I can’t answer. Of course none of us wants to die. But how do you give up the one thing you’ve been living for? That’s the thought I had on the day I brought my kids to their high school for a heart test.

At the time both of my kids were varsity athletes. My daughter played tennis and my son played baseball. I’d read about a football player from their school who had died of an enlarged heart (the medical name is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) and his mom had started a foundation to bring heart tests to schools across the country. She never wanted the same thing to happen to another student athlete.

On the day of the heart test, I met the mom, Sharon Bates. The story of her son, Anthony, really affected me. It started me thinking and imagining and questioning.
The result is A MATTER OF HEART and I hope it’s a story that will touch your heart, too. Abby’s not just dealing with her health and the pressures of competition, but she’s also got parents she wants to please. A boyfriend who also swims. And then there’s Alec…well… you’ll read about him.

This is Abby’s story and I hope none of us will ever have to make the decision that she has to make.

But what if you did?

For more info about Amy Fellner Dominy and her books, you can visit her at
Or follow her on Twitter: @amydominy

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