Romance writer & Northern Beaches local Amy Hutton talks about her upcoming novel, becoming a full-time author, & how living on the Beaches inspires her.
Amy Hutton's TV Days
In her previous life, Amy Hutton was a senior producer working in network television. Nowadays, she is one of the newest faces in the Sydney book scene! Roughly six years ago, Amy stumbled across an old file of a manuscript she had begun writing years earlier. A year later, she made the change and became a full-time romance author.
“I had quite a senior role, and I think I got to a stage where I was wondering if I just kept doing the same thing or should I try something new,” Amy told Neighbourhood Media.
“Network TV can be quite reactionary, and you often don’t know what you’re walking into on any given day. The more I thought about writing as a possibility for my future, of trying to finish the novel, of really spending some time learning the craft, the more excited I got about the idea, and the more I grew to understand how passionate I was about it.”
“I’ve always loved writing, and it’s something I’ve done on and off my entire life. English was my best and favourite subject at school and that love of words continued through from childhood to adulthood. I wanted to challenge myself to write a novel. I wasn’t sure if I could, but I wanted to give it a shot.
“Once I started, I knew I’d just keep going.”
Amy's First Book - Sit, Stay, Love
Five years later, Amy’s debut novel, Sit, Stay, Love, was published in August 2023.
Sit, Stay, Love is a heart-warming love triangle between Sera, a pet-shelter owner, her best friend Toby and silver-screen superstar Ethan James, featuring a multitude of furry creatures – the charming read also takes place on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Described as “a mix between the joyous chaos of Bridget Jones with the heart and kindness of All Creatures Great Small,” Amy recalled her writing process for Sit, Stay, Love.
“Sit, Stay, Love came to me as the scene that opens the book. It just downloaded into my brain, and I had to get it down. Then I went back to the other book I was writing, the second book in a paranormal rom-com series I have planned.
“But Sit, Stay, Love would not leave me alone! So, I put the other book aside and wrote Sit, Stay, Love instead.
“It wasn’t a long or difficult process. It pretty much flowed out of me, and it probably took me 3 – 4 months to get the first draft down. I’m a member of Romance Writers of Australia, and a couple of my fellow aspiring writers agreed to read the first draft for me and give me some feedback. When I got a very positive response from them, I thought I might be onto something.”
“I come from a background where I am very used to having outside input into my creative work. That happened daily in my TV job, and as a creative manager myself, I also gave creative feedback to the producers on my team. I think that experience has helped me in the process of editing and publishing.
“I love knowing that we’re all caring for the same thing and have the same goal: a great book.”
Sit, Stay, Love is definitely a read for pet lovers - Amy noted that her own love of rescue animals played a role in writing her novel.
“I think the story came from my love and experience with my own rescue dogs, Harry and Buffy, who both star in Sit, Stay, Love. I’m passionate about animal rescue, and it was important to me that the story didn’t just give the human characters their happy-ever-after but that the shelter animals got theirs as well.”
Drawing on Local Experiences
But it wasn’t just her pups that inspired Amy – Australia and the Northern Beaches proved a fruitful source of creative stimulation as well.
“I think it’s important to have stories in Australian voices, especially in the romance genre, which is heavily populated with very successful American romance authors.
“I also wanted to write something local to the area I grew up in. I was inspired to set Sit, Stay, Love on the Northern Beaches because I love this area, and I wanted to share that love. The environment around the Beaches is so diverse I knew I could have a movie star who lived overlooking a beach, a rescue shelter on a property big enough to house a sheep and a horse, world-class restaurants for romance to blossom in, and plenty of other places to have fun with — from bush settings to urban.
“The Northern Beaches became a bit of a character in the book, and being familiar with the area and having lived in various spots around the Beaches, definitely was a creative inspiration.”
Second Book - Love from Scratch
Once locals have devoured Sit, Stay, Love, Amy has another delicious romance novel on the way – Love from Scratch will be released later this year.
Amy describes Love from Scratch as a “funny and fresh, opposites attract rom-com about a heart-throb actor, the grumpy woman who minds his beloved dog and the cat that steals his heart.”
Being her second novel, Love from Scratch followed a slightly different process to writing Sit, Stay, Love.
“Sit, Stay, Love I just wrote for me, hoping one day maybe someone might like it enough to publish it, but I was to my own timeline, working to my own expectations and nothing else.
“Love from Scratch was written to a contract. I had pitched the idea to my publisher, and happily they liked it and made me an offer, and then I went about writing it. So that in itself was a different process.
“The exercise of writing was essentially the same; it did feel different somehow, and I think that was probably my fault because I felt the weight of the expectations that I didn’t have before.
“In the long run…I ended up with something I absolutely love and can’t wait for people to read.”
Love from Scratch is scheduled to hit shelves on June 5th this year!
Northern Beaches Community Support
Throughout her writing career, Amy has received plenty of support from the Northern Beaches’ community.
“I’ve had a lot of support locally,” she confirmed, “from local online newspapers to bookshops promoting me as a local author, to local online groups like Northern Beaches Mums. I’ve also been taken under the wing of the wonderful and vibrant Northern Beaches author community.
“I have visited all the local bookshops and booksellers who carry my book to sign it for them. The booksellers have all been amazing and super supportive.”
For readers wanting more, Amy Hutton will appear at the Australian Romance Readers Event, A Romantic Rendezvous, on March 10 in Sydney.
Of her upcoming appearance, Amy had this to say: “I love asking readers who their favourite character is - that’s so informative - and I love having those discussions with them, or hearing about their favourite part of the story. The romance reader community is so passionate and engaged; it really is a joy to be a part of”.
Amy will be signing copies of Sit, Stay, Love as well as unveiling the cover for Love from Scratch at the March 10 event.
You can also catch her at the inaugural Manly Writers’ Festival in March, doing a panel on writing romance as well as meeting readers and signing books.
Amy will also appear at other events throughout the year as well as in podcasts and interviews – you can find the details for these and more information about book releases by following her socials or heading to her website: www.amyhuttonauthor.com
Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook: @amyhuttonauthor
Sit, Stay, Love is out now through Simon & Schuster Australia and is available via all good booksellers.
Love from Scratch is out June 5 through Simon & Schuster Australia.
Readers can expect more from Amy Hutton in 2025!
By Isabella Edwards