The Water Tower By Amy Young: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Jul 15, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have a review of The Water Tower by Amy Young, along with an interesting interview with Amy. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

The Water Tower by Amy Young
Review by Sandra Murphy

When you’re a famous Hollywood actress in a volatile relationship with your leading man and it implodes in a public meltdown, what’s left to do but go home again, back where it all started? Back in Ohio and teaching high school kids how to be creative, Josie Ashbury is far away from the pressures and stresses of Hollywood and able to piece her life back together. Or start to anyway.

Of course, that’s before she found the body. One of the high school students is found at the base of the water tower. It’s not been in use in years but is a popular hangout for the kids, particularly if a dare is involved. Without any evidence to the contrary, the police quickly close the case as an accident — but was it?

Josie’s always had insomnia and bouts of sleepwalking. After finding the body, those problems are magnified to the point she begins to confuse what she knows and what she dreams, or at least hopes is a dream.

The only way to know for sure what’s real and what’s not is to find out what really happened that night on the water tower, but will it ease her mind or put her in danger?

I like that Josie wasn’t a diva once she returned home and works to find her way back from the final scene with her co-star boyfriend. Her friendship with Nikki, an investigative reporter, adds to the story. This is a debut novel, and I’m looking forward to the next offering.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Interview with Amy Young:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Amy: Writing has always played a huge role in my life. When I was in fifth grade, I attempted my first “book” – I think I got about two chapters in – on a typewriter. I’m dating myself here. I was always interested in literature and was an avid reader from an early age, and for me, writing went hand in hand with that. However, I didn’t re-attempt a novel until around 2013, when I started The Water Tower.

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Amy: My first novel is The Water Tower, and it came out on June 20 of this year. It centers around an actress named Josie Ashbury, who returns to her Ohio hometown after having a public breakdown on the set of her TV show. She goes back to Ohio to kind of regroup with her friends and family and takes a job teaching at her old high school. When one of her students turns up dead at the foot of the town water tower, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery that she is determined to solve.

Amy Young

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Amy: In addition to writing mysteries/suspense, I am a standup comedian, so I write my own material. I also work as a copywriter and have written for newspapers and blogs over the years.

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your book?

Amy: I knew from the start that I wanted the setting to be a smaller town outside of Cleveland. I haven’t read many books that take place in Ohio, and since I’m from there, it was easy to envision that setting. The book began with the teenage girl and originally it was going to center around her friend group, but then the character of Josie came to me and it felt natural to change course. Since I have experience as an actress, I was able to funnel that knowledge into her story.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Amy: I definitely write to entertain. I hope my readers get an escape with my book, and if they take away more than I intended, that’s wonderful.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Amy: I just work whenever I can. I will usually set some sort of word count goal for each day when I’m actively trying to get a draft out; otherwise, I set aside at least an hour a day to write or edit, depending on what I’m working on at the time.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Amy: The afternoons and evenings are the ideal time for me. I’m a night owl, and mornings are not when I do my best work.

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Amy: For The Water Tower, I didn’t outline until I had a first draft finished. Then I went back, put all my scenes in an Excel spreadsheet, and figured out what was and was not working. For the novel I’m working on now, I outlined before I started writing the book, and I don’t think I’ll go back to “pantsing.” Working from an outline helps me stay on track – I like having a map and knowing exactly what scenes I need to work on any given day. But even with an outline, sometimes different plots will come to me mid-scene and I have to explore those and see how they fit with what I’ve planned.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Amy: Fortunately, finding a publisher was an easy process. However, finding an agent was the difficult part for me. I faced a lot of rejection, and even though I’ve experienced a lot of rejection as an actor, it doesn’t get any easier.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Amy: I wish I had an exciting story to share, but most of the rejections I got were pretty similar. “This isn’t the right fit for me” was the standard rejection I received. But when I did find my agent, the book went to Level Best on exclusive submission, which was pretty exciting. My agent was confident that they would love the book and be the best home for it, and she was right.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Amy: I haven’t had any book signings yet, but I’ll circle back if something interesting happens!

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Amy: My future writing goals are to finish the thriller that I’m currently editing, then continue working on the Lakeview Mystery series. After the next two books in that series are finished, I’d like to continue writing standalone thrillers.

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Amy: Gosh, this one is hard to narrow down! I love Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, Freida McFadden, Leigh Bardugo, Riley Sager – I could go on and on. For classics, I’m a big fan of Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Amy: I do whatever research is required for the topic I’m writing about. For The Water Tower, I did research into the opioid crisis in the Midwest, what goes on an autopsy report, and exclusive social clubs across the U.S. The type of research I do just depends on what I’m writing. For the thriller I’m working on, part of it takes place in the late ‘90s, so I have to stop every once in a while, to look up songs that are appropriate to the year or movies that would have been released at that time.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Amy: I love reading thrillers, mysteries, and humor. Big surprise, I know!

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Amy: Currently, my favorite shows are Yellowjackets, the first season of Cruel Summer, anything Danny McBride does, and most of the Bravo TV canon (Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives, etc.). Some of my favorite TV shows of all time are Friends, Parks & Recreation, and Modern Family. My favorite movie is Kissing a Fool.

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Amy: Take the leap and start writing. I think we are our own worst critics, and that can cause paralysis. Just getting something down on paper that you can work with is a huge first step, and then you have somewhere to go. Taking that first step is so important.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Amy: I used to be a competitive baton twirler. And I’m extremely clumsy (I don’t know if anyone would be surprised by that, LOL).

KRL: Do you have any pets?

Amy: I do! I have six cats. Two are foster fails, three are kittens that we found on the street in LA. The oldest was adopted from a no-kill shelter. I had a dog, but she passed away suddenly from lung cancer last year.

KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram?

Amy: Website:

To enter to win an ebook copy of The Water Tower, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “water tower” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 22, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. We have a winner!


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