Amy Impellizzeri was a highly successful litigator in New York City for over ten years at one of the largest law firms in the world. Working around the clock, with three young kids at home, and a husband in medical school, Amy was stretched pretty thin. She started to wonder whether she was living her most authentic life. In 2008, the Great Recession afforded her an unexpected sabbatical and an opportunity to rediscover her love of creative writing. She started with an essay and just kept writing. After a year, Amy wasn’t ready to go back; she wasn’t convinced she ever would be and negotiated a three-year unpaid leave of absence. She never went back. As the primary breadwinner for her family, her decision was a risky one with big financial consequences. Amy was undeterred. Ultimately, her family made the difficult decision to move out of New York City, back to rural Pennsylvania.
That was 15 years ago. This week, Amy’s seventh novel, Barr None, will hit the shelves. Starting with Lemongrass Hope in 2014, her works of fiction are infused with mystery, fantasy, romance, and even time travel. We couldn’t help but notice that the main character in her most recent book, In Her Defense, is a former lawyer-turned-podcaster named Ingrid! Amy has also authored/co-authored two non-fiction books, including How to Leave the Law, with co-author Liz Brown, who we interviewed for Episode 16 of This is My Silver Lining.
Amy’s successful career transition prepared her for other life changes. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her husband made the difficult decision to get divorced after being married for 24 years. She likes to say that she is on the “healing side” of that experience now, where she is able to look back and recognize that although it was difficult, it was the right decision for her and her family. In its own way, leaving the law a decade earlier prepared her for the sense of lost identity and grief that came with divorce.
With the benefit of hindsight, Amy would not necessarily have designed so many significant life transitions for herself in a concentrated period of time, but she knows they happened as they needed to and that each challenge prepared her for the next. Her best advice: “say it out loud!” Give voice to your dreams; you never know who is listening!