Dec 21, 2015

Interview with Amanda

 When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, honestly. I had a wild imagination as a child and absolutely loved to read. I actually “wrote” my first story before I could even read, somewhere around age 4. I dictated it to my grandma who wrote it down for me. So I think I had the inclination pretty early on! Growing up I absolutely daydreamed about writing for a living but it took me awhile before I realized it could actually be a reality.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? 
Well, being a writer just happened—I swear I was born with it in my blood. But being an author? That took a lot of work! The hardest part of taking that step from aspiring to published was finding the confidence. It’s a terrifying thing to pour your blood, sweat, and tears into something and then present it to the world for critique. For every bout of zealous confidence you get, 10 negative things pop into your head.
I also grew up with the only option being traditional publishing, which is a daunting process for a small town girl who didn’t even have cable until college. When the digital revolution hit, it really opened the doors wide open.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote? 
I think it went something like, “Once upon a time there was a dog and a cat. They were friends. The end.” The first thing I actually wrote of any notoriety was a short novel in my 5th grade English class about the Revolutionary war. It was a full 40 pages hand written in a note book (I didn’t have a computer). My teacher actually groaned when I handed it in. When she gave it back, it had a big A+ and an endorsement for a local writing contest!  I think that was my first validation that maybe there was something to this writing thing.

What was the inspiration for your book?
I’ve always been drawn to star-crossed lovers and stories of underdogs fighting evil—classic themes throughout art and literature. I’m also a huge fan of European history and the constant struggles of traditional monarchies against modern governments. Funny enough, the general plot line came from a book I wrote when I was 15. Needless to say that first attempt left something to be desired, but some of the key elements gave birth to Rebel Song 15 years later! The real meat of the story, however, was inspired by my world travels. Countries all over the world continue to undergo revolutions and government reform.

Who is your literary hero?
Ooh, tough question. I would have to say Shakespeare or Tolkein. Both have given birth to timeless themes that have shaped literature and film, as well as societal views on romance and the human condition.

Describe your main character in six words. 
Rogan: resilient, stoic, romantic, brave, integrity, pensive.
Elyra: Naïve, idealistic, impulsive, kind, spirited, intelligent

Describe the world you’ve created in six words. 
Broken, chaos, teetering, enduring, hopeful, torn

What scene was your favorite to write? 
One of my favorite things to write was the confrontations between Elyra, the heroine, and Pantone, our villain. I love writing dialogue and the wit between them just seemed to flow for me. They are both intelligent but at complete odds in what they want for the country.

What scene was the hardest for you to write? 
The beginning of the book was the most difficult. Deciding how to introduce your characters, the setting and the plot for the first time is a lot of pressure! You want to lure your audience in but not reveal too much at once.

What are you working on now? 
The sequel to Rebel Song! I also have a New Adult novel coming out in early 2016, Lies in the Darkness.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
I have a tone of book outlines in my queue that I hope to get to this year including a new fantasy series.

Are there any authors or books you recommend? 
Right now I’m totally hooked on the Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon. Great adventure! I’m also loving some new indie authors I’ve encountered this year: The Glorious Cause, by Robert Krenzel (historical fiction); Dark Flames Rising, by Randall Davis (romantic suspense); and Firestar Released, by Lilly Wilson (fun, space opera).

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Read of course! I have a bit of a case of book ADD and have three books going at any moment. I’m also a bit of a fitness-aholic. I love any kind of physical activity—running, sports, gym time, dancing. And eating… trying out new restaurants is one of my favorite things to do. Hence the necessity of the previous pastime of working out.