I am so excited to bring this interview to you. Amanda is a great up-and-coming author I met through the interwebz. Since then, she has become part of my Blog Chain, has recently secured an agent and is busy busy busy getting her novel ready for submission. Let’s get to know her a little better –
CF: Why did you begin writing?
AB: I love to tell stories. I have a pretty vivid imagination and I have a tendency to lose myself in daydreams. Scenes, people, full-on dialog, and fantastic situations just play in my mind like a movie. Writing and reading have a lot to do with escapism for me. I like to leave my normal life behind for a while and live vicariously through someone else.
CF: How long have you been writing?
AB: I’ve been writing seriously for two years.
CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process?
AB: I’m a very “from the hip” writer. If I get an idea, I run with it. I wish I was a planner and an outliner, but I’m not. I don’t know what’s going to happen sometimes until my character does! I write when I’m inspired. Sometimes that’s a page or two a day, and other times I can sit and crank out 25 or 30 pages.
CF: What is the hardest part aspect of being a writer?
AB: Hands down—the waiting. I’m not a patient person. In fact, I know toddlers with better waiting skills. Publishing is such a slow moving industry and most writers are in a constant holding pattern of waiting. We wait to hear on queries, and then we wait to hear on subs and revisions. It’s nerve wracking!
CF: How do you manage to balance writing with other real-life things (like children, etc)?
AB: This is a tough area for me. Since I started writing full-time, I have a hard time pulling myself away from my computer. My kids are older (one in college and one in middle school) so they’re pretty self-sufficient. I try to limit my computer hours after everyone’s home for the day, but it’s hard. When an idea strikes, you have to run with it. I’d like to think I’m getting better, though. I can walk away from the laptop. A year ago, I would’ve had it chained to my wrist.
CF: Where do you find your inspiration?
AB: Everywhere. People I know, people I’ve barely met. Movies, books I’ve read, legends and stories I’ve heard passed around. My friends and family provide endless inspiration. Since I write urban fantasy, I love myths. I’m particularly fascinated with Norse and Celtic culture.
CF: How did you find your agent?
AB: I’d been querying for about six months. I’d had an agent interested in my work around December and after revision suggestions, and a not-so-great phone conversation, she passed. I took it pretty hard, whined to my friends quite a bit, but I didn’t give up. I did my research, asked a couple of new crit partners for fresh perspective and sent out more queries. I visited agents’ websites to see who and what they represented and the Nancy Yost agency caught my eye. They rep some urban fantasy and have a great reputation. A month after I queried, Natanya Wheeler requested my manuscript. Three weeks later, I signed.
CF: Now that you have an agent, has anything changed?
AB: I love this question! That night, after all the excitement had passed and I was officially represented, I was standing in my living room taking my son a soda. I had pajama pants on, getting ready to wash dishes and I thought, “Huh. My life is exactly the same. Nothing has changed.” After being convinced that this huge step would change so much, it changed…. not much at all. I’m writing, revising, reading, just like I always have. I’m still me and this is still my life.
CF: Tell us one random fact about you.
AB: I like Miracle Whip with tuna. Only with tuna.
CF: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or your books?
AB: I write urban fantasy with a dark twist. I’ve really tried to step out of the box as far as the genre is concerned, and in Shaedes of Gray, I went so far as to invent an entirely new supernatural creature. The interesting part of that is my agent felt like that particular creature needed a “history” so I spent most of last week writing a creation myth to use as a reference point. That was cool! I wanted to experiment with new ideas for this book and I think I pulled it off in a way that is complimentary to the urban fantasy that’s out there now. I love talking to other writers. Our journeys are all so similar and I’m convinced that no one truly “gets” a writer unless they’re a writer too. We’re a very unique breed!