What could be better on a Sunday Night than an interview with a new up and coming author? Nothing you say? I agree. So lets get into it!
Amanda Mabry is a new author from Ohio who is currently working on her first Trilogy, and dabbling in short stories and poetry.
Let’s make her feel really welcome into the Author world tonight, and head on over and say hi on her social media accounts! You’ll find the link to those at the end of the interview.
What inspired you to write your latest work in progress?
I have always loved historical romances set in medieval Scotland and I adore everything supernatural (vamps, witches and werewolves oh my!). I wanted to tell a story that could combine these elements but I wanted to avoid some of the overdone themes.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I feel like my writing style is very descriptive. I love to create scenes that come alive for my readers. A writing teacher recently describe my writing as “placing a toadstool in a rose garden, unexpected but believable.” I think it was a compliment
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am trying to say that love can save us or it can destroy us. People get caught up in love and sometimes the desperation to maintain it can erode at our humanity. Also, there is an underlying message that encourages people to remain open minded and to look for magic in our world.
Are any of the experiences in your latest work based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are some character loosely based on people in my life, yes, but only so far as personality quirks. To date I have not killed off any personal nemesis or written any self-fulfilling fantasies. Or, have I?
What books have most influenced your life most?
This is a hard one to put into words but I spent a good part of my life feeling unloved and abused. Nicholas Sparks’ books gave me hope, they filled my heart with an ideal of love that I hadn’t experienced but desperately needed to believe was possible. And then two and a half years ago I found out it was.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’m not going to say Stephen King, I think I would be far too intimidated to actually learn anything from him directly. On a more realistic note, I would say Jennifer Wylie. I love her writing style and her dedication to both the craft of storytelling and the success of other writers. She is very down to earth and personable. I would love to spend some time under her wing!
What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading a manuscript for another author, I am rereading the first draft of my own WIP, and I am reading The Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jennifer Wylie, Sean Harden and Stephanie Ayers are high in my watch list right now.
Are you currently working on anything?
I am currently finishing up the first draft of Soul Purge which is the beginning of my Chthonian Trilogy. I am also working on a few short stories to submit to anthologies and I do a lot of writing on my blog.
Name one person that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Several years ago I was part of an online writing circle. The leaders of this circle thought it would be swell to pair people up into teams so we would each have a sounding board and cheerleader we could go to with all our writing projects. I was paired up with Stephanie and to this day I consider her my writing partner. She has kept me going even when I thought I had lost my voice.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I could do it all over again the only thing I would change is the fact that I left all my original notes in Florida when I left my abusive husband. I had to leave quickly and took only my children and our clothes. I basically had to start writing from scratch with only my personal memory of this story that has lived in my head.
How did your interest in writing originate?
In 3rd grade I had my first book “published” and placed in our school library. It was a lot of work! I had to write, edit, rewrite, type, and illustrate it myself. I have been in love with writing ever since, even though I only started indulging my imagination again about 7 years ago.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I would love to! Anyone who is interested please click on the link to my blog and I have several excerpts there, simply follow the “WIP” menu.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Focusing on the story at hand. I have so many ideas, a very demanding family and then there’s Facebook…Sometimes I find myself all over the place and I get so frustrated because I am not completing my projects as quickly as I would like.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Any author who can make me either REALLY think or REALLY feel is a favourite for me. Stephen King can totally creep me out, Nicholas Sparks makes my heart feel like it will burst and John Green…Oh the tears!!
Who designed the covers?
I have a local artist who will be designing the cover art for me. I am very excited to see what she comes up with!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I don’t write in order. As in, sequentially. So I am constantly making sure I have a consistent flow and I am not contradicting myself anywhere. I cannot count how many times I have read through this manuscript! On my last run through I discovered a pretty big gap which was exciting for me because I already knew what was missing.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned tons! I adore researching! I have been studying everything from medieval Scotland and Gaelic lore to monasteries in the Orient. I have studied chakras, runes, spell casting, reincarnation. I can tell you almost anything about faeries, brownies, vampires, or witches. The list is endless! I also know that Scotland is roughly 30,000 square miles and wolves are all but extinct there.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. And talk to other writers but don’t compare yourself. Write, write, write. And a voice recorder comes in handy!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Thank you for reading, for interacting with us writers. We listen to everything. Every compliment, every complaint, every character crush and every (not literally) broken heart! You love our words and we love yours!
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your latest novel to life?
The biggest challenge to me has been balancing fact and fiction. I have some details in my stories that I want to be accurate (landmarks, geography, dates in relation to the culture at the time) but I still want my fantasy to be my own creation.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Don’t laugh but… I find Dr. Seuss very inspiring. One of the main things I always took from him is that there are no rules. We are free to explore our imaginations, to create worlds and creatures and people who will draw in an audience. Outside of him I look to authors who don’t box themselves into a genre. One example would be Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. I love writing in all genres and I plan to do so a lot.
What genre do you consider your novel?
The one I am working on right now is considered Epic Fantasy. This is a very fun genre to write in because I can take fantastical concepts and make them believable.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Only every day. I have learned to walk away and have some fun. I might hit the river or take my camera on a walk. I also like to bounce ideas of my writing partner, my husband and my kids. Inspiration is everywhere but sometimes the noise in my head drowns it out.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
Yes, but not at first. I start with an idea or a character and a freewrite for a while. When I feel like I have got enough out I stop to read what I have and start asking questions. From my questions I start moulding out the larger arc of the story and I begin outlining based on that. I will actually rewrite my outline several times for each book as my plot becomes clearer and smaller arcs are formed.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Honestly, no. That’s not to say I am willing to share everything. I love to write. I write everything from shopping lists to novels for the sheer enjoyment of putting words on paper. If I have something written that doesn’t sit well with me it just means it needs more work. I don’t expect perfection from myself, every attempt is a teachable moment.
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
Fantasy is my favourite because it feels like (to me) there is more creative freedom. I want to create characters and worlds that make people question my sanity. 😉
Now that we know a little more about Amanda Mabry, head over and check out all her links! And don’t forget to tell her that Nicky sent you by.