1. Do you like your ice crushed or cubed?
Crushed. There’s something very satisfying about how graciously crushed ice yields under one’s teeth.
- If you could have any super power what would it be?
I’d like the ability to change hatred or contempt–or even indifference–into love. It would transform the world… not to mention my social life.
- If you could go any where in time where would you go and why?
Oh my, such an array of tempting possibilities. Right now I’m drawn to the idea of witnessing some of the great actors perform. While researching Nocturne for a Widow I read a lot about the 19th-century theater and became very curious about how some of the most acclaimed actors and actresses of the Victorian era would appear to modern ears and eyes. I’d love to go back in time and see Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, and other greats on stage.
I think I’d choose to be Janet in “Tam Lin,” because she’s independent and courageous and capable. She stands up to great danger and rescues the man she loves.
- Do you kill bugs or set them free?
I kill cockroaches or palmetto bugs with extreme prejudice. Other critters, like spiders, I try to set free.
- There is a lot of foreshadowing in With this Curse. That takes a lot of time and planning. Do you have a strategy for planning a book, or does it just unfold?
I outline my books very thoroughly, especially my historical novels. That doesn’t mean I don’t surprise myself with new developments during the writing process, but I like the security of an outline. Since gothic romance plots contain a lot of mystery, I want to be sure ahead of time that the solution will make sense, and I like to know in advance what clues and red herrings I’ll plant. As you say, it does take a lot of time, but with a good outline in place I find that the drafting process goes pretty quickly.
- Sea of Secrets didn’t feel like a retelling of Hamlet. It didn’t feel like you wrote it around the story but fused the two. How did you go about incorporating Hamlet into Sea of Secrets?
I really started with Hamlet. For years I had been interested inOphelia’s character and her relationship with Hamlet, and I wanted to explore what seemed to me a new perspective on their romance. Once I realized that the play shared a lot of qualities with Victorian gothic fiction, which was a real Eureka moment, I set about thinking of 19th-century analogues for the major elements in the play. Of course, there were plenty of bits of the play that I dispensed with or altered. And I introduced some gothic romance tropes, although I deliberately changed some of them.
- What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a sequel to With This Curse, called Cursed Once More. Originally I hadn’t planned to write a sequel, but it turns out that I love Clara and Atticus too much to say goodbye to them just yet. I’m also excited to show what their happy-ever-after looks like… until more gothic intrigue overturns their lives. After that I’ll be writing book two in the Sybil Ingram series, so I’m already mulling plot ideas for that.
- Who inspires you?
I’ve been fortunate to get to meet many wonderful writers over the last few years, and it seems like every one of them has inspired meor has had something to teach me. I love learning from them and seeing what different paths everyone takes. One author I never had the chance to meet but whose work has been particularly inspiring to me is Barbara Michaels, who also wrote as Elizabeth Peters. Her ability to weave together mystery, humor, gothic chills, and compelling characterization set a high bar.
- You have many great characters in your books. One of my favorites is Jim from On Shadowed Wings. Do you have a favorite? Is there one that you love to hate most?
I’m so glad you like Jim! When I’m writing a story I become very fond of my major characters (except for the truly nasty ones), and that’s certainly the case with him. Atticus and Clara in With This Curse are especially dear to me, as I mentioned. If I found a real-life man like Atticus, I think I’d spend the rest of my life stalking him. Another one I have great affection for is Sybil Ingram, who started out as a fairly minor supporting character but turned out to be so delightful that I gave her her own book,Nocturne for a Widow. I love spending time in her head because she’s so confident and self-assured and spirited. I relate more to Clara, but Sybil is terrific fun. I’m looking forward to writing more stories for her.
- We are very big supporters of Self Published Authors. What are some of the obstacles you have had to overcome being self published?
Visibility is one of the greatest challenges–just getting my books in front of readers. Although I know that traditionally publishedauthors face a similar difficulty, they often have the advantage of greater reach–the ability to get their books into more places than self-published authors can. A more surprising challenge is time. Even though I outsource tasks like editing, layout, and cover design, it still takes a lot of time to handle all of the things that traditional publishing houses generally take care of for authors! Still, it’s thrilling to have so much control over my writing career, and I’m excited to be writing and publishing right now.
- What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Join the community of other writers. You can learn so much and benefit enormously from that system of support, knowledge, understanding, and inspiration. I’ve made wonderful friends through different writing groups and networks, and I’m always delighted to see how much writers help other writers.
- Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I’d like to thank them for reading and for their enthusiasm. There is no feeling in the world like hearing from a reader that they’ve read something of mine and enjoyed it. And posting a review on a site like Goodreads is a tremendous help to indie authors, so I always appreciate it when readers take the time to review my books (and that includes wonderful bloggers like you!).
You can find Amanda here:
Thank you very much for your time.
It’s been my pleasure!
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