So this interview was meant to be posted on the release day for Burned, but ummm, things got a little crazy and I was sick and I got kissed by "Elvis." (Oh, you want to hear more about that? I'll tell you later. ;) ) Anyway, a very close friend that I consider a sister (Dana) has a blog where she reviews bad movies. It's great, you should check it out. But she decided to start another blog so she could talk about other things on it. And guess what? She wanted to interview me!! She asked some good questions, I was impressed. I particularly liked the one about the Hogwarts Sorting Hat. I mean, I'm a Harry Potter freak, so yeah, of course that one was my favorite. Want to know more? Check out the interview below!!
1. What is your all time favorite book?
I think I get asked this question every time I get interviewed. It is SO difficult to answer. So I always cheat in two ways. I’m going to count a series as one book and I’m going to list three books instead of just one.
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling (the whole series) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
2. What inspired you to write Scarred? Did you always envision Kiara's story being a trilogy?
It’s funny how stories can start out. Sometimes they simmer for years. This was sort of the case with Scarred. When I was 18 (2009) I scribbled a sentence in my journal. “A witch and a vampire fall in love.” That was it. About a year later, in college, I wrote a couple of chapters for it. They were much different than what got published. They weren’t even in first person. Then, after I graduated college, I found that notebook with the one sentence and couple of chapters. I thought it could be interesting. I started taking notes. My first note that I’ve found about it is from September 2013. Then by April 2014 I decided to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo (like regular NaNo but you can set your own word count.) In six weeks I wrote the first draft of the book that is now Scarred. At first I called it Beauty of the Dark but I decided I wanted that for the series name so I came up with a different name for book one.
3. What are you most excited about with Burned?
Hmmm...good question. I think getting deeper into the characters, seeing other sides of them and seeing vulnerabilities. I like finding out more about them. I also think (hope) I did a pretty good job in combining the creepy and bloody with the romantic and sexy. I hope readers respond well to it. I’m excited to explore the dark sides of the characters even more.
4. This isn't the first time you wrote about a female witch that is friends with a male vampire. In a horror anthology you wrote the story about a female witch and her male vampire facing off against another male vampire, what is it about these two supernatural beings that you love?
Well, I see the story you’re referring to as a sort of prequel to Scarred. It’s about the day that Kiara’s parents died. It’s just told from the Point of View of the vampire who killed them. The female witch is Kiara’s mother. And the male vampire friend is Kaleib. But, what do I love about these beings? Hmmm. I think maybe it’s that they’re very human supernatural beings. Witches are humans with powers, abilities. But they are largely human. Humans that have to deal with their abilities. As for vampires, they’re interesting to me for similar reasons. They have such a dark, monstrous side to them. They survive on blood. But the look completely human. They have human emotions. They’re humans who survive on blood. I find the struggle that comes with that fascinating and also see it as a good metaphor for the darkness in all of us.
5. What's a trait you cannot stand to see in a female protagonist?
Too worried about her looks. I mean, yes, it’s made pretty clear in the books that Kiara is beautiful. (Though often we’re seeing her through Trent’s eyes who obviously has quite an affection for her.) But she doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about makeup and what to wear and how she looks and all of that. I think she knows she’s pretty but her physical appearance isn’t her main concern. She doesn’t spend a lot of time primping and getting ready. Also, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say how I see Kiara. Often readers picture the heroines as very thin which is fine but that isn’t how I see Kiara. I think she’s probably got some more curves to her.
6. If Kiara, Trent and Kaleib were to sit under the sorting hat, what Hogwarts house would they each be in?
This is such a fun question!! I had to think a little about Kiara and Kaleib. I think Kaleib would be in Hufflepuff since I see him as very loyal. I think Kiara would be in Gryffindor. She’s definitely determined and brave. Trent I didn’t have to think about at all. Trent would be in Slytherin, hands down. Pride? Check. Ambition? Check. Cunning? Check. Hmmm, I like the idea of a Gryffindor and Slytherin being interested in each other. Lol ;)
7. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don’t know if I remember it but I know what it was. In fact, I still have it. My mom saved it. I think I was about two or three years old. I told my mom a story about Prince Darien and Princess Serena (from Sailor Moon. I loved her.) My mom wrote it down and I drew the pictures. We stapled the pages together and made a cover out of construction paper.
8. It's Nanowrimo time, have any of your novels been written or started during this time of year?
Well, as I said above, Scarred started out during a Camp NaNoWriMo Session. The first draft of Burned was written during NaNoWriMo 2014. And the last book in the trilogy was written during a period of twelve weeks. And two of those months were Camp NaNoWriMo sessions. I also have a novella written that I used Camp NaNoWriMo to get me to write. I have 50,000 words on another novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2015. Oh and I have a short story set in the Beauty of the Dark world that I wrote during… Camp NaNoWriMo April 2016, I believe.
9. Do you have any actors in mind to play your characters in a film?
I’ve thought some about this but it’s such a hard question. I see the characters a certain way in my mind. And honestly, I don’t know of a lot of actors. Lol I kind of considered Matt Bomer for Trent. I see Trent as a combination of Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder. Kiara….I saw a picture of Sara Paxton where she could have been Kiara. She had the right look. As for Kaleib, I have no clue whatsoever.
10. Who is your favorite fictional Witch ?
Hermione Granger. I love how intelligent and strong she is. My mom says I remind her of Hermione. High compliment.
11. Who is your favorite fictional Vampire?
Damon Salvatore….or Elijah Mikaelson. Are we talking just books here? Because then it would be Damon. Though I do like Lestat, too….
12. Do you have a playlist inspired by Burned?
I do!! I make playlists for all of my books. This is the one for Burned: http://spoti.fi/2zLI4Dh
13. What advice would you give to other self publishers?
To try to learn about marketing a book. There are books you can read about it. One I’ve been meaning to read is called Let’s Get Visible. Marketing is the part that I have the most trouble with. Also, be aware of trends in the market but I would say to write for yourself. When you write a story that you really love, it will show and readers will respond to that. This career path is tough and you have to have a thick skin. Some reviews are downright cruel. But remember that reviews are subjective. Try not to get bad reviews get to you too much.
14. Who is your favorite character to write and why?
Trent. Hands down my favorite character to write is Trent. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I mean, I love his snarky nature. And he’s kind of cocky and flirty which is fun to write but he has a real vulnerable side under there that I like writing, as well. Mostly so people can see he isn’t a total ass. But I also know Trent really well. Better than any other character I’ve ever written. Even if I can’t convey what he’s thinking (because he can be pretty complicated) nine times out of ten I know what he’s thinking. Even in regards to things that have nothing to do with the books. You know, things like, what he would think about the movie I’m watching, book I’m reading, apartment I live in, et cetera. Trent came to me pretty much fully formed. I had to think more about Kaleib and Kiara’s backstories. Trent’s I just knew. I sat down to write it and it just came out. I hardly needed to think. It was like he was waiting to come out.
15. 5 words to describe Burned Dark Sweet Bloody Creepy Romantic
Amanda Leigh,. Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Pace University (Graduated May 2013) Assistant Managing Editor of Vox Literary and Arts Magazine 2011 - 2013
Scarred (a Beauty of the Dark novel, book one)
Burned (a Beauty of the Dark novel, book two)
My Heart is Yours Things Only the Darkness Knows: a horror anthology Strength: Lives Touched by Cystinosis Letters of May
Beautiful Broken: a poetry collection
Thousands of Mornings: a photography and poetry collection
Holiday Hospital Stay: a poetry collection