Amy, do you prefer
Milk chocolate or Dark? Dark!
Coke or Pepsi? Coke, never Pepsi. Ick.
Almond Joy or Mounds? Almond Joy.
Romance or a Thriller? Romance. I can never really love a book unless there’s at least a hint of romance in it.
Mystery or Horror? Mystery.
Did you always want to be an author?
Actually, no. I was originally pre-med in college, but I got a C in chemistry, so that killed that dream. I have, however, always, always loved to read. I own over 1,300 books (print, not digital). Even though it took me a while, it wasn’t that big of a leap to realize I wanted to write them as well.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
The first book that made me want to write was Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts. I closed it and thought, I wish I could make other people feel the way this book made me feel. But I’ve always loved YA books, which is why I ended up writing them.
Growing up, I loved Tamora Pierce’s books, along with Patricia C. Wrede, The Hobbit, and of course the Harry Potter books as an older teen. It was inevitable that I would end up writing a Young Adult fantasy, although my latest project is actually a contemporary young adult novel.
Nowadays, I tend to like the heavier, darker YA novels, but I also read a ton of adult literary novels, as well as romance, and a few mysteries
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer?
My family, of course. My mom was a teacher and has published teaching materials for children. My dad was a fisheries biologist and has published quite a few articles on Coaster Brook Trout. My sister ghost writes for her company. I’m the only one who writes fiction, but we all write to some extent.
What is your writing atmosphere like?
As long as I’m not tired, I can write through anything; noisy toddlers, blasting TVs, dogs barking etc. I prefer early morning though, because that’s when I’m the least tired. Some days, I manage to get up before my son, have a nice, hot cup of Chai tea or hazelnut coffee (sadly I haven’t been able to have caffeine for a while as I’m currently expecting our second son!), and then work on my laptop in our nice, quiet living room. Unfortunately, I’ve been super tired lately and haven’t been able to do that as much as I like. That means most of my work is done when I’m semi-tired, while my son naps. I used to like writing at night, but now, when bedtime rolls around, I’m too exhausted to even consider it! :)
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your Least Favorite?
I love coming up with the idea and the characters, writing the character biographies, discovering who they are. I hate revision. It’s necessary and needed, but I still strongly dislike it!
Your current book your promoting is:
Drive Back the Darkness- It’s a young adult fantasy, kind of Cassandra Claire-meets-Lord of the Rings.
How did you come up with the story line?
Every one of my story ideas starts with what I call a spark; a character, a small bit of plot or dialogue, a situation, something that intrigues me. In this case I had a dream about a girl who was taken from her home and forced to fight for something she wasn’t entirely sure she believed in. The dream was actually a nightmare. I’ve had horrible, vivid nightmares since I was very small. At least now I’m able to do something with all that scariness! About two thirds of my stories start with something I dreamed.
How do you choose your characters names?
This is kind of nerdy, but I actually have a “name your baby” book and I go through it until I find something I feel fits!
Drive Back the Darkness
Ellie reluctantly faces the impossible tasks confronting her; like learning to control the magic that now roars through her and burns everything she touches, training to become a lethal warrior, or dealing with the fact that Devin, the guy she is irresistibly attracted to, is actually one of the assassins sent by Morfan to kill her.
Devin has a troubled past; he has spent the last five years tracking the person who murdered his family. He is dark, dangerous, and deadly serious, but Ellie can see the core of kindness shining deep within him, as well as the fear of getting hurt again that makes him push people away. Though Ellie knows her life might be at stake, she can’t seem to stay away from him, even as her feelings become strong enough that they begin to scare her.
Vance, the second assassin and Devin’s best friend, is the opposite of Devin; blonde, charming, seductive. But his heart holds a kernel of darkness, one that makes him dangerously unstable, especially after he realizes that he has feelings for Ellie, feelings he knows Ellie doesn’t share.
Ellie can’t let her emotions for the two men cloud her focus, her quest to remove Morfan from power. When Ellie discovers that the children of Alladon have been imprisoned in a secret factory, Ellie knows she can’t fight her destiny any longer. She must claim her rightful place as princess and fight Morfan, or surrender and be slaughtered. Will she be able to survive long enough to save her people from the Darkness?
Excerpt from chapter 1
Today was like every other day of Ellie’s life except for two things: one, it was her sixteenth birthday, and two, she was being stalked. Ellie gnawed on a thumbnail, the sharp, rusty flavor of blood filling her mouth. She had never been a nail biter, but she was now. It seemed to help the constant panic fluttering in her chest. She glanced at the window, a shiver snaking down her back. She knew the woman was out there, waiting.
“Eleanora Lyons.” Mr. Smith, Ellie’s history teacher, called her name. Ellie slid out of her desk, her too-pale legs flashing like sticks of chalk under her swirly skirt, a fact that would have bothered her two weeks ago. Now, it no longer seemed important. She took her test from him, not even bothering to cover the big red A+ with her fingers, like she would have before.
“Freak,” Chris, the quarterback of the football team, fake coughed the words.
Ellie sighed and then glanced at his paper, which had a D inked across the top.
She sat down in her seat, almost too tired to deal with him. Almost. “At least I’m a freak that can manage to remember basic facts.”
Chris frowned and flexed his big, beefy fingers. “Watch yourself, nerd-girl. You don’t want to tick me off.”
Ellie ignored him. She used to wonder why they picked on her, running all the possible reasons through her mind. Maybe it was because she ruined the grade curve, or maybe it was because her skin was so pale you could see her veins through it, when the other girls were all shades of gold. Maybe it was because she had a monster following her like a puppy dog. Somehow, Ellie couldn’t bring herself to care anymore.
The bell shrilled through the room. She shot to her feet and then crashed to the floor, courtesy of the backpack strap that had wound itself around her leg. Apparently, panic made her a bit of a klutz. Laughter echoed behind her as she stumbled to her locker, stuffed a bunch of books into her bag, and then sprinted down the hall. She had to make it outside while there was still a crowd of kids milling around.
The sunshine dazzled her eyes, and she blinked frantically, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She didn’t see the woman, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t there.
As she started the jog toward home, dead, dry leaves rustled under her feet sounding like creepy voices whispering at her.
“Come on, Ellie, get a grip,” she muttered. She took a deep breath, crouched down, and pretended to check the strap on her sandal. She glanced behind her. The woman let Ellie see her for just a second, before disappearing. A shiver prickled her skin, and she began to run.
Author links and image:
Author website: http://amymnewman.com/
Publisher link: http://etopiapressblog.wordpress.com/