Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Please Welcome Amy Bartol!


As Never Too Old for YA Books and I continue our tribute to Indie authors, we welcome Amy Bartol for an interview today.
Amy is the author of these awesome books:

My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me--my freshman year of college. I had been hoping that once I had arrived on Crestwood's campus, the nightmare that I've been having would go away. It hasn't.

I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I'm grounded...sane. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he is near, I feel an attraction to him--a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you're thinking...that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would--if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to Crestwood...or him. But, get this, for some reason every time I turn around he's there, barging into my life.

What is the secret he is keeping from me? I'm hoping that it is anything but what I expect: that he is not exactly normal...and neither am I. So maybe Crestwood won't be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I have been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is...inescapable


I don’t open my eyes so I can’t see him, but I can smell him. He thickens the air I breathe, choking me with his scent…his aroma. I shiver. I have to resist. If I’m not strong, then I will be relegated to the same fate as this predator whose sickness infects me even now. But now, I crave him and he knows that; he has been counting on my need to end the gnawing pain. How he would savor my surrender. I’m alive, but how much longer will it take until I beg him not to be?












I hang my head in sorrow for just a moment when I know I am truly alone. I feel like I’m going to my execution, just as he had said. Then I move forward again. I hop a fence of fieldstone and cross a field dotted with Queen Anne’s lace. Goose bumps rise on my arms as I pass the cluster of windmills that I have seen in a dream. The scent is sweet in the field though, not the scent of heat, like it had been when it was forced upon me in visions. I gaze down the hill, beyond the small, whitewashed house that I knew would be there. The church looms dark and grim with its rough-hewn, timber fa├žade, capped by tall, oblong spires reaching to the sky. Black, ominous clouds have collected above the roofline, as if Heaven is showing me the way







And Amy has two more books to be released in this series:

Incendiary (The Premonition #4)
Expected Publication Date: 2012
and
Iniquity (The Premonition, #5)

And if you'd like to know a little about Amy:

Author of Inescapable: The Premonition Series (Volume 1), Intuition: The Premonition Series (Volume 2), Indebted: The Premonition Series (Volume 3) , and the soon to be released Incendiary: The Premonition Series (Volume 4). 

I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed. Please visit me at my website: www.amyabartol.weebly.com

And now for the moment we all came here for, Amy's interview!

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I didn't realize I wanted to be a "writer" at first; I only knew that I wanted to see if I could produce a story worth reading.  I know it sounds counterintuitive because you'd think that it would be a logical conclusion that I wrote a book so I could be a writer, but for me, it was more like I became a writer because I had to write a book—I had to tell a story.  I didn't have "be a writer" aspirations, maybe I did when I was younger, but when I began writing Inescapable there was no real fantasy of becoming an author.  Inescapable just began as an experiment to see if I could write a book—I wanted to see if I was capable of writing a story and then LIKING what I wrote.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
The rough draft usually takes around four to six months to complete, but I spent over two years revising and editing Inescapable before I published it.  I have completed four other novels, which have taken around the same amount of time to rough draft, but now I seem to have developed a “style,” so editing them is easier and less time-consuming.
3. What do you think makes a great story?
I think that well-developed characters are essential to a great story.  If the reader can begin to hear the characters and dream about them even when she is not reading, then the story has life.  It breathes.  It has a soul.
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 
When I’m writing, I go until someone interrupts me or until I have to be somewhere else.  When I first began, I wrote while the kids swam in the pool (I know that’s not recommended by the Red Cross Lifeguard manual).  Then my youngest started preschool and it was GAME ON!  I wrote from the moment I dropped him off until I had to pick him up three hours later.  First grade was a whole new world for me.  I turned off the phone and wrote for hours. 
5. How do you balance family and writing?
I used to be so much better at balancing my family life and my work life, but that was when I was just a writer.  Now I'm an author, a publisher, an editor, a designer, a promoter, a social media networker, a blogger, a reviewer, a mentor, and the president of my own production company, so it's a little harder to handle.  I'm working on it!
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 
I'm in love with the paranormal romance genre, so it was without question that I'd try to write in that genre when I started.  I knew that I wanted to write a story that took place in the "real world" but one that had supernatural elements to it.  The idea for angels came when I was reading "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.  One of the stanzas had the word "Seraphim" in it.  I love words, they're my addiction, and when I find a word I don't know, I look it up.  I looked up the word Seraphim and found that they're angels, but not only that, they're said to be the highest rank of angels in Heaven according to a theologian name Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite who wrote about a hierarchy of angels in the 5th Century.  I thought to myself, Angels have ranks? Really?  From there, the idea for Inescapable grew.
I also get ideas from music.  Sometimes, a song will be visceral in a way that triggers something, an idea for a storyline or a twist in a story I'm already writing.  For me, music is amazing like that. 
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? 
The most surprising thing I learned when creating Inescapable is that the characters began to live.  I don't mean that in a physical sense, I mean that the more I wrote, the more it seemed like I wasn't the one writing it.  The characters began to "talk" to me in my mind, I could literally hear their voices in my head, and they would take over and show me what they wanted to do and where the story should go.  It became, for me, like watching a movie and I just had to listen to what they, the characters, were saying and then try to write it down.  I know it sounds insane.  I call whatever it is "catching the stream" because once it starts happening, I find myself just writing down chapter after chapter without "thinking" or "plotting" it.  In fact, the characters took me in directions that were opposite to where I thought the story was going.  They often surprised me.  (I recently learned that there is a name for this kind of writing; it’s referred to as being a “pantser.” There are “plotters” who plot out the story and then follow the outline and there are “pantsers” who write by the seat of their pants, so to speak.)  I am definitely a pantser.  No question.
8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 
I have completed five novels—two are yet unpublished.  My favorite so far is Indebted: The Premonition Series Volume 3.  I think it's my favorite because the fellas ( the villains in my second and third books) make me laugh and are very fun to write.
9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
There are two characters in Inescapable that are based on my friends.  Buns and Brownie were written into Inescapable because I began to love Evie, the main character, and I wanted to give her friends that would help her so I gave her my two best friends from college.  Molly, in Indebted, is based on my best friend from childhood (of the same name).
10. Do you have a favorite place you love to write?
This is embarrassing to admit, but I do almost all my writing in my bed at home.  I used to prop my laptop on a pillow, but then I went hi-tech and got an e-pad (which is a glorified pillow with a hard top surface).
11. How hard is it to get published?
I'm an Indie author: that means I publish my own books.  Once I made the decision to self-publish, it was relatively easy, just a matter of researching the best avenue to bring my product to market.  I publish my print books through CreateSpace, which is a division of Amazon.  I sell my e-books on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing and I currently use Smashwords as an aggregator to put my ebooks on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, etc.  The BEST part about being an Indie author is that I retain all the rights to my books. 
12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
My mom is my biggest fan, but she's also my editor and critic.  Aprille, my sister, and my dad love them, as well as the rest of my family.  (But they have to because it's required.)  As for my friends, that's a mixed bag.  The young adult, paranormal romance genre is not for everybody...just us sexy people. (Sorry, I had to say that, it was required by Prince...or The Artist Formally Known As Prince.)
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like to read and make the neighbor kids clean my pool.
14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they? 
Start a blog and if you have a hard time coming up with things to write, use it like a journal.  It will get you writing and it could also build a fan base for when you do publish. 
15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? 
I wanted to own my own country and have servants do everything for me...so I guess I wanted to be a dictator.  Instead, I grew up and created my own world where characters do everything for me...so I guess I am a dictator.  Life plan realized.
16. What are your favorite books and which authors inspire you?
I . Love. Romance. Novels.  The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is my favorite series of all time.  I was inspired to write, however, by Markus Zusak’s book entitled I Am The Messenger.  The book is about Ed Kennedy, an underage cabdriver who has a coffee-drinking dog named The Doorman and a secret crush on his best friend Audrey.  Ed has a peaceful routine until the day he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.  After that day, Ed becomes the messenger.

The book, written in the first person present tense, was funny and heart pounding and sad and euphoric.  It read like you could step into Ed’s shoes, breathe his air, see what he is seeing.  In short, it was amazing.  But, there was a message at the end of the story that struck me as if it was written just for me.  It says, quote: “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of…I’m not the messenger at all. I’m the message.”

I knew instantly that I had to try to write a book because maybe I was able to live beyond what I always thought I was capable of.
17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
Do:  Be present—that means be on every social networking site you can think of and several you can't.  Be accessible—write a blog so you can showcase who you are as a person (they want to see your brand, which is you).  Be kind. 
Don't:  Go for the hard sell or respond negatively to criticism (even if you feel it's unfair or unwarranted), in fact, try not to respond to it at all.
18. What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the fourth book in the Premonition series entitled Incendiary.  You can find a teaser for it on my website. Here’s the link: http://www.amyabartol.com/incendiary-updates.html 
*Small Caveat* If you haven’t read the first three books in the Premonition series, this will be a HUGE spoiler!

Thanks so much for stopping by Amy!!!
If you'd like to purchase Amy's books, you can click on the links below:
Inescapable on AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords
Indebted on Amazon

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