Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Amalie Howard


Welcome to Author Interview Thursday, hosted by the Never Too Old for Y.A. Books group on Goodreads!

Today we welcome author Amalie Howard to the group! I'm very excited about this because I have personally met Amalie twice and she is such a terrific person and author!

The spell was simple...
Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.
What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?



So let's hear what Amalie has to say!

1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I’ve always loved writing. Even at a very young age, I was always scribbling some story or another into a journal. I remember writing a story about a young girl covered in magical tattoos when I was about nine. Seriously, what did I know about tattoos at nine years old? Still, it was a pretty cool story. I had my first poem published when I was twelve and I won an award in a global youth writing competition when I was fifteen. I wrote a ton of poetry during my teen years—for me, writing was cathartic, especially during some of those tougher teen times (first crush, peer and parent pressure, etc.,) Writing stories was and still is a huge form of escapism for me.

2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
On average, 2-3 months for the first draft.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
For me, inspiration comes from reading great books. There’s nothing like reading something amazing to get you fired up to write something equally brilliant.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
I don’t have a set schedule, however, I do try to write daily. It’s like homework. You have to make time for it or other things will get in the way. A word count goal is useful because if you treat it like something you have to do, then you get into the habit of writing something regularly. And when you start to deal with writing deadlines, you’ll be grateful for that habit. That said, when I’m inspired, that can totally change. Sometimes, if I’m on a roll, I just go. I don’t stop, and my kids don’t get bathed or fed on time. It just really depends on when those creative juices get going.

5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
With three very active children eight and under, finding time to write or unwind takes foresight, and sometimes, fortitude. I say that because it’s easy to let day-to-day life get in the way, which is why so many people ask, “where do you find the time?” The thing is, you have to make the time. My kids all have a routine and are in bed by eight o’clock most nights, so I can schedule some time to write after dinner. I’ve always been a multi-tasker so being able to manage multiple things is a particular skill of mine, which means that I’m totally capable of writing in a house full of screaming children! That said, my family will always come first. If my daughter wants a hug, I’ll put my laptop to the side in a heartbeat. Those moments are too precious to be wasted.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
In my opinion, the basic elements should include a well-wrought combination of voice, plot, world building, pacing, relatable characters, and some kind of message that binds it all together.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Letting go of my characters at the end of the book.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve written five books so far, three of which (WATERFELL with Harlequin Teen, ALPHA GODDESS with Skyhorse Publishing, and THE ALMOST GIRL with Strange Chemistry) will come out over the course of the next ten months. I don’t have a favorite—that’s like asking a mom to choose her favorite kid! I love them all, but they were each my special baby at certain points in time.
9. Do you have a favorite character?
Again, I don’t have a favorite, but there are elements of each of my characters that I love.
With Tori from BLOODSPELL, I love that she doesn’t give up despite the overwhelming odds against her, and she finds a way to control the darker side of her magic. She really owns who she is for better or for worse, and believes in herself. I give her props—I’d probably cave with that much power at my fingertips.
With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, she has to dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that she was brave enough to trust her heart.
What I love about Nerissa from WATERFELL was her willingness to change the things about herself that needed changing. It’s hard to step back to take a long hard look at yourself and find yourself lacking. She evolves from a selfish princess to a queen her people can be proud of. To me, that takes insane courage because facing and acknowledging your flaws can be terrifying.
Lastly, with Seraphine from ALPHA GODDESS, I love that she was able to bridge her past lives and make herself whole (past and present). Being a teen and finding yourself is hard. Being a teen and an Indian goddess with multiple incarnations is something else entirely. I really admire her resilience, her fairness and her evolved sense of self. She makes me want to be a goddess.
10. Where do you write?  
I used to have an office but it has been taken over by miniature humans and Legos. I now write at a desk in my bedroom. Ok fine, I pretend to write at a desk in my bedroom. Truth is I’m far more comfortable writing on the couch or on my bed with my iPod on. Shameful, I know. I also occasionally write in cool coffee shops or my local library when I need a change of scene.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I followed the traditional steps: got an agent & got a book deal. However, I love that there are so many different options available to authors now. The publishing landscape is so dynamic and seems to be in constant movement, which is terrific thing for writers because there are more publication avenues than ever.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My family has been incredibly supportive and proud. I’m so grateful for them.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I like ocean surfing, I like to read, and I’m addicted to movies. I also enjoy spending time with my family. I love outdoor sports, so right now I’m doing a lot of Little League baseball with my sons.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
For any new writer, I would definitely encourage reading as many books as you can get your hands on—the more you read (especially bestsellers), the more you’ll understand the elements required to pen a great book. Develop and experiment with your own unique writing voice, and find what moves you. Which writing genres and themes are you passionate about? What drives you? Do you like stories, poetry or journalistic writing? Find your niche—people are usually better at writing about what they love or what inspires them because it comes from somewhere real.

Get yourself out there and write regularly—hone your craft. A book that really helped me sharpen my pencil was Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. You should also take part in writing events like NaNoWriMo. Enter writing contests—Writer’s Digest has heaps of them. Join your local SCBWI chapter so that you can meet other writers and find a critique group. Work on building your brand via social media—make your name known. Learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and other sites to develop your own dynamic, digital brand. Connect and network as much as you can because you never know who could be your next editor, agent or critique partner.

Lastly, don't let rejection hammer you. It's all part of the process. Take in the constructive and make your work the best it can be. Don’t ever give up even when it feels like that’s all you want to do (trust me, every writer has this exact thought at some point or another—you’re not alone). Just believe in yourself and your work, and you can’t fail.

16. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
I don’t really have one favorite book, but if I have to choose, I’d have to say Grimm’s Fairy Tales—my copy is 27 years old! As far as a favorite author, I really can’t choose (don’t make me, lol). To name a few who inspire me, I’d have to say J.K. Rowling, Enid Blyton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne Rice, C.S Lewis, Judith McNaught and Kristin Cashore.

17. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
I am lucky to be part of a wonderful critique group, and I strongly encourage new writers to find similar writing groups in your area. For children’s writers, you can check your local SCBWI chapter for a listing of groups, or even start one yourself.
18. Are you working on anything now? 
Apart from a boatload of revisions for upcoming releases, I am currently finishing WATERFELL 2, which should come out some time late next year. In the meantime, I’m so thrilled about my forthcoming books—I really hope readers love them as much as I do!


Thanks so much for stopping by today, Amalie! So great to have you hear! Looking forward to more of your books in the future!
And Amalie is offerring up a signed copy of her book and a sterling silver triquetra charm. So scroll down to enter using the Rafflecopter form.

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive. In between writing novels and indulging her love of reading, Amalie is also a books review editor for TheLoopNY, and blogs at amaliehoward.com. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency. 
Her debut novel, BLOODSPELL, was selected as a Seventeen Magazine Summer Club Read. Look for WATERFELL from Harlequin TEEN coming Fall 2013, ALPHA GODDESS from Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press coming Winter 2014, and THE ALMOST GIRL from Strange Chemistry in Spring 2014.
For tour and upcoming events, check out the Bloodspell website or amaliehoward.com for more information.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 comments:

  1. Straight up gorgeous cover! Thanks for the interview. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds interesting. I want to read your book. I enjoyed your interview very much. Thanks for all the advice on writing.

    ReplyDelete

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