Saturday, June 25, 2011

Author Interview: Amanda Havard

New interview with Amanda Havard, author of The Survivors. Thanks  Amanda and the publishers for taking some of their time to answer our question. Especially since Amanda put so much effort in her answers :)
And yay for another author who saw X-Men: First Class! Songwriter for a next choice of occupation? Next time i will ask for a poem miss Amanda ^^
Oh! And stay tuned for a review of Survivors, in the next week!

-Try to describe your book in one sentence.

If your parents were Puritanical supernatural beings who survived accusations of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials, only to hide you and your 150 family members in a walled city in Montana for 300 years, you’d want to get out, see the world, find more creatures like you, live like a human, and try to become a mortal too.

-Your genre in The Survivors is YA Fantasy right?. You did that on purpose, or you just start writing?

I definitely did it on purpose, but if I had just started writing it would have happened that way anyway. Interestingly, I wanted to sort of push the issue on what counts as YA. To me, it’s a voice. It’s a set of experiences. It’s the figuring of one’s self, life, family, place, and circumstance. My characters are mostly over 100 years old, but they’re still having these very formative experiences that are the kinds we experience and see in YA lit. That’s the part I wanted to include, technical age aside. I wanted their story to be about the figuring out.

-What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?
I think we get out inspiration from everything we see, hear, and touch. I get my inspiration from all those things, at least. Every book I’ve ever read, every song I’ve heard, movie I’ve watched, conversation I’ve had, song I’ve written, practically meal I’ve eaten… you get the idea. They all matter. Our experiences become a part of us, and those experiences are where I find my inspiration, and I sense it’s where many others do too.

-Did you do any research before start or during of the writing of the books?
Definitely. There was a lot of research that went into THE SURVIVORS and even more that was required for the subsequent books in the series. I like accurate detail on a sort of obsessive level. Every hotel room Sadie stays in, road she drives on, place she visits, piece of clothing she wears, music she listens to… it’s all real. What’s more is that the same goes for history and mythology. All the supernatural creatures in the books—save for Survivors themselves—are from actual mythology and lore from cultures all over the world, throughout history. And any historical event referenced is a real one that has a lot of unanswered questions so that my story fits into the question marks. It leaves this little bit of a sense that it could be true because we don’t know that it’s not.

-Which scenes were the hardest to write?
Having Sadie as a protagonist makes a specific challenge in many scenes. She can sense things off people around her, and she has this analytical inhuman brain that makes her observe things you and I wouldn’t necessarily—and then she tells you about those things. Add that to the typical things you expect like action, dialogue, basic description, then there always seems to be a lot happening, and so sometimes the challenge is to make sure Sadie and reader both understand and can process all of those elements. But sometimes Sadie can’t process everything—so if you ever feel frantic reading parts of it, then that’s just because she does to, and you’re getting that from her.

-How long has it taken you to write a book ?
I wrote The Survivors in 27 days. Conversely, it took me years to write my first book that I never even pursued publication for. So far I don’t really have a pattern.

-What’s the best part of writing for you?
Creativity is pretty much my favorite thing because of the process and product. Though I love the book at the end, the process is this sort of frenetic but joyful experience that I’m addicted to. Creating characters, worlds, and storylines is sort of what I live for. I love that I get to do this.

-Are you reading or writing something else at the moment?
I’m one of those crazy people who is always reading three or four different books at once—unless one just grabs ahold of me and then I must read it straight through. But as for writing, we’re wrapping up book 2 in THE SURVIVORS Series, which is set to come out next year. Then I’m ready to write book 3!

-Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
I had support in a lot of different ways. I had an editor who mentored me on that aforementioned book that took years to write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. She has been most instrumental in my development as a writer. She’s taught me how to craft a story into a book. I also had friends who were just amazing during the process. My good friend, Meghan, really conspired with me to create this giant world of The Survivors. She was practically inside my head the whole time, and I have no idea what I would have done without her. My friend, Danielle, also read each chapter as I wrote it and came back to me with meaningful feedback—plus she cheered me along the whole way. It certainly made it easier.

-Did you always have it in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
A little bit of both? Though I definitely said all along that I wanted to be a writer, I’ve been telling stories my entire life, and so I’m not really sure which came first. Eventually I started writing those stories down. If I weren’t a writer by profession, I’d still be writing. Characters come to me, storylines come to me, random things inspire me to think of a whole world I’ve never thought of. That’s how it works. I can’t really turn it off.

-How important you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? 
I think that communication between reader and writer is hugely important, and I have made myself available in a number of ways to try to facilitate this relationship. To me, it’s one of the unique advantages of writing in this era of social media. On my website, I have a fan forum so that you can create a login and talk to me and to other readers. I’ve put my email up there so if anyone needs me they can find me. And I’m on Twitternot replied to a message or @ reply sent to me there. Come and find me. I love talking. constantly, and I’ve never

-Are you working on any other projects except writing, right now?
Yeah I’ve got a lot going on. The Survivors really has a transmedia campaign where we’ve written original songs, created Twitter accounts for my characters, and so on. I’m constantly working on these things too—like we just recorded a song I wrote for the series called “Breaking” that will be coming out this summer. It will join the already-released single “Pretty Girl” that’s out now. Between writing songs, writing the books, traveling to promote, recording songs, shooting music videos, working on upcoming elements… I’m a busy girl.

-Something special you want to share with us? 
When I think of The Survivors and of my favorite fictional bookworlds, I think interacting with them is really the best part. I’ve set up a number of ways for people to be able to immerse themselves in the world of Survivors, and you can expect a number of those to come in the future from me and from my publisher, Chafie Press. To start you can listen to, watch the video for, or download “Pretty Girl” as it really communicates a lot about the story and can be very emotional for some readers. Plus, you can hang around my website where my blog can give you insight into the characters, their style (they almost all love fashion), the music that inspires the series, the world maps of character travels, and, of course, the Twitter feeds for the characters’ accounts. Connecting to these things will really make the experience whole—I hope you take advantage of it.

Now some simple questions and more fun

-Your favourite books and author? Five-way tie between Janet Fitch, Curtis Sittenfeld, Sandra Cisneros, Sylvia Plath, and J.K. Rowling for authors. Books? So many, but a few include… Harry Potter, Paint It Black by Janet Fitch, A Farewell to Arms by William Faulkner, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, The Unbecomming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

-Your favourite band/singer? I could never pick just one! But some I LOVE are Coldplay, The Killers, The Black Keys, Manchester Orchestra, Muse, The Bravery, Augustana, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sara Bareilles, Adele, Regina Spektor, Franz Ferdinand, Ingrid Michaelson, and so so so many more.

-Twitter or Facebook? The Survivors and I can both easily be found on both Twitter and Facebook, but I’m more of a Twitter girl.

-Favourite place in the world? Bigfork, Montana (the Monterey peninsula in California and Portland, Oregon are tied as close seconds)

-Last movie you watched at the cinemas? X-men First Class

-The last book you’ve read? I’m always reading several, but the last book I finished was an ARC of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

-Have you ever googled yourself? Oh yes.

-Writing, reading or hanging out with friends? Writing. Always. (Much to my friends’ dismay.)

-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be? A songwriter, screenwriter, or... Oh wait, those are all still “writers.” Hmm. Perhaps a professor of education and human development. I guess I do have two degrees in those for a reason.

-And last one....printed or ebooks?  
I’m torn. Love the ease of eBooks but I can’t live without real ones!

 In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family's sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.
On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she's sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all...

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There is lot of spam lately at the posts, so for a while i will put up the comment moderation. Sorry for that, i really don't like it but i thought it might stop the spamming. It will be down soon enough! Thanks a lot :)

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