Unnormal Normalcy

Just News and Ramblings From Your Average Author

Interview with Amanda Havard

Today, I am happy to say, I am interviewing Amanda Havard, author of The Survivors as part of the BLB blog tour. I’m very excited about this, so let’s get crackin’!

How did you get started with your writing career?

I’ve been writing forever. Truly. I’ve been telling stories since before I could write those stories down. But into my adult life, my steps into a writing career were atypical. A few years before I wrote Survivors, I was lucky enough to be heavily mentored by a fantastic retired editor on an earlier project, and so when I wrote The Survivors, I showed it to her immediately, and we began the steps to getting it published. But it became clear that I would need a progressive publisher who would understand my vision of transmedia elements of the story—like the original music, interactive online elements, and so on—and so I was thrilled to make a partnership with tech-inspired Chafie Press to get The Survivors Series out to the world.

What inspired you to write “The Survivors?”

I knew I wanted to write a YA series because the characters I created in my head were always in a place of coming of age. Even in this series, where so many of the characters are nearly 150 years old (or older!), they are very much still in a place of figuring out their lives, figuring out their place in the world. I was heavily inspired by series I was reading at the time, and I knew that if I ventured into supernatural storytelling, I wanted to root it in history and mythology. That said, I began by picking a real event in history that had both supernatural undertones and many unanswered questions surrounding it. Naturally, the Salem Witch Trials were a perfect fit.

Who is your personal favorite character in the book?

I’m going to cheat and give two. Sadie is my favorite in that the whole world happens through her, and my experience of creating the story, characters, and world of Survivors filters through her. I am deeply connected to her, and I feel what she feels, know what she knows. It’s a deep connection, and I could never pick anyone “over” her.

That said, I love writing about Mark Winter. He has an unsuspecting complexity to him, in the first and future books, that really interests me. Plus, he’s all the fun in the world. I specifically love writing as him on Twitter.

What are your writing habits? (When, where, how, for how long do you write?)

It varies. While editing and researching, I’m all over the place. I do what the process calls for. While I’m actually writing the book though? I write mostly in my house, either at my desk or in my “writing studio,” for any number of hours of the day. When I wrote book one in The Survivors Series, I wrote it in 27 days, and I pretty much didn’t sleep. For me, writing can replace sleeping, eating, socializing…practically breathing. Very often I’ll go for hours and hours, and when I look up, it’s 2 a.m., and I’ll go for a drive out to the rural areas outside of Nashville, listen to the music that is so instrumental in my process, get my head clear, come home and write through the dawn. It’s fair to say that my process is highly immersive. It consumes me.

What was the hardest part about writing “The Survivors?”

As I would guess for many authors, the hardest part is limiting yourself to what you ought to include versus what you want to include. I feel like many of us would write 1000-page stories just so you could get to know our characters as well as we have.

What is your favorite genre of book to read? Favorite book?

I read all over the map. I had a real passion for historical fiction when I was younger, but I’ve gotten more and more into paranormal. Needless to say, books that live at the intersection of the two highly amuse me. YA makes the most sense to me, because I’m hardly more than YA myself.

That said, some of my all-time favorite books are neither historical nor paranormal—Janet Fitch (White Oleander, Paint It Black) and Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep, The Man of my Dreams, American Wife) are two of my all-time favorite authors, but my taste is diverse. I am a diehard Harry Potter fan, and I admittedly loved the addictiveness of Twilight, but at the same time I love something like A Farewell to Arms by William Faulkner. It just depends on my mood.

Two books you MUST read though: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and (when it comes out in September) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Two jarring, chilling, dark, and enthralling books that will grab you and never let go.

Got another book in the works?

Yes! THE SURVIVORS is the first book in a five-book series of the same name. I’m finishing edits on book 2, and I’ve finished my research for book 3. Can’t wait to write it!

Anything you’d like to say to aspiring writers?

Keep your eyes open. You can find inspiration everywhere—from songs and your favorite book to your history teacher’s weird anecdote from medieval Europe or your best friend’s boyfriend’s funny mannerism. Stories are everywhere. You just have to find them. And tell them.

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June 21, 2011 - Posted by | Author Interview, Blog Tour

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