Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Author Spotlight featuring Amanda DeWees

Welcome to another author spotlight here on my blog. I'd like to introduce author Amanda DeWees. 

Amanda DeWees is an author and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her PhD in English literature from the University of Georgia and likes to startle people by announcing that her dissertation topic was vampire literature. Besides writing, her passions include theater, classic film, carb loading, costume design, and the preservation of apostrophes in their natural habitat. 

Book blurb:

Ordinary high-school junior Joy Sumner never expected a classmate’s dare to bring brooding teen model Tanner Lindsey into her life. Falling in love with Tanner can only lead to heartache and danger, because his mentor is the seductive, powerful Melisande, a seemingly ageless supermodel who may not be entirely human.

While Joy fights to free Tanner from Melisande’s grasp—and from his own self-doubt—she
struggles to cope with her father’s cancer and the discovery that Ash Grove High is buzzing with paranormal energy. When Tanner's love for her puts him in danger, Joy must find the strength to confront both supernatural danger and her own unexpected pregnancy... and to save Tanner's life.

Author Interview

1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I’m a lifelong bookworm and have been writing stories since I could first clutch a crayon. For a long time I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a writer or an actress, but writing seemed like a slightly less unreliable way to make a living. I work full time as an editor as well, and it’s illuminating to see the writing process from both sides.

2. What types of books do you write?
Right now I’m writing a young-adult paranormal romance series, the Ash Grove Chronicles, and I also write gothic romance in the tradition of Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier. Pretty much anything I write is going to have a love story and a sense of humor, and I tend have the heroine rescue the hero instead of the other way around.

3. Who's your main audience?
My audience is mostly women, from teens on up, but male readers who have a romantic streak also enjoy my books.

4. When it comes to writing, what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
My strongest points are probably dialogue, humor, and historical detail. As for weaknesses, I would dearly love to be able to write ghost stories, but I have a hard time making them scary enough to suit me.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
Over the years I’ve come to believe that writer’s block is best worked through, not around. Just keep writing—anything. Sometimes switching to a different project can unblock the one that’s stuck.

6. How many books have you written?
Around a dozen novel-length manuscripts. Some of them have gotten lost, so I don’t know for certain!

7. How many are published?
Four of my books are published: Sea of Secrets, The Shadow and the Rose, Casting Shadows, and Among the Shadows.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
I chose to self-publish so that I’d have control over the process. I love not having to wait a year or so for a traditional publisher to get each book in front of readers.

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Plotting can be pretty taxing for me. I keep hoping it will get easier, but instead my plots are growing more complex. I know that’s a good thing, but it slows me down!

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I prefer genre fiction to literary fiction. I love a good mystery or suspense novel. I also read children’s books and YA, paranormal and ghost stories, some fantasy, humor... pretty much anything with a story that grabs me and characters I can relate to.

11. Who's your favorite author?
I could never choose just one! When I was a teen, I would have said without hesitation that P.G. Wodehouse was my favorite. His wit and humor influenced me a lot. But I have so many favorites now that they could populate a small town. Which would be a pretty cool idea for a story, actually.

12. What's your all time favorite book?
One that was a huge influence on me, and one that I still reread a lot and lend out often, is Robin McKinley’s “Beauty.” It’s a retelling of the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale, and McKinley’s heroine is incredibly relatable and endearing.

13. How long does it take you to write a book?
Longer than I’d like! Several months, at least. My editing work means I don’t have nearly as much writing time as I’d like. Series books take longer because I have to think about the consequences for all the other books of every single decision!

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
They are all very dear to me. Right now I’d have to choose Tanner, the troubled hero of the Ash Grove Chronicles. The response to him has been mixed, because some readers want him to be stronger at the start of the series. That’s one of the things I love about him, though: he really grows over the course of the three books. He starts out in a terrible place, having been taught he’s worthless except for his looks, but gradually, through knowing Joy (the heroine), he gains confidence and resolve and grows into a real hero. I feel very protective of him in the early, dark days of his journey. I think we’ve all had bad times when we needed someone to come to us and say, “You’re loved.”

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
I’m still pretty amazed to discover that I can write a series. I’d only ever written stand-alone books before, so completing the first three-book arc of the Ash Grove Chronicles is a major landmark for me! I also discovered that I can write alternate-reality plots without losing my mind. That was a pleasant surprise, lol.

16. What does your family think of your writing?
My family’s always been very supportive of my writing. They understand that I’ll just vanish for long periods sometimes!

17. What does your writing schedule look like?
*bursts into laughter* Schedule? Oh, Raebeth, you kidder. :D

18. Do you manage to write every day?
Sadly, no. It’s definitely a goal, though.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
I’m very excited that the third book of the Ash Grove Chronicles is done. “Among the Shadows” is one of the most ambitious things I’ve ever written, and readers who have grown to love Joy and Tanner and William and Maddie in the first two books will be absolutely riveted by what happens to them in book three.

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Keep honing your craft, and make sure you’ve produced your best work before you publish. It’s tempting now with the ease of e-publishing to put your book out in the world as soon as it’s done, but you show more respect for yourself as a writer—and more respect for your readers—by polishing it first. Go ahead and push yourself to be better. You won’t regret it! 

Author links:
Twitter: @AmandaDeWees


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