In conclusion to “Seriously, I Will Read Your Book“
Epic Fantasy Fiction Writer Amy Rose Davis Author Interview
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- When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a storyteller. I started telling stories long before I could write. I used to make up stories in my head every night when I went to bed, and the next night, I’d pick up wherever I left off when I fell asleep. I wrote a lot of stories in middle and high school, and when I started working in various administrative positions, I always picked up the writing tasks that no one else wanted. I’ve worked in marketing a bit, and I was working mostly full-time as a freelance commercial copywriter until I picked up my fiction cap again in November 2009.
- What was your inspiration for Ravenmarked?
It was a picture I had in my head of a woman in white running away from an abbey that was under attack. That’s how it started. I had to ask why she was running, who was attacking and where she would go. Slowly the story emerged, and she became more of a catalyst character for the man who became my protagonist, Connor Mac Niall. Beyond that one picture, though, I’d have to say that I was also inspired by Celtic mythology, fairy lore, and some biblical imagery.
- What process did you go through to creat Taura?
I’m such a pantser. I just winged it. That’s not very sophisticated, I suppose! There was just a lot of sitting and writing and asking myself questions and writing the answers…The geography is very clearly based on the British Isles, but the politics are a bit different.
- How did you go about developing and keeping track of the characters, their various gifts/powers and their quests in the book? Did you keep a series bible?
Sort of. I have various files of my Q & As with myself, and I’ve written backstory about some of the characters. A lot of it is just in my head.
- The story combines fantasy, magic and legend, but is clearly designed for a more mature audience. Did the story unfold this way or was this intentional?
Both. I never set out to write YA, largely because I don’t read YA. I read adult fantasy, and I set out to write a fantasy that an adult audience would enjoy. Still, I suspect that folks who are used to reading George R.R. Martin and Terry Goodkind will find my work tame by comparison.J
- Slavery and human trafficking touched on several times throughout the story. Are you making a personal statement about this behavior in present day society?
A little bit. It’s still a very common problem, and one that our western world is often loathe to acknowledge. I tend to have a sort of soft heart for human right issues, and I really can’t keep it out of my writing. But, I also wanted to write a story about a world that was very unbalanced–a world on the cusp of exciting new things. So while two characters are discussing slavery and human trafficking and the morality of it all, in another part of the story, two other characters are confronting women’s rights and what role women should play in the world. Later books will explore other issues that aren’t all that far removed from the things we have to talk about in this global world of the 21st century–equality, religious freedom, moral codes, ethical behavior. etc.
- What is your daily writing process?
On the weekdays, I start writing at around 8:30 a.m. and stop around 3:00 p.m. most days while the kids are in school. When they’re out of school on the weekends or for breaks, its more of a “catch as catch can” system. They know this is my work, but they still have a hard time leaving me alone. J A lot of times, my afternoon and evening time is more for social networking, because I don’t have to concentrate as much for that as I do for writing and editing.
- How do you balance writing with work, home and family?
Um, not very well! J Being a working mom is a challenge no matter what your work is. I’ve been working from home since my third child was a baby, and he’s almost eight, and I still haven’t figured out a perfect equation. I think there is no perfect equation.J
- What process did you go through to get your book published?
I went pretty much straight to indie publishing. I toyed with querying last year, and even sent a few out, but the process made me so nauseated and depressed and frustrated that I gave up. I let the novel sit for a while and wondered what to do with it, and I was starting to hear about people having some luck with indie publishing. As I researched, it sounded more and more like an option that would be a good fit for me. I have experience running my own small business, I had enough non-relatives tell me my writing was pretty good that I mostly believed them, and I thought a lot of the money arguments made by people like Joe Konrath made a lot of sense. I liked the idea of having the creative control and better royalties, and I wasn’t scared of marketing myself.
- What advice would you give to those authors considering independently publishing their book(s)?
Make sure you’re willing to do all the small stuff before you dive in. Thing of yourself as an independent publisher, not as a writer. You have to look at the big picture at the same time, handle all of the little details. If you’re wired as a small business person or you have experience running a small business, indie publishing is probably a perfect fit for you. But even if you aren’t wired that way and you haven’t run a small business, there are still lots of folks out there who can handle the details for you for a price.
- What process did you go through to have your boom made into a e-reader?
It’s actually pretty easy. I followed both the Smashwords formatting guide and Zoe Winters’ guidelines from her book Becoming and Indi Author. I had a little trouble getting the map and table of contents for Ravenmarked formatted when I tried to upload to the Kindle store, but after I formatted it with Mobipocket first, everything went very smoothly. I highly recommend Mobipocket for converting test to MOBI format.
- What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Study structure! J But also–don’t think you have to take every piece of writing advice everyone gives you. There’s no one right way to write anything. Find what works for you, and write the story YOU love.
- What do you love about fantasy writing?
I love playing around with ideas from this world in other settings where we have the freedom to make up different rules and codes. I enjoy exploring the alpha male personality in a place where it’s sort of expected. And swords, castles, and magic are just plain cool. J
- As a writer what are your thoughts about social media and how it helps writers in today’s market?
I have not entirely sorted out my thoughts on social media. I’m rather ambivalent to a lot of it. I think engaging in some of it is absolutely necessary, but writers have to be careful, because Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and the rest can all be a huge time suck that either give us an excuse not to write (“I was working — I was networking!” or just fritter away our time in non-productive ways. We have to remember that our content is our product. If we aren’t writing new stuff, we just end up being more noise on the Internet. And oddly, the people I see having the most success with selling books are not the loudest tweeters or most frequent bloggers. They’re the folks who write and publish, write and publish, write and publish. Like Joe Konrath says — the best marketing is another book.
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