Monday, August 6, 2012

A day with Amanda Day: Author Interview

My dearest followers, 

Today is just another Monday. But it is a Monday of introductions, too. Today I'd like you to meet author Amanda Day, who recently had her first book published. Read on and enjoy!


Hello Amanda, it's so nice to feature you on my blog today! Could you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?

Thank you so much for having me, it’s lovely to be here . Well, I live in beautiful Cornwall in the UK with my husband and fat grey cat. The Dark Side of Night is my first (self) published book, but the second that I wrote. In my spare time I train in tae kwon do, watch far too much trash TV, drink more tea than you’d think my bladder can hold, and day dream about writing full time! I have to write, whether it is books, random pieces of dialogue on scrappy pieces of paper, or in my diary (there is always one on the go!). If I didn’t I would be a quivering wreck with steam coming out of my ears! I also like to make crafty things and paint sometimes, as well as being out exploring the gorgeous county where we live, just as long as that exploring includes regular tea and cake pit-stops of course.

How did "The Dark Side of Night" come to life?

I had finished reading a paranormal romance book which featured the standard mysterious boy and normal girl who never seems to understand why he picks her when she is so ‘normal’, and I was a bit fed up about the fact that it is always the boy that is the dark, brooding one, usually blessed with abilities. I wanted a strong female who wasn’t pining for someone, or needed saving. I wanted her to be the one saving other people. As soon as I had decided this, Cyan literally popped into my mind fully formed, walking down a dark alley with long silver swords in her hands, black hair flowing behind her, and amazing white eyes. After that, the City kind of grew around her, along with all the monsters inside it. Lastly, Oscar came along, being everything Cyan wasn’t, and a really sweet boy!

Was it difficult to get published, as a debut author?

I did try the traditional route and submitted to agents for around a year. I got some really positive feedback, but no solid takers for the book. I sat on it for another year and moved on to other projects. Then a friend kept telling me about Amanda Hocking and how I needed to look into self-publishing. I only half listened to her as I didn’t think I was capable of self-publishing. Then I kept seeing stuff about Amanda Hocking everywhere I went and decided to pay better attention! The more I learnt about the process with Amazon, the more I thought I had nothing to lose. So I got the book back out, worked on it every spare moment I had to get it ready and, after months, here we are. It took longer and more work to get it ready than I thought, but the actual process of getting it online was easy. Trying to get it out and circulated in the world has been surprisingly tough, but also surprisingly satisfying to the point that I think I will self-publish future books from the start.

Do you remember the exact moment you decided to write? Place, time, reason?

Well, having always written it never really occurred to me that I might try to do it as a job. Therefore I think it was more a slow realization that it was my dream job. My first book that I wrote (and that I aim to publish on Amazon in September) is a Middle Grade fantasy adventure which was inspired by a little house I used to drive by every week. On the first week I thought it was a funny little place. On the second week I wondered who lived there. On the third week I started to make my own story up about it, and the story grew from there, until I decided I wanted to write it down. I had no idea how to write a book so I just loosely plotted it out and started to write… and found I couldn’t stop. It flowed so easily, it was amazing! After that, I knew writing was the job I wanted to do more than anything else in the world. Then I started seeing more inspiration everywhere I looked, and now I have enough story ideas to keep me going for many, many years. If one day I really can call myself an author as my ‘proper job’, then I will go back to that little house that I used to drive past which inspired me, and take the people that live there a big bottle of champagne!!

Tell us something special about your characters - what are they like? Why did you choose to write about them?

Well, like I already mentioned, Cyan popped into my head fully formed and icy cold! She was already bad-ass, difficult, unfriendly and mysterious, and it took me quite a long time to figure her and her story out. Even though she has a difficult personality, I liked her straight away because I could tell that all her fierce bravado was actually padding around a very broken heart. I knew straight away, as soon as I saw her in my mind, that she was not as strong as she seemed, and that it was all just a brittle shell to protect her. I also knew she was capable of opening up and being really interesting to write about, so I stuck with her and waited for all the details to come to me and work themselves out. Oscar was much easier. I wanted Cyan to be offered the chance to be with someone who was her complete opposite in almost every way. I wanted him to be warm enough to thaw her iciness, someone to test her anger and impatience whilst themselves being able to be gentle and patient with her, and someone who came from a good, solid and loving background who could show Cyan that life doesn’t have to be a fight all the time, and that it can be full of goodness and happiness. At the time of writing the book I knew someone who was very smiley, sunshiny, friendly and (literally) bouncy, and so I loosely based Oscar around him, as he was the real life opposite of everything Cyan was, so it was quite easy to write Oscar because, in a way, I already knew him!

Does your story have a message that you want to reach the readers? What is it?

I would say it has two messages. The first is that even though sometimes love is hard and painful, or seems impossible, it is worth the struggle. The second message, I would like to think, is to fight for what you believe in with a strong heart, even if you have to do it alone. Following your heart through life is so important - in all things.

And, last one, I promise, how was that gorgeous cover created?

Awwww it is pretty. My wonderful and gorgeous best friend, Lucy Kirton, is a highly talented designer and illustrator who created it for me. The city landscape is a photo my husband took on a trip we took to London, whilst the eyes are actually mine – but thankfully digitally manipulated! Lucy pulled everything together with a touch of her amazing wizardry. She also made the gorgeous night background and chose the fonts, both of which I adore. She really did an excellent job. I am hoping to have links to her and her work sometime in the near future on my blog ( I am also hoping she will want to work on all my future covers because she is so good at what she does!