Well, when a writer and a story really love each other... ;) Rylie was a character who had been floating around in my head for some years, but I originally envisioned her attached to a different werewolf project. When I decided to get down to business and actually write her story, it turned out to be something novel and different. I don’t know how the plot came about. It’s one of those things that magically appeared from nowhere. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t imagine a time when I didn’t want to be a writer (except the brief period, in the third grade, when I wanted to be a velociraptor). Originally I planned on being a second Amelia Atwater-Rhodes and being published before my eighteenth birthday. While I did get a short story published in an anthology during high school, I didn’t publish any books, but I guess having a short story published isn’t bad for a sixteen year old. Did any of your characters exist before the story?
Like I said before, Rylie did. The rest of them came out as aspects of Rylie’s personality. I secretly think of Six Moon Summer as one long fantasy in Rylie’s mind that she’s created to cope with her parents divorcing, which is why the girls are so blatantly, unrealistically antagonistic-- it’s Rylie beating herself up. Of course, nobody is interested in literary analysis outside of English classes, so I keep silly thoughts like that to myself. What was your most satisfying moment with this book?
Getting it out and seeing such an overwhelming amount of support for it. Frankly, the act of writing is seldom “fun” or even “satisfying.” It’s work. Good work, but still work nevertheless. Are your characters all completely fictional? Is there any of you in them?
Aren’t all characters like their creators? Even the best writers can’t create completely new people out of nowhere. We have to sacrifice a rib to make someone, and that part of us is always in them. How did you choose your title?
I don’t remember. Like Rylie, it was hanging around for a few years before the book was written. Which character would you bring home to mother? Which one would be secretly involved with?
This is where my half-gay is coming out! The only person in my books I would actually be involved with is Louise, one of the camp counselors. She’s foxy. Where do you write and when?
I used to write in dim lighting with mood music and a glass of brandy. Now that I have a baby, I write wherever and whenever I get a few seconds! It takes a lot of the romance out of it, but you do what you gotta do. I’ve written one full book, one novella, and half of two different books since he was born eight months ago. Guerilla writing seems to be working out for me. Do you have a playlist? If so what was “Six Moon Summer” If you could choose a theme song for this book what would it be?
I listen to a lot of movie scores while I’m writing. “Six Moon Summer” was primarily written to the tunes of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Gorgeous music. What have you learned being an indie author?
Nothing sells itself. You have to work, work, work. I have a lot more respect for small business owners. Fun Questions
Dogs or Cats?
Yes! I have both. Cats are like little terrorists I harbor in my house. Dogs are needy children. Having a small zoo is more challenging with a baby, so I’m thinking of getting fish in the future instead of anymore furry companions.
Coke or Pepsi? Bleh! I hate soda. Give me green tea any day.
Socks or barefoot? Barefoot, although I do love toe socks.
Coffee or Tea? Tea. Coffee is too intense for me.
Harry Potter or Twilight? This is a trick question, right? Harry Potter!
Who are you on L O S T? The cute Australian woman with a baby, except without the accent.
What is your approach to resolve writer’s block? Concrete goals, deadlines, and lots of doodling on scratch paper.
Traditional or ebook? Ebook. I’ve had my Kindle for over two years now, and I feel weird reading traditional books. Plus it’s not very good for the environment.
Who should star in “Six Moon Summer?” I would cast unknown actors so that viewers could immerse themselves in the story without thinking, “Wow! That’s Will Smith!” (not that I would cast Will Smith as Rylie)
If you didn’t write what else would you do? I would be a programmer. I love problem-solving and the creativity required in programming, and I’m awesome with computers.
Final question: What is next for Sara Reine? The 19 Dragons, a novella coming out on July 8th, and All Hallows Moon, coming out Fall 2011. I have a couple other projects in the works, but they’re still top secret!
Thanks Sara for taking the time to share with us some awesome insight to your writing life!
For those of you who want to keep up with Sara stop by her website and say hello!
I'm just another artist who is still deciding what I want to be when I grow up. One thing for certain, I always knew I wanted to be in show business. I was always drawn to it. Movies, Television, Theatre, Radio. At first I used to believe I simply wanted to be an actor. I never considered myself a very good actor, but it always looked like it was loads of fun.
I am television generation, and grew up in the best time there was when it came to TV. Shows then, had personality, great themes, cool cars, music, although looking back, some of it is a bit campy, but at the time, everyone wanted their own, Batmobile, Munsters Coach, MonkeeMobile. Or to fly on the spaceship Jupiter 2 or The Enterprise. We were treated to the most talented people in show business then. The Adventure shows, like Lost In Space, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, The Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants...(yes it's a Irwin Allen fest.) The Invaders, Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery. For our friends who loved the old west, we had, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, High Chaparral. For Spy's we had, The Man From Uncle, I Spy, Yes even Get Smart! Of course I can never forget Benny Hill!
As I got older my love for all things show business never waned. I started writing after a trip to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Over the years I've done it all. I've been an actor, a writer of scripts, plays for the stage, movies and novels. I've been a theatrical producer and owned my own Theatre.
Smiler's Comedy Playhouse. I've edited movies, and television, (my own mind you. Nothing you've heard of.) But now it seems my true love is the fact I accept I am a writer. I of course miss the laughter of a live audience when you're performing in a crazy knock about farce. But creating stories for someone to read is equally rewarding. It's always been my dream to simply write for a living. I am chasing that dream now.
Personally, I consider myself to be very lucky as I am a father of two wonderful adults. Yes they are no longer kids, they are full grown. One decided I need to be a grandfather. The nerve of that boy! Kidding aside, my life is complete though because of my wonderful wife Ashton. She is my best friend and my balance. I truly feel blessed!
So there it is a little about Thomas Amo, the author. Hope you enjoy my books, It's my sincere wish that you always walk away from one of my stories feeling your time was well spent.
Thanks so much for having me here, Tom. It's such an honour.
Well, how was A Job From Hell born? It's said everyone has that one particular story of a lifetime to tell. This is mine. It all started with Anne Rice's The Queen of the Damned. I loved that book so much and thought it'd be fun to write my own vampire novel. I finished the first draft at eighteen and put it aside for a few years, went back to it at twenty-four, put it aside again. Last year, I tossed it all out and started from scratch because there were no Shadows, no legends, or otherworld in the first two drafts and I wanted more paranormal elements. I changed the title, the storyline, the characters, the genre, my style – everything, actually. After about twenty-five rounds of editing, A Job From Hell was complete and bared absolutely no resemblance to the first draft.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always known I wanted to be a writer. As a kid, I used to read my mother's romance novels (think Sandra Brown and Jude Deveraux) and rewrite the ending to mix the stories up a little because I was fed up with all the happy endings and the successful guys getting the pretty girls. When I reached my teenage years and started reading Anne Rice and every single piece of gothic and dark literature I could get my hands on, I used to believe I'd be a great poet one day. That wish turned into aspirations to become a novelist when I started uni, but it took me a few years to actually establish a writing schedule, find the genre that suited my writing style the most, and work hard to actually finish writing a book.
Did any of your characters exist before the story?
Oh, yes, they all exist before the actual story's born. I tend to imagine people and then brainstorm what could happen to them. Sometimes it doesn't work and I chuck them all out of my head and invent someone new, but most of the time they stay around until I find a suitable story for them. I hope I don't come across like a schizophrenic or someone suffering from a multiple personality disorder.
What was your most satisfying moment with this book?
Writing 'The End'. Just joking. Actually, I love rereading a story when it's completely edited and a few months have passed. It's so gratifying to read something after a while because all the tension has passed and one can finally enjoy the work without thinking of sentence structure, character development and world building. It feels alien and scary, as though someone else wrote it, but also fulfilling.
Are your characters all completely fictional? Is there any of you in them?
Aidan's actually a very famous rock star. I won't say who it is, but the first time I saw him I knew he was worthy of 'being' Aidan. So it was only a matter of time until I came up with the right story and the other characters to suit him. I don't really see myself in any of my characters, maybe in their hopes and dreams, but not in their personalities.
How did you choose your title?
That's a funny story actually. I had been trying to come up with a title for ages, changing it back and forth between 'On the threshold of death' and 'The book of the vampire' when I entered a really difficult phase in the writing process. Over morning coffee, I started to moan and complain about having a hard time and the story being 'the job from hell'. That instant, I knew I had my title.
Which character would you bring home to mother? Which one would be secretly involved with?
I'd love to say Aidan since he's such a gentleman and so responsible. He's probably the one who'd end up buying a house, get a car and live happily ever after. But I'd probably end up falling for Kieran or Thrain. There's something exciting about dangerous bad boys and the constant uncertainty of will he/won't he break my heart.
Cass is the one to bring home though. Imagine having dinner with someone who has the attention span of a two-year-old and who can hear your thoughts and those of the neighbours across the street. That must make for awesome dinner conversation.
Where do you write and when?
I write at night because my neighbours are irritatingly noisy and I need perfect silence. At times, when I'm really into a character or scene, I can write during the day while listening to music. I wish I could say I can write anywhere. Unfortunately, it has to be a dark room, no windows, no clutter. There has to be a bed and a wall because I tend to write sitting on a bed or sofa, leaning against the wall with my MacBook cradled on my thighs. I also prefer cold, rainy days, but my room needs to be warm. I'm very particular about my writing environment.
Do you have a playlist? If so what was “A Job From Hell’s?” If you could choose a theme song for this book what would it be?
A playlist's a must for any fantasy writer. The songs change depending on what I write. As the official A Job From Hell anthem I'd probably choose You Don't Know Love by the Editors because I must've listened to it a million times while writing A Job From Hell. It's just so mysterious and gothic, and the voice suits the paranormal romance genre perfectly. The 'One look and I saw inside every little thing you'd die to hide' part probably inspired half of the book. Other favourite songs were:
OneRepublic – All the right moves (the video's so beautiful and inspired Amber and Aidan's stroll in the woods and Aidan giving Amber his mother's locket)
Dishwalla – Find your way back home/Until I wake up
Florence and the Machine – Cosmic Love/Between Two Lungs
Robert Francis – Junebug
Linkin Park – Headstrong
What have you learned being an indie author?
Marketing and social networking are your best friends. They should always accompany you when you're having breakfast, lunch and dinner, and should be part of your evening routine, because they're almost as important as brushing your teeth. Apart from that, I've also learned that searching for cover and book trailer art is a fun yet addictive activity.
Dogs or Cats?
Coke or Pepsi?
Tough one. I love Coke's advertising campaigns, particularly the Christmas ones. But I prefer the taste of Pepsi because it's not so sweet.
Socks or barefoot?
Coffee or Tea?
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Tough one again. I'll go with Twilight but only because I like vampire stories.
Who are you on L O S T?
Juliet Burke – she's composed and always so loyal and helpful.
What is your approach to resolve writer’s block?
What is writer's block? - Simply pretend it doesn't exist and keep on writing.
Traditional or ebook?
Ebook because I'm an environmentalist and don’t want our trees chopped down for the sake of paper.
Who should star in “A Job From Hell?”
I haven't really thought about this. Maybe Chace Crawford if he put on a few pounds, or Chris Pine. To play Amber, I'd go for someone who has Gemma Arterton's curves because being a bit chubby and having curves is what Amber's all about.
If you didn’t write what else would you do?
I can't imagine myself doing anything else for longer than a few months. Since I'm a psychologist, I'd probably be doing that.
Alex Gonzo, Royal Spy was an experiment. I'm a fantasy writer at heart but felt a bit low after finishing A Job From Hell. Writing 94,000 words was a torture I didn't want to repeat straight away, so I decided to try my hand at a middle grade adventure. A month later I had this funny story about a boy, Thom, whose dad disappears and now Thom's forced to steal his dad's identity as a spy in order to save him. It was so much fun, not least because I decided to make the kids naughty and confident. I can actually see myself in Hilly, the fifteen-year-old with a bit of an attitude and a love for shopping and spending money. I still adore that story, not least because some of the lines are just hilarious. If you like a bit of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes with lots of humour, check out Alex Gonzo, Royal Spy.
Final question: What is next for Jayde Scott?
Well, I have my women's fiction novel The Divorce Club out with publishers. Let's see what happens there. Now that Beelzebub Girl, the second book in the Ancient Legends series, is out, I'm currently focusing on writing the third installment, tentatively titled Voodoo Kiss, which will feature Cass, Amber and Clare as well as a new character, Sofia.
I'm also working on the first book in the Warlock series, which is dark, gothic YA fiction inspired by mythology and ancient cultures. There's still a lot to tell in the Ancient Legends series, so there shall be a few more books, but I'm also ready to step in a new, more mythological direction to see where it takes me, hence the Warlock series. I'm very excited at the outlook of retreating into my dark abode and focusing on writing again.
So many of us writers crave to write those two little simple words and for so many reasons.
1. It's the end of the journey.
2. Finally I can begin to move on from this story and start a new one.
3. It's a sense of accomplishment.
Those of course are just a few of the many examples it means to write the words, "The End." For me as a fiction writer, this thought came to me after having written my first novel, "Silence." An adventure romance set in the 1920's. I spent so much time in that world. Creating those characters, sharing their dreams, desires, bitterness, shame, anger. I murdered many of them, made some fall in love, some out of love, I spent warm Fall days in the English countryside with them. I sat next to the cold glass of a rain covered window on a train, wondering where this story would finally come to an end. I created a world that was romantic, exciting, dangerous and innocent all at the same time. Yet like everything else, if I didn't write the final two words, how could I ever let my characters live? Giving them to the world so others could take that journey with them.
However, this is not what I mean when I say, is the end, really the end. When I finished writing the book, putting editing, proofing and everything else technical that goes into a book, being just concerned with the story. I wondered just exactly what became of my characters after I wrote the end. Did my main two characters really live a long happy life filled with romance? Did awful things happen to them? Did they cheat on each other? Was the life of an English farm girl too boring for a man used to Hollywood of the 1920's? Did the detectives and Scotland Yard just go back to their boring old daily lives? What became of my characters after I was done with them?
Are they frozen in time, waiting for me to come back? These are curious musings by this author who has decided that sometimes everything we think we know is only a facade waiting for the wall to crumble and show the truth behind it. By that comment I mean, I've actually allowed a few of my characters to make their way into my newest novel. Perhaps this is just to please me, to give them a little more life, reward a reader from a previous book with a little easter egg to find in my new novel. Or is it a chance to see what choices they have made as to where they have ended up?
I wonder...do any of you ever wonder the same things about the lives you create, enjoy, use and then leave behind for your next new shiny loved ones?