Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aspiring Writers Series #4: Amanda Reis

Hey everyone!  Hope you're enjoying Hump Day (though I wish the week would move faster, but whatever).  Just a quick note: I'm writing up a storm in terms of Awaken Book 2, so if you're interested in updates, follow me on twitter @heathercmyers because I tweet while I write (not a good combo, I know).  Again, if you're interested in being interviewed for the AW Series, please email me at with the subject line INTERVIEW and I'd be happy to do so.

Let's jump into it, shall we?

Please tell us a little about yourself.
 In between babysitting, tutoring, volunteering, and getting a second degree I’m a writer. I’m big on education, teach adults how to read in a NYPL program and love sleep. I like to sing like crazy, I watch more movies than I have time for, and I watch tv shows the full way through in huge marathons. I read every day. I write as much as I can. I’m trying to learn French, how to play the piano, and love making up stories.
What type of books do you like to read? What type if books do you like to write?
 I like to read a bit of everything. I went to school for British Literature so I have a huge respect and love for classics like The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Wuthering Heights. But now that I’m out of school I’ve been diving into a lot of teen fiction (books by Simone Elkeles, The Across the Universe Series, John Green books, etc). I’ve also recently gotten into historical novels. Overall, I lean towards character driven stories.
When I write I start with an interesting plot idea or premise that I think I can expand on and then go straight into my characters. For me, writing is much easier when I can connect with my characters and for the most part, they dictate the plot. My stories are usually realistic teen fiction but I am now working on a sci-fi/fantasy project in order to go outside my comfort zone.
What are your top 3 books? What are your top 3 authors?
 Recent Favorites:
Outlander by Diana Gabladon
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie L. King
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
Recent Top 3 Authors:
Eva Ibbotson
Diana Gabladon
What inspires you to write?
 I get story ideas in my head all the time. They play in my head like scenes from an unfinished movie and if I don’t write them down, they just bounce around in there until it’s all I can think about. I can walk around with the same idea for years but it won’t go away until I write it down. Then when I do, the idea evolves and gets bigger and draws me in. That’s what inspired me to write.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?
 I’m a plotter/pantser hybrid. Scenes come to me from different places in the story and I have to write down my main impressions of those scenes so that I can add the scene in later. Generally when I start a chapter, I know what I want it to (roughly) look like. When I get stuck, I make a few bullet points and write wherever the story takes me, while getting through my plot points.
I don’t like feeling too planned. My characters and their feelings seem too mechanical that way so I try to just let the movie reel run in my head and try to not to stray too far off track while I write.
What time of day do you write?
 I usually write late at night. There is something really great about writing when everyone else is sleeping. There are less distractions late at night (in terms of television, people getting in the way, etc) so I can write without interruption. No one will come to me at one in the morning and ask me to do anything and I can keep writing until I write steam. Sometimes I also write in the middle of the day, usually en route to work or on my way home. I tune out my surroundings and just go for it.
What tool do you normally write with? (A pen, computer, phone, etc.)
 I write with both pen and paper and a computer. I think it depends in what kind of mood I’m in. I can’t even really explain to myself when I use which. Sometimes I just start writing and something just doesn’t feel right so I switch to another medium.
Have you ever dealt with writer's block? If so, how did you combat it?
 I have definitely gotten writer’s block. When it happens to me I freak out and procrastinate for a few days (which sometimes I think is necessary in order to distance yourself from the project and get a new look at it). Then I talk to my boyfriend (and quasi-editor) about my plot and my characters. He really hypes me up about all of the possibilities I still haven’t explored and by the time we’re done talking, I take another stab at writing. My first attempt may not be the greatest. I may have to cut a huge chunk of it but it gets the ball rolling.
Please tell us a little bit about your work.
 Right now I’m working on a sci-fi/fantasy project. It has three main characters and explores what happens when different realities collide. There are a lot of different “worlds” to explore and the inhabitants draw on traditional fantasy characters like vampires, fairies, ghosts, but with a HUGE revamping. It’s filled with conspiracies, special abilities, world travel, and complicated characters. It’s a lot of fun to write.
I’ve recently started the project and the first chapter is almost complete. I may be posting it on either fictionpress or wattpad but am a bit hesitant because of recent plagiarizing problems. If I do, you can find the story (still unnamed at the moment) here:
Where did you get your idea for this story?
 The story came to me when I had a conversation with a friend about how human-friendly supernatural creatures have become in popular literature nowadays. For example, vampires don’t eat humans anymore. I wanted to take these creatures and make them more realistic and less cuddly. After that, I wanted to know where these creatures came from and how they ended up here.
What challenges have you faced with writing this story?
 World creation definitely. I have at least seven different worlds and societies to come up with and the prospect of creating that much (literary) life is mind-boggling.  Also, world creation is super important in fantasy stories. The reader needs to see what is going on and needs to understand the rules of the universe you’ve made up.
Other than that, I’m having a slight problem keeping perfectionism in check and switching to the POVs of three different characters.
 Who is your favorite character to write?
 I think it’s hard to pick a favorite character. I think all characters have something awesome about them that the author loves to write about. I think for me, my female main character is easier to connect to and write for. My two other main characters (both boys) can be a bit stubborn about letting me write for them. It takes me longer to get to the point when I write for them because it takes me a while to fall into the character.
What type of romantic relationship do you like to read? (Hate/love, best friend, forbidden, etc.) is it the same type you like to write? Why or why not?
 I love love stories and I’m not too picky about what kind of love story I read. I think the one that tugs at me the most though is opposites attract though. I like it when two characters who have been getting on each other’s nerves because of their differences come together for some reason and find that those differences is what makes them a good team and possibly a good couple. They can find in each other the things they lack themselves.
What draws you to a book (to read)?
 I feel bad saying that the first thing that draws me to a book is the cover, but it’s true. If I’m at a book store, I’m starting the selection process by looking at covers. Thanks to websites like goodreads, I can find books in a specific genre and that helps to minimize the whole “book cover” thing. I was very happen when I ran across Diana Gabladon on goodreads in someone’s “Best Books of All Time” list.
In terms of story, I think that I like an interesting plot premise and characters that look dynamic. An English woman slipping through time to land in the Scotland Highlands? (Outlander) Sounds like a good time. A spaceship full of people looking for a new earth? Interesting (Across the Universe Series).
What characteristics do you look for in your ideal heroine? Your ideal hero? Are they the same characteristics you employ when you write your heroine and your hero? Why or why not?
 I think that recently most heroines are becoming cold. I don’t think that female characters should be warm and cuddly but I also feel like writers are afraid of making their female characters feel anything for fear of them being called Mary-Sues. I like heroines who are strong leaders, who take responsibility for those around them, and can do what needs to be done even when they and everyone else don’t want to.
What are you currently reading?
 Right now I am reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) by Diana Gabladon.
Finally, what are the ingredients to your favorite book? (A dose of action, a splash of romance, etc.)
 Complex characters with interesting and realistic motivations, themes that make you think, a splash of romance, a good villain, some action, pretty sounding prose, etc… 

No comments:

Post a Comment