Amy Blackwelder writes paranormals under the pen name A. Blackwelder:
ELVES, MERMAIDS, ANGELS, DEMONS, VAMPIRES, ZOMBIEs, SHIFTERS and more.
eMail me for autographed books at $9.99 TOUCH-OF-GRACE@HOTMAIL.COM
Subject: AUTOGRAPH MY BOOK
First I want to thank Rachel for having me on Bitten By Books!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a forbidden romance writer in the paranormal and historical romance genre. My unique experiences allow me an original perspective and a plethora of ideas to entertain readers.
I grew up in Florida and went to UCf. In 1997 I received my BA in English and teaching credentials. I decided to travel overseas and teach and have worked in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. Thailand is considered my second home now. I have always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, my novels began when I was in Thailand.
What books came along at just the right time to influence your reading/writing?
Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars.
What are your writing goals?
To establish myself with a collection of novels, about three or four written yearly.
Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
Usually I tend to swerve toward wildlife protection and conservation. I also play with themes involving prejudice, and oppression.
Tell us about your latest book.
What’s the hook for the book?
Alaska 2060. Three Species. Two Lovers. One Way To Survive!
Summary: Set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her sophomore year at University, she thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. As April embraces her new identity, will she have to leave the life she loves behind?
With underlining themes of how prejudice breaks human connections and animal/wildlife conservation, this novel which has received rave reviews will leave the reader flipping through the pages of April’s story.)
Do you think your writing has improved since your first attempt? If so, in what way?
Greatly, since the birth of my first novel, I have learned to edit myself while I write and re-read my sentences a few times before moving onward. I have also to sit side by side with my thesaurus. I’ve learned to professionally edit and professionally cover design my work before release, because the product I believe to be finished will still have important changes to undergo which I have not seen.
I found my first two books more challenging the the last two and that is simply because I love the characters in my last two books so much that writing their stories became effortless. The first story I wrote, The Gate of Lake Forest, an elfin romance, included a few fun characters and an interesting storyline, but the story was more difficult, along with the sequel Prisoners of Pride, because I could not relate as an author to the main characters as much as the characters in my later books. However, young adults seem to love the first two books.
How do you develop characters? Setting?
I usually have a few main characters in my head that have strong voices and they are the reason the story is born. However minor characters and others are conceived through-out the stories development. I also have the beginning, part of the middle, and sometimes the ending in my end. I work loosely with a written outline, but usually swerve off of the outline. The rest of the story is created as the characters venture off…I try to let the characters tell their story, instead of me telling the story for them. If that makes sense.
What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?
April is the protagonist in my latest novel, The Hunted of 2060. One reviewer, the most critical of this piece, said April was too ‘go with the flow’. She wanted to see more rebellion I guess.
April really is not a ‘go with the flow girl’ and doesn’t go with the flow of humans ever. However, April does listen to her ‘clan.’ April’s weakness is she doesn’t know who she is, who she is becoming, if she can control it, where she belongs and who she wants to belong too. She is thrown into the middle of much confusion, violence, and uncertainty.
For that reason, she follows the advice of her clan, instead of rebels. She clings to Robert, because he is one of the few humans she can trust and she needs him to remind her of her humanity. She is not mentally incapable of being separate from Robert, but he provides the emotional qualities she doesn’t want to forget as she metamorphosis.
How do you determine voice in your writing?
Characters have a story to tell.
In this latest novel, first person voice works, because this novel is April’s story. As readers, we are privy to her thoughts, emotions and life. April is polite enough to allow us on that journey with her. However the prequel, The Shifters of 2040, will be written in third person, because I want to dive into different sources, the Militia and Melissa (April’s natural mother), the shifters, and the politics with Josephine and Taylor (April’s adoptive parents), as well as touch on the hybrid children. I want to provide the reader with ample background to how April’s story is born. Those who love The Hunted of 2060, will devour this prequel.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
Some writers use and need outlines, what characters are going to do, details of what the story will be before writing. I let the story and characters take me where they want. I have to write an outline to keep up with everything. But I don’t want to limit myself beforehand.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
I spent eight years in Asia, and so my perspective on life is different from most Americans. I imagine that comes out in my writing at times. Also my love of nature and animals is usually present inadvertently. In looking at my four novels thus far, three of them take place mostly in a forest.
Where do you write? When? What do you have around you?
I usually write at home on my lab top, but I do go to Barnes n Noble, outside and generally write whenever I can. Morning. Night.
After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?
Television, tea, conversation, sunbathing.
Any current projects?
The prequel, The Shifters of 2040.
This saga may be made up of six novels when its all said and done. The Invasion of 2020. The SCM of 2030. The Shifters of 2040. The Hybrids of 2050. The Hunted of 2060. The Revolution of 2060.
The Hunted is complete. After The Shifters ready in October 2010, I will write the Revolution and then the Hybrids, the Invasion and the SCM. A few years will pass before the complete saga is finished.
I will of course work on other novels intermittently in historical, contemporary and paranormal.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?