Amanda Mondoux was kind enough to give us some time to talk about the book, writing, self-publishing, and cupcakes. That interview is after the jump.
Amanda was also kind enough to provide us with a giveaway - a print copy of Forbidden Era. There aren't a whole lot of these available, so this is a cool addition. Check the end of the interview for the details.
Anyway, enjoy the interview!
Jeff: First, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Amanda: Absolutely. I’m 32 years old, married to a wonderful husband who is very supportive of me and my work. We have no human offspring, but do have children in the furred, scaled and spiked categories. I work as a veterinary technician, and absolutely love it.
Jeff: What books do you normally read?
Amanda: As you might have guessed, I adore fantasy, but my love for reading doesn’t stop there. I’ll read just about anything except romance.
Jeff: What got you into writing?
Amanda: I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and would always day dream of events happening with different twists. As a child I read all the time, and the more I read, the more I wanted to share some of the insanity that churned in my head. I started by telling impromptu tales of fantasy to my niece and nephew during long car rides. I then moved on from there with the encouragement of my teachers.
Jeff: Any specific inspirations or models for your writing? Obviously, this has been a bit of a lifelong thing for you, but I’m curious as to whether there’s anything that sticks out as a sort of “this is what I envision”-type of thing.
Amanda: Everything I see, everyone I meet, and every event to unfold before me has an impact on my writing. Out of everything, I would say that animals, specifically those under my care, inspire me the most. Truthfully, however, I could see a dime on the ground and that could trigger a 92k [word] novel.
Jeff: So you recently put out Forbidden Era, what is that about?
Amanda: Forbidden Era is a novel regarding the salvation of time. Myraza is an innocent recently rescued from life of imprisonment and abuse. Her ability to use magic to control time is seen by a curse to some, a blessing to others, and a tool for the corrupt. Living in an era of flux, Myraza learns of herself while fighting to correct the flaw in time before it collapses. Some will help her, some control, while others try to kill her, and she must decipher who is friend or foe when she trusts everyone.
Jeff: You decided to self-publish it. Any specific reason why?
Amanda: After reading a handful of foul traditionally published books, I started to rethink my approach to publishing. I feel that many publishers are more concerned about making their budget than publishing quality work. In addition to this, I am uncomfortable with how little control authors have over their own work once signed by a publishing house. In most cases, the publisher reserves the right to rewrite any portion of a novel they signed, and that makes me uncomfortable. Most authors don’t even have a say on the design of their cover. Some people may be fine with this, but right now I am not.
Jeff: Has the self-publishing been successful for you so far? What would you define your idea of a successful publication in this model? Amanda Hocking, just happy to get your books on Amazon, or somewhere in between?
Amanda: It’s a little early in the game for me to declare success or failure, but thus far it has met my expectations. Right now my goal is not to make money but to get my name and my work out there. I want people to share my worlds and love them as much as I do.
I would consider a successful publication as one that meets the expectations of the publisher. For most this is the number of people they reach and the amount of books they sell. Right now I’m all about grasping the attention of readers.
Jeff: One thing that impressed me about Forbidden Era was that the quality was so high. Typically, self-publishing is synonymous with poorer-quality writing and/or editing, and you didn’t fall into that trap. What was your trick?
Amanda: Thank you! I wish I could say that it came naturally, but alas it didn’t. Forbidden Era is my tenth book written with numerous others in progress. That old cliche chimes in here: practice makes perfect. I also invested time (years) and money into a professional editor for one of my other works. I treated her edits and advice as I would a day in school, and through her help, diligence, and a good amount of research I have improved my writing. Every day I look to grow as an author; every word written is a new experience and a change to learn.
Jeff: Do you have any advice for folks who are writing and looking to publish independently?
Amanda: Before you even think about taking that big step into the carnivorous world of publishing, take time to make sure that you’re ready. Do your research, hire a professional editor, and use beta readers--of whom are not among your family and friends; you need someone who is going to be brutally honest, and those who love you will often hold back when you might need a little slap.
Jeff: Would you publish in a more traditional way if the opportunity arose?
Amanda: It is possible. The contract would need to be to my liking as would the company. There are many businesses out there that are not trustworthy or just won’t get you the attention you deserve.
Jeff: What else is on the horizon for you writing-wise? I know you put out a short story (Whyre Curseabout a month ago (which is patiently waiting to be read on my Kindle as we speak), but what else can we expect from you going forward?
Amanda: I’m not going to spoil any surprises, but I will inform you that I am currently working on preparing my first written novel for publication with the entire series to follow. Route of Veracity is, in essence, my first born child; I can’t wait to share! After that I have numerous completed manuscripts waiting for some polish before they can leave my hands.
Jeff: Anything else you’d like to add? Thoughts, rants, shout-outs, cookie recipes?
Amanda: I’m more of a cupcake girl, actually. Mmm...frosted goodness...
There is always something cooking in this head of mine. You can keep up with events, releases, or idle rambling through my Facebook page or my website. Stop by and say hi!
So, as I mentioned, we're able to give away a copy of Forbidden Era in print! The rules are simple - post the name of your favorite fantasy novel in the comments, and we'll choose a person randomly on 1 August to receive the book. Easy enough, right?
Best of luck, and thanks again to Amanda Mondoux!