Descended Author Interview: Amanda L. Almaraz

Hey guys!

I know, late post, but, it’s Sunday.  It is my day to be lazy so deal with it [please].

If you remember, I read and reviewed my bestie’s book she’s published, Descended, and I really want to help boost this book, it means a lot to me because it means a lot to her and really, I promise, like pinkie promise to you all that I loved this book. [I mean, I bought two versions, kindle and paperback, does this not express my love?!]

You can find the review and synopsis for it here.

Here we go! INTERVIEW TIME MUAHAHAHA

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Q&A

What’s your writing process like?

It starts with loudly proclaiming I have an idea. And depending on how serious I am about the idea is whether or not I’ll share it with anyone. The more serious I am about the project, the more I turn into a quiet broody hen and kinda hide the whole idea, letting it incubate, talking to myself when I’m sitting on it. And then I do my best to act as the character… this is where the broody hen analogy stops, by the way.

So before bed, on the drive to my horses, or work, or even walking through the house, I run what-if scenarios as the protagonist. Somewhere in all this, I’ve started writing. But by this point, the character should already have their own voice and the story should write itself. If it gets stuck, it’s usually because I’m fighting the characters on something I want to see versus something they are more likely to do… this is also how Sox hijacked Descended and decided against a love interest. 

I’d ask where you got the inspiration but I think I already know part of the answer, so if you want to add to it or tell everyone, go for it.

So the inspiration came from an RPG based in the world of BBC’s Merlin. My original character was the assassin King of the Black Spire (more on this character in Book 2…) I wanted a way to use this character in an Arthurian setting without being like so many other stories (and falling into the beautiful trap of shadow fiction), so I developed modern-day Sox as my storyteller and let her take it from there. And she did. I think she really made it her own. [PSST IT WAS OUR RP NOT THAT I’M BRAGGING]

How many books do you plan for Descended?

Descended is weird… the way Sox tells it feels more like I’m watching a movie with a soundtrack instead if reading/writing a book. Which makes the series weird as well. The first arc is set up to have 4 books. The second arc to complete the series has 2… I think. I’ve been toying with the idea of a sequel series in the future when Sox and I are both older, but it depends on her and if I’m already on other projects by then. She might just need a rest when all of the first series is done. I know I will. I’ve been Hamiltoning this series like crazy. (“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” Uh… because I might be?)

What made you decide to publish via Amazon? And how are you finding it?

I didn’t want to spend the time querying publishers and waiting for responses. Time is precious. My dad says often says that for someone so busy, I’m the laziest person he knows. Descended was a story that wanted to get out. Sox neither wanted nor needed an “official” method of publishing. My name is out there with her story. It’s not meant to make money, it’s meant to grow attention. It’s got its own barcode and ISBN though, so she’s official enough for me (insert smiley face here!)

As for how I’m finding Amazon? I don’t know yet. I’m still learning it and there are a lot more marketing capabilities that I can take advantage of, but I’m taking my time and getting a feel for it while working on the rest of the series… the whole book cover thing was absolutely maddening though. But that was mostly human error… me error. I’m bad at communication with my poor artist. 

What’s one author you really look up to/draw inspiration from. [If not an author, what person in general]

I don’t read a lot. I know, blasphemy! But my favorite author is Kristen Britain. I am in love with her Green Rider series and was very upset with myself that I couldn’t read Firebrand until I was done writing Descended. I’m always afraid of my ideas leeching from my favorite books so I remove temptation and read less when writing. 

Most of my inspiration though tends to come from people I know in my own life. For example Sox’s speech comes from the trash-talking kids that I was a substitute teacher for in 2018. They were all so much trouble, but they were really the coolest kids I’ve ever met… scared the hell out of me and are now part of my list of official reasons to not have children of my own, but they were really something.


How is Sox different from other characters you’ve written?

Sox is the first character I’ve written who I let stay in first person. She’s also modern. Her story starts in 2018 and the current problems do affect her. Ie. body image, anxiety. Every other thing I’ve written is in a separate fantasy world removed from our own. Sox is very much just a normal kid. And I think that’s what makes her special. She’s also the first character that I’ve allowed to swear in dialogue and narrative and she’s getting more creative with her insults throughout the series.


Which character do you enjoy writing for most in
Descended?

I can’t choose. I love writing Sox’s narrative, but I also love writing her interactions with young Gawain. The music game is my favorite quirky thing because he is that weird guy. And the way he and Sox click over music and have an entire separate conversation just makes me happy. They put a code into their dialogue that has opened me up to so many different music artists and songs. (By the way, always open to more music suggestions!) Gawain has a playlist on Spotify of all the songs named in the series…

But the main group: Sox, Gawain, Henry, Eddel. Henry is great because I like seeing his vulnerabilities. And Eddel because I love writing her strengths. Oh and Murphy… because Murphy. 


Okay, let’s say you’re in the world your book is set in, what would you do for a day?

Cry. That’s a lot of pressure. I don’t wanna be an heir! I’d probably try to steal a horse and run away. 

Let’s be honest though. I’m a history nerd. My first day in Merlin’s Sanctuary I would’ve probably investigated the ruins of Camelot and gotten put in time out… you know… after dramatically stress crying.

 

Where to Buy

Amazon US | B&N Nook Book | Amazon UK

 

Future Giveaway

Hey guys, I’ll also be doing a giveaway of the ebook of this in September! Keep an eye on my twitter to find out more!

 

Descended Review

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GoodReads:

Anxiety. Frustration. Fear. Trust-Issues. All Socorro wanted in life was to exist without interruption. She had no plans for the present, nor the future. At 2:15pm on her 18th birthday, the past decided it had plans for her instead. Suddenly under the guidance of Merlin and hundreds of years of history, Socorro clashes with the weight of tradition and the expectations of her new life as a descendant of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. As the descendants prepare for the second round of the battle between good and evil against the sorceress Morgan le Fay, Socorro struggles with the idea of accepting this new life, particularly all the people that are now thrust into it.

Book Information:
Title: Descended
By: Amanda Lynn Almaraz
Publisher: Amanda Lynn Almaraz
Format: Paperback, Kindle, B&N eBook

 

My Review

I did not receive this book for free, but I am best friends with the Author, just to say if you think I may be a bit biased, maybe. But, I loved this book so, just accept I’m going to fangirl over this. I already have accepted. But on a more ‘professional’ note, I’ll give you my truly honest review and hope that you decide to give this wonderful book a read.

Almaraz dips us into a YA fantasy where the characters are so realistic, that the MC Socorro and her peers are actually a breath of fresh air.

Socorro is a teenager in every sense of the word, she comes from not the easiest background but there’s love there and it’s so important that there’s a good and supportive parental figure in a YA book. Her mom is an undocumented immigrant and there are struggles because of it, and though Socorro has a father, it’s the love between her mother and her that resonates strongly with me in the story. I’ll let you figure out about her Father.

As someone who has grown up reading things by Almaraz, I can honestly say this one really is a shining example of her talent.

There’s magic, there’s foul-mouthed MCs, there’s a pretty humorous Merlin, and the best part, there’s a story that is a fun take on King Arthur.

These are the descendants of the Knights of the Round Table, of Arthur himself, but they’re not sure what any of that truly means other than they’re to finish the fight that started long before they were born.

Are they vessels, are they just heirs, are they even their own people or forced to be in the shadows of the knights they descend from?

The teenagers have tried to accept what’s been thrown at them, and they’ve done it a lot more willingly than say, Socorro, who doesn’t have time for any of the bullshit people are hefting at her. They’ve grown up with the tales, the understanding of who they are expected to be, but Socorro has never had those expectations thrust at her, so she’s not accepting anything blindly and she asks questions and puts up countermeasures wherever she cans. And I love it.

This is the start of a new fantasy series, so we’re introduced to everything from Socorro’s perspective, and as a newcomer into this magical world, she’s the perfect narrator. This also means that if Socorro doesn’t notice something, we don’t either, and if she doesn’t see something, we don’t either. Almaraz does a great job of remembering that and not making Socorro an overpowered narrator, and I’m not going to lie, Socorro made me chuckle a few times at least.

Overall, the novel is really well-paced, and though I wanted to jump right into the next book I thought it ended perfectly and will not wait impatiently to read book 2. I can’t wait to find out more about the world, the magic, and the characters.

Five cups of coffee, and if you find it sounds interesting, I’ve included the GoodReads link in the blurb section.