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!

 

Book Vs. Book. Vs. Book

Title catch your eye?

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me having a small rant about people being elitists about their mediums of reading.

Let’s take a look at this conundrum:


I just chose this book at random and it’s on my tbr so you know, there’s that. But that’s not the point.

One of these is the Kindle edition cover, one is the paperback edition cover, and one is obviously the audible’s audio version’s cover. I say obviously because it says performed by the author on the last one and it’s literally the only picture with any sort of difference. But do you know what?

All 3 have the same damn content.

Let’s let that sink in.

All 3 have the same content. They’re all the same BOOK.

Okay, most of you didn’t need this repeated a second time because I know a lot book people aren’t elitists (or rather I hope so, please don’t shred my hope guys lol).

As someone who loves sniffing pages like some weird teen trying to get a high from spray paint, I know where people are coming from when they say they prefer real books.

As someone who travels frequently and has a lot of times to just whip out her phone or eReader to read, I understand where people are coming from who prefer their electronic readers. [When I’m talking about books that aren’t eARCs I read mostly physical but I utilize my Kindle(s) A LOT.]

As someone who has had to do a crap ton of driving in her life, I can understand why people would want audiobooks. [They’re the only method of reading I don’t use, but, uh, that’s not because I’m ‘above’ it, that is just my preference]

So, seeing people in Twitter being like:

O,h I could NEVER trade my real books for a KINDLE, why would I ever want to do such a horrible thing?

I’m sorry, but quite frankly, get bent. Your method of reading isn’t any better and people have their reasons, some people don’t have access to physical books so they may not even prefer a Kindle or an audible but it’s the only method of reading, and what, you’re going to make them feel bad?

How about being sincere? ‘I’d like to know your reasons for preferring an audiobook or Kindle, as someone who prefers physical books, I’m curious to know.’

And guess what? No one needs to have a reason to prefer a reading medium. they might just like it more, and that alone is enough.

Some people can’t read on screens and guess what they don’t need to be harassed, and some people can only really get into reading by listening to audiobooks, and guess what, anyone being harassed is just not going to be as eager to share their love of reading and how utterly crappy is that?

And I know it seems like I’m singling out people who prefer physical books, I’m not.  It is just that unfortunately, in MY case, on my twitter these are the only ones that pop up but don’t you get me wrong if I see any other reading medium elitist, I’m going to give them hell too.

Everyone is allowed to have their preferences but no one is allowed to belittle another for their preference. You don’t get to act pretentious, you don’t get to sit there laughing at their ‘poor choice’ because that just makes you look like a big twat-nugget. Oh yeah, I went there. Pardon my language.

I’m just really irritated this week and this just was a bit of exasperation for me.

The world needs more readers, by any means possible, a world filled with book lovers is the kind of place I want to be and that means we just need to stop being picky about what kind of readers they are.

Do they use a nook? Great!

Paperbacks only? Fantastic!

Still rockin’ the audio CDs? Hell yea!

And you know, just so we know that at some point I’ll tackle this too:

Do you love smutty romances? I will hunt down Harlequin-esque novels for you

Comics/Graphic Novels/Manga only? Great, let’s talk shop, give me your recs.

Nonfiction? My god do you even exist lol? Because I could use people to talk nonfiction with

You get the point, if I did this with all the genres we’d be here until we look like this:

I guess at the heart of my little rant, what I really want to make clear is, please, PLEASE don’t put others down for how they choose to enjoy books, and please, please, PLEASE, if you have been put down, know that it’s not right or okay, that you’re still a reader and you are very valid to the book community. [And if you are ever made to feel bad, you send them to me, I shall politely and firmly tell them they’re being an ass]

Go forth and read!!!