Author Interview: Amanda Lyons

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Today I have Amanda Lyons, who assures me that while she writes about vampires, it’s not the Twilight-style paranormal romance, nor the hack and slash horror novel either. Check her out on Goodreads!  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7035440.Amanda_M_Lyons

1.So what drew you to writing in the first place?

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and a healthy love of stories. I first decided I wanted to be a writer after I wrote a story that made a big impression on my 6th grade teacher. We were assigned to write a story about Christmas and mine was about a homeless family struggling to get help at Christmastime. It showed a lot more attention to detail and characterization than he’d expected and he encouraged me to keep writing. My interest grew from that first experience. I wanted to keep creating things that entertained and interested people, made them think about the story.

2. What inspires you? How do you get ideas for stories?

I get inspiration from all sorts of sources. It could be because I saw a movie or read a book that really moved me or because something came to mind out of the blue. Just the other day I had an idea because it looked like rain and we weren’t sure if it would rain out my son’s baseball game. From that my mind clicked toward what would happen if we got caught out in the rain and things went unexpectedly. I’m always jotting down different ideas.

3. So you’ve written a ‘gothic horror’ novel. What does ‘gothic horror’ mean to you?

Gothics were these novels that were a lot of things at once: horror, romance, mystery and suspense. There was a dark overtone to everything and there was always this great mystery happening to a tragic female figure lost in the Victorian age. Well Eyes Like Blue Fire has all of those elements in a modern setting. The novel deals with vampires, ghouls, ghosts, the undead and the monstrous elements of humanity. So in the end it’s a horror novel with strong gothic elements. There’s romance, tragedy, horror, death and a sort of dream like quality to everything. Everything is sort of surreal and dark. It’s nothing at all like popular paranormal romance but it also isn’t your traditional horror novel. Because it shares so much in common with the elements of the traditional gothics but takes it into horror territory I call it gothic horror.

4. Tell me about the book:

Katja is a vampire caught in this tragic spiral of a life, even as a vampire she seems to keep having terrible things happen and so she’s alone. Then she meets Raven who could be a big change for the better, a new hope in her life. Instead she runs and finds herself caught up in all of these mysteries about her sire’s life before her. All of which comes to threaten both her and Raven. She has to face her fears about failing and literally save her future from her and Anton (her sire)’s past. It’s about choosing to move on from your past.

5. What kind of reader will this appeal to, and why?

Hmm, I think it could appeal to a lot of different readers actually but it would probably be most appealing to readers who like character driven novels that also happen to have horror elements and a love for the surreal quality of dreams. I started ELBF long before PNR became such a powerhouse genre and horror started being less interested in the potentially tragic and dramatic over things like zombies, cannibals and killers (not that all of those aren’t valid topics. It just isn’t the road I took with ELBF). I’d say it was influenced more by writers like Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Poppy Z. Brite, Maryann Mitchell and Jemiah Jefferson. Their books and stories tend to have dark settings and tragic pasts to affect their characters who are the center of the story rather than what’s come to change their lives. I think the people who will enjoy my book might have a fondness for the dramatic.

6. What are you working on next?

I have a few different novels in progress. A sequel to ELBF called Cool Green Waters, a novel about a writer who ends the world and then tries to save it called Other Dangers, Jodie which is about a girl and her dolls, a novel about a boy and his mother getting lost in another world and another about a farm where the animals start to change. As I’ve said before I have lot of ideas and I’m always trying to keep up with them.

7. What advice would you give to other writers?

Never give up, read a lot, and respect everyone even if they don’t respect you. More than anything it’s you that has to answer for what you do, how much effort you put into it and how skilled you are at getting it on the page. If you don’t do that nobody else can do it for you.

8. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

I have many favorite authors. I read so much that I’ve collected them over the years. The one’s I go back to over and over again are Stephen King, Gary Braunbeck and Jennifer Weiner. All three of them are favorites because of how much they care about their characters and the story. King is a master storyteller, even when things don’t work out with the book you remember what bits did. Braunbeck’s novels and stories have a soul to them, they matter more than other books because they touch you deeply. Weiner’s books( unlike other books classified as chick-lit) are so well put together you don’t realize how masterfully she’s manipulated you to see exactly what she wants you to see and made you feel exactly how she wants you to feel. She doesn’t write fluff, it’s drama and tragedy masquerading as fluff.

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