Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Interview with author Amalie Howard

Today I'd like to welcome the wondefully talented and super friendly Amalie Howard, author of the YA novel, Bloodspell. If you read my review for Bloodspell, you'd know that it's awesome. And you really should go grab a copy.

Read on to find out about what sexy million dollar car Christian would drive,  Amalie's favourite scenes to write and who she'd pledge her loyalty to: witches or vampires?

I love that you show the struggles and that raw, darker side that comes with being a witch or vampire. It's really refreshing to see when it's sometimes glossed over in YA paranormal. What inspired you to take on this compelling story?
Thank you. The darkness was an element that I really wanted to convey in this novel. In terms of inspiration, I spent my childhood in the Caribbean, an area of the world rich in occult folklore and mysticism, which undoubtedly shaped my interest in dark fantasy. I remember reading the very dark and disturbing The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales at about seven, and it was intense and raw and scary! Add in an early obsessive interest with Anne Rice, and my fascination (and respect) for the darker side of paranormal was sealed. As a result, my idea of witches and vampires is not all sunshine and roses—the way I see it is that this kind of power comes at a cost, whether it’s a cost of a soul or a conscience or in blood. I mean these creatures are historically known as “creatures of the night.” They’re not exactly cut out to be your best friend. They’re selfish and powerful and live only to serve their own wants and desires. That said, I think the things we love most in supernatural creatures besides the lure of their beauty and power, is their humanity, no matter how fragile it may be. We want to connect with them, to root for them, so we have to identify with them in some small part, even if they terrify us. In Bloodspell, I needed to show the darker, more terrible side because in the end, it only emphasizes the light that my characters (particularly Christian and Victoria) are striving for. We all have our dark natures, but that doesn’t make us bad people. Even at our worst, we’re still going to be worthy of love and forgiveness. That’s the human condition. The ability to love and to show compassion are distinctly human characteristics. For me, the juxtaposition of darkness and light really highlights the redemptive elements in this novel. Despite what they are, my characters struggle against the seductive pull of their baser natures, and find value in fighting for their humanity.

Whose perspective did you enjoy writing from more, Victoria or Christian's?
This is a tough choice because I really enjoyed writing both. On the one hand, writing from Victoria’s perspective was awesome because I liked being on her journey of discovering her powers, falling in love, and coming to terms with what she is. She’s young and fresh and feisty! But on the other hand, I also loved writing from Christian’s perspective because he’s a 175-year-old immortal! If I had to choose, I would probably go with Christian if only because it was so cool to be able to construct a whole life for him spanning a couple centuries. I literally lived vicariously through him! I loved that continuous feeling of evolution within Christian’s thought process and his whole internal struggle with who he is and the rules of his world. He’s so incredibly complex! He’s a very intelligent being, and yet he falls in love with this girl who is nearly his polar opposite. I think a part of me really enjoyed exploring the masculine side of things, particularly as it related to love and matters of the heart. As a writer, I wanted to give readers a chance to experience both perspectives as I did. After all, love is a connection between two people—why not be able to savor the experience of both?

Do you have a favourite scene from Bloodspell?
I have a few, but I have to say that my hands-down favorite is the fight scene in the end with the other warlocks. I LOVE that Tori is so fierce and fearless and insanely confident. She becomes everything and more that I wanted her to be—to defend and fight for those she loves. It was a singularly proud moment for me. *wipes tear away*

It has to be asked. We're on the brink of a war. You must declare your loyalty to one side only. Witches or vampires?
Witches! No, vampires! No, witches! Ok fine, we’re on the brink of war so I’ll stop posturing. In the end, I have to have my girl Victoria’s back on this one. And well, she is the undisputed queen of the paranorms, so I’m on Team Tori. The real question is … whose side will she be on?

Can you give us any teasers for what to expect in the sequel? I am not above begging! Or pretending I have fangs to scare a few answers out of you :)
Haha! Fangs, bring it! In the sequel, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Christian and Victoria, plus some of the other characters like Leto (a lot of him!) and Angie, and maybe some new ones. The sequel is set in Paris so I’m really excited about that, and it really delves into Victoria’s past and how the curse started. Readers will also learn more about the Reii, the Vampire Ancients, and will come to understand more about Christian, how he was turned and why he is so important to the vampire society. I’m really excited about the next book!

Do you have any behind-the-scenes facts to share? (like a scene/character that didn't make the cut, funny story about something that happened while writing, inspiration for a particular scene, etc).

With all the editing that usually happens, scenes invariably get cut. I had some pretty awesome scenes with Christian on a Hayabusa motorbike, one of the fastest bikes in the world, as well as him driving a Bugatti Veyron, which costs about $1.3 million dollars. Seriously, if I were a vampire with time and money at my disposal, I would buy every fast car, boat, bike and plane out there … from the concepts to the classics! Anyway, I guess the editors thought that it was a little too much unnecessary detail that didn’t add to the story or Christian’s hotness. But honestly—have a look at this car? Imagine Christian driving this? *SWOON*

You're insanely well travelled (and I'm insanely jealous!). What have been some of your favourite places visited?
I really owe the foundation for this to my mother. We were the family that saved money to travel, so I’ve been doing that from a very young age and continued it into my older years. It’s given me a great foundation for experiencing different cultures and understanding the true meaning of diversity. There are so many places I could list, if only because each place holds some kind of special memory! Obviously, France tops the list just because I feel such a deep connection every time I’m in Paris, something in my blood, I think … the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, I love it all. Off the top of my head and in no particular order, I loved surfing in Australia and skiing in New Zealand, eating my way through Tuscany, playing carnival in Trinidad, basking on the beach in Bali, scuba-diving in the Bahamas, bungee-jumping in Macau, shopping on Rodeo Drive like in Pretty Woman (I bought a scarf, the only thing I could afford), swimming in the warm Mediterranean in Cyprus, and lastly, putting down some family roots in the wonderful state of New York.

If you could date any fictional character, who would it be?
Really? LOL. Christian, hands down. Extra points if he lets me drive the Bugatti. Although … I’ve really been feeling Four lately from Divergent. May need to have a “boy-off” in the foreseeable future.

In a dystopian future where books are banned, which three novels would you risk your life to save?
Great question! Let me think about this for a minute. Notwithstanding, Bloodspell, I would shed blood for Lord of the Rings, Pride & Prejudice, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Amalie! Can I please join your super hot date with Christian and Four, please??

Stop by and say hi to Amalie on her website, twitter and facebook. Or add Bloodspell to Goodreads!

3 comments:

  1. Great interview! Makes me want to pick up this book even more!

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,
    Cory @ Anti-Drug Reads

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantabulous Inter/Outer/View. Your description of your exotic, balanced, yet structured background and your love for reading and traveling only confirms the beautiful writer you were meant to be. Congratulations Purdy!
    Great Book!

    ReplyDelete

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