Thursday, January 5, 2017

Interview with paranormal romance author Amanda Meuwissen

YA paranormal romance author Amanda Meuwissen is with me today and we’re chatting about her new urban fantasy, Life as a Teenage Vampire.

During her virtual book tour, Amanda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been posting content online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the digital marketing company Outsell. She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).

Welcome, Amanda. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Life as a Teenage Vampire is my first young adult title, and despite being a lifelong vampire fan, it’s my first vampire focused novel as well. My previous titles include the adult paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga. This novel is special to me because it incorporates many true stories and tidbits from my own high school years, as well as some from friends. I joke that everything in this book is true – except the vampires.

What inspired you to write this book?
Since so much of the novel is taken from my own life, that did in part inspire the book, but I was first spurred on to write this tale after finally finishing a young adult trilogy I loved when I was younger: Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. The final novel, Rainbow Road, the TV show Teen Wolf, one of my favorite movies growing up My Best Friend is a Vampire, and what was a recent film when I started writing Captain American: The Winter Soldier, all played a role in where this story went.

Excerpt from Life as a Teenage Vampire:

“What about Lucky Number Sleven,” he said. “Lucy Liu is totally the romantic lead in that one.”
“Correct,” Aurora nodded, “but that’s first and foremost an action move, not rom-com.”
“Why does it have to be romantic comedy?”
“Because that is the tried and true genre for romance, Con-Man. Admit it, without looking it up or doing an impressive online search, you can’t think of any mainstream American romance movies with Asian leads. It doesn’t happen! I am forever shunned to the stereotyped role or cute Asian best friend.”
“Well, you are cute,” Connor said thoughtfully. “And one of my best friends.”
She mimed shoving a ketchup and cheese covered fry in his face, but he took advantage of the gesture to snap his jaws and swipe it from her fingers. She snorted and shook her head. “If this is your romantic comedy, Connor, you are doing something terribly wrong. Your leading man is completely unaware of the plotline.”
The memory of Emery’s warm hug that morning sent a shiver through him. “You think you have it bad never being cast in leading roles? Where’s the gay romance box office hit I’ve been waiting for all my life? And if you say Brokeback Mountain to me, I will punch you in the boob.” 
Aurora responded by punching him in the boob, which—ouch—really hurt. She was freakishly strong for someone so tiny. “Anyway, that isn’t even what we were talking about. I said I hate how half the time female roles are only written in to be romantic interests. No substance. No purpose. Just a tight ass and a pretty face to dress up the movie poster and give the guy some arm candy. Where’s the action film with the girl as the kickass sidekick or partner—or hey, as the hero herself—without needing to make it about sex? Why does there have to be romance in everything? Girls are just shoved into the supporting role, Asian girls even more so.”
Connor stole one of the fries from her plate while he tapped his feet on the seat he should have been sitting in. They were seniors; if they wanted to sit on the tables, they were allowed. Unless a teacher walked by. “It’s kind of funny, right?”
“What’s funny?”
“I’d give anything to be typecast as the love interest. Frankly, I’d trade spots with any girl in this school to have some of those stereotypes instead of my own.”
Aurora cocked her head at him, another fry suspended between them, having come dangerously close to getting ketchup in the long braid over her shoulder as she gestured. “You want to be an object?”
“I want to be an option.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I think I feel this way with every new story I work on, but the novel I’m writing now, Lovesick Gods, is something I am more excited about than anything I have ever worked on before. It will be adult again with an M/M romance focus, but rather than paranormal, it’s a superhero story. While the romance aspect is important, and the world of superpowers, heroes, and villains I’ve created, the heart of the story is actually the hero’s struggles with bipolar depression, and how his nemesis (also love interest) overcomes past traumas of physical abuse and trust issues. While it can be heavy and heated and heart-wrenching, it’s been one of the most healing experiences for me as I work on this book, which I hope to have out later in 2017.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
High school. I had a profound experience with a reader at a young age, back when all I knew and wrote was fanfiction, and it made me realize how much writing can affect people, change people, mean to people. Ever since then I’ve known I had to write, and considered myself a writer, long before I had a real novel under my belt.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a day job, but over the last couple of years I have been aggressive about finding time to write. It started with NaNoWriMo 2015, and hasn’t slowed down. I commute to downtown Minneapolis for work, and do a lot of writing and editing on the bus. I also dedicate an hour at home most nights after dinner. I have a very supportive and understanding husband. I work in marketing for a customer engagement company for auto dealers, which can often be filled with non-fiction writing tasks. I find this aids in my desire to write creatively at the end of the day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think my writing style is a bit like a screenplay writer. I’m very visual, I like to set the scene for people, especially what my characters look like, and my strengths tend to be in action and dialogue.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Many things. A doctor, a vet, an FBI agent, but as I got a little older I knew I would either choose to become a writer or an actress. I still miss acting, but I’m happy with my decision.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you want something that fits that YA vampire romance mold with none of the clich├ęs, this is the novel for you. It’s young love, heartbreak, discovering one’s sexuality and place in the world, with fun action, humorous discussions, and memorable moments that even if you haven’t been a teenager yourself in years, will remind you of your own high school days too.

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Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Melinda Campbell said...

Sounds like a great book, I want to see what happens next. I will definitely check this one out! Thanks!

LauraJJ said...

Oh sounds so good! I love that you are from Minnesota too...I always wanted to go to St Olaf!

Amanda Meuwissen said...

Thank you so much for this great stop! The interview and chance to show off one of my favorite scenes was a blast, and I wish all the readers stopping by good luck with the drawing!

Thank you, Lisa, good luck!

Thank you, Melinda! Scenes like the one here are some of my favorite aspects of this story, even when not dealing with the vampire theme directly. I hope you enjoy it!

And thank you, Laura. I loved St. Olaf. It's where I met my husband, and was a wonderful experience, with tons of study abroad and other great opportunities. If you're around in the Spring, I'll be at the State Fair grounds for Spring Con May 20th and 21st with all of my books.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

DanieX said...

this book sounds awesome! I love vampires!

Victoria Alexander said...

Sounds like an excellent book - thanks for sharing :)

Joseph Wallace said...

What books are you looking to read in 2017? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Nikolina said...

I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

Nikolina said...

Shared on G+ to help spread the word, have a great day! :)

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

Ally Swanson said...

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

Ally Swanson said...

I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and look forward to checking out this book!

Nikolina said...

And shared on facebook today, just in case somebody missed it! xoxo