Welcome to Fabulous Author Friday with Amanda Browning!
Without further ado....
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a twenty-seven year old author of paranormal fiction. I’ve always loved anything paranormal and I am an avid collector of the unusual. I live in southern Indiana with my husband and children, and I adore stargazing on clear nights. I loved writing when I was a kid, but I always wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. Last year, my husband got me a kindle and when I came down from the resulting reading binge and was complaining about having nothing to read, my brother told me, “So write something.” I sat down that night to plan my book and haven’t looked back since.
Did you always want to be an author?
From the age of eight, I wanted to be a surgeon. I had an extensive plan in place. After I had my first child, the idea lost all its appeal. I wanted to be with my kids, not working hundred hour weeks. As an adult, I didn’t think of writing professionally until I submitted a short story for publication and it was accepted. I have been writing nonstop for almost a year now, and I don’t think I will ever give it up.
What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
Talking to people who’ve read my work. It makes me feel like a rock star when someone tells me they liked my book. It is the most amazing feeling to be able to entertain others with my imagination. I absolutely love it.
Tell us a little about your book.
Birth of the Nyxian is a paranormal romance with so much more than romance. It centers around a human named Harlow and an eight hundred twenty year old vampire named Aiden. Aiden is different from most vampires in that he was turned by force. Hades, who sent his daughter, Lilith, to create vampires in ancient Greece, cannot control vampires who did not willingly surrender their souls for immortality. Harlow and Aiden have to fight for their right to be together as they are trapped between gods, not-so-mythical creatures and a network of supernatural minions bent on turning them over to Hades. Birth of the Nyxian is the first book in The Immortal Choice series. Book two should be out in the spring of 2013.
As I spun to see who was there, I ran right into the massive chest of the man who had interrupted my reverie. He appeared startled that I’d noticed him, since he hadn’t made a sound. But, oh boy, was I glad I’d turned around.
Even in the dark, he was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. He was probably also a serial killer, but I couldn’t seem to get my mind past, oh my God! Look at that magnificent male specimen!
After a moment, I stopped staring and realized that however gorgeous he may be, this guy had still snuck up on me in the dark. I took a step back and to the side, trying to give myself an avenue of escape if needed. He stepped forward and to the side to block me, causing us to circle each other.
“So, does it take practice to sneak up on women in the dark like that, or is it just your way of saying hello?” I asked with more bravado than I felt.
His skin was very pale; seeming almost luminous in its lack of color. He smiled and I saw a flash of white teeth in the dark. I couldn’t see well, but it seemed like something was off with his front teeth. I felt a shiver of unease slide down my spine, but I ignored it.
“If you’re so worried, why haven’t you run?” he asked with a predatory glint in his eyes as he stepped closer.
His voice was deep and smooth as it seemed to stimulate all the nerve endings in my body. That voice was made for whispering sweet nothings into a lover’s ear and I had to force myself to focus on the fact that this guy had snuck up on me in the dark with God knows what in mind.
“Yeah, because turning my back on a stranger to run stumbling through the dark seems like such a great idea,” I replied with a little more snark than I had intended. Despite my apprehension, even with my brave words, I didn’t back away from him.
He laughed and I was stunned by the musical quality the sound held. His voice had completely captured my attention. It triggered a response within me that I couldn’t define.
Well, maybe I could: my mind was filled with some very vivid images of the things he might want with me. Part of me wanted to get closer to this man, despite the possible danger.
As if he could sense my thoughts, he stepped closer and I raised my hand to keep some space between us. My hand pressed against his chest and, instead of the warmth I was expecting, I felt the chill that his body gave off, even through his clothes.
His closeness brought his scent with it, and for a moment I was adrift on a wave of sensual pleasure, the likes of which I’d never experienced. He smelled like cedar, fresh air, rain, and man. I was overwhelmed by the sheer masculinity of his scent.
“Look into my eyes,” he commanded.
I couldn’t help myself from obeying to see the expression they held. I wanted to get a better look at the eyes that went with that amazing voice. I couldn’t really see the color, but they seemed dark and were definitely intensely focused. That intense focus was aimed at me, but I couldn’t figure out what he wanted.
Then I came to my senses. Something wasn’t right about this man, and I was just standing there staring at him.
“Hi, I’m Harlow, and I’m trying very hard not to be weirded out right now,” I blurted out nervously.
He raised an eyebrow, as though he was surprised. He then looked almost sad. “I didn’t want to kill you, I wanted only to feed. But since my compulsion hasn’t worked, I’m left with no choice. I simply can’t risk it,” he said, with that voice I found so enchanting.
This close, when he spoke I was able to see his mouth better, and something about his teeth still bothered me.
Dammit! I thought. I knew he was a serial killer! Why are all the good looking ones crazy?
He touched my cheek with the palm of his hand, stepping closer and giving me a perfect view of his face. After barely a moment, several things clicked in my head at once.
· His skin was ice cold.
· He was deathly pale. So much so, that he seemed to glow; even in the dark.
· He commanded me to look at his eyes as if he expected me to obey.
· He said since his compulsion didn’t work he was going to kill me!
· He was unnaturally alluring. Even after he said that he was going to kill me, I was drawn to him.
· Those teeth; the canines were long and razor sharp. Oh crap, he had fangs!
Then it hit me. “Holy shit! You’re a vampire!”
I paused to take a breath. I was excited and terrified all at once. He looked shocked that I’d said that, but seemed even more stunned that I was smiling and not running away screaming. But running away never even occurred to me.
Now that I was actually meeting a vampire, I sure as hell wasn’t walking away, (not that he would let me.) I loved vampires! Ever since I was a little girl, sitting up at night, watching scary movies with my dad, many of them being about vampires.
I read constantly, mostly supernatural fiction, vampires being a favorite of mine. This was a dream come true for me, well, it would be if he hadn’t just said he was going to kill me.
I’d always believed in vampires. Not fanatically or anything, but I knew there were things in this world that I could not explain. I just thought that somewhere in the world, it was possible.
“Wait! Please, if you’re going to kill me anyway, will you answer a few questions for me first? I’ve loved vampire stories since I was a little girl. I would willingly feed you and keep your secret, but if you must kill me, at least tell me about you first. Now that I know you’re real, I have to know more. Consider it my last request,” I said with a grin.
He looked thoughtful, and I took hope from the fact that I wasn’t already dead. At least he was only thinking about killing me, something I knew him to be capable of in a matter of seconds if he so desired. Damn, talk about a bad situation. But I tried to be a silver-lining kind of girl.
Of all the ways I imagined my death, vampire was only on the crazy list, but hey, so was zombie. It was a lot better than some of the ways I could have gone out. I’m a klutz, so I could have easily tripped and broken my neck falling down the stairs.
“Please?” I said. “We can stay right here, you feed from me and then we talk. I’ve always believed. Everyone that I told laughed at me, but I didn’t care, and eventually just stopped telling people. If they don’t believe than they don’t deserve to know.”
Ok, that was maybe taking it too far. I’d only ever told a few friends that I actually believed in vampires as an adult. Yes, they laughed at me, but it was during a conversation where they admitted that ghosts exist. The likelihood of lycanthropy and the best strategies for survival of the zombie apocalypse were also discussed.
The mystery vampire man looked at me for a long time before speaking. “This is highly unusual. I’ve never had a human react to my true self with anything but fear. Are you not afraid you will be killed in my company?”
“Well, I hope I won’t be, of course. But if that’s what it has to come to, I don’t have any family that will miss me, I live alone, and have no pets. This is a chance to actually learn something important. I can’t pass up the chance to learn more about vampires.”
I let out a nervous laugh, “I’m kind of a nerd, and knowledge is my thing. If you let me walk away now, I would be tortured by the chance I had passed up. I know that sounds like a dumb reason to risk my life, but it makes sense to me.
“Besides, if you really wanted to kill me, I couldn’t stop you. I figure you already said you had to kill me, might as well try to entertain you and stay alive,” I said with a nervous chuckle as he continued to gaze at me with those intense, dark eyes.
“And you would be willing to let me feed?” he asked quietly.
“Yes. I would. Everyone needs to eat, though I would prefer that you didn’t kill me,” I said with a sly smile. It looked like he may actually answer my questions. I was scared, but I was definitely more excited. “Which, I suppose, makes me completely insane.”
He chuckled. “Then I shall answer your questions. I find you intriguing. I’ve never met a human with such a thirst for knowledge, even at their own peril. Would you be more comfortable here, or is there somewhere we can go?” he asked.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing last November and I finished my first novel, Birth of the Nyxian, in February. It was published in May.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get inspiration from everything. Music, movies, books, tv, even pictures. I particularly like the fantasy art pages on facebook. Most of the pictures there just beg to have their stories told.
Do you plot and outline or do you just write? Plotter or Pantser?
Definitely a plotter. Even if I’m only taking five minutes to jot down key points I want to make sure I include, having something to refer to makes the writing flow so much easier and faster. I carry notebooks everywhere and I have them stashed all around the house because I never know when an idea will hit.
Can you tell us a little about the process of getting your first book published?
When I started my first book, I didn’t really ever expect it to get published. I stopped writing after the third chapter when life got in the way. A few weeks later, I read and loved a book written by Candy Crum that was suggested by a mutual friend. I contacted her on facebook to tell her I loved her book and we started talking. She told me about a short story contest she was holding for paranormal horror stories. I was stricken with an idea for the vampire origin story I was using for my novel and I sat down and wrote the story that night. She accepted the story for publication and encouraged me to finish my novel. Over the next few months, she helped me polish it for publication and continued to encourage me. If it weren’t for her, I may never have finished it and found such enjoyment in my new career. Now, I have a growing collection of published work and much more planned for the future.
What book have you most recently released?
My most recent release was Stolen Soul, a short story prequel to Birth of the Nyxian that details how Aiden was turned into a vampire.
What was your favorite part of the book?
My favorite part of Stolen Soul was the end. I took what is merely a few sentences in the full novel and turned it into a separate story. It ended with hope and I know what happens directly afterward, and that is my favorite part of Birth of the Nyxian.
Rate your story in terms steaminess?
There’s not much steaminess in Stolen Soul, but there are some pretty steamy parts in Birth of the Nyxian. Not erotica steamy, I have other stories for that, but intense, romantic scenes between Harlow and Aiden.
Do you have another book in the works?
I have several. So far, I have at least four short stories that will be published this year, a novella that is almost finished, the sequel to my novel, and an erotic novel I’m working on. As well as around a dozen short stories I have planned or in progress.
What advice would you give new authors? What have you learned about the business?
Edit, edit, edit! The publishing industry is brutal, especially for indie authors. People will tear your work apart for minor problems. After you’ve done a few rounds of edits, check it over again. Have friends and family read it to catch mistakes too. And EVERY author needs to have someone they trust to talk through ideas with. It will make a huge difference. If this person knows your story and your characters, they will be a priceless asset to any author.
Boxers or Briefs? Boxers
Pizza or hamburger? Pizza
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink? Wine
If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be? Would you write or read there, or do something else?
Ireland. My entire life, I’ve wanted to see the land there and talk to the people and explore the history. I would most definitely visit Carrickfergus Castle outside Belfast, where part of my novel is set.
What were your first impressions of each other?
Aiden: I thought she was a tasty snack until she turned around and my compulsion didn’t work. Though she was scared, she still was brave enough to stand up to me. When she figured out what I was and didn’t run away screaming, I thought she must be wither insane or a gift from Nyx.
Harlow: At first, I thought he was a serial killer. I guess, he kind of is, or at least used to be. Even when he was talking about killing me, he was courteous. When I figured out he was a vampire, I was thrilled! He simply fascinates me.
What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Aiden: Her open mind and loving heart. She accepts me as I am and loves me despite my flaws.
Harlow: His knightly tendencies. With him, chivalry is undead, and I can almost know what it would have been like to know him as a human.
What are your plans for the near future?
Aiden: I eagerly look forward to teaching Harlow more about the life I lead and having the time to immerse myself in her love without the hindrance of Lilith dogging our every step.
Harlow: My life has been such a dizzying blur of chaos for a while now, I just want to relax and bask in the glow of our new life together. I have a lot to learn about vampires, and I do so adore learning, but mostly, I plan to enjoy time with my love.
Great interview, Amanda! Thanks so much for being my guest today.
Signed Paperback copy up for grabs and lots of swag! Be sure you leave your email addy and a question for Amanda. Contest will continue for a week from today.
Also please visit Amanda@