Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interview with Christine Amsden, author of Madison's Song

Title: Madison's Song
Author: Christine Amsden
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pages: 275
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Format: Kindle

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black...

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison's nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison's brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton's home only to discover that he's vanished! Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she's not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott's are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

Praise for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective "In this entertaining series opener, Amsden (The Immortality Virus) introduces readers to the eponymous Cassie, a decidedly mundane member of a magical family. ...Readers will enjoy Cassie's fish-out-of-water struggles as she fights magical threats with little more than experience and bravado." ~ Publishers Weekly

  Madison's Song is available for order at  
  amazon BN


The Interview

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Having written eight books makes me feel pretty good! But I suppose that was easy. That was natural. Far more challenging was overcoming shyness, low self-esteem, and learning to engage people with the confidence that I am who I am and you can take it or leave it because I won't change for you. It didn't happen in a day or even a decade, but it's why I can put my books on the market. 

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I grew up reading, and I grew up watching old science fiction movies. From the moment my mom found an old manual typewriter in her parents' basement when I was 8, I was a writer. And from that moment, I wrote about strange, out-of-this-world concepts. 

When and why did you begin writing?

I think I began writing because of my innate shyness. I was what you might call “painfully shy” as a child. I had few real friends, but I had a rich inner fantasy life where I could always find escape and adventure. Writing helped make those internal fantasies more real.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really. I think it was just in my soul. 

When did you first know you could be a writer?

As I said, I wrote from an early age, but I didn't really have the confidence to believe I could actually get something published until 2003, when I attended a by-audition “boot camp” with Orson Scott Card. My husband (then my fiance) encouraged me to try out but I was honestly shocked to hear that I got in. I was even more shocked when Scott called the short story I wrote, “Unforgettable.” I finished my first for-publication novel within about a year of that camp. 

What inspires you to write and why?

There are blank pages in the world. They need to be filled! 

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

The one with really great characters! Honestly, I wish I could do away with genre labels. I read romance, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction. I write a combination of all of these – plots propelled forward by relateable and dynamic characters. Those are also the stories I like to read. If you can tell me which genre they're in, then I will be in your debt forever! 

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I wrote or the first book I had published? I spent most of my teen years writing and rewriting a novel that still exists only in files on my hard drive. I'm not sure it will ever be finished; it might simply have been a growing experience. It started with a dream, but lost any connection to that dream within a few months. In it, I was an alien princess with superpowers, destined to marry this boy I'd had a crush on for years! It was my every wish-fulfillment fantasy rolled into one. As I grew older, my mom even became the arch-nemesis. Then I started college and decided she was okay, so I wrote a separate book detailing her backstory.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

It was all fantasy and wish-fulfillment. Escapsim in its purest form. I didn't like the real world when I was a teenager. Eventually, when I began to have more confidence, my husband encouraged me to turn a lifelong passion into a real career. 

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. I've overcome a lot, but I still have an inner shy girl to contend with, and I'll never exactly be that charming, witty salesman who gains followers from sheer force of personality! The best I can be is honest, and hope people respond and relate to that. 

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

I learn something while writing every one of my books. While writing this one, I finally and completely came to turns with my Catholic upbringing, and the fact that though I've set it aside, I don't resent it. The main character, Madison, is devoutly Catholic and it was my joy to make her belief something beautiful for her. Her faith is personal and powerful, but doesn't require the validation of others. 

I always knew that the magic system I developed worked largely on the power of personal belief, but this was my chance to show it. 

Do you intend to make writing a career?

It already is! I've written 8 books (#8 will be out next summer). When I don't write, I work as a freelance editor. I'm in it up to my neck and going under!

Have you developed a specific writing style?

Yes. I'd call it matter-of-fact. I have a tendency to write what I think without much of a filter. (Note: I do not say what I think without a filter! Writing is really very freeing.)

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Honesty. I write from the heart, and I think that comes through. I see it when people connect to my characters, when they say they are so realistic and they jump off the page. That's me – the real me!

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

Loyalty. Madison (from my latest book) has it too. I'm the friend you can call at two in the morning. 

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

The fact that I hate my body. Ha! I said it right! I was about to say that I hate my body, but that's not the real trouble. Yes, I'm overweight and blah blah blah, but you know what? There are women out there who have a few extra pounds on them owning their bodies and their place in their universe. I want to be like them. 

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

I don't know if it's my favorite, but way up there is one by Arthur C. Clarke that goes: 

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I love it because t mocks the idea that magic and science are essentially different, and because as a writer, I don't like to get stuck with a genre label. Science fiction and fantasy are two halves of a whole – the difference is primarily in what we do or do not 

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Visit Christine's website.
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