"Meet the Indie’s "
with Amy Miles and Danielle Banister
About the Authors:
Amy Miles has been a carbaholic since birth and is hopelessly addicted to Dr. Pepper. When she's not chatting with fans on Facebook she
can be found goofing off with family, traveling or stomping her husband at Scrabble. She is an obsessive writer and an avid reader and loves to chat about all things books.
Her teen paranormal romance books, Forbidden and Reckoning, have been on several of Amazon's Top 100 lists as well as best seller lists in both America and the UK. Her highly anticipated final book in the Arotas Trilogy, Redemption, is due out 2013.
She is currently hard at work on a two new series, The Rising Trilogy and The Remnant Trilogy.
Danielle lives in Mid-Coast Maine with her two children and husband. She holds a BA in Theatre and a Masters in Writing and theTeaching of Writing. She has two novels currently out, Pulled and Pulled Back and is working on several others, including Pulled Back Again, releasing soon, and Netherworld which she is co-writing with author Amy Miles, which is due out in December, 2014. She also has a collection of short stories, brilliantly entitled, Short Shorts, and her work is also featured in several anthologies: GooseRiver Press 2012 Anthology and the Maine Writing Project’s anthology, Writious. Both titles are available on Amazon. When not writing, she can be found pouring her heart out on the stage.
Q & A with the Ladies
Amy, you’ve always wanted to be a writer, while Danielle came into the writing world a bit *cough* later in life. Do you recall the first thing you wrote?
Amy: I sure do. I began writing in grade school and had dragons attacking a fair maiden, who of course was later swept off her feet by a dashing knight. Kissing always ensued.
Even at a young age, I was obsessed with danger, adventure and torturing my main characters. My writing did eventually progress into writing my own version Nancy Drew Mysteries and then into the fantasy realms when I was in high school, but my passion for make-believe began long ago.
Danielle: The first real thing I wrote, honestly, was the first chapter of Pulled. I went to school to act, not write. Once I caught the writing bug though, I was hooked. It does mean, however, that I’m behind the curve in terms of learning about the craft so I’m trying to play catch up!
At what point did you start feeling it was okay to call yourself a ‘writer’?
Amy: Calling myself a writer was never hard. Thinking of myself as an author was a different story. At what point are you considered an author? When you write “The End” on your first rough draft, trudge through countless edits, and finally hit publish on Amazon Kindle? Or is it when you complete your second book? Third? A series?
I think this question is answered differently for every writer. For me, I didn’t feel like an established author until after my third book recently came out. Probably had a lot to do with the fact that I take great pride in Defiance Rising, because it was technically my first book. Now, I feel proud to tell people that I am a full time indie author.
Danielle: It took me awhile, actually. I was enrolled in the Maine branch of the National Writing Project, and I still couldn’t call myself an author. It wasn’t until I got in the mail a little white cup that said ‘Writer’ on it that I actually felt like I had the right to call myself a writer. So lame, I know!
Between the two of you, you have a pretty large fan base. What would you say is the ONE question they want answered most, and are you willing to answer it here?
Amy: There are several burning questions that I hear quite often. Will Gabriel and Roseline end up together? Does Sadie live? Will Bastien return in the sequel to Defiance Rising? Am I Team Bastien of Team Eamon!
If you have read my books, you know that I don’t make romance easy for my characters. Life happens, people get hurt, hearts get broken. I love a happy ending just like the next gal, but I also like realism. If my characters are going to be happy in the end, they are going to go through some tribulation along the way. Also…I hate to be predictable.
Danielle: I think most people want to know if Pulled Back Again will finally deliver the happily ever after ending they are looking for. All I can say is…maybe? Ha!
You are both going to an event in Tennessee in January called UtopYA. Can you give the readers a little info about what this is and why it’s so cool?
Danielle: I’ll let Amy handle this one!
Amy: UtopYa is one of many conventions that are being held this year to enable readers to meet up with some of their fave authors. For those of you who were lucky enough to get tickets before it sold out, you will get to attend panels, chat with authors, buy books and attend a fabulous award’s ceremony. I, for one, can’t wait to go dress shopping for this event!
Okay, time for some quirky questions, just for fun!
What is one thing you wish fans would ask you more about?
Amy: What my favorite food is. Seriously? I’m willing to take bribes for sneak peeks into my upcoming books. Haha.
Um…this is a hard one to answer because I’m pretty open about things happening in my life. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’m rather vocal about my obsession with Game of Thrones, my love of movies/books and I’m always bragging on my guys. I’m an open book!
Danielle: I guess what I’m working on? This is a hard one.
Who do YOU like to read?
Amy: I write what I love to read. I can usually be found browsing through the YA section of my library and have been known to give out recommendations to random strangers. And no, I don’t shove my own book in their hands!
Danielle: I’m game to a lot of different genres, but I have a soft spot for books that hold some sort of love story in there. It doesn’t have to be Harlequin type stuff, but some yearning is good!
If you were trapped on a desert island with ONE of your characters and ONE endless supply of one type of food, what would they be?
Amy: Oh dear. How do I choose? My characters are all so much a part of me that it would be hard to pick just one, but I think if forced to I would choose Bastien. He’s hard core but compassionate. He makes sacrifices when he must for the woman he loves. Plus he’s H O T!!! Yeah, I would go with him. Food…oh goodness me. I would totally go with Ranch Doritos. Those suckers are worse than Chinese food filled to the brim with MSG! Oh phooey, now I’m craving Chinese food! Do you think they deliver?
Danielle: This is so not an easy question! I guess I’d wanna be stuck with Etash, so I’d have a warm body to snuggle up against! As for food…hmmm…I suppose wine doesn’t count as food, so I’ll have to go with egg salad. Love that stuff!
Now, onto the DEEP Questions (ha!)
What drives you to write?
Amy: I fully believe that writers are born, not created. Just like painters are born to move beyond stick figure people (which I have not!) or chefs are moved to create culinary excellence. The gift is within you. Sometimes it can take years to unearth it, but the talent is still there.
I write because I have to, I yearn to. Sound a tad dramatic? Trying living in my head. Haha. I’ve got four books worth of characters fighting to be heard at the same time!
Danielle: The tiny voices in my head of course! Seriously, I ache to make people feel something. Maybe that’s the actor in me, but there is something satisfying in making people react internally to something you’ve written. It’s magical.
Is there anything unique about yourself that you’d like your readers to know?
Amy: Washing dishes grosses me out. I have a different favorite color each day depending on my mood. I adore 80’s rock. I love to eat my mashed potatoes mixed with KFC coleslaw. I go to Cardinal’s baseball games for the food. I despise Opera music. I’m a firm believer that vampires don’t sparkle. I’m terrified of spiders, no matter their size. I’m not a lover of chocolate and I can spin an entire book plot in less than 5 minutes.
Danielle: Reading Amy’s list I don’t feel so crazy now! Um, let’s see. I suck at all things sports and math related, I have a really bad memory for important things but can tell you exactly where that balled up sock is you threw across the room two weeks ago ended up, and I’ll eat the chocolate Amy won’t.
How do you handle criticism?
Amy: Plug my fingers in my ears and hum? Haha. Um…criticism is something that can be both fantastic and destructive for a writer. I love getting constructive criticism. Emphasis on constructive. If you love my book great, but I want to know why. If you hate it, then give me all of the gory details of how I butchered a perfectly good plot.
Without those details, authors can’t grow. I thrive off critiques now but there were some days in the very beginning that I shed a few tears on some of the nastier comments. It’s all part of the writing industry. You aren’t born with thick skin, it’s developed over time.
Danielle: The way I look at is that the one star reviews aren’t who I write to. They picked up a book that they were bound not to like. I personally never give one star reviews for exactly that reason. It’s not their fault I wasn’t their target audience.
Are your characters based on a real person?
Amy: Yes and no. I have never chosen a specific person to emulate, but I have used phrases, facial expressions and quirks. I typically hop on google, select an image that calls to me and begin to hear their specific voice before I even write the first word.
*Disclaimer* If you think you resemble anyone in my books, I can assure you that it’s completely accidental, but we should totally be friends!
Danielle: Perhaps shadows of people I know. None of my characters are dead on in terms of people I’ve met, but I might pick up a characteristic or hair style or some small tid bit of a person I’ve met before.
What is one goal yet unaccomplished in your life?
Amy: I want to see the pyramids in person. I have always been fascinated by mythology, no matter the race it pertains to and Egypt is on the top of my list. As a kid, I used to write notes to a friend in hieroglyphics. Yes, I was that child!
Danielle: I want to go to Greece. I want to walk on the first stages!
Do you believe in love at first sight or a slow burning love?
Amy: I’m a slow burner, all the way! I like building tension, making readers squirm just a tiny bit, but I also like to hold back on the sultry romance. People see and feel love in different ways. For me, I love security, affection and sacrifice, so that’s what I write about.
Danielle: Um, romance writer here! Love at first sight AND slow burn!
Do you believe in soul mates?
Amy: I honestly believe that each of us are created to be with one specific person. Someone molded to fit you, to become your partner in life. That doesn’t mean they were created to bend to our will though. Haha. Love in real life is all about give and take. Compromise. Sacrifice. Learning and growing together. I wake up each morning beside my soul mate, but that doesn’t mean we are without faults.
Danielle: Since my novels are about soul mates, guess I need to say yes, right? Ha!
Do you relate in any way to your main character?Amy: Roseline (Arotas Trilogy) and Illyria (Rising Trilogy) are both very strong gals. They make the decisions that are necessary, even when it seems to cost them everything. They love, fight, survive and are fiercely loyal. Both of them have attributes that I have. I always joke around about how Illyria is my alter ego.
Danielle: My characters, unlike Amy’s are typically weaker at first and work to find their strength. I think a lot of people have felt weak or unworthy at some point in their lives, especially at a younger age when you’re questioning everything.
We want to take this time to thank Amy and Danielle for stopping by the blog. Thank you so so much! We look forward to anything and everything your creative minds dream up for us in the future!!