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[Author Interviews] Amanda Creiglow

Amanda Creiglow lives by the sea with her little pitbull, Donna Noble, and the bits and pieces of too many projects in various stages of completion. She writes music, plays video games, and builds things she probably shouldn’t.

Remember to join her mailing list (found on her website) and get a free novella set in The Trove Arbitrations universe.

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Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Some of my earliest memories are scrawling down stories as a little kid with terrible handwriting. Over time, it turned into long-form speculative fiction, but I’ve written a little bit of everything. My dad used to trade me a poem for a poem when I was very young, which morphed eventually into songwriting. I had a screenwriting stint, when I thought I’d pursue being a TV writer, though as far as I got with that was a zombie script that won a very small film festival at a college in Alabama. For a while I ghostwrote Romance novels/stories for various small, independent publishers, which was a lot of fun. I looked at it more as paid practice than anything else, and while I enjoyed the stories I told, Romance as a genre isn’t my main interest. But the books I’m writing now absolutely wouldn’t exist without the skills and habits I built during that time.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I’m a gamer with a big fondness for big monitors, so I’ve got two massive ones hanging from the wall in my home office/music room. It’s almost always a cluttered mess, but it’s one of my favorite places in the house. There is, as is required by law, usually more than one glass in the immediate vicinity.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

A little of column a, a little of column b. Routines are necessary for any serious progress, but I struggle like hell to adopt and maintain them. When I can manage to get up and get some writing done before the day crashes down on me, that’s usually when I’m most productive. Lately, I’ve formed a gym-buddies-for-writers kind of group at the local library that meets weekly as a failsafe to make sure I’m making some progress at least weekly. The big thing I find helpful in terms of routine is pomodoro timers and tracking my word count in a little excel spreadsheet, both per sprint and per day. The color-coded competition with myself means nothing but accomplishes everything.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

For the Trove Arbitrations series that I’m writing now (and realistically for the foreseeable future) I have an established pattern of two main alliterating words, one of which is usually the main creature introduced in the book. So far they’ve been: A Grimoire for Gamblers, A Surplus of Sirens, A Reckoning of Wraiths, and sometime in the next couple of months, The Vengeance of Vampires.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? What types of scenes are your favorite to write?

I can’t think of one, single, specific scene that was the hardest. Usually the trickier ones get a lot of thought about mechanics beforehand, away from the keyboard, so it sort of evens out. I will say that action scenes of any kind in general take a lot more effort, just because you have to think through cause an effect and control tension in a more specific way than more dialogue-heavy scenes, and you end up with more description and less talking. Back when I was writing Romance, it was the sex scenes for the same reasons, although I don’t have any of that content in my work under my own name. The scenes that are my favorite to write are usually the dramatic, relationship-defining, dialogue-heavy ones. A lot of the time, I’ve had these conversations back and forth with myself many times and already figured out what everyone’s going to say (sometimes months or even years beforehand), so actually getting the scene down on digital paper is a breeze.

What inspired your book/series?

I read all the Dresden Files novels, and really loved them, even for all their flaws. I thought it would be a fantastic, absolutely unprecedented idea to do something in the vein of those books, but with a female protagonist. And then, of course, I went wandering through the Urban Fantasy landscape and discovered how truly not-novel that idea was. I started devouring the sub-genre, and honing my own preferences, and boring my friends and family with my rants and raves. As cliché as it is, I ended up writing the kind of book I like to read: long-running Urban Fantasy with little romance, more intrigue than violence, high stakes, a complex world built over time, a large cast of unique characters and, of course, some real fucked up magic with some real fucked up consequences.

What are you working on next?

Right now, I’m finishing edits on Book 4 in my series, which is the obligatory vampire novel. After that, I have some plans for Book 5 that’s I’m pretty excited about. It’ll probably be a weird, semi-experimental tangle that might be tricky to pull off, but I’m sure going to try.

What authors or books have influenced you to start writing?

I can’t think of a single book or author that I’ve read that didn’t inspire me to write. The great ones make me want to write something as well as they do; the bad ones make me want to write something better.

If you had to compare your writing to another author which one would that be?

I have no idea. I probably should, but here we are. Feel free to tell me if you figure it out!

Is there genre you’d like to write but never have?

I don’t have the self-control to want to do something and not immediately give it a try. Whether I keep it up is another matter. I think the chances are good I’ll end up in more of a sci-fi lane at some point, but we’ll see. A mix of sci-fi and fantasy is always a good time.

Do you enjoy writing short stories or long form i.e., manuscripts? And why?

I’m almost exclusively a long-form writer. I have written shorter from time to time, but it’s always a lot harder both to get started, and to finish. I just want something ambitious enough to sink my teeth into, you know?

What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

Think about what you want to get out of your writing and act accordingly. Publishing, whether it’s self-publishing or pursuing trad publishing, isn’t the be all end all—there are a ton of different paths writing can take you down and every single one of them is as valid as all the others.

Do you just want people to read your stories? Are you writing for the joy of it and don’t need anyone to read it at all? Are you doing this mainly to process your experiences? Do you want to engage in a community of people who like the same things you do, maybe even the same existing characters? Do you want to make money? Do you want the satisfaction of just holding the physical copy of your work in your hands? Do you want prestige?

The combination of how much you want different things, as well as how much time, energy, and money you have to put into pursuing them, will lead you in a particular direction. And whatever direction that is, is the right direction for you, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it. It’s also totally fair, and valid, and probably inevitable that that’ll change over time. Always be ready to let that happen.

Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what’s the title and when? “The Vengeance of Vampires”, book 4 in my Urban Fantasy series, will be out on all storefronts by the end of the year.

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