Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Interview with Christine Amsden

Today we get to know a bit more about author Christine Amsden!

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a 37-year-old mother of two who lives in a world of make-believe. If I'm not writing it, I'm reading it or playing games with my kids.

Q ~ Are you a dog or a cat person? Or neither? Does something else tug at your heartstrings?

I'm a cat person, but after my cats died a year-and-a-half ago, I haven't brought a new furry creature into my life. I might, once my kids are older, but right now I still get lots of cuddles from my 6 and 8-year-olds.

Q ~ What’s your favourite pass-time?

Playing games. Card games, board games, role playing games ... doesn't matter.

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?

A shirt! To tell you the truth, I walk out my front door and stroll around the neighborhood all the time with nothing more than the clothes on my back. It makes me feel free. Call me crazy if you want, but I sometimes think I have too much stuff.

Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? Who are your biggest supporters?

My family, especially my parents, were my biggest influences. But my biggest supporter is my husband. He's the one who told me to follow my dream. He found out about the by-audition “boot camp” with Orson Scott Card that I attended 11 years ago and encouraged me to try out. He's the one who is happy to support the family financially while I take care of the household and spend the rest of my time doing what I love.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read?

The one with great characters! Oh, if only genre labels pointed me to the types of books I love, but they don't. I tend towards romance lately, because even in shallow romance I often feel something pulling at my heartstrings. But what I really enjoy is reading about human relationships. You might have noticed a few of those in the Cassie Scot series. :)

Q ~ Can you tell me about your ideal reader?

I've never thought about that! But I guess ... someone who is sucked in my a strong character as much as I am, who loves a bit of magic and romance, and who connects to the underlying themes. (There are some – you can just have fun if you want, but you did ask who my “ideal” reader was!)

Q ~ How did you begin writing professionally?

It started in 2003, with that boot camp I mentioned earlier. I've been writing all my life, but it wasn't serious until then. I learned a ton and met some great people I stilll connect with today. But the most important step I took that year in becoming a professional writer was this: I showed other people my work and asked for HONEST feedback. I got it too! It hurt, but it was the only way to improve.

Q ~ You’ve written works outside of this series as well. For you, do they compare to one another? Do you have a favourite or do they all stand out in their own way?
I feel like each of my books has been an improvement on the one before. They all have something special about them, something I take pride in, but Cassie is definitely my favorite (and in fact, the last book in the series is my favorite of the four). The Immortality Virus, the book I wrote immediately before the Cassie Scot series, is probably my most thought-provoking and it is my most decorated (with awards) but it's a far-future dystopian science fiction novel that doesn't have much in common with the Cassie Scot series.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Could you give us a hint about what to look forward to?
Madison's Song is under contract and will be out in 2015 (April, tentatively). Kaitlin's Tale is a rough draft right now, one that is giving me some trouble to be honest. I'll get there; life has been distracting me but it's settling down.

Madison and Kaitlin are both secondary characters from the Cassie Scot series who took on lives of their own and demanded spin-offs. I'm not sure what I'll write when I finish their stories.

Q ~ What is one piece of advice that you’d give to those who’ve contemplated writing professionally?
Do it because you love it; don't do it for the money. Money is a highly dubious outcome for writers, even professional ones, so make sure you've got some internal motivation. As an added bonus, when you write from the heart, readers will notice.

Thank you so much for having me here today!

About the author:

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.

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Find out more about Stolen Dreams, the conclusion of the Cassie Scot series.
Also check out the 1st three novels in the series:  Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective, Secrets and Lies, and Mind Games.

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