~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Interview with Amy Lane~
How much of yourself goes into a character? That depends on the character—every character has a little bit of me or somebody I know in them—but some have more than others.
Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character? Not really—very early on, I learned that when you put your own experiences in the hands of another person they become a different thing altogether. For Lady Cory, when she was an alienated adolescent, she got pissed off. I got mousy—and I liked her reaction better.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
LOL—anybody who says you don’t do research when world building hasn’t paid attention. Research to me usually means answering the question, “Hey, is that plausible?” Sometimes it means defending yourself to your editing staff. I once wrote (in a fantasy) that it got colder right after sunrise. The entire editing staff jumped my shit and said it was impossible, and I had to pull three different sources that said it was totally possible. Even when you’re writing fantasy, you’re building on a long collected established code of wisdom and lore, and it’s good to know who’s ground you’re treading. No—I choose my genre depending on what I like to read at the moment. The research follows.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Holy Goddess yes. The Blue Fairy Book, Norse Myths, To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice in Wonderland, The Hero and the Crown, and countless Harlequin Presents are all battling for supremacy with every damned story.
Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed? No. Once only have I put a story aside, and it’s because I was 70K in, and it was only halfway, and I needed my Christmas story before I’d be finished. Other than that, no. I start, I work to the finish, and I hope for the best.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And why? I like HEA, but I don’t mind series that work for it—for example, Fish Out of Water, there are going to be a few more books there, and those guys are continually working for their balance.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult? Absolutely.
Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up? (I listed a few above so I’ll skip this one.)
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going? I think there are already two kinds of e-book audiences. One is the potato chip audience—reads absolutely everything, one or two books a day. This is the type of reader that Kindle Unlimited was made for—and that’s wonderful, because that kind of addiction could bankrupt a person. Also, I started out as an indie-pub, and my editing was not great, and people still found my books and treasured them—so I’m glad to see there is a growing outlet for that writer to get discovered and loved.
The other reader is more the steak and salad audience—has either limited time or limited income or both, and will read all of an author’s backlist, from beginning to end, because this author has pleased the reader in the past, and it’s worth the reader’s time and effort—and possibly more money—to stick with one writer because there’s a component of trust there. These are often the authors who have a press and a slightly higher book price—there are gatekeepers there to make sure the product is as good as it can be. The thing is, this audience is starting to find itself. For a while, after KU came out, established writers were floundering, but as this audience realized they couldn’t read ALL the books and started relying on their favorite authors as they had before, and things are stabilizing again.
The fact is, e-books as entertainment are still one of the cheapest and most popular forms of entertainment—it’s up to authors and publishers to figure out how best to utilize their accessibility.
That being said, I still remember being part of the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City—where people brought suitcases and filled them with paperbacks, because, as hard as it is for us to believe, there are still people who devote their love of reading to print books. I think print still has a while to go on the favorite list—but e-book will continue to rise.
How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part) I usually ask for an image or a set of images, and the cover artist the company provides submits drafts for my approval. I actually have a very funky, odd visual sense—one of my favorite things to make as a knitter is a blanket or sweater put together out of scraps. This isn’t the greatest thing in marketing—it’s taken me a few years to figure that out—and I think it’s one of the reasons the New York publishing houses usually just hand an author a cover and say, “Yes. This is your cover. Deal with it.” Because some of my covers are STUNNING, but some of them make me wonder what was in the water when I was having that conversation.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why? My favorites are the underdogs. The Little Goddess stories will always be my favorites. Fish Out of Water—totally my favorite. Racing for the Sun—top of my list. I know that I have stories that are more popular than those—and I’m proud to have written them, but some of them get so much love I’m like, “Oh, Beneath the Stain has been soooooooo appreciated. This other one needs my support more.”
What’s next for you as an author? Well, I’m trying to write a little more paranormal and urban fantasy—the trick is getting it to sell, because it doesn’t always do what we want it to. Coming out I have Quickening 1& 2, Manny Get Your Guy, Red Fish/Dead Fish, Familiar Angel (a paranormal) and Regret Me Not (the Christmas story I just finished), followed by Stand by Your Manny.
So, something for everyone, I hope ☺
Little Goddess: Book Five
Cory thought she’d found balance on Green’s hill—sorceress, student, queen of the vampires, wife to three men—she had it down! But establishing her right to risk herself with Green and Bracken had more than one consequence, and now she’s facing the world’s scariest job title: mother.
But getting the news that she’s knocked up takes a backseat when a half-elf hunts them down for help. Her arrival brings news that the werewolf threat, which has been haunting them for over a year, has finally arrived on their doorstep—and it’s bigger and more frightening than they’d ever imagined.
Cory throws herself into this new battle with everything she’s got—and her men let her do it. Because they all know that whether they defeat this enemy now or later, the thing she’s most afraid of is arriving on a set schedule, and not even Cory can avoid it. The trick is getting her to acknowledge she’s pregnant before she gives birth—or kills herself in denial.
Bracken nuzzled my cheek and, very carefully, put his hand on my abdomen again. I felt nothing but a little bit of hardness there, like I’d had a very full meal, except lower.
“What did you do? Why did it hurt?” I asked, half-afraid he’d put the pregnancy at risk in an effort to get through to me. I should have known better.
“Just talked to it,” he said. “One of them shares my gift. It was painful to have us talk through your blood.”
I noticed the way he said “one of them.” Elves did not pass down their own traits in the DNA. In fact, nobody really knew how elves and trait heredity really worked. Bracken’s parents were both lower fey. His mother was a pixie—three and a half feet of sex kitten with violet hair. His father was a redcap—same height, but built like the forgotten corner of a rock quarry.
Bracken was six feet six of beautiful, broad-shouldered, mostly smooth, pale-skinned, big-eyed sidhe perfection.
For all I knew, I was carrying a rock quarry and a pixie in my womb—but somehow I didn’t think so.
I blinked very slowly, wrestling with one thing at a time. “Does that mean I’m going to bleed out every time I pop a zit?” Yes, it was a gross analogy, but my skin hadn’t been this cluttered with acne since I was a junior in high school. Click. Oh, hell. Of course I was a big pimply mass of estrogen. Fucking Jesus—this was not going to get better.
“No,” Green said, his eyes meeting Brack’s. “In fact, we’re pretty sure the other one has my healing power. We think it was, perhaps, the Goddess….” He trailed off delicately.
“Trying to make sure I don’t die of my own stupidity?”
The lingering tension that had been present since I’d first gaped at Green and said “Oh fuck no!” began to dissipate.
“Not stupid, Corinne Carol-Anne,” he said softly. “Just very, very young.”
I usually railed at that. I’d finally reached twenty-two, right? Hell, there was a time I didn’t think I was going to live past twenty—and given how many scary things had tried to kill me, getting here was quite an accomplishment.
But not now. I had never felt so young in all my life—not even the morning I’d woken up in Green’s arms and we’d realized that our vampire lover had died the night before, and it was the two of us alone and grieving.
I snuggled in more tightly, and Bracken got a little closer. His hand brushed my breast as he did so, and my nipple gave a little shriek of pain. I gasped but kept it to myself—because hey, what girl hadn’t endured a boob shot when snuggling with one of her ginormous husbands, right?
Bracken grunted and stared at me through eyes the color of a weedy, brackish pond in shadows. “That hurt,” he stated.
“Yeah. The girls have been a little tender ever since Monterey….”
Just that quickly a kaleidoscope of our adventure down by the sea flickered behind my eyes. In particular, there was the moment when Teague, our alpha werewolf, and his husband, Jack, passive-aggressive pain in my ass, had both teamed up to protect me.
“Oh, hell. Was that why Jack decided to side with me? Because I’m pregnant?”
Dammit! Of all the…. I’d wanted to win Jack over with my leadership abilities, or with my ability to protect his lover, who was one of my captains and one of my best friends, or even with my friendship with their wife, Katy, whom I both adored and was dazzled by.
“You have a problem with that?” Brack asked curiously. Yeah, Brack’s brain worked along straightforward lines—as long as the result was that I was protected, he didn’t give a crap why.
“I would have liked it if he’d just thought I was a good enough leader to serve,” I grumbled. “I mean, what’s a girl gotta do?”
Bracken pulled out from under my arm, his eyes blazing. He ran a distracted hand through his dark hair, setting it on end like an angry hedgehog, and stared at me.
“That’s what you’re worried about?” he asked, sounding outraged. “Do you know how many dangerous, foolish things we did in Monterey? And you’re worried that Jack followed you for the wrong reasons?”
I shivered—which was one of the by-products of having an emergency field transfusion of his blood, which I didn’t remind him of, because hey—one more thing to be pissed at me for, right?
So instead of arguing, I actually thought about what he was saying. Then I wished I hadn’t.
’Cause, well, we’d jumped out of a helicopter to be caught by my magic and my magic alone, which was a first for me in the flying department. We’d stood up to a gigantic rabid wolf pack with nothing but exhausted, injured werewolves and a few tired Avian shifters as support, and I’d….
Oh God, I’d….
I’d been forced to mass kill again, when I’d sworn I’d never do that. Not on purpose. Not so soon after having to issue a death warrant on vampire children because they’d had the bad luck to be turned by a pedophile and would never be sane, never be safe, never be human again.
In my mind I went back to that moment, the lot of us trapped under the force field I’d erected out of magic and desperation in a back alleyway. We’d been just far enough from the sea for us to lose the smell of hope. The rogue wolves had been throwing themselves against it for what seemed like forever, and I’d been growing tired. I could make the shield lethal. I’d been able to kill with my power from the very beginning, but I just kept hoping they’d see sense, that they’d stop somehow, that I wouldn’t have to waste so many fucking lives….
And I’d been teetering between trying to fight our way out and simply making the shield enough to kill them all, when Teague—my captain, my right-hand man, my friend—had looked at me and whimpered. His back end had dropped then—as it should, since he’d been recovering from breaking every bone in his body less than a week before—and I’d seen it in his eyes.
His mates were there, Jack and Katy, and he wanted them to live.
Or that’s what I’d thought.
Instinctively I placed my hand over my lower abdomen, thinking of what we could have lost there. What Bracken had known I’d been risking.
“You didn’t say anything,” I whispered. I looked over my shoulder at Green. He was gazing at me levelly, with no apologies and no regrets.
“No,” Green said. He and Bracken were staring at each other as though they were reliving a terrible conversation of their own.
“But—” But why? Why would two men who had made my health and welfare their bloody science for the past two years not protest, not try to protect me, not try to talk me out of my own stupid pride when I had their children on board?
“You never would have forgiven….” Bracken looked around the living room like he was looking for words. “Anybody!” he burst out. “Any of us. You, me, Green—hell, the children-to-be. And if, Goddess forbid, anything had happened to Teague, it would have been—” He stood for a moment and flailed his arms. “Cory-a-geddon. You would have self-detonated. This whole… baby thing would have begun under a—”
“A black karmic funk of epic proportions,” I supplied, feeling a little queasy just thinking about it. Of course, since I’d been feeling queasy pretty much for the past two and a half weeks, that was no big news. “But….” I could have died? Well, I could have died a lot of times in the last two years. I kept arguing that I would be fine—there were no promises, and my entire purpose was protection.
“I asked for this?” Quiet revelations do sometimes sound like questions. “I did. I… I said I knew best, and… and….”
“And we trusted you to know best,” Green said quietly. “We trusted you with you, and our children.”
I closed my eyes, somewhat reassured. “That’s….” But I couldn’t do it. Maturity had apparently gotten me into this mess. It was time for honesty to get me out.
“Terrifying!” I wailed, and then I dissolved into stupid tears on Green’s chest.
Bracken sighed and plopped behind me, and I cried until I fell asleep.
About the Author
Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.