Monday, October 23, 2017

Straight Chatting from the Library: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book *U.S. only* to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, thanks so much for stopping by. How did you get started writing?

I think it probably started with crayons. Maybe markers, but crayons are safer to give very young children. I learned to hold it and then I was off! Of course, I still had to learn to spell and eventually I had to cover the rudiments of grammar and the like, but from the time I could hold a pen (more rightly, marker) I was writing. My first attempt at a book was penned into a pink diary with hearts on it and a gold lock, and featured an intergalactic story about cats.

In other words, I have never not written. I started publishing in high school, essentially because I had finally written something worth reading (I learned a lot between my five-year-old self laboring over creative spelling for that cat story, and In the Forests of the Night, which I first drafted in seventh grade) and it seemed the thing to do. I had no idea at the time how hard and brutal publishing could be, or else I’m not sure my anxiety-ridden thirteen-year-old-self would ever have had the nerve to submit my first novel to publishers.

What was the inspiration for Mancer 2: Of the Divine?

I first drafted the Mancer trilogy in 2006 and 2007. The first half of Book One: Of the Abyss was meant to be a throwaway fun novel meant to take my mind off other, high-stress projects for a month, and my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Well, I won NaNo that year (and most years since-- yes I’m proud) but when I got to the end of my “short, silly story,” instead of writing THE END I wrote PART TWO.

The world had grown on me, and so had the characters. Instead of escaping the challenges I had faced in my other work-- included among them anxiety about coming out, as I worked on my first openly gay protagonist in my published works-- I had woven them into the new story, and the story wasn’t done. At the end of the month, my characters were starting their journey, not ending it.

It would be another five months and another 250,000 words before the Mancer trilogy would be complete, and another almost decade before I decided to take a break from my young adult novels and tackle the epic-in-itself quest of revising and preparing the massive work for publication.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?

I’m considering a fairy-tale retelling, but it keeps getting bumped aside by other projects; I don’t quite have the details worked out yet. I also occasionally contemplate writing a play, but it turns out I am terrible at telling a story without narration.

One genre I haven’t published in yet but I would like to is futuristic science fiction. I have a massive novel called Sororcula that I would like to publish someday, though it took requires some intense revision first.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?

I’m not a fan of realistic fiction about people “overcoming.” I do enough of that day to day. As I tell my students, I also don’t like, “Books where the dog dies at the end,” by which I mean stories about heartache and effort that end with the moral, Life sucks and maybe we shouldn’t have tried.

I like my speculative fiction, dystopians, horrors, supernatural and paranormal and science fiction better any day.

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?

Mancer 3 is coming out next year, so I’m in the middle of polishing that. As I mentioned previously, I wrote the rough draft in 2006, so the skeleton is all there, but it was written quickly and I was still figuring out some of the details, so it needs to be cleaned up and clarified.

I am planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, which I have every year since 2006 (I’ve also won every year since 2006, with the exception of 2014, when my daughter was born on November 22. That year I only managed 26,000 words).

Finally, I have a few other works-- in the same world as my young adult novels, the same world as Mancer, and entirely different worlds-- that I’ve been experimenting with, including one I’m seriously thinking of pitching as a follow-up to the Mancer Trilogy. In short, yes, I am always writing, and always planning.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?

Pastel neon orange, the color you only see at sunrise-- and I had that answer before the Hunger Games, thank you very much! Silly Peeta.

Favorite movie?

That’s a tough one to answer. I have a lot of films I like, especially in the fantasy/fiction/horror/action genre. I like zombie movies, including Resident Evil. I loved many of the new Star Trek movies, loved Star Wars 7 (but not Rogue), and have watched the first and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies more times than is good for me. I’m a fan of the Avengers movies, with Iron Man being a particular favorite.

But when I think favorite I think about what movie I want to curl up with on a cold day and watch for a heart-warming laugh. In that case I would need to go for a romantic comedy, where I think Warm Bodies is probably at the top of the list. Romeo & Juliet meets zombies-- how can you get better than that?

Book that inspired you to become an author?

Um… The Fairy Rebel? It the first book I really remember reading (or more rightly, being read to me by my sister. I was terrified of wasps for YEARS). Wait, no, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was before that.

I can’t point to one book that inspired me to write, because writing is something I have always done. I grew up surrounded by books and by readers. All together, they inspired me to become an author.

You have one superpower. What is it?

My first thought is, the ability to freeze time when I’m desperately behind so I can get some more work done (preferably, I don’t age in this time either), but I would probably squander my power playing Skyrim. I’m honestly not sure I should be trusted with a superpower.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?

I chose to go with dead, alive, and fictitious: William Shakespeare, Patrick Rothfuss, and Captain Picard. I think everyone will recognize William Shakespeare; I’m a fan of his work and a fan of history, and I would love to sit and chat with him. As for Picard, I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation and now my daughter is becoming a fan as well, and I think it would be wonderful to have a discussion with the captain (my captain) of the USS Enterprise. Besides, I think Picard and Shakespeare would enjoy having dinner with each other.

As for Patrick Rothfuss, I hope he’s interested in chatting with Shakespeare and Picard. Either way, I want him at my dinner so I can demand he tell me everything about the third book. I’m waiting anxiously for the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, and I’m not a very patient person.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?

Many of my characters have a little of me in them, but the ones who are most like me tend to surprise people. I often get accused of modeling Jessica from Demon in My View after me, since Jessica is a teenage author, but she is actually modeled (and named) after a friend of mine from middle school. Honestly, in all my years of publishing (17 young adult novels, 3 short stories, soon-to-be 3 adult novels), the character most like me was probably Cooper, from Token of Darkness.

This probably seems weird, since Cooper is a high school boy who was on the football team, and I’m a 5’ 1” woman who couldn’t even pass for the football, but Cooper uses turns of phrase I use, and his relationship with his family is most like mine. It’s hard to explain, but as I was writing him, he was the one who simply felt the most like me.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!

Thank you for taking the time to have me on your site!


Henna is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Order of Napthol, and her runes ’s runes tell her that the future of Kavet is balanced on the edge of the knife. The treaties between Kavet and the dragon-like race known as the Osei have become intolerable. The time has come for the royal house to magically challenge Osei dominion. Prince Verte, Henna' lover, is to serve as the nexus for the powerful but dangerous spell, with Naples--an untested young sorcerer from the Order of Napthol--a volatile but critical support to its creation.

Amid these plans, Dahlia Indathrone’s arrival in the city shouldn’t matter. She has no magic and no royal lineage, and yet, Henna immediately knows Dahlia is important. She just can’t see why.

As their lives intertwine, the four will learn that they are pawns in a larger game, one played by the forces of the Abyss and of the Numen—the infernal and the divine.

A game no mortal can ever hope to win.


“You cannot live your life as a slave to those who have gone before,” Verte replied. “You need to let the living and dead alike move on.”

Wenge glared up at him. Verte paused, keeping his stance and expression neutral as he raised magical shields against a possible attack.

“You don’t know where the dead go,” Wenge accused. “We talk of the realms beyond, of the Abyss and the Numen, but no one really knows for sure what happens once our shades pass out of the mortal realm. What if we just go screaming into the void? What if—”

Verte took the man’s frail, trembling hand in his own. He wished he could use his magic to urge him to keep moving, but Wenge’s decision whether to demand a trial or to take the brand willingly needed to be made without magical coercion.

“Even the royal house, with all our strength and training and resources, does not practice death sorcery. Maleficence or not,” Verte said, hoping the words would pierce the man’s sudden anxiety, “if you continue to let your power use you this way, it will kill you before the year is out. Of that I am certain.”

Wenge’s body sagged. He waved a hand next to his face as if to chase away a buzzing fly—or in this case, a whispering spirit. He flinched at whatever the ghost said, then muttered, “I do not know what to be without it.”


Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Other books in the Den of Shadows series are Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. She has also published the five-volume series The Kiesha’ra: Hawksong, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List Selection; Snakecharm; Falcondance; Wolfcry; and Wyvernhail.


Buy the book at Amazon.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment: