We’re very luck today to have a visit from Amanda Arista whose new release DIARIES OF AN URBAN PANTHER is one of Avon Impulse’s new digital releases.
Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel. The summer of second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped since. She spends her weekends writing at coffee shops, practicing for the day that caffeine intake becomes an Olympic sport, and plotting character demises with fellow writers Wolvarez, Killer Cupcake and Keith (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).
Amanda is generously donating a $25 Amazon or B&N gift certificate to one lucky person who leaves comments on the various blog tour stops which you can find at Goddess Fish Promotions. For more on Amanda, you can visit www.amandaarista.com, follow her on Twitter at @Pantherista or visit her Facebook Fan Page.
Without further ado, here’s Amanda to share more about her writing and her release.
At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
In the back of my head, there has always been a little person declaring herself a writer. I really did read every book in the kids section the summer after second grade and I finished my first story in 3rd grade. I’ve been writing ever since but I dared not say the word writer out loud. The first time I felt like I had the right to use the word was when I finished my first novel. It was no longer a strange hobby, something that I did, but something that I was.
Tell us a little something about the novel!
Diaries of an Urban Panther is a fun little experiment in which we take a nice normal girl and throw her into a situation in which she has to adapt or die. The fun part about Violet’s story is that she doesn’t adapt like everything thinks she should. Violet’s story is a fresh approach to the paranormal romance genre because the heroine is a writer, not a vampire hunter or necromancer, and the reader explores this treacherous and fantastical world through her guarded and very quirky heart.
Tell us a little something about the heroine!
Violet Jordan is a writer for a cheesy movie company called Cloak and Dagger productions. She polishes scripts for them as well as writes articles for a few e-zines in order to pay the rent, which seems to always need paying. She describes herself as the Velma, the sidekick in the movie of her own life, and really was just stuck in a rut until the incident in the back alley that turned her fuzzy once a month. She’s flawed and stubborn and is very hard on people and the most important thing to her through this whole ordeal is that she own this curse and refuses to let it control her life.
Are you a plotter who lays out everything in detail as you write or a pantser who lets the story unfold on its own?
I don’t outline until I know who the character is, which means that I’ll write out a couple of scenes in my head and then figure out who they are and what tortures I’m going to put them through.
And then I do try to plot. But mostly the characters take me where they want to go and highlight where they do not want to go, which means I force them in that general direction. Let me tell you how much the ending of Diaries changed when I found out the Jessa didn’t want to die in the first few scenes. There was no planning for that.
I knew it was going to be a romantic ending, but until I was half way done, I didn’t know what Violet could live through and what she would need in her romantic lead. I didn’t know that her biggest hurdle was going to be seeing her self as sexy and powerful in order to accomplish her mission. Until I knew Violet, I couldn’t predict what the plot needed to be.
Where is your story set and does that influence the plotlines and characters in your stories?
I live in Dallas and not too many books that I had read had captured the true urbanite quality of the city. It’s got everything that NY and Vegas have: dark alleys, interesting night clubs, just with bigger cars and less smog. You can drive 10 minutes and be in a vibrant down town or drive 30 minutes and be out in open land with cows. And let me tell you about a good pair of Wranglers.
Also, it fit Violet. She didn’t want to go to any place that reminded her of what happened in LA, so Dallas was a good choice. It’s not too chic, but neither is she. It does have a hometown feel to it, and she secretly wants a home. But it still has a coffee shop on every corner.
What is your writing schedule like?
I have a full time job, a husband, two needy dogs and am getting a graduate degree. Needless to say, I have to be a stickler about time. On weeknights, I set an egg timer. One hour for being Wife Amanda, usually include dinner, errands, laundry. One hour for Student Amanda, homework, readings. And one hour for Writer Amanda, type as furiously as I can for one hour.
Saturdays are the exception. On Saturday mornings, I get up and join my writers group for 4 hours. It’s more of an accountability group than a critique group, but all four hours are for typing and then I try to just be free the rest of the day. The brain must take a break at some point.
Of course, sometime when the muse strikes, you can stop writing, and, frankly, that’s what the coffee is for.
What are you working on now and what will readers have to look forward to in the future?
I’m currently working on the second book in the series. Poor Violet. I’m putting her through hell now that she’d proven she can take the heat. Expect to see the second diary in December 2011.
I’m also putting together another darker series called the Daughters of Chaos. It’s a new challenge that is proving very interesting and just a little steamy.
Thank you so much, Amanda! We wish you all the best of luck with your release. Don’t forget to leave a comment either here or on one of the various blog tour stops which you can find at http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2011/06/virtual-tour-diaries-of-urban-panther.html.