Amanda Arista, author of the brand new Claws and Effect (Book 2 of the Urban Panther Diaries) is back on the blog today, and I’m so excited to host her again, courtesy of Goddess Fish! Amanda was kind enough to answer a few of my questions and she’s also giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one commenter during the tour, so be sure to visit all the tour stops and comment for a chance to win (last tour date is 1/6/12)
Please welcome Amanda to the blog!
Amanda, you’re the author of Diaries of an Urban Panther and the just released Claws and Effect! Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I can with confidence say that I always wanted to be a writer, but never considered myself one until recently. Writing was something I did for myself. Outside of some stories for class work, my creative life was kept to the pages of many spiral bound notebooks under my bed. I enjoyed journalism all throughout school, but it had been harped on that I needed to find a “real job.” It wasn’t until I joined the SMU Creative Writing Program that I got the courage to not only show my work to someone else, but also call myself a writer. I came to appreciate that writing wasn’t what I did in the shadows, but who I was. That’s when I realized I was a writer.
Can you tell us a bit about Claws and Effect?
Claws and Effect picks up three months after the happenings of Diaries. After four assassination attempts, Violet is getting tired of everyone trying to make her something she’s not. The lieutenants of the Pride want her dead. Chaz wants a traditional girlfriend. A pack of lost mongrels want a leader. And a new panther comes prowling into town new to the shift needs a teacher. Matters are only complicated by her dreams of violent power and prophesy from her psychic connection to Spencer, her sire, still trapped in the Neveranth but getting stronger with each passing month. In true Violet fashion, there are ups but mostly downs with some heartfelt moments and humor.
What do you like most about writing Paranormal Romance?
I really enjoy the world-building. There are complications that you can throw in the path of two lovers in a Paranormal Romance that just ratchet up those stakes (or sharpen them as the case might be). With paranormals, you can design a world completely against your hero and heroine, so when they do overcome the odds, it’s been one hell of a fight.
Plus I really like writing about magic and things that blow up.
What are a few of your favorite authors?
I LOVE NEIL GAIMEN!! Dean Koontz was my first horror and my first sex scene. Jude Deveraux taught me how to create a good romance without creating a wimpy heroine (I hate wimpy heroines). Alice Hoffman taught me the craft of writing and how to summon an emotion in one beautiful sentence.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Complete Set.
It says in your bio that you collect turtle figurines on your travels. If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Have laptop will travel. I’m always up for a good trip to a new place. It’s a little gloomy here in Dallas and I’m a water girl, so probably Greece? The island in Mamma Mia was gorgeous, so probably there. My hubby is a history nut, so I’d sent him off to explore while I enjoy the food and a little peace and quiet to write.
It also says in your bio that you love cheesy horror movies. What’s one of your faves?
I watch Shawn of the Dead a lot, but that’s more comedy. My Bloody Valentine 3D gets watched quite often, but the one that probably really shaped my love of horror movies and my world building is Night Breed, based on Cabal by Clive Barker. It’s a mid 80’s film with the acid wash jeans and hairspray and the villain is ridiculous. I love it but haven’t found it on DVD yet.
What’s one of the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done (that you’re willing to admit to?)
I was doing a book reading at Barnes and Nobles and they’d given me a Nook to read my e-book from. I was pimping my book, they were pimping their e-reader. It was an even deal.
I got up there and the whole time I’m saying to myself. “Don’t call it a Kindle, Don’t call it a Kindle.” My friends had just pitched in and bought me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday, so I still had it on the brain.
I went through my whole spiel behind the podium, and then very loudly and into the microphone said. “And thanks for the use of your Kindle.”
The moment I said it, I thumped my head against the mike and sighed as everyone around me gasped liked I’d just cussed in front of kindergarteners. I write a lot about Violet putting her foot in her mouth, so I guess it’s because I have the tendency for it as well.
Quick! Name something that makes you laugh out loud!
There’s this YouTube video called Ultimate Dog Tease that reminded me a lot of how my dog looks at me sometimes. My husband does the voice every now and then and I laugh every time.
Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
I’ll be signing at ALA in Dallas on Jan 22 and will also be attending RWA in July. There will be a few more signings and things between, but I’m hitting the keyboard hard to finish the next project. A few characters in Claws and Effect said that they would like a story of their own, so I’m trying to appease them.
And maybe, just maybe there might be some news about a Diaries 3, but you’ll have to check the website or be a friend on Facebook to know the official details.
Thanks for having me over today! If you’ve got any more questions, I’ll be checking in all day. And don’t forget to comment. You’ll be entered into a drawing for $25 in gift certificates.
Keep up with Amanda: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Purchase Claws and Effect: Kindle | Nook
Visit all the tour stops and comment to win the $25 Gift Card!
About Claws and Effect:
Violet Jordan Rule #2 of being a superhero: Find reliable sidekicks
Once I took down Haverty, the Primo of the city, I thought life was going to get better. After four assassination attempts, I’m thinking not so much. Haverty’s pack needs a new leader and I’ve just about run out of reasons why I’m not right for the job. Besides, having loyal followers would definitely help me fight off whoever’s out for my blood. Especially since my boyfriend is always busy playing White Hat to every wanderer except me. It’s nice that he thinks I’m tough enough to handle my own business, but a little extra back up would be nice.
So now I just need to figure out how to mentor new shifters, run a pack, keep my “real” job, and have some sort of personal life. I guess it’s all in a day’s work for this horror movie writer-turned-shapeshifting panther.
About the author:
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.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. When not writing, Amanda often dreams of co-opening an evil bakery and sell despicable desserts. Her particularly favorites are larvaceous lemon bars and sinful cinnamon streusel.
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).