Saturday, June 21, 2014

Feature: Amanda Porter, author of The Darkness Trilogy


                                    The Forsaken:

Author Interview


What inspired you to write this book?

There have been many inspirations in my life. The idea for this book actually came about when I was in the 9th grade. I wanted to write about a character from the South. Her original story was supposed to be mainly a thriller. It wasn’t until later that it became a paranormal thriller.

Can you give us an interesting fact about your book that isn't in the blurb?

The idea of the antagonist, The Shadow, came from a dream. I have Sleep Paralysis. If you don’t know what that is the I’ll give you a bit of an idea. Your mind wakes up, but your body is “paralyzed” or “sleeping”. It creates the sensation that someone or something is holding you down. It can also cause hallucinations so you actually believe you are being attacked. That is how The Shadow got his personality and mannerisms. I felt like there was a presence there in my room, I couldn’t see him, but I knew that he was there. That experience made me wonder what if there was someone who had a similar experience, but instead of it being a sleeping disorder, it was real.

How did you choose your title?

It took me a while to come up with the title. It’s only two words “The Shadow”, but it was a bit before I finally settled on it. Though the story is about Rayna, it is also about her journey through the “Darkness.” Her first step is The Shadow. In her second leg of the trip she knows what it’s like to feel like one of The Forsaken.

Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.

I work with an amazing artist, Mel Gannon, at I actually found her on DeviantArt and commissioned her to create the covers for me. I told her what I wanted, explained the story and the character of Rayna, and she did what artists do. I was so thrilled with the result. The Shadow cover is amazing! I had wanted Rayna in water since the setting takes place in Guntersville, AL, a lake town. I loved how Mel made her the focal point of the cover, but added the creepy black hands to remind us that The Shadow is there. The Forsaken was also created by Mel. In this cover Rayna is floating in the water. I wanted it to show the reader that the weight of her plight is growing, it’s pushing her down. Now she has to decide how much she lets it control her life.

Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?

I self-published, actually. I tried the traditional route and after many “No” responses I decided to go it alone. I haven’t looked back!

What do you consider the most important part of a good story?

The characters! An author could have the best plot, but if the characters aren’t real to the readers they just aren’t going to enjoy the book. The characters need to have layers and the room to grow.

What is your writing process?

I’m not a big planner. I just let the words come to me and then I’ll go back and adjust. I use a journal when I’m first starting a story, it seems to flow better that way. Then when I’m ready to “finalize” things I’ll transcribe it into a Word document. There really isn’t anything finalized until the last minute though!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always written things, songs and poems, all my life. When I was in the 9th grade is when I truly starting writing on a regular basis. I’ve been self-publishing since 2012 and have loved every minute of it.

How did you get started writing?

I’m not sure when I started or how it started. It just seems that writing has always been a part of who I am. I used my journal to write my feelings, thoughts, prayers and dreams. That slowly transformed into what I am doing now.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m not a plotter! I have never been a plotter, but there are stories that I start and have to go back to after I get enough information on the character and the plot.

What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?

Editing! I hate going back through and editing. I don’t know what it is about that process, but I’d rather eat chalk…well, maybe not, but you know what I mean.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?

It’s a two part process. First, walk away from the computer or drop the pen. Give your mind a moment or two to recharge. That moment may be a few days or even weeks. Secondly, just because you’re having trouble on that project doesn’t mean you will on another one. Pick up that short story or novel that you’ve put on the back burner. The point is, the voices in your head will start to make sense. Just take your time!

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?

Oh this is a great question! My stories are usually dark and full of strife. My go-to bands for that is Alternative Rock, such as, Three Days Grace (before the break up *sigh*), Evanescence, Shinedown, Chevelle, The Killers and Breaking Benjamin. I’ll even throw in some Taylor Swift, Adele and Carrie Underwood. They have some sad songs! When I edit though I can’t listen to anything with lyrics so I’ll usually throw on some instrumentalist like Lindsey Stirling. Love her!

Who is your favorite author?

Hands down, Dean Koontz! He is such an inspiration. I have always enjoyed his dark and spooky books. His characters are always vast and layered. The worlds that he creates takes me on an adventure every single time. He’s a master word smith and I aspire to be able to craft stories the way he does. Can you tell I’m fan-girling!?!

Who is your favorite character from a book?

Odd Thomas! He is a character from Dean Koontz’s novel of the same name. He’s a psychic-medium who sees the dead, solves crime and kicks butt. What makes him so great is that he’s just like us. He tries to live his life as normally as he can. Another reason I like him so much is the amount of compassion his has for other people. He’s a helper and much more of a hero than he gives himself credit for.

What is your favorite book?

Again, Odd Thomas. When I first read the book I was blown away. I’ve read several more times since then. Odd is a true superhero! He has supernatural abilities that he uses to save people, he’s compassionate and can cook! What more could you need! The story is full of mystery, spooky creatures and true love.

Read anything good lately?

Yes! I’ve just finished Princess Rose and the Crystal Castle by Pepper Thorn. It’s a fairy tale about a princess who is loved by everyone and that is her cruse. She can’t trust any relationship she has because all who meet her automatically love her.

I’m currently reading Nexus by Brian Wiemer. It’s a Supernatural/Sci-Fi thriller. I’m about half way through and it’s nothing like I’ve read before. He’s a great story teller.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m a photographer in my spare time. I take photo sessions ranging from newborns to weddings. I work closely with a good friend of mine. We love it. Other than that I love working with the kids at my church. They are such a blessing to me. Also, my husband, stepson and I love to go to the movies.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?

As cliche as it sounds, never give up. That novel isn’t going to write itself. Also, write what you want to write. Please don’t try to latch on to the latest fad. Be yourself, believe in yourself.

Have you had anything else published?

Nope, just my first two books.

What's your next project?

Currently, I’m working on book three of The Darkness Trilogy. After that, who knows!

Twitter: @agporter1




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