Hey there, Insiders!
Today we’re back with another author interview.
This time we’re chewing the writerly fat with new fantasy author Amy Hopkins!
Break the ice and tell our readers who you are and what kind of thing you write.
I’m a writer who dwells in the lands of urban fantasy, science fiction and the lands of the whimsical. I love to add a little bit of magic to the everyday, which, as a mum of three, helps to keep my kids entertained too.
How do you approach your stories; do you plan everything out before starting, or are you more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of a person?
I’ve tried both, but my stories flow better if I have a clear idea of where I’m headed. That’s not to say my characters don’t take on a life of their own, even with a supposedly well thought out plot that should have no surprises…
Tell us about your most recent release, and why the heck our readers should give it a shot:
My series, Talented, is a whimsical urban fantasy. It’s a little softer than Dresden, a little more grown up than Potter and a whole lot of fun.
What’s the biggest influence on the kind of thing you write? Another writer? A TV show? Some other thing that is neither of those two things?
A tiny bit of everything. I choose books and shows to escape, to go to a place that’s extraordinary. I love sassy, light hearted, impossible things, and I hate an unhappy ending, so that really comes through in my writing.
All of them. Superheroes and magicians, wise old lions and Singing in the Rain. Anything with a little whimsy will hook me, even if it’s grounded in reality.
What was your favourite book as a kid?
A Little White Horse. Probably the most plotless, lacking in conflict book ever, starring the Mariest of Sues, but it was just captivating. It sat next to The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Coral Island (but we won’t talk about all those Babysitter Club books. Nope. Never.)
What comes first for you with a story, concept or characters?
Depends on the idea, but my characters always come through the strongest. Talented came about as a concept, and the characters developed as I went Emma was supposed to be a man and Gibble was supposed to be a ghost, but they sort of dropped in and wouldn’t leave. My SciFi series also started with a concept – rogues in space, with a firefly feel, but my main characters soon jumped in and started taking the plot unexpected directions. I have the sassy guy who wakes up in a strange world, and tries desperately not to let on how overwhelmed he is, in a battle of wills with the tough, no-nonsense ship’s captain who doesn’t let the relationship with her first mate get in the way of her business. My steampunk series is directly inspired by a tongue in cheek writing prompt and will star The Milliner Assassin, a well-bred lady with unusual skills.
What are you reading/watching/playing/hiding from right now?
I’m drowning myself in science fiction of all sorts, having just finished The Genetic Imperative and about to start a Lois McMaster Bujold novel. I’m between TV addictions, waiting for access to the next season of Flash.
What made you decide to go indie, and what do you see as the benefits of indie?
I’m impatient, and fickle. I refuse to be pigeonholed and told to write a certain thing at a certain time, or wait a year or more to see a product finally come to market.
Who is your favourite fictional character, be it from books, TV, comics, movies or games?
It has to be Fool, Robin Hobb’s character. He is just so exquisite, and I want to slap Fitz for not appreciating him enough!
Tell us about a great indie book or two that you’ve read:
How long have you got? The Genetic Imperative (P. Joseph Cherubino), listed above, is an alien invasion novel with stellar characters and world building. Devotion (Katika Schneider) is a true epic fantasy that will sit next to the classics on my shelf, easily comparable to Sanderson’s work. Grave Beginnings (RR Virdi) has a fast moving plot and perfect pace.
D’you listen to music whilst you write? The TV on in the background providing a pleasant white-noise babble? Or d’you DEMAND SILENCE WHILST YOU CREATE FROM NOTHING.
White-noise works best for me. Travel shows, radio, or my husband tapping away at a game all work. Music is ok if it’s nothing to catchy, or silence works also (but is so, so hard to get!)
Which of your own works are you proudest of?
Probably the first one, just because it was the first. It was my toe in the water, my grand experiment. Every time I finish a new books it’s better, I can see that, but my first one, Dream Stalker, will always have a special place.
What’s you’re writing schedule like? Are you super regimented, butt-in-chair every day, tip-tapping away for hours, or an airy-fairy ‘when the muse strikes’ sort of a person?
I try to write twice every day, but sometimes life just happens. I never wait for the muse though; as soon as I have five, I’m on it.
What’s your number one piece of advice for anyone reading this who is considering going the indie route?
Wherever you’re at, start learning. Cue some podcasts and listen daily, join some forums and lurk there, subscribe to blogs with a great reputation. Then, when you need the information, you’ll know where to go, who to ask and what the question really is.
Tell me a ‘classic’ book that you’ve not been able to get through:
The Gentleman Bastards. Not a classic, but I just couldn’t.
So what treats do you have in store for readers next?
Oh, I dropped spoilers up above! I have a few gems in the sock drawer as you can see, it’s just a matter of when they’ll be out!