Author of The Survivors Series Gabs and Gives Away!! Enter to Win!Nov 22nd, 2011 | By Kallieross | Category: Book of the Month, Contests, Featured Articles, Site News
We are so excited to introduce you to Amanda Havard, the author of our Book of the Month for November, The Survivors! We truly think you’ll love this new series and want to know what happens just like the rest of us! You can read reviews of The Survivors here. Twilight Series Theories had the opportunity to pick Amanda’s brain and ask her some questions. You don’t want to miss her thoughtful answers! Look below to read through her interview. Then, enter to win a SIGNED COPY of her beautiful book published by Chafie Press, The Survivors. We’re giving TWO away! And…One of the lucky winners will receive a SWAG BAG filled with The Survivors goodies as well as their signed book! All you have to do is comment below with any question you would like to ask the author, Amanda Havard! This contest will close at MIDNIGHT-NOVEMBER 30th!
1. Looking through your bio and how The Survivors got started, you say that you have a 5 book outline. Is your plan still to create five books in this series? Will each book continue to focus on Sadie Matthau as your leading lady, or will you trade spots with each of the other Survivors?
The Survivors as it was originally conceived and executed was certainly and does remain a five-book series. Does that mean I couldn’t write more? Surely not. Or even that this is all I will write in this world? Of course not. But it does mean that this story is still on track to be a five book series.
And as for points of view and such, I can only speak to book 2, The Survivors: Point of Origin, which is written in Sadie’s voice like the first is.
2. Who would you cast as your main characters if your book were to be made into a movie and you could choose anyone?
This is a much tougher question than it seems. I’ve never found a Sadie, not really. I see actresses who look the part and couldn’t pull her off, and then those who could pull her off but don’t look a bit like her. So the jury is out on that one.
As for the boys, Matt Bomer looks the most like Everett in my head, and he has a sort of ageless, strikingly beautiful quality about him, which is helpful. Don’t believe me? Go look at a photo of him!
For Cole, he started with me thinking of my darling friend, Grant Harling (who you can see playing Cole in our music video due out this month for our next Survivors song, “Who You Are”). But as for someone you’d know? I’d say Armie Hammer from The Social Network.
And oh, Mark. My dear, dear Mark. I’d always thought it but been reticent to admit it until I could use a certain photo as a defense, but I think Zac Efron would actually do a phenomenal job with him.
And Ginny Winter, my blonde bombshell? Well I see her everywhere, in my head, in airports, in magazines, in a glammed up Jennifer Lawrence or badass Brooklyn Decker.
3. If someone were to write a book about your life, what do you think the most prominent theme would be?
Tie between two–First: that learning, question asking, researching, curiosity, and the like are the bones of success, creativity, and magic-making.
At least they have been for me. Second? Sometimes the best somethings are made out of nothings.
4. I’m sure it’s nerve-wracking to release a novel out into the world. What is the one scene from the book that you are most
nervous to have people read?
Ha, what a question! I’m generally not nervous to have people read what I write. It could be fearlessness, over-confidence, or some middle-of-the-road mix of the two, but I’m just so damn excited that other people are getting to live in my story world that it overcomes everything else.
But I’ll say this: I’m nervous for Sadie in her most vulnerable moments. Scars exposed, come undone. I’m nervous for you to feel what she feels because, in so many ways, it’s what I feel. But the excitement that comes from my darling characters getting up and off the page, off my desk and into your hands, into your minds, walking through your thoughts, burying themselves in your hearts? That outweighs any fear I could ever have. It has to. Otherwise, I’m in the wrong line of work.
5. What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? Best compliment? How did you handle those comments?
Criticism is okay. Criticism in the sense of hearing what doesn’t work and what does, of hearing something has to change to make it better… That’s all great. That all helps me get further into the story and get the story to a better place. But criticism and negativity are two different things. Negativity is harder to swallow because it’s rarely delivered from an informed space. The hardest thing to deal with for me has really been overcoming people’s really ridiculous misconceptions or preconceived (negative) notions about being on a small publisher. My publisher is amazing, and I’ve gotten to do SO many things I’d never have gotten to do if I were on a bigger publisher. I wouldn’t trade the experiences for the world. But there are so many people who won’t review the book or read it or give it a fair shake because it comes from a smaller publisher. This kills me. How and when did we get so indoctrinated to the idea that a good story can only exist in a few, select places?
And the best compliment? I can’t even count. Having my book out there has been this solidly amazing experience where I get to let people into the deepest, most meaningful parts of myself, and the fact that thousands of people have come forward to share their love of my story world with me, to tell me how they related to the human parts of my inhuman Sadie, how they stayed up all night thinking about my Everett, or how they just can’t get the story out of their heads? Well, those are all the greatest compliments. And I’m grateful for each one of them.
Like everything else, when it comes to these matters, you must handle yourself with confidence. Be confident in your story and in your work, be confident that you are level headed enough to know a good idea when someone shares it with you or know a decision you should change when it
deserves changing, that you are strong enough to defend your work, and that you are deserving of those compliments.
6. If you could have the absolute perfect day what would it look like? What would you do?
I’d write a scene or a sequence that would give me those floaty, elated, high feelings, like awesome scenes are wont to do. Then, when I was ready to get out among the world, I would shop. Shop some more. And then shop a little more. Then I’d top the day off with a super amazing concert, to reestabilish that floaty, elated, high feeling I felt earlier from the scenes. Then I’d have an amazing dinner with friends, eating good food, enjoying good company.
And then I’d write again…
7. Knowing that the publishing world is changing quite a bit these days, where do you see it heading? What do you hope
is the future for books and their readers over the next few years?
I think we’re in a crucial moment in publishing. It’s an adapt or die kind of moment, and though I know I’m an early adapter, I’m interested to see who else will come to this side. Personally, I’m excited to see where things are headed. I think technology has yet to play the role in books that it can and will. (This I’m sure of. Look me up in December, and you’ll know what I mean.) I think we haven’t yet embraced the possibilities of what a world where we can consume media in so many ways can and will do for stories– story telling, story creation, story experiencing.
I’d like to see those who make stories — those who write, publish, and generally control stories — embrace what’s to come almost as much as I hope readers will grow to value all the cool experiences they’ll soon be offered. I’m excited at the possibilities. I’m ready to see where it goes.
As for me, I have some of the seeds planted. I’ve gotten to write original songs to go along with the series, and I even got to direct the latest music video for one. My characters have Twitter accounts to let you follow the story from before the words on the page, in the spaces in between, and in moments softer and more informal than in the book. You can ask them questions, and they’ll respond. This and a number of other things we have coming are ways for me to give you a bigger, better, more immersive story world. That’s what I’m all about.
8. I know you are a singer/songwriter. Can you tell the reader how the world of music plays itself out in your books and in your writing process?
I’ve said time and time again that music is the single biggest influence in the creation of The Survivors and all I write, and that continues to be the case. The story, in truth, all began with Coldplay’s “Violet Hill,” and after that, as I would find a song to fit the emotion I wanted a scene to hold, I’d use it as a soundtrack for writing, and now you can use it as a soundtrack for listening.
But it’s not just the inspirational quality of other people’s music that played a part in this series. Those original Survivors songs I mentioned that are now radio-style songs were once only me at my piano. I had these fragmented versions of songs in the beginning that I would write when it was 2 a.m., I needed to get through a scene, and I needed to focus. I ended up writing songs as a character exercise almost, as a way to figure out what one character needed to say to another—or even herself— in fifty words or less. This was an extremely useful part of the process for me, and though now those bones of acoustic songs are now something else entirely, I’m thrilled that they served their purpose in their original forms and serve a new purpose now.
At the end of the day, music is absolutely crucial to the way I write these stories, and I’d love nothing more than for it to be a part of the reading experience too.
9. What is one habit you wish you could change about yourself?
I imagine myself as a quiet mysterious type whose few words communicate the world about her. And yet, I talk at about a million miles a minute and say generally too much. I think I’d change that in a heartbeat.
10. I know my answer, but…we want to know yours…Cole, Everett, and Mark are very different, and extremely LOVELY, male characters. Which one of your characters is more your “type”? (I REALLY wanted to ask you which one would you like to be locked in a closet for 7 minutes with?? )
Oh Mark all the way. In practically any interview I’ve given, I say Mark is my favorite character. Then I say I’m the most like him, that he’s the most like me. And then in questions like this, I say I’d like to be with him the most. Then… I see a problem.
11. What is the one book on your bookshelves that you would read and reread again?
The House on Mango Street. Always magic. Instant inspiration. Beauty in its simplicity.
12. Quick choice or short answer questions:
Chocolate or vanilla— Vanilla
Scruff or clean-shaven men— Scruff
Tattoos or piercings—Tattoos (Not on me! Don’t worry, Dad.)
Beach or mountains— Mountains
Believe in love in first sight? I believe in everything.
Biggest fear? Not reaching my potential.
13. If you could choose four authors, dead or alive, to make up your very own dream critique group, who would they be and why?
I cheated and gave you five. Mainly because I thought this was four, wrote out the explanations, and then realized it was five. So five it is.
Janet Fitch, who I’m fairly certain would push me to be something inside myself I haven’t tapped yet, though she may not think much of my little YA supernatural fiction.
Sandra Cisneros, who would never let me publish anything that wasn’t authentic.
J.K. Rowling, to help me channel a world more giant than life onto a page.
Ellen Hopkins to push me and never let me get away with crap. I hear she is the toughest critic —and the best.
Melissa de la Cruz, who blends fantasy and detailed reality together better than anyone I’ve ever read, and that’s my favorite thing to do.
Book of the Month Giveaway!!
Don’t forget to comment below in order to win a one of TWO signed copies of Amanda Havard’s The Survivors! Just tell us any question you would want to ask Amanda if you could sit down to dinner with her. What is your burning question?? It could win you a signed copy and a SWAG BAG of Survivor Goodies!