Alright guys! The finale to my two part interview with the extraordinary author Amanda Bouchet. We’ve already talked world building. (Click here for part one.) Now let’s talk productivity and her new series. And don’t forget, her Kingmaker Chornicles books are on sale now! Check em out!
You’re a pretty prolific writer. In addition to the Kingmaker Chronicles, you have a new three book series coming out, plus you’ve written a novella and you also write a weekly serial with Frolic. (https://frolic.media/love-at-first-baguette-episode-one/) I think serials are so cool! How does writing a serial differ than writing a short story ornovella?
I’m not sure I’m prolific, but I do keep busy! I actually think of myself as a slow writer, since my norm seems to be one full-length novel per year. The weekly serial on Frolic is finished now, with the entire nine-part story complete on their website as well as on mine. Writing a serial was so much fun! I would definitely do it again, time permitting. It’s almost like weekly blogging because of the short format for each episode, just with a continuing story and cast of characters. This serial, Love at First Baguette, was especially fun for me because I got to write a contemporary romance set in my home city of Paris, France. I even set the story in my old neighborhood in Montmartre, which is still my favorite part of the city. I was excited to try a contemporary voice and a modern setting—so different from what was required for high fantasy in an ancient-feeling world. For me, writing the serial felt much like writing a short story. I would say the main difference is that the format of weekly episodes allows the author to skip “the stuffing” and go straight to “the meat.” While the story needs to stay cohesive and coherent and have a clear arc, all the parts don’t have to flow together as seamlessly as in one packaged piece.
Speaking of writing, let’s talk one of my favorite subjects: productivity! With a new series on the horizon, and the first book releasing at the beginning of 2019,how do you stay productive?
I don’t have a choice! In fact, I’m always behind and struggling to keep up. Writing, rewriting, edits, marketing, social media and interactions with readers… Plus my family, a household, and friends. It’s very difficult to find a balance and get everything done. I can’t say I often succeed. I just do as much as I can every day and working from home almost always means working on weekends as well.
What are some tips and tricks you’ve developed over the years to keep writing during those times that you just don’t feel like it?
I never don’t feel like writing! It’s a passion, and I’m unhappy if I’m not doing it. That said, I don’t enjoy the editing and polishing part of the process as much as the creating part. If I could just write first drafts forever, that would be fantastic. But even with editing, I can get excited about adding details, tying the plot together more solidly, and making everything shine. Loving to write doesn’t mean I’m constantly pounding out words, though. Sometimes, I’m just sitting at my computer, staring blindly at the screen, and thinking about what comes next in the story. For me, that’s part of writing.
Alright, let’s switch gears! Your upcoming book, Nightchaser,is a big departure from your Kingmaker Chronicles series. Even the gorgeous cover is quite different. You described it as Robin Hood meets Star Wars which…SWOON!Tell us a bit more about it.
Nightchaser is a space opera romance set in our own galaxy but in a far distant future. We have a tight-knit crew of rebel thieves, an oppressive galactic regime ruled by military might, an ambiguous rogue hero with a shady past, and a very determined heroine trying to bring food to the starving and cure-all vaccines to populations in need. Nightchaser combines elements I love from two of my favorite love and adventure stories: Robin Hood and Star Wars. You’ll find the swoon-worthy romance, gripping action, and selfless ideals that are the driving force behind the legend of Robin Hood along with the high stakes, daring deeds, humor, and devotion to a cause that are such thrilling and iconic parts of the Star Wars saga.
8. Was it difficult switching genres? If so, what was the hardest thing about it, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t see space opera as truly different from fantasy. It’s imaginative and requires worldbuilding in much the same way. Nightchaser allowed me to use a more modern tone than in my previous books, and also to put in some modern references. That freed me up in terms of vocabulary and style and actually made the writing a lot easier than for the Kingmaker books. The most daunting thing about shifting genres is wondering if—and hoping that—my current readers will follow me from fantasy to science fiction. And I hope to gain some new readers as well!
Alright, and my final question and one I always end with: what’s the best advice you’d give someone trying to become an author?
The most important thing is to write a story you would love and want to read yourself. If you’re excited and passionate about it, that will shine through and help others to feel excited and passionate, too. Also, it’s so important to take your first draft and thoroughly rework it. I think it’s a rare genius who produces a manuscript worth publishing on the first draft. I certainly can’t! And after the rewrite comes more editing and polishing, possibly several times through the entire manuscript. This doesn’t sound like much fun, and honestly, it can get tiresome to reread and tweak your own work multiple times. But if you’re getting ready to submit to agents and editors, it’s essential to put your best work forward. There are rarely second chances for a manuscript after a rejection. You, as the author, could of course submit something new, but the book you’ve just poured your heart and soul into for months or possibly years, probably won’t. So don’t rush it and make sure the book is ready for industry eyes before you start querying. You won’t regret that extra read-through if fluid, polished writing and a solid plot make your book stand out from the others in the slush pile.