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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Author Interview & Contest with Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens is my author guest this week! Her Graveyard Queen Series has turned out to be hauntingly good! I just finished book three, The Prophet (review coming soon), which is due out this month.

I hope you will all enjoy this interview with Amanda. Get to know the author and her books a little but don't wait too long to try this series! It really is worth reading!

Keep reading to the end and enter the contest. You could win a copy of the first two books in the series!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your Graveyard Queen series?

Amanda - Thank you for having me! The Graveyard Queen series is about a cemetery restorer—Amelia Gray—who sees ghosts. Greedy, grasping, ravenous entities that prey on human emotions and devour their life force. In order to protect herself from the parasitic nature of the dead, Amelia has always held fast to her father rules. But a haunted police detective has entered her world and now everything is changing…including the rules that have always kept her safe.

Whew! That was a mouthful!

Amber - I really enjoyed the first book in the series was surprised to see the next two books in the series are being released within a month of each other. Why the rush?

Amanda - It was something Marketing came up with to hopefully make a bigger impact. Back-to-back series have been pretty effective in the past.

Amber - In the second book, The Kingdom, Amelia finds out a lot about herself and her past. Was it your intention to give away all the mystery surrounding Amelia so early on in the series?

Amanda - Oh, trust me, I haven’t given away all the mystery surrounding Amelia. Not by a long shot! Papa is still keeping secrets and Amelia is in for some nasty surprises.

Amber - What can we expect from the third book, The Prophet? What ghosts will haunt Amelia this time and what trouble will she get mixed into?

Amanda – The Prophet reveals a little more of Devlin’s back story and touches on something in his past that will play a big role in Book 5. Also, Amelia is now realizing the truly dire consequences of breaking Papa’s rules. She’s starting to wonder about her role in the larger scheme of things and what her future will be now that she’s let the ghosts in.

Amber - Why the paranormal? and why mystery? Are they genres you like yourself or just ones you wanted to try?

Amanda - Mysteries are my first love and I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal. Add a romantic element and it just seems a natural fit for my dark, atmospheric style.

Amber - How long on average does it take you to write a book? Do you have a process you follow? or do you just start at page one and see what happens?

Amanda – It takes a good five months for me. I get an idea, flesh out the premise and characters, come up with a tag line, and then write a synopsis. I work from a very detailed outline so that I don’t paint myself into any corners. I like to know where I’m going before I start, but that’s not to say there aren’t surprises along the way.

Amber - Will there be more books in the series? Will the Graveyard Queen be taking a break or is coming back to us soon?

Amanda - I just sold three more and am currently working on Book Four. It should be out next year and I’m super excited about where the series is going. As I said earlier, Amelia hasn’t yet discovered all of Papa’s secrets.

Amber - Have you ever seen a ghost yourself?

Amanda - No, but one of my best friends has told me some harrowing tales. One scene in The Kingdom was inspired by her real-life experience.

Amber - Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?

Amanda - I just sold a young adult series that I’m over the moon about. The stories have been living in my head for a while. I can’t wait to share them!

Amber - If the series was going to be made into a TV series or Film, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

Amanda – Fun question! And since the option has been bought by ABC TV, it’s one I’ve obsessed thought about. Just going by appearances, I’d say Amanda Seyfried has that strange, mysterious, ethereal quality that I picture for Amelia. Devlin is a little harder to cast. Maybe Matt Bomer or Ian Somerhalder? Dr. Shaw is definitely Donald Sutherland.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Amanda – They sometimes have special meanings. For my main character in this series, I wanted something Southern and a little old-fashioned, and I’ve always loved the name Amelia. Her surname, Gray, is a nod to the gray of twilight when the ghosts come out. Sometimes I just like the way two names sound together, like John Devlin. That name is a little throwback as well. I thought it sounded like a character from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Amber - And how about the titles for your books? Do you always go with the first title or is it hard to come up with the right one?

Amanda - Actually, the original titles were The Graveyard Queen, The Graveyard Kingdom and The Graveyard Prophet. My publisher wanted the series to be called The Graveyard Queen, so we dropped graveyard from the other titles and named the first book The Restorer. Sometimes I get to keep the original title, but the publisher has the final say.

Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? You obviously know a your way around graveyards and restoration.

Amanda - I started with the general topic of cemetery restoration, then narrowed it to South Carolina laws and customs. And, of course, lots of research on gravestone symbolism and cemetery history. The Internet makes research so easy these days. Anything you need to know—no matter how obscure—is literally at your fingertips.

Amber - Who has been your biggest inspiration in life?

Amanda – My husband is an artist and both my children are writers and filmmakers. They constantly inspire me with their creativity.

Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?

Amanda - Music definitely inspires me. I actually have a playlist for The Graveyard Queen which includes “Apparitions” by the Raveonettes; “Across the Graveyard” by Rӧyksopp; “My Secret Friend” by IAMX; “Song to the Siren” by This Mortal Coil; “Mistake” by Moby; “To Leave” by Shamrain.

Amber - Read anything good lately? What authors/series are your favourites?

Amanda - The first book of The Hunger Games blew me away. So good. I can’t wait for the movie. Winter’s Bone is another book that left me in awe.

Amber - What's your favorite paranormal movie of all time?

Amanda – Whoa, that’s a tough one. I absolutely adore The Gift, though it didn’t get much love at the box office or from critics. It’s a Southern paranormal mystery that inspired me to write in that genre. Also love The Devil’s Backbone, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, Pan’s Labyrinth.

Amber - If you could meet and talk to the ghost of anyone. Who would you like to meet and chat with?

Amanda – Yikes, I’m scared of ghosts! No communing with the dead for me!

Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's! I hope you will come by again sometime!

Amanda - Thank you for having me! Good questions!

The Graveyard Queen Series

#0.5 - The Abandoned
#1 - The Restorer
#2 - The Kingdom
#3 - The Prophet (releases this month!)


Contest Time

Amanda is giving away a copy of The Restorer and The Kingdom to one lucky winner! That means you get book one and two so you don't have to wait to read the second part ;)

How To Enter

If you could see and talk to ghosts, whose ghost would you like to chat with?

No Answer = No Entry

'Please enter me' posts will NOT be counted as an entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site.

10% Discount / APMA12 Coupon Code / Book Depository

The contest will stay open until 4pm on Sunday 22nd April (Central European Time) and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Jessica Hansen said...

I would want to talk to my grandma, she was awesome!

I like you on FB

Jess @ Taking It One Book


Vickie said...

My maternal grandmother, Grandma Violet, was my caregiver most of my childhood. I miss her. I know she is with me in spirit, but would love to chat with her.

I definitely love Amanda Stevens, have done since reading THE DOLLMAKER. She rocks!

Dig on Amberkatze (and Amanda) on Facebook

Blodeuedd said...

Oh there are so many famous people! But lately I have been thinking that my grandmother's grandmother would have quite the tale to tell. it would make such a good book so i would like to talk to her

Victoria said...

It would be my grandmother too. She left us last August 28th at 96 yrs old. She raised me and I miss her.


Diane said...

My father-in-law! He did something about 10 years before he died and to this day I don;t understand why; I would love to get the chance to ask him and see if he had any regrets afterwards.

dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

Barbara E. said...

I think it would be cool to chat with someone from long ago, so I could find out some things that might not be know about that person, like Queen Elizabeth I or William Shakespeare.

Bethany C. said...

I'd be selfish- I'd want to be able to call upon anyone I want- grandfather, Lord Byron, Joan of Arc... but be able to instantly banish anyone who annoys or scares the crap out of me.


donnas said...

I think Shakespeare. Find out the truth and all his works and inspirations.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

miki said...

My father, i misss him terribly and my mother needs him so yes i would like some answers

all the best


thanks you for this great giveaway

Dovile said...

My both grandfathers. They both died years before I was born, so I'd really like to meet them. I've only seen a few old photos of them.

Amethyst said...

My father.

Great interview! Thank you for the giveaway :)


hippo said...

would be great to have a possibility, but hard to decide on one person.
Guess I would go for my father's uncle, who was always super good to us.

I follow you on Facebook and of course the e-mail updates ;)

Sullivan McPig said...

Tsar Nicholas II
I've always found his life story fascinating and tragic.


Hippie said...

I'll wait until Lindsay Lohan pass away. There must be tons of juicy gossip there.


Kathy said...

Henry VIII - I'd love to tell the jerk it was really his fault that most of his children were girls.

sienny said...

first, arthur conan doyle. i wanna know why he make sherlock so depressing sometimes. then, tolkien, just because i'm a big fan of LOTR.

books first love said...

I would talk to my uncle, whom I never met because he died in the same year I was born. I would talk to him because everyone says it was the greatest man at heart so I want to ask him how is it in Heaven :)) I am sure he is there!

I liked your FB page: Andra Mary
thanks for the contest

molly.frenzel said...

If I could talk to any ghost it would be Leo da Vinci. I don't have anything really specific to ask him. I would just pick his brain a little.

Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/dg_molly/status/191853034995851264

Sharon Stogner said...

thanks for the interview and to Amanda for such a generous give away! I would want to talk to Alexander the Great, maybe get some tips on how to take over the world;)

NoraA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoraA said...

I would like to sit down with my maternal grandfather. He died when I was only 5. I'd like to get him to talk about the family's ancestor's. We only know bits and pieces of things. Some of the connections that we do know about are amazing. Sacs Fifth Ave is a distant relation.

I follow you a number of ways including Networked Blogs.


Anonymous said...

I would love to talk to my grandmother. I miss her so much. She is the only one who truly understood me. Or I would like to talk to President John Kennedy. Please enter me in contest. I really want to read this series. Tore923@aol.com

Stephanie said...

I would want to talk my grandma because she died when I was a toddler and I didn't get to know her.


trichie said...

Would love to speak to my grandpap just one more time. I lived with him when I was little and miss him so much.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview and for the generous giveaway! Amanda's books have been on my wishlist for some time now, one of my blogger friends have been raving about what a terrific series it is, I would LOVE to win and read them! :-)

If I could talk to ghosts I would like to talk to my maternal grandma. She was a big influence on me when I was growing up, I loved having serious discussions with her (as serious as a child can have since she died when I was 9), and that she always considered me mature and treated me like an adult. I missed her so much for a long time and would feel her presence, but I always longed to talk with her.

Thank you!

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koddabear said...

I'd like to talk to my mom and dad again.

Nickie said...

I would like to talk to relatives who have passed on. Those I knew just to hear how they are doing and keep them close, and those who are distant relatives so I could further investigate my family lineage.

Linda said...

I'd like to talk to Anne McCaffrey who recently passed away. Loved her Pern series!


Mary Preston said...

I don't want to be scared talking to a ghost, so I think I would start with Grandparents & then get more adventurous.

Aurian said...

Thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I would like to talk with Anne McCaffrey, one of my favourite authors who passed away some months ago. Just to thank her for all the hours of reading pleasure she gave me.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I'd talk to my great grandmother. I'd love a bit more info for the family tree.
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Danielle D said...

Thanks for the great interview. If I could talk to anyone that has passed on I think I'd choose to talk to Michael Turner, he was an amazing comic book artist, his art is what got me hooked on comics in the first place.

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alainala said...

thats tough.. i would love to talk to my grandma and grandpa to show them how i grew up lol... famously, i would love to talk to ... ohh einstein (although i doubt i would understand much.. lol)
follow amberkatze on fb

Evie said...

I would like to talk to my grandmother. I've never had the chance to meet her so it would be great to know more about her.
Thanks a lot for the giveaway! Those books sound so intriguing.

Gale Nelson said...

I would want to see and talk to my mom. She has been gone for 25 years and I still miss her as much as the day she died.

Birgit said...

I'd like to talk to my maternal grandpa, because I never met him and have heard so many wonderful stories about him!

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SandyG265 said...

I'm working on a family tree so I'd like to talk to my great grandfather.

sgiden at verizon.net

Laura said...

I'd love to talk to my great Uncle John.

Anonymous said...

I think i'd like to talk to Anne Mccaffrey, she was an awesome writer and i bet she could teach me a lot.
I have liked on facebook and posted on twitter (@aylaodd) about this contest.

Cheryl said...

I'm going to say one of two people, one family and one non-family member. For the family member, my grandpa on my mom's side who died when I was six, but sounds like a really interesting guy I would've liked to have known.

The other person would be General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, from the Civil War; I'd love to talk to him.

felinewyvern said...

I think I would like to talk to Shakespeare to find out if he really did write all the stuff attributed to him :D

ArtemisG said...

The truth is that I would not chat with any ghost especially someone of my family.
Perhaps, Salvador Dalí. I am always fascinated about his work and his character and I would like to meet him.
Thank you for the great giveaway!
artgiote at gmail dot com

Kristin said...

I've love to talk to General James Longstreet (American Civil War).

Though I'm happy Lee and others didn't listen to him (we might not have won Gettysburg if they had), he was an interesting figure who stood up for what his beliefs (and no, I am not referring to slavery!) and was labeled a traitor for it.

koddabear said...

I'd love to talk to my great grandmother. I'd love to learn more about her life