Today we're welcoming author Amanda Arista to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the paranormal romance available from Avon Impulse, "Claws and Effect", book two in her Diaries of an Urban Panther series.
Amanda is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
Okay Amanda, take it away!
Give us an elevator pitch for your book Claws and Effect.
After taking down the Primo of the city, Violet thought life was going to get better. After four assassination attempts, she’s thinking not so much. The old Pride wants her dead. Her boyfriend wants a traditional relationship. A pack of lost mongrels want a leader. And a new panther comes prowling into town new to the shift needs a teacher. So how does a girl manage a real job, a relationship with a non-shifter and a Legacy that burns like hellfire within her?
Where did the idea for your book come from, and did you originally envisage more than one book in a series? Do you intend to write more Violet Jordan stories?
The original Idea for the first book came from a simple question: what would you do if you (a normal person) were trapped in the back alley with a monster? Violet’s initial reaction was what I would have done: thrown my shoe and run like hell. I knew that Violet’s story wasn’t over after the first book. She’d come into her power, but she’d done some damage in the process, to herself, to the city, to her new boyfriend. Hence the second book. What happen in the aftermath of her triumph? Even after this book, I don’t think all of Violet’s questions are answered, so yes, I can see even more Diaries in the future.
Describe the sights, sounds and scents we might experience if we were to visit Violet when she’s with other shifters during a normal day.
Violet practically lives at her coffee shop, so there is always the ambient smell of coffee around. She tends to sit in a front window, curled up in the sunlight with her magical borders at half mast, half way down to show off and halfway up just in case she needs to hide. When another shifter comes around, it’s like a brush of fur or feathers up her neck. Her awareness rises and she’s got them on her radar. If one of her pack members joins her, they greet her with a brush of energy which to Violet smells different, feels different for each person. Her best friend Jessa feels like cool raindrops and smells like roses. Her mentor Iris feels like cashmere and smells like dust. Her pack members smell like new born puppies and chewed rawhide.
How do you go about developing your characters? Do you normally start with a character or the plot?
I always start with character. For me, the character drives the plot. Without a well-formed character, how are you are the writer supposed to know what obstacles to put in their way? How are you going to know what they can survive or what would test them the most? The plot just can’t be hard to survive, it has to be hard for the character to survive.
Violet Jordan was pretty welled formed when I met her. I knew her family background, her schooling, what her vice was and what her soft spot was. She was damaged and hilarious, but it wasn’t until I really started to test her that her fierceness came out and I knew who she was. That’s when I knew what she could handle, how she would handle it, and what would be her ultimate betrayal.
Is there any part of the writing process that you find particularly challenging and why?
Editing is always challenging. I tend to write the novel really fast and then go back and word-smith it all. However, I change and change and change and get taken in all different directions and sometimes I get a little confused as to which version of the story I’m actually going with. I had to reread the first book before I went into the second book because I’d changed so much from the original story, but in the end, I’m always glad that I worked hard to get her in the best shape that I could.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. I love his world building. American Gods blew me away. He just takes one normal thing and then takes it a million steps in a direction and goes for it. His characters are empathetic even though sometimes its Lucifer himself. I LOVE HIM and if I ever get the chance to meet him I will be so tongue tied that I won’t be able to say it.
What would YOU like to ask our readers?
What would you do in a dark alley if you were faced with a monster?
Thanks for having me at here. Feel free to comment or leave a question. I’ll be checking in all day. And if you do comment, you’ll be entered in a chance to win a $25 gift certificate.
Once I took down Haverty, the Primo of the city, I thought life was going to get better. After four assassination attempts, I’m thinking not so much. Haverty's pack needs a new leader and I've just about run out of reasons why I'm not right for the job. Besides, having loyal followers would definitely help me fight off whoever's out for my blood. Especially since my boyfriend is always busy playing White Hat to every wanderer except me. It's nice that he thinks I'm tough enough to handle my own business, but a little extra back up would be nice. So now I just need to figure out how to mentor new shifters, run a pack, keep my "real" job, and have some sort of personal life. I guess it's all in a day's work for this horror movie writer-turned-shapeshifting panther.
Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel! The summer of second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, so she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. When not writing, Amanda often dreams of co-opening an evil bakery and sell despicable desserts. Her particularly favorites are larvaceous lemon bars and sinful cinnamon streusel.
She spends her weekends writing at coffee shops, practicing for the day that caffeine intake becomes an Olympic sport, and plotting character demises with fellow writers Wolvarez, Killer Cupcake and Keith (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).
Facebook- Amanda Arista, Author