Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Interview with Guest Author Amanda Bouchet

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy
 I'm pleased to have Amanda Bouchet, new fantasy romance author, visit with us today. She took some time to answer a few of my questions and to talk about her books!

Hi Amanda! Thanks for joining us here at Here Be Magic.

Thank you for inviting me. I’m so excited to be here!

You know how much I loved your debut fantasy romance, A PROMISE OF FIRE. What was your core idea or inspiration for this story?

Thank you so much. I’m thrilled that you loved A PROMISE OF FIRE! The whole story really sprang from the heroine, Catalia Fisa. I kept thinking about her and constructing her physically and emotionally in my head. Strong but damaged, cynical but innocent, brave but scared—she’s full of contradictions. I didn’t start writing until she was such a strong character that I had to drop everything else and put her on the page. I knew what she looked like, what exceptional magic she would have, that she had an attitude a mile long, tons of snark, and a tortured past. I knew she would be hiding from both her past and her future, and that a certain warlord would explode into her sphere and irrevocably shake up her life on the run. The hero, Griffin, needed to draw Cat out of hiding, steer her toward the fate she’d been trying to avoid, and completely destabilize the relative safety she’d found in being emotionally alone. I’m not much of a plotter, though, so the events of the story really unfolded organically from Cat and Griffin’s initial meeting and developed as a result of Cat’s actions and evolving feelings and her interactions with the world and people around her.

What kind of story did you set out to tell – were there any particular books or series you loved that made you want to add to that canon?

I actually set out to tell a fantasy with a bit of romance and ended up with a romance with a lot of fantasy! I was aiming for something along the lines of Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study series, which I enjoyed very much. I’m a lifelong fan of the romance genre, though, and I like a good, steamy read. Once I had Cat and Griffin on the page together and sparks were flying, their emotional arc became just as important to me, if not more so, as the larger fantasy plot.

So, you and I have talked that there have been some vocal reviews about the hero being abusive to the heroine in this book. It’s a view that took me by surprise because I don’t see it at all. How do you see it?

I’m happy to say that the overwhelming majority of reviews have been positive and readers seem to be loving Cat and Griffin’s relationship as much as I do. The few who see it differently came as a shock to me as well. My view of Griffin is that he’s extremely protective and patient with Cat. Cat is prickly as hell and emotionally immature due to her abusive past and present fears. She’s also justifiably angry about Griffin abducting her and taking her from her home. That’s a difficult place to start a romance from, despite the attraction that’s clear from their first meeting. But Griffin and his team spend their time trying to win Cat over with their protectiveness, integrity, and good humor. And underneath her outward abrasiveness, what Cat really longs for is a place to belong and good people to love.

Cat is very powerful magically, and she doesn’t hide the violence lurking inside of her. She’s also enormously compassionate and not interested in hurting people who haven’t hurt her. Her past taught her what real malice looks like, and it’s clear from the first pages of A PROMISE OF FIRE that she doesn’t see that kind of threat in Griffin. She wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone she feels is a true danger to her, and she could do it by any number of means—magically or physically. A certain God also plays a role in the hero and heroine coming together, and Cat is familiar with and willing to listen to that guiding hand. My point of view as the author is that every decision Cat makes is her own, whether she likes that decision at the time or not, and that someone as powerful as her could always have gotten away from Griffin if she truly wanted to.

I don’t at all see the hero as being abusive to the heroine. The world they live in is dangerous and violent. Cat and Griffin are both strong-willed alphas who fit right into the context that surrounds them. They argue and there is conflict, both internal and external to their relationship. But then, there wouldn’t be much of a story if there wasn’t!

We all know not to read our reviews, but has it been difficult to avoid hearing some of these strong opinions?

I do read my reviews, so I’ve seen both the good and the bad. Sometimes I feel like I’ve written and read a totally different book with different characters and relationships from what I’ve seen described in a few reviews. I’ve also been surprised to see some complaints about there being explicit sexual content when this is, after all, an adult fantasy romance. I just try to keep in mind that reviews have been overwhelmingly positive overall, that we all see things differently, and that no author can please every reader.

In some ways, as a writer, I envy those who lived without the internet or ever hearing much feedback or discussion about my books. How has hearing from readers and reviewers affected your creative process?

It would certainly be less distracting that way! It’s really a mixed bag. Getting positive feedback from readers who loved the book is amazing and makes me feel great. It’s a particularly wonderful feeling when people tell me they’ve already read the book more than once or that they can’t stop thinking about it. I enjoy interacting with my readers on social media, and I love connecting with people all over the globe about something we all enjoy—books and reading! Time spent on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter has definitely cut into my writing time, though, which is already limited due to other constraints, so I really need to be careful about concentrating and keeping my focus on writing books.

In terms of negative feedback, I try not to let it influence my writing. This is a trilogy where the characters have time to learn, change, and grow. The characters and their relationships evolve and mature over the course of three books, and that has to happen in its own good time. If everything starts out without any conflict or mistakes for them, then there’s nowhere to go.

What has been a positive of all the wonderful conversation about this book?

It’s really pretty terrifying to put your creative work out into the world and wonder how it will be received. The wonderful conversation surrounding A PROMISE OF FIRE has been so encouraging for me! It’s thrilling to have readers tell me that A PROMISE OF FIRE is their favorite book, that they love Cat and Griffin, that they laughed out loud, and that they are excited to see what happens next. I know that word-of-mouth and people sharing their excitement has really helped get the word out about the book, and I’m so grateful for that! A PROMISE OF FIRE has also received very positive reviews from top review outlets, and it’s been beyond amazing to see superstar authors I adore and respect give A PROMISE OF FIRE spontaneous shout-outs because they read and enjoyed it. As a debut author, I couldn’t have dreamed better!

Has the debut experience been different than you anticipated? What has been the best part?

That’s actually hard to answer because I didn’t have much of an idea about what to expect! Even without any experience in the industry, though, I know that my publisher, Sourcebooks, has been extremely supportive of this series. They have gone above and beyond to give these books fabulous covers, special packaging for review copies, and great media coverage, and I couldn’t be more grateful!

It’s also been fabulous to meet other Sourcebooks debut authors and band together as we head into this new adventure. Even though we don’t live anywhere near each other, we stay connected on a regular basis and celebrate our successes and share our anxieties. We created an amazing support network without even meaning to, and I love having these wonderful and talented friends in my life.

I understand the sequel is coming out and I can’t wait! When does it come out and can you give us any hints??

BREATH OF FIRE comes out January 3rd and I’m so excited about it! You can expect lots of adventure and danger, more of Cat’s smart-mouthed humor, exciting Beta Team moments, and a romance that heats up even more. Cat’s secrets are finally revealed, and Griffin won’t let her back down from the fate she’d love to avoid. Important plans form that move the overall story arc forward and definitely keep the team on their toes. Another essential part of this book is the character development, both of the individual characters themselves and of the relationships between them. Cat matures immensely, but her fears and emotional fragility remain poignant counterpoints to her physical and magical strength.

Will there be a book three? What do you see yourself doing after that?

Yes! Cat’s story is a trilogy, and I’m currently working on the final book, HEART ON FIRE. After that, I have a few ideas I’m thinking about. I’d love for the secondary characters from The Kingmaker Chronicles to get their own books, and I also have a new story in mind that could relate to this trilogy in terms of the mythology but take place somewhere else. We’ll see!

Breath of Fire—Coming January 3rd

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.

1 comment:

  1. BREATH OF FIRE is my favorite so far. I think folks will really like it, especially Cat and Griffin's deepening relationship.


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