I am so beyond thrilled that I am a part of Amanda Hocking’s tour for her book WAKE, the first book in her Watersong series. I have been a huge fan of this author ever since I read her My Blood Approves series and am always excited to get lost in the worlds she creates.
She has such an incredible imagination and she creates relatable and lovable characters. And she’s not afraid to take her books in directions that aren’t always the most popular. Yet the endings always feel just right for her heroines.
There are so many authors who say that Amanda Hocking is their inspiration for going the self-published route. Well, if it weren’t for this author I wouldn’t even be blogging today. She’s the only reason I gave Fiktshun a second chance back in November 2010. So, yes, she was my inspiration too.
And getting the chance to not only read her book early, but to interview her, was so awesome. Though I have to admit I have never been more nervous coming up with interview questions than I was for this interview, which follows below.
But before all that, here’s just a little bit about the author and her book WAKE. And if you stick around, at the bottom of this post there is a giveaway for an ARC of WAKE.
Oh, and as part of the tour, I also reviewed WAKE, which I posted separately just moments ago, HERE.
About the Author
I live in Minnesota with my dog, two cats, two fish, and my roommate/assistant/platonic lifemate, Eric. I actually live in Austin, a.k.a. SPAMTown, USA. They invented SPAM here, and the town is quite proud of it. (Here’s a vlog with a fun tour of the SPAM museum: HERE.)
I do many things, most of them lame and boring, but the thing I get paid to do is write young adult books.
All three books in my TrylleTrilogy – Switched, Torn, and Ascend – were originally self-published, but were re-released with St. Martin’s and Pan Macmillan internationally with new bonus content in early 2012. The trilogy has also made the USA Today Bestseller list, the New York Times Bestseller list, and was recently optioned for a film by Media Rights Capital with District 9 screenwriter Terri Tatchell adapting the books for screen.
St. Martin’s and Pan Macmillan recently acquired my new young adult four-book series Watersong, with the first book Wake coming out in August 2012. My zombie series, The Hollows, is being adapted into a graphic novel by Dynamite.
I also enjoy Red Bull, Jim Henson, Batman, Jane Austen, Star Wars legos, and I absolutely hate long walks on the beach out of my intense fear/hatred of wet sand.
About the Book
WAKE (Watersong #1) – releases August 7, 2012
Beautiful. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Thea, and Lexi have caught everyone’s attention, including the eye of practical Harper. But it’s her sister, Gemma, they’ve chosen to be part of their group.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma seems to have it all – carefree, pretty, and falling in love with the boy next door. But her greatest passion has always been the water. She craves late night swims under the stars, where she can be alone yet belong to the sea. Lately she’s had company. Penn, Thea, and Lexi spend their nights dancing, singing, and partying on the cove–and one night Gemma joins them. When she wakes up groggy on the beach the next morning, she knows something has changed.
Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. As she uncovers the truth about her new mythical powers, Gemma is forced to choose between staying with those she loves or entering a dark world brimming with unimaginable secrets.
Q. You wrote a number of series as a self-published author. Which was your favorite to write? Which was your most challenging? And why?
Out of the books that I self-published, my favorite series to write was the Trylle Trilogy, and the most challenging was The Hollows series. I think The Hollows was hard to write, because it was the first time I wrote a book that really focused on action/gore, and coming up with new ways to kill zombies.
[Fiktshun: I loved the Trylle Trilogy! And I think your The Hollows series is seriously awesome. Hollowland was the first zombie YA story I’d ever read and it’s a favorite of mine.]
Q. What has been the biggest change, if any, in how you write your stories since you’ve signed on with a publishing house? If there was a change, has it affected the type of stories you’re writing in addition to the process? The length of the stories? The number of stories? The outcomes?
I think the biggest difference is that I’m writing the way I used to before I was a self-published writer. When I was self-publishing, everything felt frantic, and I felt a lot of pressure to constantly be putting new things out there, along with all of the stress of editing/designing, and everything else that went along with the release. Now, things feel a bit more relaxed. I still have deadlines, but they seem more reasonable because they’re not fake deadlines that I’m putting on myself.
I’m still writing the types of books I think I would be writing if I were still self-publishing, and the books should be a lot smoother, and have fewer errors. The outcomes stays the same. I’m slowing down on the amount of stories I’m writing, mostly because I feel less pressured to put out a huge number of books. My books are a bit longer now, and I think it’s partially because I feel like I have more time.
[Fiktshun: Relaxing deadlines. I love it! But I bet it’s less stressful without having to do every little thing from writing to formatting to design to marketing. And I’m so glad to hear that the outcomes remain the same. I love the fact that the endings of your series are as strong as they are.]
Q. Of all the books you’ve written prior to signing on with a publisher, which books would you also like to see traditionally published and why?
I think the only ones that would have a good chance of doing well in print, would be The Hollows books. I think Hollowland has been the most well-received book I’ve written.
[Fiktshun: Hollowland is one of my favorites, but I’d also love to see your My Blood Approves series in bookstores. To this day, I still have a fondness for Peter.]
Q. You didn’t change the ending to your Trylle Trilogy when it was republished. If your My Blood Approves series was republished, would you change the direction of that series? Are there any stories you’d change if you were to republish?
No, I wouldn’t change any of the major plot points. I might change smaller details about them, and smooth some different things out, but the general course of the characters and stories would stay the same. Not only because it was my overall vision of the series’ when I wrote them, but also because I think it would be unfair to change things that people might have enjoyed when they read the books before.
[Fiktshun: I’m so glad to hear that, too! Though, as with your Trylle series, if I’d love it if they were republished and included a few extra short stories/novellas. I just love getting extra peeks into the world outside of the main storyline.]
Q. The Watersong series is the first series of yours to be published traditionally from the outset versus self-published and republished. How has the process changed from your first experience getting your Trylle series republished? And did the idea of the series come to you before you signed on with a publisher or it a brand new idea? If it was an older idea, has the direction of the story changed?
The overall process has actually been pretty similar. I submit the books, and we go through edits. The Watersong books went through more edits than the Trylle books did, just because I really wanted to keep the tone of the Trylle books the same for people who already read them, but with Watersong I wanted to go through more heavy edits. I just finished up the third book, and a lot of the storyline was switched around and changed, and I think it will be an even better book for it.
[Fiktshun: Oh now I’m really curious to see what happens in book three. And of course just as curious as to what the storyline was like originally….]
Q. Your Watersong series is a quadrilogy – Wake, Lullaby, Tidal and Elegy. What was it about the series that dictated the length? If there was interest in taking the series further, would you or have you already thought through how things will end?
Based on my own experience so far from writing books, I think it’s hard to sustain tension for more than 3 or 4 books, unless a book is kind of a Monster of the Week book where you’re solving mysteries in each new book. Other authors can do it, but it’s not something I think I can really do. I mapped out the idea of what I had, and thought it would last about four books. I already have the ending planned, and the way I have things now, I don’t see any possibility for a continuation.
[Fiktshun: Oh I really should have asked a follow-up question about just how things will end. After reading WAKE there are just so many directions for this series to go and I’m dying to know what happens next.]
Q. If you had it all to do over again, would you go the traditional route or was the experience you gained as a self-published author one you wouldn’t want to lose? What was your favorite part about being a self-published author?
I definitely wouldn’t do things differently, because I think the place that I have in my career is because of the path that I took. If I did things a different way, I don’t think I would be where I am now. My favorite part about being self-published is my favorite thing about being an author, it’s just writing books and being able to connect with readers.
[Fiktshun: I love how you are always so present online – on your blog and on Twitter. As a non-blogger when I first discovered your books, if you had gone the traditional route I might never have seen them on Amazon. And I’d never have sought out your blog and stalked it regularly for updates about your books, checked out your playlists, watched your book trailers….]
I haven’t seen a significant change, the only thing is that their seems to be more people, so it’s a bit more difficult to respond to things, but I’m still seeing responses from people who have been fans since I was self-published, and from new readers.
[Fiktshun: I’m sure you’re swamped! And I’m so thrilled that your fan-base has grown. But I still love that you blog and share your thoughts and are just around. You were the very first person I followed on Twitter and I love your Tweets.]
Q. In the past you’ve mentioned that you’ve written many of your stories in incredibly short periods of time. Do you still write that quickly? And if that has changed is it because of the way you approach your writing, the time you have available to write or some other reason?
I still write the same way. I have a binge/purge kind of writing style where I do marathon sessions until the book is done. I think that’s the way I’ll always right, because it’s just what works best for me.
[Fiktshun: That’s really just incredible.]
Q. You create playlists to accompany your many of books and/or series. Which is your favorite playlist and why?
I really like the playlists for Wake, Hollowland, and Letters to Elise. I’m not sure why…I think the songs I have on those playlists really mix with the story the best.
[Fiktshun: Oh I haven’t checked out the WAKE playlist yet. I must get on that NOW!]
Q. You are a huge fan of film. Other than the obvious entertainment value, do you find that watching movies inspires your creativity? Are there any particular films that have inspired or sparked an idea for any of the stories you’ve written?
I think Labyrinth really inspired the Trylle books, but I take inspiration from everywhere so I’m sure that various movies have inspired various things that I don’t even know about. I took some inspiration from Jaws for the Watersong books.
[Fiktshun: I love that Jaws inspired the Watersong books. Had I known of this answer when I read it I might have not been quite so surprised about a few things in WAKE….]
Q. You also mention that you are a huge fan of Batman. Of all the actors that played Batman who was your favorite – was it Christian Bale? – and why? Which of the many Batman movies was your favorite? And how many times have you seen it?
I do love all of the Batmans (except for George Clooney.) My favorite is Christian Bale, because I feel like he could actually beat up the most villains, but I also really love Adam West. As of right now, my favorite is The Dark Knight….I think I’ve seen it about 20 times. After that, my favorite would be Batman Returns.
[Fiktshun: I am so glad you said that. I do not like Clooney Batman either! And Christian Bale is my favorite too. Though I agree that Adam West was a pretty awesome Batman. Now that Dark Knight Rises is out, I’m curious if that moved up to second place, or knocked The Dark Knight off the top. And wow 20 times! Clearly you loved that film.]
Q. Pretty in Pink of The Breakfast Club? Pretty in Pink
Q. Kermit the Frog or Fozzie Bear? Kermit the Frog
Q. Muppets or Fraggles? Muppets
Q. Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal? Labyrinth
Q. River Phoenix: My Own Private Idaho or Stand By Me? My Own Private Idaho
Q. Vampires or Zombies? Zombies
Q. Soundtracks or scores? Score
Q. ‘80s or ‘90s? 80s
Q. Less than Zero or Rules of Attraction? Rules of Attraction
Q. Peter or Jack? Jack
Q. Series or standalone? Series
Q. Happily ever after or happily never after? Happily Ever After
[Fiktshun: Love these answers! Though now I’m curious if it’s Rules of Attraction the book or movie…. And although Peter holds a special place in my heart, I do love Jack too. But LETTERS TO ELISE broke my heart for him all over again. Oops, better not talk about that or it will be spoiler-y.]
I cannot say thank you and Ashley, The Bookish Brunette, enough for allowing me to be a part of this tour for your newest series. I cannot wait to read the next installment and see just what happens with Gemma, Harper, Daniel and Alex. Your books are so incredibly addictive and I am excited to see just what is in store for your characters in these next three books.
And a big thank you for answering all of the many, many interview questions I asked. You seriously rock!
The next book in the series….
Lullaby (Watersong #2)
Coming November 27, 2012
August 7th – Books Beside My Bed
August 8th – Smash Attack Reads
August 9th – Obsession with Books
August 10th – Love of Books
August 11th – The Crazy Bookworm
What’s up for grabs:
An ARC of WAKE by Amanda Hocking sent by the author to ONE WINNER – US only.
1. One entry per HOUSEHOLD.
2. There will be ONE winner.
3. You must be 13 or older.
4. Giveaway is US.
5. Contest ends at 9:01 p.m. Pacific on Friday, August 10th, 2012.
6. Winner will be chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter and announced on August 11th in this post.
7. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.
There is no requirement to like or follow. But there are extra entry opportunities for following the author.
And if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form: