Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway with Amanda Havard

Hey, all!  To go along with the blog tour for Point of Origin (book two in the Survivors series), I'm very grateful and excited to present an interview with the lovely Amanda Havard - and, following the interview, a giveaway for signed copies of the first two books and a swag pack (including a t-shirt)!  I hope you all enjoy it and enjoy learning a bit more about this awesome series.

1. Point of Origin is the second novel in your Survivors series – how hard was it to write the second book in comparison to the first? Did anything about the process strike you as being more difficult because of it being the second book in a series? 

 I think it was actually easier for me to write this one than the first. I’ve had a very clear plan for the whole Survivors series from the very beginning, and so all the steps after the first one fall in line with that plan. That makes it simpler and incredibly rewarding to see the first loose ends beginning to tie together. 

2. The heroine of the Survivors series, Sadie, is an articulate heroine with an old fashioned voice in a very modern world. Is it hard to write her immortal character’s voice in a way that is both realistic to her history and relative to modern-day readers? How do you find that balance as an author? 

That’s a great question. Sadie’s voice is the foundation the whole series is built on because, whether you like it or not, you’re seeing the world through her. I’ve always loved the idea of a narrator as the power player in the story you’re reading. You get to see it how she thinks it, and that’s not the same thing as 100% reality, is it? Sometimes this means she overreacts and you overreact with her. Sometimes this means she talks a little too obsessively about the detail of what someone’s wearing. Sometimes it means she isn’t in on the joke. Though this is a hard balance to strike, it makes you get to know your character very well. I have to be able to play and replay a scene in the way it’s actually happening, and then think through it the way Sadie perceives it. It’s a challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun for me. It’s also great watching her evolve as she hangs out with the Winters and starts to get a little more modern. A little more human. 

3. The Survivors is published by a smaller publisher known as Chafie Press and has garnered a lot of acclaim and publicity – including several tie-in songs and an interactive book model that is unlike anything done in publishing so far. What’s it like to have your series be so interactive with modern media? Do the media possibilities ever affect how you write the series? What would you say is your favorite part of having your novels be so media-intensive? 

All Chafie and I have built with the original music and the Immersedition interactive book app has been really exciting for me. All I ever wanted was to tell stories the way I experience them as I make them up, and when that happens, they’re all-consuming, immersive, interactive, and transmedia in nature. What I’ve been given is an opportunity to let you see how much goes into a story like this — really — and give you an opportunity to dive as deeply into it as you’d like. I couldn’t ask for more.

 4. In a world where a new supernatural YA story is published every week, what makes your series stand out? How does your take on immortal beings differ from anything else on the market today? What would make readers take notice of it?

 I like to think that there are two unique features of Survivors. For one, the concept of a Survivor — what it is, where it comes from, and how it fits into the larger landscape of the supernatural — is still an unknown. You don't know what Survivors are because Survivors don’t know what Survivors are. And that leaves a mystery to all of this. Furthermore, don’t you want to know how they will Survive? Or what, if anything, could keep them for Surviving? More than that, I built a world that people sometimes see as a complicated one, but in reality, it comes down to three main rules: It’s the same world you and I live in. All the history that has happened in our world, happened in the Survivors’ world. And all the mythology, legend, and lore that exists in our world exists there too — except it’s all real. This makes for a world of endless possibility that hits closer to home than paranormal should. 

5. Your series pulls a lot from history as well as from your own supernatural mythology. How do you go about world building as an author? What’s the easiest thing about world building? The hardest? How difficult is it to keep a world continuous?

 For me, as I said, since there are only those three main rules of the Survivors world, the easiest part is in finding a never-ending supply of inspiration, ideas, and storylines to dive into. The hardest parts are two-fold. For one, it’s hard to keep it all contained. (I’ve never been good with limits.) For another, it’s just hard to sometimes remember what I’ve thought of as opposed to what’s made it into the text already. The order in which things are revealed is… key. And sometimes hard to keep track of.

 6. Now that Point of Origin is (finally!) releasing, where is the series planning to go next? How many books do you project to write for it? Do you have any ideas for books that are outside of this series? 

Survivors will be five books all in. I just finished the third book in the series, and I cannot wait to share that one with you. It’s just so unbelievably huge, the web is so tangled, and I am ready for people to throw the book at the wall at certain parts. Plus there are some new viewpoints which is very exciting. I do have plans for a few stand alones and a new paranormal YA series, all of which I’m developing now. 

7. Your series uses pivotal historic moments like the Salem witch trials to help give your characters deep back stories. What is your favorite part about using history to deepen your immortal characters? Are there any historic periods you would like to use or plan on using for back story/flashbacks, but haven’t yet?

 I think the real history adds to the eeriness of the series. There are a lot of things that happen in this book that obviously didn't happen in real life, however, I’ve stuck closely enough to the history that you can’t prove they didn’t. I like that. It adds to the mystique. As for what else I hope to write, as long as there’s more history to learn about — and more holes in it to discover — then I’ll keep having history to weave into my fiction. You never know what could come next. 

Wasn't that a fabulous interview?  Amanda is an innovative and savvy writer that really looks towards the future of the YA market.  Without further ado, here's a giveaway!  Click the bolded link below to fill out the entry form. 

 Giveaway ends June 10th, 2012

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traci16 said...

Great review and interview..I haven't read of Amandas books yet but I would really like loving YA books right now! I'm always looking for something cool and new to read, and I love the premise. Easier sounds very real. Can't wait to read this....thanks for the great giveaway!!!!!

SandyG265 said...

This sounds like an interesting series. I always like to find an author who puts a new twist on things.