The Litbratians here at The Book Hookup love to read, but when we come across a true indie gem we get pretty passionate about it. Our favorite series at the moment is The Premonition Series by Amy A. Bartol. We were lucky enough to have Amy stop by to chat with us and give us a little insight into her writing. Thank you so much, Amy! It has truly been a pleasure getting to know you.
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Bio from Goodreads: I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.
Celeste reviewed it here Celeste reviewed it here
you can find Amy here:
♥ How did the storyline of your series first come to surface? Why angels? (Celeste’s favorite!) Do you remember what you were doing? I’ve been a really avid reader of the paranormal fantasy genre for a while now. I was obsessed with Odd Thomas, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter to name a few, so I knew I wanted to write a story that took place in the “real world,” but which also had supernatural elements to it. While reading The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, I stumbled across a stanza that had the word “Seraphim” in it. I was annoyed that I didn’t know exactly what that word meant because I’m preoccupied with words. I looked it up and found that Seraphim are angels, and not just any angels; they’re the highest rank of angels in Heaven. Angels have ranks? I had thought. Really? I did some research and discovered that a theologian in the fifth century named Pseudo-Dionysius the Aeropagite wrote about a hierarchy of angels. The angels from my stories are loosely based on Pseudo-Dionysius’ writings (he didn’t have “Reaper” angels—I took a large amount of “poetic license” in my writing).
♥ I saw on your blog that Buns and Brownie are based on real people. (I want to be friends with them!!) What was your inspiration for Evie and Reed? Did you always want two gorgeous people for the leads? I’m a HUGE Jane Austen fan. If I could go back in time, I might stalk her. If I had an inspiration for Reed, it would be Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, but only insomuch as he is mean to Elizabeth Bennet at first, and then they fall in love. I think that is where the similarities between Reed and Darcy end. For Evie, I really wanted her to be vulnerable and relatable. I wanted readers to empathize with her, and in order to do that, I had to make her believable. So I guess my inspiration was sort of an “every girl,” a girl who describes other girls by the shoes they’re wearing, who wants to excel at school and be part of a team, and a girl who loves her friends maybe even more than herself. I wanted her to be sexy, not for sexuality sake, but so that the reader can experience a certain level of attractiveness and live it through Evie’s eyes. That is the appeal of the first person present tense, isn’t it? The reader gets to try out what it’s like to be the character almost as if she is stepping into the character’s shoes. When Evie is kissed, I want the reader to feel it. If Evie is cut, I want the reader to bleed. ♥ What was easier with the second, third, even fourth book? What was harder? Dialog is easier the more I write. I can “hear” the characters talking and I know their personalities so well now that if we were to walk into a restaurant together (and wouldn’t that be excellent), I could tell you what Reed would order or what Russell would say to the waitress. Since each character is so distinct and has a clear idea of where he or she wants the plot to go, I can’t always get them to go where I think the plot should go. I have to trust the characters that they know where we’re headed. Sometimes I’m surprised by what happens in the story. Here’s an example: in Intuition, when Evie and Buns are at the chateau and Reed and Zephyr are off negotiating Evie’s release from Dominion, I didn’t know there was going to be a knock on Evie’s door. My eyes were as wide as Evie’s when she said, “What’s the password?” and “Banjax?” was the response. My plan was for the Gancanagh storyline not to continue until the third book, but because the Gancanagh do not do what they’re told—”dey do da tellin'”—they showed up unexpectedly. So, at times, it’s difficult because I have a plan and when it changes I have to decide if it has changed for the better or not. But, what a good problem to have, right? ♥ How has your enthusiastic fan base surprised you? (we seriously love your books here at The Book Hookup)
I don’t really think I’ve grasped the concept of “fans” yet. I’ll be working on something and I’ll check my website, Facebook, or Twitter and find a lovely comment or two there. It’s a little like seeing butterflies for the first time. They flutter around me and my mouth drops open in awe because the things people write are vibrant and beautiful. I just try to really appreciate them while I can because butterflies are fragile and temporary, so I show the really pretty ones to my husband, Tom, and I thank God that I got to watch them fly. ♥ I saw on your website that you cut down the word count when you were trying to get published. Was that hard? Do you have a deleted scene you might release one day?
Word count is my arch nemesis—or my Achilles’ heel, if you will, because I like a lot of story in my stories. I cut out over 30,000 words from the original manuscript of Inescapable. Many scenes were combined. Evie originally met Candace in a separate scene prior to the field hockey game. I took that tension and some of the dialog and rewrote it all to take place at the game. There was a lot more with Will (the soul), but he is hardly in the story at all now. Ohhh, there was a romantic scene between Reed and Evie in which Evie attempts to use seduction to convince Reed to let her leave his house to check on Russell. I had to cut that scene out and then take it from Reed and Evie in the car waiting outside Russell’s dormitory. ♥ When you finished writing Inescapable, did it turn out the way you expected it to? No, Inescapable didn’t turn out the way I expected, not at all! I had a general plot when I started and it mainly centered around Reed being an angel and Evie being the only half-breed angel ever created. That was it. That was my story. Reed would be mean at first because he distrusted Evie’s physiology. Evie would win him over somehow. Fallen angels would come to kill Evie and Reed would protect her. The end. Simple. So then I took that and tried to figure out where in the world this would take place. Since I was new to writing, I decided I’d use what I knew. I made the setting Crestwood College, which is really Hillsdale College, my Alma Mater. Evie needed a friend in school so I gave her Freddie to be her best friend (and yes, he was wholly intended to be her BFF and nothing more), but something happened when I started writing chapter 3. Russell materialized beside Evie on the walk to Lake Arden. I found myself thinking, Hello, who is this? Who indeed. Russell wrote himself in. From there, the concept of a human soul mate grew. I began to really care about Evie as the story went on and I wanted to give her something. I wrote in two of my best friends from school: Buns and Brownie. Now, if you base a story on word count, then it should’ve ended at formal. Not kidding. That’s a little less than 90K word count. Had I known that when I was writing Inescapable, things might have been different; that means no Delt wars, no evolving angelic traits, no Zephyr, no art exhibition, no grand finale. Done after formal. I guess I could have stretched it out over 2 books, but I hate that. I want readers to say, “That was money well spent,” when they finish my book. Anyway, as the story went on my intention was to kill Russell at the end…but when I got there, I couldn’t do it. So I wrote the ending that you read and then I went back and rewrote everything else. The first chapter completely changed. It was easy to revise the first chapter because I now knew how the story ended. I spent the next two years continuing the story while polishing the first book. ♥ Do you have a favorite character in the series?
Okay, this is going to sound strange. I just want to say upfront that I am completely sane and I do realize that my characters are imaginary. Every time I try to answer this question I can’t. I love all of the characters in this series for different reasons. Russell and Evie are the easiest to write. Russell “talks” to me the most—he’s chatty—he likes to tell me his story and he makes me laugh out loud sometimes with what he says. Reed is the exact opposite. He’s mysterious and really intelligent, refined. But when Reed does “speak,” I hang on his every word. Buns and Brownie are comic relief, so I find myself laughing a lot when they’re in the picture. Zephyr is funny, too. He was sort of a straight man in the beginning, but as the story progresses, his personality really comes out. When Evie says things like, I love Freddie, in the story, that was really me thinking it. I loved Freddie. When I wrote those things, I didn’t know what he was or what would happen at the end of Inescapable. And then, there is Brennus. He’s seductive, mercurial, and just pure fun to write. So, I guess I can’t pick one. ♥ What’s next for you after the Premonition series? Do you have ideas for other series? I have completed the first book in a new series. It’s an urban fantasy, but it is more of a sci-fi romance than a paranormal romance (but it has paranormal elements, too). I wrote it in tandem while writing the fourth book in the Premonition Series, Incendiary. I had wanted to use it to attract an agent, so it was written with word count in mind. It’s around 90K. I really liked it when I wrote it. It’s essentially just action and romance. But the problem I have with it is that I take the reader to a completely different world and I find that once there I couldn’t describe the setting as I would’ve liked to because it is a action-driven story written to adhere to word count. And now I have another problem: my style. I have sort of developed a style with Evie. Now, there are certain expectations that a reader will have when they pick up one of my books. It’s like I gave you the family-size potato chips to eat with Evie, but only gave you the fun-size chips with this one. I put you on a diet and no one likes dieting. This book might leave readers wondering: Why so short, Amy? I don’t like that. I definitely plan to rewrite it before I release it. (But the lead male is so amazing! Swoon-worthy!) I also started a steampunk story. I’ve written about four chapters of it. The heroine is completely different from Evie: she’s totally ready to smack the taste out of your mouth if you cross her. And then there is this idea I’ve had for a while now. It’s always there, begging me to start on it. I’ve put it off because when I do start to write it, I know it will take over my life like Evie has and that will be all I’ll want to write. It’s kind of epic, which makes me a little afraid of it. Once I start it, I’ll want to live in that world all the time, but right now this world needs a lot of my attention. ♥ When you first began writing, what kept you motivated to keep writing? (It sounds like your family is super supportive!)
Once I figured out that I could do it, that I had the ability to write a story, I quickly became obsessed with it. It wasn’t a question of finding a routine to try to make myself write everyday; it was a question of what was going to happen during the day that would make me stop writing or prevent me from writing. I would wake up in the middle of the night with a character showing me the next scene and I’d have to get out of bed and go to my computer to write it down so that they’d shut up. My family thought that I was a little crazy at first, but my husband didn’t mind because I was happy with my inexpensive “hobby.” It was only when I tried to publish it that things became difficult. I succeeded in publishing it because my mom believed in me. I think if you have one person who believes in you, you can do anything. She kept telling me that it was good enough to publish, but a part of me was always thinking, Yeah, but you’re my mom, you sort of have to say that. But since she is my mom, I had to listen to her. (You should always try to listen to your mom because she wants you to succeed more than anyone else in this world.) ♥ Have you always envisioned yourself becoming an author? No, I never thought I’d be an author. I still can’t believe that I have actually done it. I read a lot of books and when those books end, the stories don’t end for me. I find myself still living there in the world the author created. When I read The Outsiders for example, after I finished it, I found myself still hanging out with Ponyboy in my mind. Maybe he’d head to the DX and he’d see Cherry Valance there and she’d fall in love with him, because he needed that—he needed someone to love him. And I really think I have always done that. I always continue to write the story where the author leaves off. If you do that too, then maybe you can write. You just have to come up with your own plot and your own characters. Once you do that, just like Ponyboy, they will start creating with you. I also had to get over my fear of what others would think of me. Writing is very personal. I expose a lot of myself when I write, even though it’s fiction. The way I fought that fear is I wrote with the thought that I would never show it to anyone. It was just an experiment to see if I could do it. Then the little voice in my head that says, What would so-and-so think of that? was turned off and I could create. ************************* Thank you for this interview, Celeste. I appreciate your time and your support. Thank you also to all the members of The Book Hookup. I am really grateful.
Thank you, Amy. It has been so much fun and such an honor to have you stop by! Please follow/like us & share: