Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spotlight & Interview: Amanda DeWees

Welcome to our Spotlight and Interview of Miss Amanda DeWees, author of Young Adult and Gothic Historical novels.

Amanda DeWees is an author and editor based in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her PhD in English literature from the University of Georgia and likes to startle people by announcing that her dissertation topic was vampire literature. Besides writing, her passions include theater, classic film, Ioan Gruffudd, costume design, and the preservation of apostrophes in their natural habitat. 

* Do you like writing YA or Gothic/Adult more?
I enjoy both, for different reasons. My YAs give me the freedom of writing from different points of view, and I love the possibilities offered by a paranormal universe, where all sorts of magical and bizarre things can happen. My gothic novels for adults are more restrictive in a way because I’m using first-person POV and have to be mindful of historical accuracy, but I love recreating that era and indulging my inner Victorian with the elegant language, clothing, and customs. At some point I’d like to write gothic novels set in the modern day and written in third-person POV, which will be an interesting combination.
*Which of your books is your favorite?
In a way you could say that my favorite book is the one I’m writing at the moment. I put my heart into every novel as I’m working on it. All of my books are very distinct and different in my mind, so I love each one for a different reason. Casting Shadows was my first book narrated by both male and female characters, for example, and With This Curse was my return to the gothic romance genre after a break of many years. Every one represents a different milestone, and I’m proud of all of them.
* Where do your stories/inspiration come from?
I think writers have minds like magpies—we seize on anything shiny and interesting, no matter how small or odd. The most random things can start stories. I’ve been reading mysteries practically all my life, so I tend to look for dramatic reasons behind anything that strikes me as odd, and that can be the beginning of a plot. (That’s another way of saying I have a suspicious mind, I suppose.) I also love playing the mental game of thinking about the consequences of things. Even the smallest decision—like what color socks you wear or what you eat for lunch—can have consequences that could lead to story predicaments. Sea of Secrets and The Shadow and the Rose also have literary antecedents, but I won’t say what they are because that would be a spoiler.
* What are you working on now?
Right now I’m writing a sequel to With This Curse. In the first book we learned very little about Clara’s parents, so in Cursed Once More she goes to visit her mother’s side of the family to learn more about them and find out why her mother was cast off for marrying the man who became Clara’s father. There are lots of dark secrets and spooky goings-on, and the sequel also gives me a chance to show what Clara’s happy-ever-after looks like before her life gets overturned again. I’m having a wonderful time with it, and I think readers who liked With This Curse will enjoy it very much.
*What do you like to read?
I’m a bit of a magpie in this respect, too, because I like reading so many different things. Definitely mysteries, as I mentioned. Ghost stories, vampire stories, “weird tales,” and tales of the supernatural—especially those from the late nineteenth century up through the middle of the twentieth century. I love funny and witty books: P.G. Wodehouse, Joe Keenan, Christopher Moore. Fairy tales and fairy-tale retellings, definitely. Historical fiction, including romance (but not if the characters behave anachronistically). Some classics, especially Victorian novels. In nonfiction, I like a good biography or memoir, especially about writers or actors. And I own a ridiculous number of books about historical fashion and costume design.
* Tell us 5 interesting facts most readers wouldn't know about you.
1. I was born at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, the same hospital that featured prominently in this season of The Walking Dead.
2. I fell in love with historical fashion when I tried on a hoop skirt for the first time at the age of seven.
3. I can make my eyes look in different directions. So far they’ve never stuck that way (knock wood).
4. I’ve had a purple streak in my hair since New Year’s Eve 2012.
5. Long story, but I got my Ph.D. partly so I wouldn’t have to finish readingThe Sound and the Fury. I know, I’m a terrible role model. Sorry (not sorry).

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