Amanda Meuwissen is a extremely creative person who wears many hats including author, marketer blogger and all around geek. We were privileged to have her stop by and lend us some of her time.
I saw that you had been one of the founding members of big world network, an e-publishing site, what did you learn about writing while working as the managing editor?
Working with BWN was an amazing experience. The original Founder & CEO had a vision for a Netflix for books, serialized stories posted online first, and then traditionally published as eBooks and paperbacks once they were finished, like buying a boxset of your favorite series. I met amazing authors and editors through my time there and made lifelong friends. It helped me learn the process for publishing: typesetting, everything that goes into a cover, the ins and outs of Amazon and Audible. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to both self-publish where desired and to seek out publishers that better fit my genre. It really solidified for me how the Big 5 publishers are falling by the wayside, and I’m glad I participated in the founding of this unique business model. I parted ways with BWN, but with no animosity, just a desire to stretch my wings other directions.
You attend a lot of conventions and engage in cosplay does interacting the fans help keep you inspired?
Oh my goodness, yes! It takes thick skin to put yourself out there with writing, so finding those people who really connect with your stories reminds me why I love this. Yes, I write for me more than anyone else, but that I can actually reach someone through my stories, give them hope or confidence or just a warm fuzzy feeling through the romance, is so rewarding. Plus, I’m a huge geek, and my stories reflect that. Even my contemporary pieces have geek-related references in them. So, being at cons, dressing up as my favorite characters, reminds my fans that I’m one of them too and love to geek out over the things that mean something to me. It always makes me excited to get back to writing.
You write a lot of stories with people with abilities and powers that far surpass normal people, do you have any tips for not having the extra-ordinary over shadow the normal parts of the characters?
I think any sci-fi or fantasy author would agree that as long as you make your stories about people, about characters and relationships, no story can ever be overshadowed by how the plot plays out in strange settings or with fantastical abilities. Good characters create good stories no matter where they’re set. For me, for example, my two superhero stories (Lovesick, which is a two-book series with Lovesick Gods and Lovesick Titans, and my newest, After Vertigo) both also deal with important emotional trauma and mental illness. Often fantastical settings can help put a lens on issues that are harder to bring to the forefront in mainstream stories. It’s a give and take that I love playing with. So, just make your characters real and relatable, and if they’re shooting fire from their fingertips, that will only add to them.
What drew you to writing m/m relationship stories?
I’m asked this question a lot and the simple truth is it’s the stories I’m called to write. I relate more to male characters. I enjoy writing and reading about male relationships (whether family, friends, or romantic), so that’s what comes out of me when I sit down to write. In today’s world of sexual and gender identity politics, I love that everyone has so many different ways of expressing who they are and feeling more like, well, them. The characters I write are how I best express me.
Who are your favorite authors for entertainment and learning techniques?
It’s hard for me to choose favorite authors, as I tend to more so have favorite books, favorite stories, not only faves of the people who write them, but one author always stands out to me: Neil Gaiman. He’s half the writing team that wrote my favorite book, Good Omens, he’s been a Minnesotan, which I appreciate as one myself, and he takes the time to engage with his readers even on places like Tumblr. How many famous creators do that? Similarly, I adore his writing partner from Good Omens, the very much missed Sir Terry Pratchett, who has one of my favorite quotes of all time: “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” They’re both fantastic writers across mediums, genres, and generations, and that always inspires me to keep at it.
What is your next project you are working on?
I am currently in the midst of a very complicated project that I began during National Novel Writing Month this year (November), tentatively titled Public Enemy, Undercover Lover. It combines two older story ideas that I didn’t think could live on their own, and mixing two stories into one is HARD, but I am loving how it’s coming together. It has a stronger focus on the erotica portions of the novel, which is rare for me, but also a really unique love story about a former thief and the former detective who put him away falling into bed together, and then running competing security firms. Stay tuned!
If people want to pick up your books or get more information about you where should they go?
The easiest place is my website, www.amandameuwissen.com, as you can get to all my books through there, but I’m also on Amazon, and my most recent releases through Dreamspinner Press are available at Barnes & Noble and other book retailer websites.
Final four questions –we ask everybody
Q) When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
Cabella’s. My friends and I have a Zombie Plan we created over a decade ago that starts with us high-tailing it to the nearest Cabella’s, since you can easily lock it down and live there with everything you could possibly want or need for months if not years (including bathrooms, which seriously, I might not be able to live without).
Q ) How do you identify Jedi, lesbian, Ninja, gay, vampire, bisexual, were-wolf, transgender, pirate, asexual, fairy, aromantic, sith, intersex, Spartan, non-binary, wizard, genderfluid, time lord , queer, …? ?
I identify as a Bisexual Demigirl. Though I’m also happy with just Queer. Or Jedi. ^_^
Q) What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
Art is so subjective that when I think of my favorite things, I know some people are divisive about them, but as I mulled on this question, being it’s the holidays as I’m writing this, one piece of music springs to mind that I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like: Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version of “Carol of the Bells.”
Q) Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
I was raised Catholic. I remember my now husband and I were both surprised to learn that each other was Catholic in college, though we did both go to service. I like the music, the community, and some of the lessons, but seeing as how I write M/M romance, you can understand why I have my issues with the Catholic church and tend to consider myself more spiritual these days.