Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Interview - Amy Valenti

Today I am welcoming author Amy Valenti to my blog. Hi, Amy and thanks for coming across!

1) Perhaps you could start by telling us a bit more about yourself and your writing in general?

Sure – I’m 26, I live in the UK and I’ve been writing since I was about four years old. I grew up reading Point Horror and Dean Koontz books, and so I’ve always been interested in the supernatural genre. I discovered fan fiction and erotica at about the same time, and I’ve been writing fanfic for about ten years, but there have always been my own projects going on in the background, and I’m starting to focus more on those now.

2) Shocked is a vampire novel with a twist. How did you come up with the idea for this new working on the vampire myth?

I started to find that most of the vampire stories I was reading had a specific formula to them – a seductive, hypnotic vampire luring in the helpless female victim and sucking her blood – and I had a little rant about that to a few friends. The question that came up was, ‘How do you avoid that, and still have a vampire story?’

So I decided to turn it on its head a bit, and have a vampire who needed energy from humans, but not blood – and none of the conventional holy water/garlic/sunlight myths would apply. As for my victim, I wanted her to submit to the vampire out of curiosity’s sake – a definite choice on her part, though a reckless one. So I made her a scientist who just wanted to know more about this foreign species that looked like a human, but wasn’t.

3) Which other writers influence you the most and why?

First up has to be Marianne de Pierres. She writes post-apocalyptic fiction, space opera, paranormal crime and young adult dark fantasy. For a few years now, she’s been bugging me to write my own stuff, rather than playing about with other people’s characters, and she’s delighted that I’m actually doing it! She’s always supported and helped me so much that she couldn’t NOT be an influence.

As for writers I don’t consider friends – Kelley Armstrong is my supernatural fiction idol. Her Women of the Otherworld series puts such a new and unique spin on werewolves, ghosts, demons, witches, vampires… Lots of respect for her.

LJ Smith is up there, as well – I haven’t read her Vampire Diaries books, but her Forbidden Game and Dark Visions trilogies have stuck in my mind since I first read them when I was about eleven years old. I owe a lot to those novels!

My current written style, I probably owe to Joan Lowery Nixon. I read The Other Side of Dark as a child, and it was the first book I’d ever read written in the first person present tense. It blew my mind! I didn’t start to write that way for a good few years, but it’s definitely my preference these days.

4) Do you have any plans for a sequel to Shocked or other stories within that same world/myth base?

I don’t think there’s much more I can do with Nick and Lissa – maybe one day something will pop into my head, but for now I think they’re happy with each other! I do want to do more with energivores at some point, though. I like the idea of blood not being a vampire’s meal of choice.

5) You recently published Cursed and Compelled, a short story parody of the paranormal romance genre. Many people say parody is a form of flattery and only people who truly love a genre or idea can pull off a successful parody. Do you think this is true in your case? Is this a parody based on love for the genre and when did you first come up with the idea for this piece?

The answer to this one is a yes and a no, I think. I do love the paranormal genre, and that’s partly the reason why this was so easy for me to write. Having said that, it’s more my love of mocking terrible, cliché-ridden paranormal stories that led me to write Cursed and Compelled. Over the past five or six years, there’s been a lot to mock!

About two months ago, a friend was reading out a few gems from a published book she’d picked up because it looked so terrible. I was groaning at the usual archetype of an extremely hot guy who the heroine is all weak at the knees over, and when he turned into – OMG – a werewolf, I wondered what it’d be like if the sexy guy turned into something decidedly embarrassing, instead. I won’t say exactly what I chose, cause I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s definitely not what the average shapeshifter fan would expect.

6) What else have you been working on lately? What other releases can we expect from you in the coming months?

For the month of March, I’m doing a kind of unofficial National Novel Writing Month with a few friends. It’s usually held in November, and the goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. That works out at just under 1,600 per day. I’m writing a paranormal novel without vampires, shapeshifters or ghosts in the main roles – in fact, vampires and shapeshifters don’t even exist in the mythos I’ve created. It’s interesting!

As for upcoming releases… Wicked Nights are releasing a paranormal, telekinetic erotica piece called Of Sawdust and Seduction in July, and a kinky M/F/F menage called Until Sunrise in August. I’ve also just sold a series of two or possibly three books to Total-E-Bound. Not sure of my release schedule for that one yet, but I’m definitely excited!

7) Where can readers grab a copy of Shocked and Cursed and Compelled and where can they find out more about you and your writing?

My website and blog is at http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com, and my Twitter name is @AmyValenti.

You can find the list of places to grab a copy of Shocked on this page: http://amyvalenti.wordpress.com/shortstories/. It’s $1.99 in most places.

Cursed and Compelled is free until 12th March at Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/45560), and $0.99 after that.

Thanks for giving me an interview slot, Nicki!

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