Interview with Amanda Stevens + Giveaway goodness!

Filed in Amanda Stevens , featured , Giveaways , Interview , The Needy Lover Posted on April 23, 2012 @ 7:00 am 29 comments

Happy Monday, book lovers! I’m beyond excited to say that we have author Amanda Stevens here at BLI today! She stops by to answer some of our burning questions about her paranormal/ mystery/ romance hybrid series, The Graveyard Queen. She also discusses some of the influences that go into her writing, as well as her take on those things that go bump in the night. You don’t want to miss this one (and worry not; no spoilers here!). Please give her a very warm BLI welcome.

 

Alisha: So happy to have you at BLI today, Amanda! First off: How would you describe Amelia and her world….Twitter style (140 characters or less)? ^_^

Amanda: Dark, lush, dreamy and Southern. ;)

Your protagonist, Amelia, is quite complex in her background, her abilities, her motivations, and her desires. What aspects about her first called to you? Was she originally conceived as she is now? Did she come to you first, or was it the world that she inhabited (or perhaps even other characters)?

Amanda: I knew I wanted to write about a protagonist with an unusual profession and/or ability so I Googled strange jobs and up popped cemetery restorer. Once I had that, Amelia just came to me—a lonely young woman whose ability to see ghosts has isolated her from human companionship so she creates her own little world within the gates of her graveyard kingdoms.

Alisha: The first three of your Graveyard Queen books, as well as your standalones, are based in the South. The Deep South, in particular. What is it that draws you to those locales in general, to use them as the setting of your stories?

Unitarian Graveyard, Charleston, South Carolina

Amanda: I was born and raised in the South so it’s a place I know well and feel strongly about. It’s in my blood, so to speak. I think of the South not so much as a setting, but as a character, one with its own history and presence, with its own flaws, moods and voice. Plus, I like to think we have a healthy—or maybe unhealthy—appreciation for the macabre down here. :)

Alisha: The Graveyard Queen books are definitely full of frights, chills, and thrills for its readers. What chills and frightens you?

Amanda: My husband and I share an interest in all things paranormal. For years, we’ve listened to a radio program called Coast to Coast AM. I remember one show in particular that dealt with (supposedly) recorded ghost voices. I found those eerie whispers and murmurs absolutely terrifying. My husband fell asleep halfway through the broadcast, and I finally had to wake him up I was so frightened.

Alisha: Amelia finds a measure of comfort in not just her work restoring cemeteries, but also in just spending time in the cemeteries themselves. How do you feel about such locations? Is there a particular cemetery that you find notable or particularly special?

Amanda: I’ve always been drawn to cemeteries. My mother, sister and I used to spend many a Sunday afternoon roaming through old graveyards. I’ve never thought of them as gloomy or scary, though an abandoned one near our house was a bit eerie. Glenwood Cemetery in Houston is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever visited. I was there not too long ago to have my photo taken in front of an angel exactly like the one on the cover of The Restorer. Of course, my dream cemeteries are Highgate in London and Père Lachaise in Paris.

Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Texas

Only a couple of minor ones. When I was little, I shared a bedroom with my sister. One night I awakened to the tinkle of a music box, but there wasn’t one in the house, let alone in our bedroom. I thought I must have dreamed or imagined the sound, but then my sister said she heard it, too. We were both so frightened we called out to our mother, but she heard nothing. To this day, we don’t know where that music came from.

A woman I’ve known since childhood has had many harrowing experiences, including clocks running backward, doors flying open, the TV suddenly blaring. One of her most disturbing experiences was the inspiration for a scene in The Kingdom.

Alisha: You’ve definitely shown your affinity for writing about the unexplained and otherworldly. What kinds of stories are you fond of as a reader?

Amanda: I read a lot of paranormal and mysteries, and I’m particularly fond of the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris. I’ve always been a huge Dean Koontz fan and I also enjoy Greg Iles. Lately, I’ve been devouring YA novels–Beautiful Creatures, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Die for Me, and of course, The Hunger Games.

Alisha: So, it’s been mentioned that books four and five are contracted to be published. How far would you like to have Amelia’s story go? Do you have the plots of the next books in mind?

Amanda: Book Four—The Keeper—is plotted in detail and I’m writing it now. I have a pretty good sense of Book Five and Six and how they’ll continue the story arc. Needless to say, Amelia will face more challenges as her ghostly legacy conflicts with her love for Devlin.

Alisha: Are there any other genres, themes, or characters that you’d like to explore, that you perhaps haven’t yet gotten the chance to write about yet?

Amanda: I’ve just sold my first young adult series to Harlequin Teen and I so excited to get started on it. The books will be paranormal, but very different from The Graveyard Queen series. I’d also like to do a series of stories about Ozark witchcraft. Kind of like Winter’s Bone, but with witches. lol

Alisha: Absolutely cannot wait for the upcoming projects. Thank you so much for visiting BLI, Amanda.

 

 

The Prophet by Amanda Stevens
Book #3 in the Graveyard Queen series

My name is Amelia Gray.

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I’ve broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.

In order to protect myself, I’ve vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I’m faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

Read an excerpt here

Buy at: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionBook Depository

 

Amanda Stevens was born and raised in the foothills of the Ozarks, an area known for its folklore and superstition. She learned from an early age to fear black cats, ladders, and broken mirrors. A risk taker, she now resides with all three. She is also the mother of twins, a wannabe taphophile, and a collector of all things Alfred Hitchcock. When she’s not writing from her home in Houston, she likes taking road trips to Austin. And to Marfa. And to old cemeteries.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~*~*Giveaway*~*~

It’s that time again, ladies and gents. One lucky commenter is going to win his or her choice of one of the Graveyard Queen Books (The Restorer, The Kingdom, or The Prophet)!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about Amanda’s interview, or tell us:

What scares you; frightens you; creeps you out?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, May 5th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Alisha


Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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29 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • Sullivan McPig April 23, 2012 at 7:07 am

    This sounds like a series I should give a try.
    And spiders!!! They seriously creep me out! Scorpions as well.

  • aurian April 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hi Amanda, thanks for the interview, I enjoyed reading it. I am terrified of snakes. I do scream for spiders, as they startle me, but then I just kill them. (Or let my boyfriend do his boyfriend job ;) ).
    I am almost sure your books are too scary for me as well, but would like to try it. So, if I am lucky enough to win, I’d like to start with the first book of course.

  • Diane April 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    The big spiders that are in cedar trees, they are so huge and ugly. Though I don’t like going near them I do kill them with lots of spray bug…

  • Lesley D April 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Great interview! I love Dean Koontz and programs about ghosts. This series sounds right up my alley! As for things that creep me out – clowns, ravens, and scary movies.

  • Marie-Claude April 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    This serie look very interesting!!! Horror movie scar the crap out of me!!!

  • Amanda April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I love writing about creepy-crawlies, but in real life, I’m a total wimp. :)

  • blodeuedd April 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Easy..snakes! *hides* Oh and I hate ticks. The worst thing is that you can’t see them and then suddenly they are on you and you get that disease and die..yes, I am scared

  • miki April 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    for me spiders…even the smallers ones

  • Stephanie K. April 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Snakes scare the crap out of me!

  • Poppy Fields April 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I just started this series in preparation for Amanda Stevens visit to my favorite bookstore, Murder by the Book , in Houston, TX. I was instantly hooked. I am listening to The Restorer on audio and have to say it is one of the best narrations I have ever heard. The southern accents add a real charm to the read but anybody watching me while the book is in my ears must think I am crazy. I am either looking over my shoulder in a paranoid fashion with wide fearful eyes, giggling, blushing, or just standing still like a moron too engrossed in the book to move. I am thrilled to hear there are three more to come as I am an instant fan and even happier to have joined the band wagon late so I don’t have to wait for the next two in the series!

  • LSUReader April 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for visiting, Amanda. I love this series. Don’t enter me in the contest, since I have them all. When can we expect The Keeper?

  • Danielle D April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I’ve been dying to get my hands on this series, been hearing good things about it all over the place. As for what scares me..spiders

  • Barbara Elness April 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Big spiders, especially those hairy wolf spiders, really creep me out. What scares me is violence and abuse – I want to crawl into a hole and hide when sometime starts shouting and threatens to become physical.
    I think this series sounds wonderful and I’m looking forward to getting started on it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • Mary Preston April 24, 2012 at 3:40 am

    MAGGOTS creep me out. I can barely type in the word. GROSS!! GROSS!! GROSS!!

  • JessS April 24, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Bugs freak me out, but I try not to act too scared, because I’m sorry but those girls who start screaming when there’s an itty bitty bug are just silly. I do however need to get bug spray immediately, and jump back if it starts moving. Other than that I’ve found I’m okay with most things (except sometimes heights), but Stephen King novels definitely creep me out.
    Thanks for the giveaway! This series looks amazing!

    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

  • Julie Newberry April 24, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Hi Alisha Thankyou for doing such a great interview, the only thing that freaks me out is anything happening to my children, I can put up with anything else x x

    Hi Amanda, I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I can’t wait for the next one, I was upset that she left us hanging at the end, but I am now counting down for the next one. Love the look of your series, Amelia sounds like an intriguing character, I do love a book where the heroine is not cowering all the time, I have put all the books on my TBR list x x

    Thankyou for the wonderful giveaway

  • Maureen April 24, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Amelia Gray is a fascinating character and it’s great that she will have more stories. Worms creep me out especially when they cover the ground after a hard rain.

  • SharonS April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I read The Restorer last year before it came out (can’t remember how I got an ARC…maybe netgalley) and fell in love with it. Loved the haunting quality to it. I can’t wait to read The Restorer. One reason I liked it so much was the information about headstones and the symbolism involved. I always love when a book gives factual info about things. thanks for the give away:)

  • Rachel @ theJeepDiva April 24, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Hello! Thanks for the giveaway! I think the one thing that used to creep me out was zombies. I used to have nightmares about them. Since then I forced myself to watch zombie movies and play a couple video games with zombies to help me get over it. It has helped. I would love to win one of these books. I have wanted to read them for a while.

    rachel at thejeepdiva dot com

  • maidenveil April 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Wow! Creepy! Honestly, what frightens me are frogs. I don’t like them very much. I cringe at the very sight of them.

  • Victoria Zumbrum April 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Spiders really creep me out. I am also afraid of heights.

  • Diane Sallans April 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Bears scare me – I think I must have been killed by a bear in a former life!

  • Thinking Cat April 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Spiders! They’re terrifying! And this series looks completely awesome!

  • evening-green April 25, 2012 at 3:11 am

    There are many insects that are pretty scary to me, some are more creepy than others but I generally prefer to stay away from insects I come across and if possible just let them be and hope they go away. What scares me silly is having to deal with them when they are indoors and I want to get rid of them without harming them, that’s really difficult when you are already creeped out by looking at them closely.

  • Evie April 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Rats scare me a lot! I hate them.
    Those books seem really intriguing!
    Thanks a lot for the giveaway :)

  • bn100 April 27, 2012 at 2:49 am

    I enjoyed the interview. I don’t like snakes.

  • Ren Puspita April 27, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Leeches! I hate leeches, and sure do it creeps me out! Ghost story scare me out. Fortunately for me I can’t see them, but just reading the story about that make hair in my body raise up and I can feel their presence beside me *shudder*

  • Jen B. April 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I cannot stand, watch, think about….ugh!…any story about being buried alive. I freak out! I must go freak out now!

  • manu May 1, 2012 at 3:07 am

    what freaks me out on a regular basis is my cat! he’s so creepy sometimes. For example: I was taking a bath and like always I let the door a bit open. while I was reading – fully absorbed in the story – I suddenly heard a creaking sound from the door and when I looked in that direction I suddenly saw a paw gliding very slowly horizontally through the gap of the door.
    I know right now it doesn’t sound so creepy, but back than it was like in a horror movie when you start to realize that you’re alone at home and your cat wants to kill you…
    maybe the only thing that keeps me safe is the fact that he can’t open his food cans by himself^^

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