Interview: Amanda Stevens, Queen of Things Southern and Spooky

 

 

Amanda Stevens is a terrific writer, and an all-around sweetheart. Those are two great reasons to like her, but a close third is her subject matter: she knows how to thrill with her spooky, suspenseful tales.  The Awakening, is her just-out new novel, the latest installment in her Graveyard Queen saga. She tells me it may be the last we’ll see of the Graveyard Queen series, at least for a while. I love this series, and you will, too. But I also can’t wait to learn about the next project she has up her sleeve. (I bet we can get her to visit again to tell us about it!)

I’m delighted that she’s popped by the Handbasket today to give us a peek into her creative world.

Welcome, Amanda!

 

What does your writing space look like? Can we have a photo?

I do love my writing space. It’s bright and airy and looks out on my patio and garden. I’m visited all day long by squirrels, birds and a parade of neighborhood cats.

My shelves and walls are lined with research books and quirky photographs, along with my son’s original artwork and all these strange little gifts from my daughter. It’s a very ‘me’ space, comfortable, cozy and a bit eccentric.

 

(How gorgeous is this? It looks like heaven!)

 

I know you’re a gardener. What relationship do you see between your garden and your writing?

You’ve set me up to wax poetically about sowing and reaping and nourishing the human spirit, but in truth, I have a love/hate relationship with both. I like having written and I like a nice garden, but I find the actual work grueling and not very pleasurable.

 When I’m in the thick of things, I become a ruthless chopper. Nothing is sacred—no prose, no shrub—if it doesn’t advance the plot or enhance my curb appeal. I approach each with an unsentimental vision and more than a little panic, yet somehow it all seems to work out.

 

The three books and book-reading snacks you would stock in your apocalypse bunker.

The Sun Also Rises

The Diamond in the Window

Salem’s Lot

 

Popcorn

Pop Tarts

Mexican Cokes

 

 

If you could only choose one, would you rather have a million dollars or a New York Times Bestselling book?

Honestly, I would take the money and the freedom to write whatever I want whenever I want. No deadlines, no expectations and only the amount of self-promotion I deem necessary or desirable.

 

What would you call your autobiography?

The Curious Case of Marilyn Medlock

 

What was your very first published work, and when?

The Killing Moon, a romantic suspense, was published in 1986, just three months after the birth of my twins. That was a very busy year.

(Love this!)

 

What single writer—living or dead—has influenced your life the most?

Mary Stewart introduced me to romantic suspense and I have read her books yearly for as long as I can remember. Early on, I tried to emulate her style so much that an editor once told me I wrote with an English accent. This Southern girl took the hint and worked hard to cultivate my own voice. After thirty-plus years of writing, I still aspire to the beauty of Mary Stewart’s prose and the grace and sophistication of her characters. And I’m still more than a little in love with Raoul de Valmy.

 

***

Amanda Stevens is the award-winning author of over sixty novels, including the modern gothic series, The Graveyard Queen. Her books have been described as eerie and atmospheric, “a new take on the classic ghost story.” Born and raised in the rural south, she now resides in Houston, Texas, where she enjoys binging TV shows, bike riding and the occasional Horror Night with friends.

(You can learn more about Amanda’s work at her website. Check out this fun blog she did for me back in 2008. So many great details about her graveyard research.)

 

March 29th  Words
Journal: 0 words
Long fiction: (Edited 290 pages, 130 to go, round 2)
Short fiction: 0
Non-fiction: 0 words
Blogging: 681 words
Exercise: 35 minutes treadmill, 15 minutes Pilates

(Also, Happy Birthday, Mom! 🎂🍨🌷–LB)

2 thoughts on “Interview: Amanda Stevens, Queen of Things Southern and Spooky”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    Laura; I enjoyed reading about Amanda Stevens! Great interview; I love her wonderful writing room, and once upon a long time ago, I adored drinking Coke in real glass bottles before they took away the REAL sugar and substituted it with corn syrup and fructose! I am revisiting Mary Stewart right now ( and I have read all of her books in the past), so that’s another thing I have in common with her. What a wonderful website, and her fun blog is simply amazing. I adore cemeteries for various reasons; I like reading epithets on head and foot stones. I also feel a strange peacefulness. Being a Catholic, I strongly believe in the presence of angels as well evil, ghostly thingies that go boom in the night. Amanda sounds like a great read to me.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      If you like her blogs, you will adore her Amanda’s books, Skye. Isn’t her writing room amazing? I would love to have it. And what a fun coincidence about Mary Stewart. Enjoy the read.

      Both of our local groceries sell Mexican Coke in single bottles.I’ve been tempted, but I’m mostly off sugar for the time being. Let me know if you find it where you are. What a treat!

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