Denver Comic Con 2017 Interview with Author Amalie Howard
Every year at Denver Comic Con, you can find various creators displaying their newest creations. This definitely includes authors as well. One of them happens to be Amalie Howard, an award-winning author of several young adult novels. Amalie used to travel the world and go on crazy adventures, but now finds herself residing with her family in Colorado as an author. Take a look at my Denver Comic Con 2017 interview with author Amalie Howard.
PewPewCat: Why did you trade in your crazy adventures around the world to become an author?
Amalie Howard: In my previous career, I worked for a global data-communications company so I did get to travel quite a bit. However, though I was good at my job and I loved traveling, something was missing. From a young age, I’d always been a writer. I had my first poem published when I was twelve and I won an award in a global youth writing competition when I was fifteen. If I’m being honest, Twilight was the pivot point. I loved the book, but it wasn’t consistent with my vision of vampires, so I was inspired to write my own story. That turned into my first published novel, Bloodspell, a young adult, Anne Rice-inspired vampires and witches mash-up. I realized how much I missed writing, and after a few years of managing both careers, I decided to focus on writing full time. Becoming a published author and being able to share my stories with readers is a dream come true for me. And I do still get to travel for book events and conferences, though it’s mostly in the United States. We are a multi-national family, however, so international travel and crazy adventures will always be part of the plan!
PPC: What kind of impact would you like to have on your audience?
Howard: In general, I hope that my books would provide my readers with a bit of escapism as well as an opportunity to learn about something new (Alpha Goddess, for example, is about East and West Indian mythology). For my young adult audience, through my books and my characters, I hope to inspire my teen readers to be resilient. As a teen, you’re navigating the waters of friendships, relationships, parents, school, teachers, identity, self-worth and confidence. Life’s not going to be easy at the best of times, and it’s about how you respond to challenges. I’m hopeful that teens reading my novels would be impacted in a positive way. If life throws them a curveball, they shouldn’t be afraid to take a swing. And that they should live fiercely with open hearts and open minds. For my historical romance readers, I would hope that my stories are empowering, allowing them to embrace their sexual identity and be confident in their own wants and needs. There’s no shame in love.
PPC: What advice would you give to an aspiring author who doesn’t know where to start?
Do write your story and finish it.
Do polish your manuscript until you can’t polish anymore. Then do it again.
Do read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
Do join a critique group (your local SCBWI chapter is a great place to find one).
Do research and understand the nitty-gritty of submissions in your genre (word count, format, query letters, proposals, cover letters, etiquette, etc.)
Do get a good agent with a track record in your genre (agentquery.com is a good place to start).
Do create a social media platform and build your brand. Reach out and connect with other writers.
Don’t get discouraged by rejections—they’re a part of the process. Keep your head up, use constructive feedback and submit again.
Don’t ever give up or let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. They don’t get to decide that, you do.
PPC: What are your current favorite things to read/watch for inspiration?
Howard: I enjoy reading historical romance novels and I love going to the movies. I’m a very visual person so getting lost in a great movie is like brain candy to me. The last movie I saw was Wonder Woman, which I really enjoyed. Inspiration for a new book idea can come from the smallest scenes or a secondary character or something as a creator you might do differently. That’s the thing about art…it’s the fuel that drives creative energy.
PPC: Out of all of the things you have written/ co-written, what is your favorite thing about your writing or storytelling?
Howard: I love creating characters. As a female author writing young adult fiction, my favorite thing is storytelling is about drawing authentic characters who can inspire my readers—making them well rounded with both emotional and physical strengths and weaknesses. My character growth arcs lean toward incorporating versatility, persistence, heart, and resilience.
For example, Tori from Bloodspell overcomes a monstrous magical curse—she doesn’t let it win. This is something close to my heart because we all have our demons that we have to overcome. Mine was anorexia. Riven from The Almost Girl, on the other hand, is a tough-as-nails bio-engineered soldier whose struggle to let go of all her rules to embrace being human becomes the hallmark of true strength. Nerissa from Waterfell has to become a queen her people can be proud of by facing paralyzing flaws and learning hard lessons of what it takes to be a leader. Serjana from Alpha Goddess is a reincarnated goddess who has to bridge her past and present lives to understand her purpose, which takes incredible persistence and a very evolved sense of self.
Strength and resilience can be about embracing your vulnerability, making a choice you’ve never made before, trying something out of your comfort zone, or being an example to your peers. For me, it’s about showing how my characters respond to the things they come up against and how they are shaped by these experiences…and ultimately, how these characters then impact/inspire my readers.
For more information on Amile Howard: http://amaliehoward.com/