Welcome to the last stop of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes blog tour! You can find her at her websites: here and here.
1. You've been writing for a very long time, does the inspiration ever stop or fumble?
Inspiration comes and goes, but there has only been one point when it stopped for so long I worried about it- back in the spring and summer of 2006. Looking back, I can imagine why I had a hard time that year (I was in undergraduate school full-time, and had some fairly major health problems that led to my having surgery that summer) but at the time all I knew was that the writing wasn’t fun anymore.
What helped was breaking completely from Nyeusigrube and my genre for a while. I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time, writing what I intended to be a throw-away fantasy novel, and ended up with a trilogy that completely restored my writing desire both in that world and back in Nyeusigrube.
2. Have you changed your style of writing to accommodate the change with the teen audience? Especially when considering language and sex.
My policy has always been that, while I have no moral objection to swearing, I know there are teachers and librarians and parents out there who would hesitate to give a kid a book with certain language, and I am not so in love with cuss words that I cannot tell a story without them. I don’t feel it cheapens a work if I find a way around saying the s-word, but that tiny change might make the book available to more readers, and that is what is important to me. I am the same way about sex. I do not need to write graphic sex scenes to tell a good story. Do my characters sometimes “do it”? Sure. But they do it off screen so I can focus on the plot.
What I do not alter for my audience is my ideas. Sometimes I feel some writers use more sex and swearing while dumbing down the ideas, which is just insulting to everyone involved. I can switch up language and how graphic I am in order to make a story accessible, but I do not believe in writing down to my readers. Throughout my published works, I have dealt with some controversial concepts, because I believe young adults not only can but should think, and form opinions, and be challenged by what they read.
All that said, I had a funny moment when working with a beta reader on Token of Darkness. There is a scene early in the book where Cooper has an awkward conversation with his friend, John. They are both football players and seniors in high school, and it was a real struggle for me to write natural dialogue without using the words I “self-censor” from my YA books. I made a comment to my beta-reader when she was reading it about how awkward it was to write without swearing, to which she responded, “I can’t imagine how much more awkward it would have been with the swearing.” Sometimes I need little reminders like that to make me remember that we here in Massachusetts do perhaps swear a little more liberally than other people.
3. When starting a new book do you plan that the book will turn into a series?
Several years ago, my agent asked me if I would consider writing a series, and I told him pretty flat-out, “I don’t write series.” At the time, Hawksong was meant to be a stand-alone book. Only once I finished it did I realize there were too many unanswered questions for the story to be over there. As I worked on Snakecharm I realized the challenges within required a conclusion about the daughter, and as I worked on Wolfcry I realized something was missing, so I went back to Falcondance… etcetera. Eventually I ended up with a five-book series, when I had never planned to have more than one.
Currently I am working on a novel that I think might turn into a series. This is the first time in my career that I’ve ever tried to plan a series of books, so I do not yet know how it is going to go.
Amelia is available for the week of March 1st at RandomBuzzers
Monday, March 1st Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Tuesday, March 2nd Park Avenue Princess
Wednesday, March 3rd The Story Siren
Thursday, March 4th Cynthia Leitich Smith
Friday, March 5th The Book Butterfly
Monday, March 8th Me!
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