A.L. Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, came out with Entangled Publishing on December 1, 2015!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets . . . Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. Amanda also suffers from Resting Bitchface Syndrome (RBS), so even though she might look like she’ll tie you in a knot if you come near her, she’s more afraid of you than you are of her (see blushing problem above).
I personally met Amanda at Lunacon a couple of years ago at a panel on young adult fantasy writing, and I am very happy to have her talk with us today.
To learn more about Amanda, please visit her website at: http://www.aldavroe.com/.
Iulian: Please share with us a little bit of the history of AL Davroe: How/where did you grow up, any particular influences in your life? Did you live up to your high-school yearbook quote?
Amanda: I had a fairly normal childhood: Born and raised in Connecticut, grew up the only child to a single parent. I’m pretty close with my family, love my friends and my cats, drink way too much tea and eat too many scones. I listen to Goth music, have lots of art all over my walls, and wear hoodies like it’s nobody’s business. Like all of us, I’ve had my ups and downs and defining moments. I have a degree in English and a degree in anthropology. I make cheese for a living. My car can legally buy its own drinks and I’ll continue to drive it until I can’t anymore. I had a couple of quotes in my senior yearbook, but my favorite is one by Helen Keller (one of my heroes): “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart.” I personally, think I’ve lived most of my life adhering to this thought. While it’s nice to have money and nice things, it’s the experiences and the people you have them with that matter most. Love, friendship, family, and those moments that seem to make your chest all fluttery with joy — I wouldn’t trade those for the world.
Can you recall how you came to be involved with writing? Was there a defining moment for you?
With writing in general? Sure! I had a friend my freshman year of high school who convinced me it was a good idea to go halvsies on writing this epically bad Dragon Ball Z/Digimon fan-fic. I had so much fun writing my sections of it and she seemed to really like them, so that’s when I knew that my mom was telling the truth about me having talent as a writer and wasn’t just doing the “mom thing.”
Could you name a few things that influenced you the most in your writing career? Was there a person, a writer, a set of events, some circumstances?
A little bit of everything. My mom always told me my writing was good and that I should write a story. My friend from high school that first encouraged me to write a fan-fic with her is what ultimately got me into writing. Tamora Pierce, whose books made me sit down and start working on my one unique idea… The list goes from there — other creative minds who have influenced me, people in the industry who encouraged or assisted me. I really never could have gotten where I am if it weren’t for so many other people.
Who are your favorite contemporary writers and works and who are your favorite classics?
I love Holly Black, Nail Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and Amy Tan. I think that for classics I love the classic children’s fantasy stories like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, the Wonderland stories, and the Narnia stories. I’m also a fan of Shakespeare and Robert Frost, of course.
If any writer (dead or alive) could come to you today and ask you to co-author a book, who’d that author be and why?
Neil Gaiman, hands down. Does that even need explaining? I just love everything about his work and his style. I think I could learn so much from working with an author like Gaiman. Plus, he just seems like a cool dude. It would be awesome to sit down with him at a café for an afternoon and have a chat.
Your most recent YA novel just came out on December 1st from Entangled Publishing. Can you summarize the series for our readers, and then give us a hint of what happens in this first installment?
Overall, the series is about a young woman (Ella) who has to navigate a futuristic world where fantasy and reality collide on a technological level. In the first book, Ella starts playing a virtual reality game called, Nexis, in order to escape her harsh reality.
Tell us a little bit about the main character, Ella.
Ella is a young woman who is a “Natural” in a futuristic domed city called Evanescence. Everyone else in the city has been genetically customized to perfection and continue to alter and modify their bodies to further stand out among their contemporaries. Ella is incapable of doing any of that and, because of it, she feels like an outcast despite her brilliant talents at programming and fashion design. She becomes even more of an outcast when an accident renders her physically handicapped, but she finds solace in Nexis, the virtual reality game that her father created.
Who were the most characters fun to write, and who were the hardest? Do you have a specific method for developing characters?
Guster has been and always will be my favorite character to write. He’s just fun times and he brings an air of mischief and fun to Ella’s more grounded personality. No one was particularly hard to write; however, when I had to do my content edits I was asked to alter Nadine’s character from what she initially was. It was difficult at first, to change her from what I’d meant for her to be, but ultimately I like her a lot more this way. I don’t have a particular method of character development, I just sort of let the characters write themselves and I haven’t been disappointed by who comes out of my head yet, so I’ll stick to that method.
Without spoilers, what should readers expect from the next installments in the series?
The sequel to Nexis is called Redux and it’s a very different book than Nexis. Redux has more of a post-apocalyptic feel than the futuristic and fantasy feel readers experienced in Nexis, but it’s a necessary switch for the time being. It’s a little darker and is going to focus a lot on “internal affairs” as opposed to fighting dragons and Damascus Knights, but I hope that the readers will love it just as much. I can tell you that you’ll get that burning “who played the game” question answered and you’ll get a lot more about the Disfavored as well.
Your site shows lots of works in progress, which is great. What is the most exciting project you are working on right now? How about the hardest undertaking, maybe one that isn’t even started, but just in the back of your head?
The most exciting project is another futuristic YA I’m writing. This one is set in space and is my ode to my favorite anime. The hardest undertaking is and may always be The Will of the Fallen…I wrote it years ago and it still manages to allude the necessary “ah-ha” to make it shine. I love it though…so, so much. And I hope one day I can share it with you all!
Where can we find you online and in real life? Will you visit any conventions in 2016?
Online I’m most active on Facebook and Twitter. In real life I have a number of signings, library, and school visits lined up for the beginning of 2016. And yes, I’ll be at a few cons, but I am still trying to figure out which ones. For certain, I’ll be at The Novel Experience Event, Authors After Dark, and Balticon. I’m hoping to get into DragonCon too!
Is there anything you’d like to add or plug?
I’d like readers to know that I’m always willing to answer questions or comments if you’d like to shoot some my way. I also have a reader group on Facebook if you’d like to discuss the book a little further after you read it!
Amanda, thank you very much for participating in this interview!
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