Do Gargoyles Eat Eclairs? An Interview With Amalie Howard

Amalie Howard HeaderAnother Denver Comic Con is in the books, and once again we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our favorite Colorado authors, the award-winning Amalie Howard. We chatted about all sorts of things, including her new romance series, diversity in YA literature and, well, pastry. Trust me, it all makes sense if you just stay with me! The following interview has been edited lightly for clarity, grammar and continuity. As always, we are grateful to Amalie for taking the time on such a busy convention weekend. We spoke between signings at her booth.

Carolyn: So, how is the new romance series coming along? When does the third book come out?

Amalie: It’s going great! The third book is out on July 25th, in a few weeks. It’s been really fun to write, and of course getting to write steamy sex scenes is great. The third one is called My Hellion, My Heart, which is just great.

My Hellion, My Heart Cover

I’ll be in my bunk.

Carolyn: OMG, it really is! I drool over the new cover art. I don’t read a lot of traditional romance, but when I do, I like to read it in the bathtub with bubbles and a nice glass of wine.

Amalie: Obviously. That’s the best place to read romance.

We go on a full on tangent about custom bathtub caddies that sadly my recorder did not capture. But rest assured, it was epic. The point is, we like to drink fancy wine. While reading. If you don’t do this, you should.

bathtub caddy with wine

Amalie and Carolyn approve this bath setup.

Carolyn: Besides making for great bathtub reading, what’s different about writing romance versus YA, which is your usual wheelhouse?

Amalie: Well, there’s a lot more…freedom in the romance market. YA has a very specific set of expectations, of what they are looking for. Romance is more varied. And of course, again, writing steamy sex scenes is really fun. But YA will always be my home. I love writing for that audience.

At this point, a young woman and her mom stop at Amalie’s booth. Watching Amalie talk with her is just lovely. She’s engaged and funny, talks directly to the girl, asking questions, and giving honest answers. She doesn’t talk down to her, or over her head and encourages this fan to expand her reading horizons without pressuring her. It’s great to see. She signs a copy of The Almost Girl for her and poses for a picture. I am suffering from full on Con Exhaustion at this point and try very hard not to get all weepy about seeing young girls who love reading. Fortunately for me, Amalie makes a hilarious comment about the potentially awkward photo angle and my emotional moment passes.

Carolyn: So, your process for writing the Lords of Essex series is a bit different because you’re working with a writing partner. How does that work, and what were the challenges?

Amalie: When you are collaborating with someone the key is planning and communication. We had a very thorough outlining process. I’m talking long, dense outlines. 15-20 pages single spaced. You have to map out all the story beats because if one of you changes something on your own, everything can break down. It actually changed my process for writing my own stuff, I didn’t use to outline at all, and now I do. Much less complicated, just a couple of pages of bullet points, but yeah, writing with a partner has helped me evolve my own process too.

Carolyn: Your writing partner, Angie, also writes historical work, right? I don’t know anything about her.

Amalie: Oh she’s awesome. She writes about Paris and gargoyles. In the Gothic style. It’s awesome, and also YA. You should check it out.

Carolyn: I wonder if gargoyles eat eclairs.

Amalie: What?

Carolyn: Gargoyles. Do you think they eat eclairs? I mean, Paris has the best eclairs. If I was in Paris, I’d be eating eclairs.

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

I wonder if there are any eclairs down there?

Amalie: You ask the best questions.

Carolyn: Important questions. Deep, philosophical questions. Not but seriously, those sound really fun and I’ll definitely have to check them out.

I think about eclairs and the gargoyles who love them for several minutes while Amalie engages with fans and talks to some other Con guests who stop by her table. While not pondering Parisian pastries, I think again about how much I adore this event. I love the accessibility both every day fans and small media outlets like Sisters in Geek have here. the camaraderie of the guests, how they help each other and support each other. I try to remember the name of the author who helped me find Amalie’s table when I was hopelessly turned around and running late. I fail because I’m thinking about eclairs.

Eclairs

These eclairs have fruit on them. They are totally health food!

Carolyn: What’s it like writing both YA and this new historical fiction series at the same time? How do you switch between the two styles? It sounds like such a different mindset.

Amalie: My secret weapon is playlists.

Carolyn: Really? Tell me more! I am obsessed with playlists.

Amalie: Yeah, so I have different playlists for each thing that I might be working on. For the Lords of Essex books it’s all classical, it just gets me in the right head space for the time period and the vibe. When I’m working on the Alpha Goddess series, it’s a lot of trance and then Nine Inch Nails. And then for Almost Girl it’s dubstep.

Carolyn: Wait, Nine Inch Nails? That’s unexpected. I wouldn’t immediately associate NIN with Alpha Goddess.

Amalie: Really? It’s so perfect for me. The energy of it, and of course…

Carolyn: Identity, NIN is all about identity and the discovery of the self, yeah. Absolutely, can’t believe I didn’t think of that! I would love to listen to those playlists, I love playlists. I use them all the time in my D&D campaigns for my characters.

To her everlasting credit, Amalie does not give me a hard time for making this conversation about me and lets me ramble about D&D, the panel we presented this weekend and other nonsense for at least 3 minutes. She also keeps feeding me chocolate.

Carolyn: I’m going to have to message you for those playlists, I’d really like to listen to them.

Amalie: Oh! They’re on my site, you can listen to them anytime you want.

Carolyn: Excellent! That’s awesome. Well, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time. Any last thoughts, upcoming releases or ideas you’d like to end on?

Amalie: Well, My Hellion My Heart is out on July 25th, the next sequel in Alpha Goddess is out next year. Read more books, and remember that healthy sex is important and women need to be able to ask for it! That’s what I learned from writing Regency Romance.

I collapse into helpless giggling.

Carolyn: Well, that’s the perfect way to button up this interview. Thank you as always Amalie!

Carolyn and Amalie

No, but seriously, what do gargoyles eat?

AMALIE HOWARD is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of My Rogue, My Ruin in the historical romance series, the Lords of Essex. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. She is very active on social media and we highly recommend following her for shenanigans and adventure.

Denver Comic Con is an education program of Pop Culture Classroom with more than 600 hours of educational programming and 9,000 sq. ft. of convention floor dedicated to the Pop Culture Laboratory, an area designed to engage kids in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational activities, and spotlight the PCC program and its students and graduates. Further, it provides educational, youth-based programming and fun activities for our younger attendees and their families, and allows young creators to work directly with professionals from the comic book and animation industries as well as other creative professions.

Pop Culture Classroom Logo

PCC Mission: Pop Culture Classroom ignites a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.

PCC Vision: Pop Culture Classroom envisions individuals transformed by the educational power of popular culture who create diverse, inclusive and engaged communities.

PCC Values:

  • Quality service to kids and communities
  • Respect, inclusiveness and diversity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Alternative approaches to education
  • Recognizing each person’s intrinsic dignity and importance
  • Open communication, responsibility and honesty

For more information about Pop Culture Classroom’s role in the community, please visit http://popcultureclassroom.org/ 

DCC Spotlight: Our Interview with Amalie Howard

Amalie-HeaderAt this year’s Denver Comic Con we once again had the pleasure of meeting with the awesomely amazing Amalie Howard. She’s award-winning, she’s hysterical and she creates some of the most dynamic and diverse YA protagonists appearing on your reading lists today. During Saturday’s Con session, I got to sit down with her for a little while and ask her all my most burning literary questions. Once I stopped fangirling at her, that is. Below is our interview, edited lightly for clarity, grammar and possibly to make me look less like a squeeeeeing lunatic. It is also from notes, not a recording, so there is some paraphrasing.

Amalie, I’m so excited to be meeting with you again this year and thank you so much for making the time. How are you enjoying DCC 2016?

There is so much energy and enthusiasm this year! And I love seeing all the young people, especially the girls showing their geek colors! It’s great seeing so many families here too!

That makes me wonder: If you ever see someone cosplay as one of your characters at a Con, will that be the moment where you go “Well, I’ve arrived!”? Also, how cool would it be to see someone cosplay from your books?

It would be so awesome, I would love to see that! I mean, come on, that would be amazing. Recognition is great, but validation from fans is the most rewarding.

How awesome would it be to have your books adapted for film or even a series? Is that something you’re hoping for?

Absolutely! There have been discussions about both TV and movie options, but nothing concrete yet. You know, a lot of YA has tanked because the market is getting overwhelmed with repetitive ideas, but I think we can find an audience.

Oh my god, Riven Chronicles would be amazing as a series. I can see it on Netflix or something, it’s got that vibe.

Yeah, that would be really fun. It’s got big fights and sexy romance. And everyone loves to hate the bad guys! You need a good villain.

At this point we went on a rather lengthy tangent about good villains and why we love them, culminating in the conclusion that well written villains are just the best. Sadly, I failed at writing it down because we were talking a million miles an hour. We also pulled a few passersby into our conversation, and at that point, I completely failed at being an interviewer and slid right over the line into just being a fan and a nerd. I apologize to our readers for this failure, next time I will bring a recorder!

So, what’s next for you?

I’m co-writing a historical romance series for adults with Angie Morgan.

[Cue incoherent squealing] Oh my god, seriously?

Yes. It’s set in the Regency period, and the first book comes out on November 21st.

What’s it called?

My Rogue, My Ruin

That is so awesome. I really can’t wait to see what you do with that setting and writing for an adult audience! How did it happen?

Angie and I are in the same YA critique group. It started as just a fun project, to do something a little bit different and it went really well and we sold it! It’s actually a trilogy and the rest of the books will be out in 2017.

Do they have titles yet?

Yes. Book 2 is called My Darling, My Disaster. And Book 3 is My Hellion, My Heart. So they will be out in 2017 and it’s really fun to explore a different setting and writing for an adult audience.

I love the Regency setting. I’m so all about this!

Yes, it’s going to be a fun read for sure! And how awesome is that last title, My Hellion, My Heart? I love it so much.

Me too, so much. Villains and bad guys, yes!

Exactly.

What else new do you have coming up?

Dark Goddess, sequel to Alpha Goddess is out in June 2017.

Oh good! I am really excited for that! Last question: What’s it like to be so awesome?

[Amalie just laughs and refuses to divulge her secrets.]

You can find all of Amalie’s books at her website, and all of her books are available for purchase through Amazon and booksellers everywhere! She’s been an IPPY Silver Medalist, an Amazon #1 bestseller and her work has been recognized for its excellence by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and VOYA. She lives in Colorado with her family and is a secret ninja Jedi Master. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook where she is pithy and hilarious. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go devour Alpha Goddess again.

Want to read more about Sisters in Geek’s Comic Con Adventures? Go here! And also here!

 

Your Kindle Is Now Full: A Guide to the Amazing Authors of Denver Comic Con

Denver Comic Con this past weekend was an amazing, inspiring and utterly awesome experience. There are too many great memories and interactions to pick any one favorite, but a definite highlight for me was meeting and chatting with some very cool local book authors. Some we were able to sit down with formally and do interviews and some we just chatted up at their booths, or on the con floor. Look for our in-depth interviews soon, and keep your eyes peeled for all of our upcoming reviews of the novels, comics and short stories we picked up at Con. For now, here’s a list of the talented and engaging book authors we met this past weekend, to give you a taste of what we’ll be reading for the next, well, ever. We’ll do comic book writers separately, because there are a lot. We hope you find someone or something on the list that’s right up your alley!

Amalie Howard– Amalie writes super cool YA across a lot of different genres, playing with the themes of identity, self acceptance and the occasional fighting of demons. Like you do. I’m starting with Bloodspell and Alpha Goddess, two of her stand alone titles, but she writes series as well, if you want to dive into something longer.

Sue Duff– Sue is the author of the ongoing YA series, The Weir Chronicles. Of a planned 5 book series, the first 2 are available now. The Weir Chronicles has magic and mystery set in our modern-day world of cell phones and social media. Her imagination is as deep as her commitment to her characters. If you’re into illusion, earth sciences and trying to save the world from destruction, this might be the series for you!

Gail Wagner– Gail writes a series for young adults about demon fighting leprechauns. Do I really need to say more? Who doesn’t love demon fighting leprechauns? On the off-chance that’s not your thing, Gail also has a series starting with Let Her Sleep about dreams, love and the raging battle between Good and Evil. I think it doesn’t have any leprechauns, though.

Amanda Strong– I plan to start reading Amanda’s books with her series The Monsters Among Us. Because I like things that are scary and mysterious. I think this series just might keep me guessing. If paranormal romance with angels and demons is more up your alley, I say check out her other series The Watchers Men, starting with The Awakener. That one is for sure going on my list too. Right after I’m finished with letting Hidden Monster scare the crap outta me.

DelSheree Gladden– Relationships are so complicated when you’re young, especially when one of you is invisible. I’m excited to check out Delsheree’s Aerling series. Delsheree clearly has a love for all things supernatural, and I’m betting anyone with a hankering for something out of this world will find something they like in Delsheree’s collection. She has, I believe, 5 series started and available to date.

Dan Wells– Dan writes about teenagers who, among other things, might be serial killers or have to save the world after the apocalypse. You know, typical kid stuff. He also has non YA books for a twist on all YA, all the time vibe of this post. I’m excited to get started with the Partials series, because I can’t say no to the end of world, and after that, I plan to read The Hollow City about a man who finds out that some of the monsters he thinks he’s hallucinating are totally real.

Bonnie Burton– Bonnie is the author of the absolutely fabulous Star Wars Craft Book, which is fun for all ages. I’m going to be diving into her non-fiction book Girls Against Girls, which while geared towards YA readers, I think is going to be valuable information for any age. She also does about a million other things that are awesome and if I listed them all, we’d be here all day.

What all these fantastic authors we met this weekend have in common is this: They’re awesome, they’re passionate about what they write, they had no problem with us fawning over them all weekend at Con and they were all about as kind and lovely as you want a human to be. And I’m not just saying that cause they gave me bookmarks and stickers and googly eyes. I’m saying it because I love people who love books, and these people love books.

To learn more about Denver Comic Con and their partnership with Pop Culture Classroom, check out their websites here: Denver Comic Con Pop Culture Classroom

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