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Interview with Amanda Muratoff

Ask Amanda anything about riding horses or motorcycles and she can tell you. Not a daredevil, but she finds great joy in the wind flowing through her hair. Art has always been a staple in her life - from creative writing to painting, first published at age ten. 

She is an award-winning published artist, though she left her career in VFX to chase the passion of her childhood. The memories of late-night writing binges, glued to the computer screen at 1AM, brought her back to the fantasy worlds she created.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I actually produced a solo album with a record company years ago. And that’s all I’m saying about it.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Kayla
and I are working on the last trilogy for Pantracia, and we’re hoping to have the final three books published this year.

Q.3 What inspired you to write The Pantracia Chronicles?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and when I met my coauthor, Kayla Hansen, online, we hit it off. We got started twenty years ago with these stories, though we only started writing them in book format in 2019. Our characters evolved over the years until we finally started publishing the stories.

Q.4 How do you select the title of your books?
I love to select titles that relate to the content or the characters’ struggles and goals. I try to use interesting words, or words someone can relate to while also signaling genre. It’s a complicated process, and I usually go through 50-60 titles before settling on one. In rare cases, like Rise of the Renegades, I chose it right off the start.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Over time, with no real formula. We have character spreadsheets that we use to determine their strengths, weaknesses, triggers, and abilities. We make note of how they could be better people and use the plot to show them how. To show them how to do better. How to right wrongs. How to love themselves just as they are. They are hand in hand in development.

Q.6 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
We’ve written and published ten full-length novels and one novella in the romantic high fantasy series, the Pantracia Chronicles. Three more books are coming, hopefully within the year. My favorite one is probably either book 6 or 10. So much emotional stuff happens in those ones, I get all the feels.

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing books?
Probably keeping all the timelines straight. Making sure we keep track of who-knows-what and who-knows-who. We have many documents dedicated to keeping all of it straight.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d be a full-time artist, painting abstract work and making ocean cutting boards. Love it! Though, if I pursued something in the traditional workforce, I’d probably become a paramedic.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
I always thought Tom Ellis would make a good Kin, and Marie Avgeropoulos would make a perfect Rae.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
We focus on getting exposure, rather than sales. We try to get the books in front of as many people as possible, and if it’s a story they’ll enjoy, then they’ll buy/loan/borrow it, and that’s all we’re after. The feedback we’ve gotten thus far is overwhelmingly positive.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
Probably an Auer, if I chose from my series. If I chose from another, probably elven. Long lives, magic, what else could I want?

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
That we love to describe everything in intricate, painful detail. And that we all love reading Tolkien. No shade thrown, but it’s just not for me. I like to cut to the chase and action, rather than take three pages to describe a tree. 

One that is dead on? Oh, I don’t know, probably that we cherish our characters. It’s true. You can try to pry them from my cold, dead fingers, but you’ll fail. 

Q.13 Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Not so much to get ideas, but definitely to find out how far someone can fall and survive. And how long that fall takes. How long until you bleed out. Stuff like that. I’m probably on watch lists.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
They’re all dear to me! But of all the supporting characters, I’m probably the most attached to the animals. Amarie’s horse, Neco the wolf… Though, I’m also very protective of Matthias’s best friend, Micah, and Amarie’s brother, Deylan.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
Our cover artist is Andrei Bat, and he’s amazingly talented. We found him through a site for designers, and his work blew us away.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
The characters have existed for so long, that I often forget how their names originated. But this is funny because it was just the other day I remembered who I named Dani (Varadani) after, and it was a house guest on Big Brother, haha.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Oh, negative reviews. You got to love ‘em, right? I remember my first one-star review. It’s a rite of passage. Embrace it, but don’t engage. Your writing won’t be for everyone, ever. Look up your favorite book, movie, song, whatever… 

There will always be 1 and 2-star reviews. Nothing is exempt. So really, gaining a negative review is just a milestone we all must face as writers. When you get one, celebrate. It means you’re on your way. As for the positive ones, of course, we read them! We love positive feedback.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Michael Jackson. What a legend! He was such a complicated and talented person, I’d love to just talk with him.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
That’s a really hard one. I’m going to choose the nostalgic answer, because Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey, was one of the first novels that got me hooked on reading.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
We’ve written and published ten full-length novels and one novella in the romantic high fantasy series, the Pantracia Chronicles. Three more books are coming, hopefully within the year. While we started writing/building this world twenty years ago, we only published the first novel in 2019 and have published nine more since. It’s been such a fun ride, and the positive feedback we get from readers is so rewarding.

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