A. A. Warne writes elaborate, strange, dark, and twisted stories. In other words, speculative fiction. Located at the bottom of the Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia; Amanda was born an artist and grew up a painter before deciding to study pottery. But it wasn't until she found the art of the written word that her universe expanded. A graduate of Western Sydney University in arts, Amanda now spends her time wrestling three kids and writing full time.
Welcome, Amanda, and thank you for speaking with me today.
Thank you so much for having me. It's great to meet you.
First, let's talk about writing in general. Do you have a certain routine or schedule you follow, or do you just squeeze it in when you can?
First and foremost, I'm a mom. It gets crazy around here, running to sports, the Mt. Everest of laundry, and you know, these kids eat like locus! But thankfully, they have all reached school-age so as soon as they are out the door, my bum is on the seat, fingers on the keyboard and I write until they walk back in. When I have deadlines, I write through the night too, but I really like the nighttime to be reading and researching amazing things this planet has to offer.
What was the first story you wrote? Was it published?
I started writing just over ten years ago and jumped straight into fantasy and haven't left the genre. The story was plain and I couldn't even think of a character's name! So I used my own. There I was inside a book and exploring a fantasy world but it wasn't liberating, it was restricting. I know what I like and don't like and I was even reserved to find out things that another character would do naturally. So I threw myself out and designed my first real character. She was stronger, witty, funny, and had a ton more guts than me, and we explored the world together while I discovered where my strengths lie as a writer.
What activities give you the most inspiration?
Umm...cleaning! It's so boring and even if I am listening to podcasts or music, I can only do that for so long before I gravitate back to the computer and dive back into the fantasy world... it's like an addiction!
Are there certain artists, or other authors, that spark your creativity?
I love The Game of Thrones and came to it through the television show. I needed the books and ran out and bought all of them, but I struggle to read more than a chapter at a time. George R. R. Martin has a way with words and every time I read his work, I've just got to write!
You have stories in a couple of anthologies. Do you like writing shorter stories or do you prefer novelettes/novels?
I would love to write 30k novels. In fact, The Reluctant Wizard was meant to be a dozen 30k novels. However, I have given that idea up completely - I'm an epic writer. Each book is getting longer and longer and I'm struggling to stay at the 100k mark. Which is funny because I can write great 5k stories too. It seems to be one or the other. Too big or bite-size.
Let's talk about The Reluctant Wizard for a moment. Can you tell my readers what it's about without spoilers?
The Reluctant Wizard is about Eli who lives in a war-torn community that has been suffering for far too long. The wizards rule during the day and the warlocks own the night. Eli wants to change the world and joins the wizards but soon finds out they too have their own set of troubles. One of the best things about this world is that everyone has magic, but deepening on their magic abilities, will determine their worth.
You're the mother of 3, were any of your children inspiration for the character in the book?
All three of my children shape Eli in some way, and yet he seems independent in his own right. When I would get stuck on an idea, I would run it by them at the dinner table and I would get three very different answers. It made me think on things before Eli would come to a conclusion. Then came the cover. I needed a model because I couldn't find anything that fit my vision so I approached my middle child, C.J. and asked him what he thought, and he's been a real good sport about it. He had to grow his hair long and kids teased him at school, but he shrugged it off because he knows that they'll never be on a book cover. Now he seems to be the most popular kid amongst the teachers.
Do you plan on making it a series, if so, how long?
Yes! I feel like book one has only skimmed the surface. Eli has so much to explore and figure out, that even a couple of books won't do the story justice. I haven't planned too far ahead, however, my son goes for photographs every year just in case I write oodles of books. So I'm collecting covers just in case. The story will dictate to me how many it needs. In the meantime, I will be prepared for anything.
Since publishing your first story, would you say your writing process has changed?
Yes! As an independent publisher, I know what the end product would look like as I'm starting it now. In fact, I had The Reluctant Wizard cover made just after finishing the first draft. Then once I had it in my hands, I incorporated the elements, the tone, the colours, the mood, into the story itself. And that's what I love about the process is now each element is interrelated so that when you pick up one of my books and feel something from the visuals, that feeling is carried throughout the plot.
Do you have a support group you bounce ideas around with?
I belong to several writing groups, both online and in the community. I don't bounce ideas off anyone in particular except for my children because they have no filter, can't sense that I have an alternative motive, and provide raw answers even if it's going to hurt my feelings - so they are the best ones. Adults are not so forthcoming. Instead, writing groups are a great way to know that I'm not the only one hitting deadlines, isolated within my four walls, and suffering from sore hands. And just knowing that makes the world feel more approachable, especially this year when we were forced to isolate.
Where do you see your writing in 5 years?
Well considering that each book I write gets bigger, I believe I'll be writing in epic proportions! ha! I have so many books in the works because I have to write several at the same time, it's my default. One book at a time jars my creativity. So there are several sets of series, some short and others much longer as well as an annual anthology.
What are you working on now, and what can we look for to be out soon?
I am currently right in the middle of Concealed Power book two, co-written with Michelle Crow; I'm drafting The Reluctant Wizard book two, and I'm finishing a secret series that will start next year... all exciting stuff!
To find more of Amanda's work, you find her at these links: