Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Blog Hop: Interview with Amanda M. Lyons

For Day 2 of the Halloween Blog Hop, I am interviewing author, Amanda M. Lyons. In a world where paranormal romance has been saturated with brooding vampires with six packs, Ms. Lyons is carving her own niche, harkening back to the gothic vampire novels of the 1990s. So read on and also stop by her blog today where she also features an interview with yours truly. :)

And don't forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of DESCENT, the first novel in my series, The Birthrite at the end of this interview (the giveaway is running until November 5).

So without further ado, here is Amanda M. Lyons.

TA: So first, welcome to my blog! For those that may just be stumbling upon your work, introduce and tell a little about yourself.

AL: Thanks for having me, Tiffany! I'm Amanda M. Lyons and I'm an author and editor with J. Ellington Ashton Press, a mom to two kiddos, and a partner to another author, Todd Misura. Most of what I write is horror, right now I have a gothic vampire series out called Shades of Midnight. Book 1 is called Eyes Like Blue Fire, Book two is called Water Like Crimson Sorrow and the third book, which will be coming out soon, is called Cool Green Waters. If you’re wondering what they’re like think something like Anne Rice with just a bit of difference and more horror. I’ve had it compared to a gothic fairy tale for grownups actually. I also have several short stories out in anthologies at JEA, a collaborative vampire horror novel called Feral Hearts with Ed Cardillo, catt dahman, Michael Fisher, Jim Goforth, and Mark Woods as well as a novelette called Wendy Won’t Go which is a ghost story with a twist.


TA: Now among your many written works, the one you are currently working on is the third novel in the gothic vampire series, The Shades of Midnight. What inspired this particular story and the main character Katja?

AL: Katja is the main character of the entire series, a female vampire who’s struggled with her sense of place and importance even in her immortal life. During the course of the series she’s finding that she’s much stronger and more powerful than she imagined and that Anton, the vampire who changed her, is far more complex than he seemed even in the time she knew him. This involves evil vampires, necromancers, ghouls, half vampires, werewolves, ghosts, bloodshed and madness.
All of the books ask some big questions about identity, fears, perception and the way we respond to trauma, all of them rose out of some events in my own life and my need to find reason in the chaos. 

TA: In an industry that is saturated with paranormal stories featuring vampires, what can you say sets Shades of Midnight apart from the others? In other words, how would you describe it to someone fearing that it might be another Twilight knockoff?

AL: There’s nothing at all Twilight about these vampires, there are some more human aspects to their character, but they’re killers, things which must thrive on the life of others and they all deal with that in their own way. For Katja it’s about granting mercy and survival, for Marie it’s about reveling in the horror and brutality, for Mateo it’s about punishing the world for its duplicity and the marks it has left on him, for Trudeau it means being something more than man, and for Delamorte it’s about seizing power over his fate. This is gothic horror, yes there are emotional bits, but no, there are no sparkling Edwards and moping Bellas. Instead expect ghouls shambling around to the horror of others, corpses raised from the dead to gain revenge on the living, ghosts haunting with their bloody tableau, and tales of nighttime encounters with vampires both subtle and vicious, also sex.
I think it actually suits its own mini subgenre, gothic vampire fairy tale for adults, because it doesn’t fit into any established mold, it’s not 30 Days of Night, nor Interview with the Vampire or any of a thousand PNR vampire novels you can think up. It lies between all of those things and has its own story. If you can’t handle a bit of a romantic plot don’t bother, but by the same token don’t expect brooding vampires with six packs either. Shades of Midnight is about Katja’s exploration of self and the darkness she finds along with her strength, but it’s not going to suit people who can’t handle the gothic vampires of the 90s, those books were equally monstrous and emotive, historical and modern all at once. They never set out to drown in you in blood or sex but gave you judicious helpings of many things instead, focusing on story and character driven plot. That’s what I set out to do and then add a bit of my own tone and style to it. 

TA: Are any of the characters in the series based off of anyone you know in real life?

AL: Actually a lot of the characters run from aspects of me at various points in my life, though chunks of people did end up in some of them. Raven has a bit of my fiancĂ© Todd in him for instance.  

TA: Going into the third book, what can fans expect?

AL: Cool Green Waters takes place after some pretty big events in the first two books. A major enemy was defeated, but it left Katja and Raven with a great deal to sort out. Raven has a chunk of the vampire who created Katja, Anton, blended with his own soul and since that piece has come forward he’s been struggling with his identity, which complicates their relationship a great deal. On top of this, Kaja is still trying to track down all of the things Anton left behind when he died. After tackling Marie Gaston she’s not about to leave things up to chance, so she sends out her companions Zero and Michael to find the only other vampire apprentice Katja knows still lives, Mateo. Is he good or is he evil? Is there maybe more there than it seems at first glance? Mateo owns a BDSM club, not the sort we see in the real world, but a place that really does thrive on intensity and sometimes brutal acts, but how much of this is him? Who is the mysterious redheaded woman who lures Michael and Zero inside? And who is this stranger haunting Katja’s dreams? Is he a new danger?

TA: Was there a specific author or book that inspired you growing up?

AL: A lot of them actually, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. I used to eat up all kinds of those spooky story books and the ones about the paranormal when I was younger. I was first introduced to the authors via movies and stories I’d read at the time. I had started Stephen King’s books by the time I was 12.

TA: And since it's the Halloween season, what scares you?

AL: Death, the idea of not getting to do all of the things in life that you intend to do before your time is through as well as the seemingly random and instantaneous nature of it as a whole.

TA: If you could choose any character from any of your written works to materialize and come to life in our world, who would it be?

AL: Hmm, I write horror, that might not be the best thing for me, especially considering some of the characters are less than positive. I don’t think I would actually. 

TA: Finally, what's next for you and where can potential new readers find you?
AL: I have another book in Shades of Midnight in progress called Hollow Black Corners of the Soul which finishes out some of the elements in Cool Green Waters and that might take another year or two to complete. I’m also hoping to get Other Dangers, my apocalyptic horror novel, out in the next year or so, that will be another series which might appeal more to those who enjoy horror with fantasy and horror elements in them. I also have several anthologies that will be coming out in the coming months from J. Ellington Ashton Press. In addition to Amazon and Goodreads you can find out about me through my website at where you can also find links to some of my other social media sites.


Jump and hop from blog to blog with some awesome authors…with this Halloween Blog Hop.

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