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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meet the author: Amanda Havard

Amanda Havard is the amazing new author of THE SURVIVORS. THE SURVIVORS is the unforgettable first in what will be a series of five books. The novel follows Sadie Matthau who is descended from what was originally twenty-six children, accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. These children were left in the wilderness to die in the cold of winter in 1692, but fourteen survived.

Havard grew up in Dallas, Texas before moving to Nashville to obtain her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Vanderbilt University. She wrote THE SURVIVORS in twenty-seven days during grad school. Havard recently returned home to Nashville after another trip to explore and research Salem as well as Danvers in Massachusetts. I'm very thankful that she took the time to answer a few questions about herself and her highly addictive series.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing forever. I've made up stories with elaborate details and told them to anyone who would listen since before I could write those stories down. Storytelling is in my blood. THE SURVIVORS is my first published book, though.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I actually wrote a book before THE SURVIVORS that will likely never see the light of day. I was inspired to write it, though, because I wanted to play with the idea of twisting reality in just the right number of ways to make a crazy story. It was a fantastic exercise in immersing myself in a story world, creating characters who were so real that they were sometimes harder to love than they were to hate, and in interweaving plot elements in a way I can promise you'll see in the rest of the series of THE SURVIVORS.

When you first started writing The Survivors, did you plan for it to be a series?
Definitely. The very night I got the idea for THE SURVIVORS, I knew it would be a series, and I knew roughly how it would end. By the time I was done writing the first book, I had the outlines for the next four complete.

Can you tell us a little something about the sequel?
The sequel is totally amped up in comparison to the first book. The stakes are higher for Sadie as she leaves the first book-- she's facing a lot of uncertainties and yet a lot of certain dangers. People are getting hurt and she feels responsible, and this time, when she goes traveling the world seeking the stories of other supernaturals, she has a lot more to lose. I was thrilled to be able to incorporate a lot more history and some new elements of mythology into the story as well. And at least one person asks me this every day, so I can say confidently that there's a lot more of our human love interest, Cole. I'm thrilled to be able to share it with everyone!

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I relate to all of my characters in some way, even the villains. I did create them all... But in reality, each character embodies a major or several major characteristics that I embody too, even in tiny increments. My humor and attitude are probably most like Mark's, but my life is strangely similar to Sadie's in some ways. But I don't have a single character in my books whose eyes I can't look through and recognize parts of myself.

What is a secret about Sadie that nobody else knows?
What a question! Let's see... I think Sadie thinks of things in a really black-and-white sense, and so every experience she has defines her in an exaggerated way. A great example of this: the first time she had a human boyfriend, Todd, she expected a certain kind of magic (like we all do). When that magic didn't come, I think a little part of Sadie stopped believing that that magic even existed. It doesn't seem like it, and she pretty much never talks about it in the books, but I think that time she spent with Todd before we ever met her in the pages of THE SURVIVORS really affected her in a way she may never totally recover from.

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Like many teenagers, my teenage life was full of uncertainty. I have a strong, even unwavering sense of self now, but when I was 15, I didn't know myself from Adam. The main character would ask a lot of questions, make a lot of mistakes, and fumble through realizing a little bit more about herself with each step-- and misstep.

What book have you read too many times to count?
The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Write what you know.

Amanda Havard entwines fashion, social networking, travel, and even music into her storytelling. She co-wrote the first single and theme song from book one of the THE SURVIVORS Series with Deanna Walker. The song, "Pretty Girl", is performed by Chris Mann. Be sure to check it out at Amanda Havard's You Tube page.

The second single,"Breaking", was released this morning. "Breaking" was performed by Jess Moskaluk and written by Amanda Havard and Deanna Walker as well.You can also view this at Amanda Havard's You Tube page. Both songs can be purchased from iTunes.

Book Review: The Survivors by Amanda Havard

You can learn more about Amanda Havard's astonishing series and purchase "THE SURVIVORS" through her website. Also, follow the series on Twitter and Facebook.

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