1) Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did your background influence the genre you write in?
I grew up in the burbs, in a pretty stereotypical middle-class household. My father used to like to watch “stupid movies” on TV – usually science fiction or horror movies. As a young girl, I didn’t understand why he would want to watch a movie if he thought it was stupid, but now I get it. They’re guilty pleasures. Your mind knows, “Uh uh. No way!” but your pounding heart doesn’t care.
When I hit my teen years my “guilty pleasures” expanded to include the romance novels my mom didn’t hide so well in a box in the basement. Back then, I particularly liked the steamy bits (although my threshold for steamy was low at the time); these days, I am a more complete romantic. In fact, steaminess does nothing for me unless there’s a compelling story to back it up.
I mostly write fantasy, paranormal, mystery, and romance. I still enjoy science fiction (and have written one science fiction novel), but the magic of fantasy just completes the magic of romance, in my opinion. The two genres belong together.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
In my parents’ basement when I was 8. My mom found an old manual typewriter (I think she was helping her mom clean things out after her father died) and I asked if I could use it. I felt like such a grown up! I dug my fingers in and wrote a complete short story about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars.
I’ve pretty much written ever since, although I got “serious” about it in 2003 with the encouragement of my husband and the help of a workshop with Orson Scott Card.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Jim Butcher, Karen Marie Moning, Linda Howard … I like so many authors it’s hard to keep track of them all! But I will say this: Every so often I read a really compelling piece of literary fiction, the kind that makes you think, the kind that makes an impact on the world as we know it. And I think, “Shouldn’t I want to do that? Shouldn’t I want to be able to put that kind of stamp on the world?” Then I pick up Linda Howard’s latest book and I am utterly lost in a thrilling escape. And I know that, however much some people marginalize that kind of book, that secretly (or not so secretly) it’s what we all clamor for – simple, undeniable pleasure. I don’t even think of it as guilty anymore.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I work from home as a freelance editor, so my day revolves around writing in one form or another. I have a home office where I spend much of my day, although if I really want to get some words written it’s often best to get out of the house! I also have two kids to manage. During the summer, writing happens around their schedule. During the school year, writing happens from 8-3.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book , “Madison’s Song?”
Madison was an afterthought. I was writing my more classically inspired Cassie Scot series, just drafting along, when I found myself thinking, “Okay … friends. Cassie needs some friends. Names … what’s popular these days? Oh yeah, my mom liked Madison. I think she was hinting that I should name my daughter that and I pretended not to notice. Madison it is!”
And so Madison took on a very minor, background role in the first Cassie Scot book. Then I started to get ideas. I could use her in a subplot that would tie into the main plot in the last book …. It was great, except for one thing: Madison got too big to be a footnote in Cassie’s story.
Madison is shy and plump. She has low self-esteem. She’s a bit more like me than Cassie, to tell you the truth, which was why I was so comfortable writing about her as a minor character. When she demanded her own story, well! I have to tell you, it’s harder to separate yourself from a character who is a bit too much like yourself for comfort. I even had her chewing her nails and biting her lips like I do!
But what else are you going to do when a character comes to life like that? It’s where the best stories come from.
6) What do you think sets your book apart from others current on the shelves?
Characters. I am a character girl and if I had my way, there would be a genre for books with great characters – forget mystery, romance, fantasy, there are more important ways to classify books!
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Madison. And yeah, like I said, she’s a lot like me. Almost too close for comfort. 🙂
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I like writing dramatic conflicts between characters. One of the subplots in this book involved Madison coming to terms with a long-lost brother, and I had a lot of fun getting her to open up to him. I also enjoyed the scenes that brought Madison and Scott closer together as a romantic couple, though there was a bit more challenge in that.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I want them to have really enjoyed it. Oh, and if you really want a theme – love yourself! I played “The Greatest Love of All” a lot while writing this book.
10) What are your hopes for this book?
I hope to draw in a new audience for my entire collection of books. This is lucky #7 for me, and while it grew out of an existing series, it also stands alone. It’s been a while since I had a “first” book in a series, and I’m really hoping that readers who really enjoy a stand-alone, self-contained paranormal romance (as opposed to a series) will check this out and get hooked.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
Kaitlin’s Tale is next – Kaitlin is another friend of Cassie’s that grew too big for the series. After that, I’m not sure. I’m going to do something totally new – not related to any other book I’ve written – but that all I really know right now. I’m just too early in the drafting stage to say more.
Thank you so much for having me here!
Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…
Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.
Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.
Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.
*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series
About The Author
Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that affects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.
In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.