Hello and Welcome!
Today Amanda Carlson has stopped by to share with us her new releases STRUCK as well as sharing some fun tidbits about herself.
Hello Amanda, thank you for dropping by the blog today. Some of the readers might not be familiar with you, so would you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me! I live in the Midwest, born and raised in Minneapolis (we are missing Prince so much!). I’ve been writing for years, focusing on urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I absolutely love writing fantasy. Creating a world and kickass female leads is so much fun.
Struck is not your first book to be published. You have another series out Jessica McClain (which is one of my favorites to read btw) and also the Sin City Collectors. Would you share with us some of the challenges you faced in getting published?
When my first book, FULL BLOODED, was finished in 2010, I sent out over 40 queries to agents. I was lucky enough to hear back from a few relatively quickly. Once I signed, we edited the book a few times, and then sent it out. I received two offers, and ended up signing with Orbit. The Jessica McClain series was a dual release with the UK. It was amazing—a dream come true! I’d been writing my entire life, but publishing in fiction was always the pinnacle. Getting there was so sweet.
What do you do when you are not writing?
If the weather is nice, I’m outside enjoying the sun. If it’s snowing, I’m huddled up by the fire. I also love walking the dog by the creek near my house. Great way to clear the head.
Favorite food? Favorite drink? Favorite TV show? and Favorite Movie?
Drink: Gin & Tonic
Favorite TV show: Currently? Outlander.
Favorite Movie: Zombieland
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way while growing up or as an adult?
I always go back to Anne Rice. Picking up Interview with a Vampire was a revelation. It changed the way I thought about books and what books should be. Stephen King also played a huge role. Reading him in high school took me from Sweet Valley High and launched me straight into adulthood in the best possible way.
Which of your prior characters would you like to have for dinner and why?
I think I’d take a girl’s night out with three of my leading ladies, Jessica (Jessica McClain), Neve (Aces Wild, Sin City Collectors), and Phoebe (Phoebe Meadows). They are my three favorite leads so far. It would be quite a night out! I think we’d all get along swimmingly.
A LITTLE ABOUT STRUCK
How did you come up with the title?
Most of my books start with a big opening scene that’s played out very vividly in my mind before I ever sit down at the computer. It was no different with STRUCK. The very first thing I saw was Phoebe waking up from being “struck” on top of a pile of shoes. I had to investigate that story! So I went with it and it lead me down a very fun path.
What “Struck” your inspiration for this new book and series?
I adore Valkyries. Who doesn’t? But you don’t see many Valkyrie leads. I actually started writing STRUCK when FULL BLOODED was out on submission in 2011. When the Jessica McClain series got picked up, that became my main focus. But STRUCK has always been a project close to my heart. I am ecstatic that I finally get to share it with readers!
Please share with us a little bit about the characters in Struck. (who are they, what do they do, any fun special abilities, or little quarks, etc..)
STRUCK is based heavily in Norse Mythology. Think Thor and Loki. I don’t want to give too much away, but my lead is a Valkyrie who gets tossed into one of the Nine Worlds. She meets up with Fenrir the wolf (Loki’s son) and pandemonium ensues. Her birth has been kept secret and now that she’s been “struck” the worlds are in upheaval. What I love so much about this story is that it’s “contemporary fantasy,” meaning it straddles New York City (contemp) and the Nine Worlds (fantasy). It feels current, but you get that fun fantasy element along with it.
What was your favorite scene to write in Struck? Why?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I love everything about this book. It gets spoilery very quickly. Here is a quick peek at the opening:
I blinked open my eyes to find two concerned faces hovering above me. I shifted my body, and a cascade of shoeboxes tumbled around me. “What happened?” I swallowed a few times. My throat felt funny.
“You tell us,” Sam said, hands on her hips, her blonde curls bouncing in agitation. “I was minding my own business helping a seventy-five-year-old lady cram her corns into a pair of high heels when all of a sudden what sounds like a sonic boom goes off. I run back to find you out cold, crumpled like a rag doll on top of a pile of Steve Maddens.” She extended her arm to help me up. Samantha Reed, my co-worker and recent best friend, was not amused. I grabbed on to her hand, scattering boxes and shoes as I went. “When I saw you lying here, I thought you were dead, Phoebe. Don’t scare me like that again. Ever.”
“Yeah,” Tom echoed in his standard monotone. “Don’t scare us like that.” Tom Levine, Macy’s resident eighteen-year-old stock boy, took a few steps back so I had enough room to fully clear myself of the mess. Apparently, I’d passed out, but I had no recollection of the event at all. “But, dude, at the same time it was freakin’ awesome. I thought the whole building was going to cave in or something. There was this huge kaboom.” Both his hands went out in front of him, mimicking an explosion. The story ended with a whooshing noise out of the side of his mouth. It was the most animated I’d ever seen the guy. “Then the lights flickered and…you were lying here.”
“Honestly,” I said, trying to smooth down my now static-frizzed hair, “I don’t remember much. I heard a noise and glanced up, right as a bolt of something shot out of the lights. It must’ve hit me, which is weird, because I didn’t feel anything and I’m not hurt. Next thing I knew, you guys were looking down on me.”
We all tilted our heads up to the ceiling.
Several long, narrow fluorescent bulbs hung from their fixtures at odd angles, rocking slowly back and forth. It was the only indication that my convoluted story held a kernel of truth.
“No way.” Tom moved under one of the bulbs and tried to reach it, jumping twice, but it was too high. He glanced over his shoulder, flipping his brown hair off his forehead in a single flick. “I wish this kind of stuff happened to me. It’s boring as hell back here.”
“I had no idea fluorescent lights could shock someone like that.” I rubbed my arms. My extremities were a little tingly, but other than that I felt fine. My throat was better after a couple of swallows. “A big store like Macy’s should insulate their lights better or check the circuits or hire better maintenance people.” I gestured to the broken fixtures. “That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
“Please, fluorescent lights can’t shock you like that.” Sam’s voice was full of authority as she marched forward to investigate. “It’s completely impossible. Electricity doesn’t arc that far at one hundred and ten volts, and even if it did, fluorescent lights are made up of electrons and gas, not wire filament. So essentially there’s no way on earth those light bulbs or that fixture”—she directed an angry finger toward the hanging bulbs that still had the audacity to rock back and forth—“shocked you from way up there.”
Sam was an aspiring actress, but she should’ve been an engineer. Her brain was vast and held more factoids than I thought possible for one person. She was one of the smartest people I’d ever met.
A sharp acidic smell hit the air.
I glanced down. The hemline of my skirt was smoking.
“Oh.” I licked my fingers and pressed them against the frayed edge, and a soft psst sounded as the tiny coal of heat was extinguished.
Sam met my eyes, her expression shocked. “Holy crap, Phoebe!” she cried, moving in front of me. “We need to get you to the doctor right away. Your skirt is smoking. How is that even possible?” She twisted her head up toward the ceiling and then back to look at me, her face incredulous.
(You’ll have to get the book to see more!)
If you could spend a day with one of your characters from Struck, who would it be and what would you guys do?
I would have Fen take me on a tour of Asgard. Oh, yes!
Thank you, Amanda, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. We loved having you visit and sharing your new releases Struck with us.
Thank you so much for having me! It was a pleasure to talk books. Hope you enjoy STRUCK.
Amanda Carlson is the author of the upcoming Jessica McClain series. The first book, Full Blooded, will be released by Hachette Book Group, ORBIT US & UK SEPT 2012. She’s been writing for over ten years. Full Blooded is her first novel. She lives in Minneapolis, with her husband and three kids.
by Amanda Carlson
Book One in the Phoebe Meadows series
Release Date: May 24, 2016
When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.
Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.
After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…
☆ Check out My Review for STRUCK ☆
Amanda Carlson is offering up One digital copy (mobi or pub) of STRUCK to a follower of Angel’s Guilty Pleasures.