I first connected with Amy Miller when I joined an author’s blog hop. She is a superb writer of all things magical. Her books are full of all kinds of wonderful creatures. She sets her pen and keyboard on fire to bring readers into different worlds.
Amy Miller, who uses the nickname AEM to sign her books, is the author of the Endeavor Series and other random literature. While it’s rumored that she’s a homeschooling mama of 4 and wife of some dude who works with computers, most of the time she’s spotted with her nose in a book or clicking away on a laptop. Her main fantasy series, based in Oklahoma, blends old and new magical creatures and themes. Because seriously, the kind of bra worn while riding a dragon is important, ya’ll. Currently, she’s working on book 5, Fervent Desolation.
Check out the blurb for her book Phoenix Incandescent.
Fresh out of college, Charlotte is running the Wayfarer’s Inn, a castle in the middle of farmland that gives humans the chance to vacation amongst mermaids, centaurs, elves, and dwarves. The guests don’t know that the magic is real, but Charlotte does. For now. She hasn’t developed powers like her father, so now she must either marry into the magical world or have her memory wiped and live on her own.
What’s a girl to do?
Her parents throw her a last chance ball to find a suitable husband within the magical world, but the dancing is interrupted. Join Charlotte and many magical characters, old and new, as she ditches the ball gown, picks up the quarterstaff, and begins a journey that will expose the secrets her family has kept from her.
See what I mean? AEM recently shared her perspective on writing fantasy and worldbuilding.
Do you munch while writing? If so, what’s your favorite snack(s)?
I usually don’t eat while writing, but speaking of food, I love food. I’ve never met a potato dish I didn’t like.
What is it about writing fantasy that you like the most/least?
I’ve never really thought about this! I choose fantasy because I enjoy reading it the most, but I wanted more female-driven adult fantasy books. As far as writing it, I really get a kick out of it. I don’t have time to really think about what I like or don’t like. The closest I can come is maybe loving getting to hang out in the world with all the characters, and really not liking the formatting part of writing.
When bordering your writing between fantasy and reality, how do you decide how far to go?
I’m a method writer, so really, I’m just racing after my characters trying to get it all down. I mean, they give me a director’s chair and everything, but really I’m nothing more than a figurehead and somebody they vent their sass to.
What is an important thing authors should think about when worldbuilding?
I think balance is necessary for worldbuilding. When I first started, I didn’t get enough detail down to anchor the readers properly in the scenes. Then, I freaked out with all the weight worldbuilding can bring. Food, clothing, landscape, medicine, origin stories, sports, etc… So I did what I usually do when faced with fear, but I super really want to learn anyway…I just dove in and muddled through until I learned.
When I finally got over my fear of details, I had to decide where to draw the line. Too many details bore a reader and prevent them from having to say in the story. So I try to provide little anchors to invite my readers in while also giving them chances to fill in the blanks and make the world their own.
Which character has given you the most trouble so far?
Charlotte and I did not get along at first. We’re tight now, but I couldn’t connect with her for months. It’s my fault. I deliberately chose a main character who I couldn’t connect with. And then instead of bonding with her, we just got on each other’s nerves. I finally had to call her in my office one day and I just sat there with her and listened. I didn’t tell her who to be or what to do anymore. That was the day she informed me that she wasn’t a blonde. She was a redhead, but she had been secretly spelled to have different eyes and hair color. The rest is history.
Describe your most evil character.
My books each have an Arx as the bad guy, and I have layers and levels of bad in them, but the main baddie over them all is Eminente. He’s the kind of person who plays mind games with people, and that’s really one of my pet peeves in life. If you are going to be evil, you should own it, not try to hide it under layers and webs of lies and manipulations.
What is the most magical thing you’ve written?
So I haven’t even gotten to the most magical things in my books yet. Right now I’m going all Shrek and layering and deepening the world with each book. I have 9 books in an arc, and then 3 books planned afterward. (Because, seriously, what does happen after???) So the books I’m writing now are foreplay to some extent. There’s this closet scene in book 12 that I cannot wait to write. That’s magic.
What is your most productive writing habit?
So I have horrible, awful confidence issues, and that’s not productive when it comes to writing. I can freeze myself out of creating, so I have had to learn to combat my own insecurities by lifting up other writers and people. So part of my day has to be connecting with other authors online. Being part of writing groups online and in real life was a game-changer. Also, because I’m a busy mom and wife, finding time to be alone so I don’t get confused about whether I’m scolding a kid or a character helps a lot.
Finish this sentence: “If I couldn’t write anymore, I’d…”
stubbornly find a way to do it anyway.
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