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Author Amanda Lance Interview

What inspires you to write?

When writing, I often consider how a single story helped me through a bad day at school (high-school was a special kind of torture) or an unpleasant situation at home. The distraction that fiction provides has always been an excellent motivator and gives me something to look forward to. I can’t begin to count how many pieces of well-written fanfiction practically saved my life while I was waiting in lines, traffic jams, completing chores or attempting to doing anything math related. I sincerely enjoy the idea of doing that for other people—giving them the escape from reality that we all need sometimes. I think of it as a sort-of pay-it-forward to all the storytellers who did the same for me.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

Characters always start off in my head with about as much detail as a stick-figure. I get the general idea of who/what I want them to be and then daydream up more intricate details of their personalities and goals. Occasionally, the characters end up in a completely different place than I intended, but I’ve spent so much time thinking about them that they feel like real people to me and therefore I don’t always agree with their choices. Before I even think about actually writing anything down, I need to know and love the characters enough to think about them on reflex. For example, I’ll hear a song on the radio and think “Oh, Mr. Whatever would love this! He would totally sing this in the shower.” Being besties with your imaginary friends makes it significantly easier to write them.

Do you have a routine you follow when writing?

Yes! For me routine is extremely important since I occasionally (*ahem*) lack the discipline to edit or finish a scene I’m not happy with. The Routine itself tends to change every few months based on my day job and other personal elements, so I still have the option of being flexible. Currently, I am employed as a nanny and write for about 90 minutes in the morning and another 90 minutes in the afternoon when the kids are napping. Being able to write during the work day is a privilege I know most writers probably don’t have, but I encourage all writers to look for opportunities to multitask in a similar regard. Giving myself regular word count goals for the day is also helpful.

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

I like to think I would tell myself to branch out more within the writing/artistic community. I am extremely introvert and writing is a solitary activity so that works really well for me. As I’ve gotten older, however, I see the benefits of interacting with other writers or bookworms. There is something about talking with like-minded people that boosts your confidence about what you’re doing. Every writer needs that bit of encouragement and I regret not taking advantage of it when I could.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Only write something you really truly love. Like a lot of younger writers, I’ve made the mistake of trying to write to the latest trend and (unsurprisingly) the quality was awful, and I was not very happy with myself. If you’re a people pleaser there’s that instinct to write what you think readers want to read, but the writing always turns out better if you stick with writing something you want to read.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you?

Please message me through my website or read my various rants on twitter @alance07. I don’t care very much for Facebook, but contacting me there is okay, too.

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