Good morning and happy August, everyone! Today I have a special treat for you! Author Amy Braun has graciously agreed to an interview and I’m really excited to share it with you guys. Not only is this a great chance to learn a bit more about her but there’s also a giveaway at the very end!
This month, NovelKnight will be featuring Amy Braun’s two books, Crimson Sky and Midnight Sky, through reviews and will also be hosting a guest post from the author herself. You can check out the full schedule below so make sure to check back!
- August 1 Author Interview with Amy Braun
- August 8 Review of Crimson Sky
- August 15 Amy Braun’s Top 5 Book Pet Peeves and Favourite Cliches
- August 29 Review of Midnight Sky
Let’s get started!
All About Amy Braun
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Crimson Sky?
I’ve always had an overactive imagination and a love of horror and history. Vampires are my favourite monsters because they’re so versatile, and I’ve always had a fascination with the tall tales of pirates. I’d written some fan-fiction in my teens, and at the time, my favourite movie was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. I started to wonder what it would be like to combine vampires with pirates and came up with dozens of different ideas, but none of them seemed feel right. I left the idea for a while until I decided to make writing a professional career. This was around the time when I discovered the creativeness of steampunk, a genre where you can literally do anything. Steampunk helped breathe new life into the story I couldn’t figure out, and I wrote a short, test story called Lost Sky that I sent to Mocha Memoir Press for their anthology Avast, Ye Airships! I was thrilled when I got a reply from the editor saying she loved my story and was excited to include it. It was a good thing not just because it was another accepted submission, but because by then, I’d been working on and falling in love with the world of Aon and the city of Westraven in particular. I knew that there was so much to the story than what was contained in the anthology, so many other details and adventures for the crew to have, that I had to continue. So I did!
Introduce us to your main character!
A lot of the characters I write are strong ones with inclinations toward combat. I wanted Claire to be different. I wrote her to be scrappier than actually trained, as her strongest skills pertain to her being an electric engineer and inventor. But I also knew that if she was going to deal with pirates and make them do what she wants, she had to be tough. And she ended up being one of the strongest characters I’ve written to date. Claire is quick-thinking and clever, not to mention just as stubborn as the pirate captain she finds herself drawn to, but she’s far from perfect. Claire is often accused for her parents’ failures regarding the cataclysmic Storm that unleashed the Hellions in the first place, and in Midnight Sky, she has moments where she doubts herself and makes choices that go against what she used to believe.
Walk us through a day in the life of Amy Braun.
When I know I have a day of writing ahead, I wake up early, workout, read, have breakfast, freshen up, then get to work. I like to be prompt, so I often answer emails first. If I have promotions running, I work on sharing them via social media. That can take a few hours, so by then I’m ready to have lunch. After that, if I have any editing to do, I work on it. Editing and re-writes take a lot of time, and I like to get them out of the way so I can move onto my favourite part of the day– writing brand new words. I often have two/three different projects in various stages, so while my followers and fans will be getting excited about a particular release, I’m already editing another novel and writing a third– all of which are in different universes and have vastly different stories. My mind is a little chaotic and I know that not many writers may do what I do, but I write fast and as much as I can. I live for creating and once I get into the zone, I don’t stop until my body demands food or sleep.
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
I’ll offer the same advice once given to me: The more you write, the better you do. It’s become physically impossible for me not to write or think about writing every day. Every second I have, I’m writing or working on something to help my career. I’m still learning, but my sales have been boosted, I have more followers, and a better understanding of the industry and its demands. Believe me when I say this is not an easy career path. If being a writer is what you truly, deeply, absolutely want, be prepared to spend hours fussing over details, re-writing, editing, emailing, organizing, formatting, advertising, sharing, and above all, spending. One thing that I learned from Elise Kova when I was lucky enough to speak to her was that many authors she knows, even those who are accepted by publishers, do 90-95% of the work themselves. That said, it’s worth it. Knowing that there are readers out there who are genuinely excited to read one of my novels and tell others about it makes it all worthwhile and encourages me to push myself harder and to write more. It’s a long, arduous process that will drive you insane and more than likely overwhelm you. But the more you write, the more you will learn, the more confident you will become, and the stronger you will be as a writer. Keep on writing!
I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?
At the moment, it’s Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova. I’m a huge fan of her work– her writing is amazing– and the way she approaches her career. She works hard and is at the point I strive to be at one day, and I’ve definitely learned a lot from her. I even had the pleasure of meeting her once and I’ve met few people who have been as honest, kind, and genuine as she is. I’m about halfway through Crystal Crowned and while I’ll be sad when the book and the series are over, I’m also eager to see how it wraps up. Next on my reading list is Red Queen by Christina Henry. Another author I love, I’m eager to dive back into her warped Alice In Wonderland world. I’ve missed it!
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
The one thing I always strive toward when I write is to make the worlds and settings as unique as possible. I once read a quote that said, “Write the book you want to read.” I never want to read the same thing twice, so when I write, I like to take something abstract and push it together. My past works have included an angel vs. demon battle as told by a former drug cartel enforcer, vampires and pirates in a steampunk setting, a zombie apocalypse as told by one of the Four Horsemen who started it, and an alternate reality where major storms are caused by alien creatures let loose once every hundred years. I’m also devoted in bringing my characters to life and putting them into harrowing situations. I’m no George R. R. Martin, but I definitely do not let them walk away without scratches.
Now for the Fun…
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Obsessive, honest, bookworm/nerd.
What is your most embarrassing memory?
To date? Well, I’m a klutz and have a habit of not thinking certain things through sometimes. Hope you’re all ready for some ickiness. I woke up with a crick in my neck last week but didn’t think anything of it. So I worked out. Not smart. I went to get a massage and while it helped, the knot hadn’t fully eased. Until I tried sleeping and woke up with pain so sharp that I literally couldn’t move my head. Thankfully my mom came by and gave me some Rub A535 for the joint pain and a hot water pad. The pad was amazing! It worked best of all! So I used it again and filled it with boiling water. I thought it had cooled enough and put the pad on my neck. After a couple minutes, I took it off because it was too hot. Not the point of pain, just uncomfortable. I put it on again a few minutes later, and this time there was a weird pain. I took the pad off and rubbed my neck… feeling the blister that had formed on my skin rub off. The damn pad had burned me, though I hadn’t felt anything but heat. I checked the mirror, and the entire back of my neck was beet red save for the spot where I’d burned a thumbnail sized hole in my flesh. Not my brightest moment. Update: The redness is gone and the hole is almost healed. Suffice it to say I won’t use an overheated pad again any time soon!
According to a quiz I took, I’m best suited in Slytherin (not all of them were evil, right?). However, what the Sorting Hat says is another story.
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
Let’s see… In Crimson Sky, we have electrical engineer/scrapper Claire, broody experienced captain Sawyer, big but soft-hearted bruiser Nash, and snarky thief Gemma. It’s a hard choice, but honestly, I would put my money on Gemma. I love Claire, but combat isn’t her strong suit. Sawyer is a good fighter, but trouble always finds him no matter what he does and he often pays the price for his attitude. Nash knows how to throw down, but he’s too nice. Gemma though, she’s a fighter and a survivor. She has no problem fighting someone who thinks they’re stronger than her, and as a thief, she knows how to be sneaky. I wouldn’t want to have her as an opponent, that’s for sure!
A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?
Hmm, this is tricky… For Claire, I would likely go with Hayden Panettiere and Colton Haynes for Sawyer, though Colton’s eyes are bluish and Sawyer’s are closer to hazel.
You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?
Writing an entire book in a week. If I had no distractions and a lot of energy, I could do it. My record for most new words in a day is just over 11,000.
Radioactive space rock fell from the sky and turned you into a superhero/villain. Tell us your new name, describe your powers, and what does your costume look like?
I would be Phoenix, a regenerating fire-wielding fighter wearing black body armour with red wings designed down the back… * sets idea aside for future story *
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
Ancient Athens and Greece. Greek mythology is one of my favourite things in the whole world and last year I lived one of my dreams and went to Athens. It was amazing to see the ruins of Zeus’s temple and the Parthenon, and while I was there, I wondered what it would have been like to see such temples in their prime. The Greeks were responsible for some of the greatest stories ever told, and their architecture is proof of that.
Coffee or tea?
Neither. I’m a hot chocolate girl.
Best ice cream flavor ever?
This is the most difficult question yet! There are so many flavours! I think I have to go with blueberry cheesecake, lime, or cherry chocolate. Those are always my go-to’s.
Your theme song/personal anthem?
Another tricky one! I have so many favourite songs and write to a lot of hard rock/heavy metal, but the one song that always pumps me up and makes me feel good is “I Love Myself Today” by Bif Naked. It’s a song that makes you feel confident no matter what crap you find yourself in. Plus it’s super catchy.
Tough choice, but I have to go with Hemmingway’s famous “The first draft of anything is shit,” because it’s true. But I also like Ray Bradbury’s “You only fail if you stop writing,” and recently fell in love with Sinclair Lewis’s “It is impossible to discourage real writers. They don’t give a damn about what you say. They’re going to write.”
What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?
Writing aside, I would say, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” If you give something to someone or are kind to them, odds are it will come back around to you. And if it doesn’t, take comfort in knowing that you helped someone.
Thank you to Amy Braun for participating in this interview!
For more about her book, Crimson Sky, check below and as thanks for reading, I’m happy to share a giveaway! It will be starting soon so make sure to check back! You can also read a guest post by Amy Braun on August 15th when she returns to NovelKnight to discuss her Top 5 Book Pet Peeves and Favorite Cliches.
Dark Sky #1
by Amy Braun
Published on February 2, 2016 by Amy Braun
Genres: Dystopian, Steampunk, Young Adult
Buy the Book!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
They’re always watching. They’re always waiting. They’re always starving…
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…