Saturday, December 11, 2010

Interview with Syzygy author Amanda Borenstadt

Don't call them werewolves. The Fir Na Gealaí in Amanda Borenstadt's urban fantasy novel Syzygy have a lot in common with werewolves, including having their 'time of the month', but you aren't supposed to call them werewolves.

Author Amanda Borenstadt shares her experiences in writing and publishing Syzygy.

Why did you choose the publisher you did and what were your experiences with the publisher?

I chose to self publish with and I queried agents for a while, but couldn't find anyone interested. Many are not taking new writers and I hadn't a thing to my name when I began. Now I have several short stories published, so perhaps it would be a different story. Who knows? I love Smashwords. They made it so simple. I ran into a technical glitch but Mark Coker, the Smashwords founder himself, helped me fix it. I'm very pleased. And their site is easy to use. Amazon gives a writer more exposure, but it doesn't feel as intimate. Both have their place in the world.

What are your three favorite books?

Tough to narrow down. I sometimes say my favorite book is whatever I'm reading at the time. LOL

My nine-year-old twins and I just discovered The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. I get a kick out of fairy tale spin-offs. My all time bread and butter book is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. I can pick it up any time and smile. And for my last one, I'll pick, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. I was fortunate enough to see that performed live. It was the coolest!

What are your three favorite authors?

Once again, only three? Okay. Tolkien, Karina Fabian, Douglas Adams, and Neil Gaiman. Oops, that's four. ;)

In your mind, what is your book about?
Good question. I think the running theme is love- all sorts: friendship (the real and true kind), romantic love, parental love, and loving your neighbor. It's about people reaching outside of their safety zone to trust and become trustworthy. It even touches lightly on loving God. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but one character reveals they might be called to a religious vocation.

What modern fiction books have some similarities to your book?

This is the toughest question because- number one- I don't know that I'm good enough to compare myself to anybody else and -number two- I don't know of anything like Syzygy.

I asked a couple readers what they thought and they came up with books they said it wasn't like- which means they must hold some resemblance to Syzygy. Rachel Hawthorne's Dark Guardian series was mentioned. I think what people are doing is thinking "werewolf society."

I don't even have werewolves, just a race that's not entirely unlike werewolves. Also James Patterson's Maximum Ride. Loved it, but no. It's not like that.

One writer friend mentioned it weaves ethical dilemma and moral obligation with action and suspense like Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. Hmm, never would have thought of that. I'll take her word.

I searched for something else like it when I was trying to decide what genre to put it into. Romance is only a one portion of what Syzygy is about, but it is a paranormal romance.

It's a fantasy set in an urban environment, but it's not as full of fantasy as many of the other urban fantasies. The characters deal with some very human issues. It deals with serious stuff like depression and self harm and yet it has a lot of humor.

What do you think is the strong point of your book?

My characters feel genuine. People tell me they become attached to them. Each has real growth during the novel. One lady says she's simply in love with Finn. LOL

What do you think is the weak point of your book?

It's not as well polished as it could be in places. The overall plot is not air tight.

What writing project are you working on next?

Aside from the occasional short story, I'm writing a novel called "Twelve Keys" which will be heavily illustrated by my niece, Jasmine, who did the cover art for Syzygy. It's set in a sort of post apocalyptic time warped California where old time California is fused with modern California.

Why did you call it 'Syzygy'? How do you say 'Syzygy'? If you use the word 'syzygy' while playing Hangman, will you always win?

LOL Super questions. It went through several name changes. The most recent was To Be Human, but as you know, they came up with a TV show called Being Human. I didn't want to appear as a copycat, so I changed it. Some of the teenagers in my life voted for Syzygy. There's a humorous line in the book, "Hey baby, what's your syzygy?" which they liked.

Syzygy (SIZZ-uh-jee). The term as it's used in the novel refers to the new or full moon. As to the last question, well, if I were playing, no. I would lose. The other player would guess for sure because I do tend to go on and on about my book. LOL

Amanda Borenstadt's blog: A Fortnight of Mustard

Fans of urban fantasy will probably like the BBC TV series Being Human
Being Human: Season 1
Being Human: Season Two

Shirt-tail relatives of this blog post (with werewolves):
BBC's Being Human
Doctor Who: Queen Elizabeth I mystery solved!

Retweet, reddit or facebook-share this post and win a valuable prize! Well, actually it's a kitten. And she's so wild you'll have to come here and catch her yourself.


Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thank you so much, Nissa, for the interview. This was so much fun! :)

Marian Allen said...

Great to see more about Amanda and about Syzygy. Thanks for hosting her, Nissa!

Amanda, is this society the dominant one in your world, the only society, or co-habiting with human society, known or unknown by us?

LOVE the pick'up line! lol!

Marian Allen

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Hi Marian. So glad you dropped by. :)

They live under our society's radar. They are sort of a superhuman organized crime syndicate.

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