We’re truly surrounded by talent, because Amanda’s first book, THE KEEPERS OF ELENATH, was first published when she was 16 too!! And, because you’re awesome blogglings, there is a GIVEAWAY at the end of this interview.
Enjoy the interview!
Was there a book that inspired you to start writing?
I grew up loving books; Nancy Drew as a little girl and Tolkien specifically as I grew older. I honestly can’t remember if there was a specific book back at the very beginning that made me want to write. (I started when I was seven, which sounds crazy, with some friends, and it never ended! 🙂 When I was ten, I saw The Fellowship of the Ring movie and completely, utterly, wholly fell in love with fantasy. I’d already read Tolkien at that point, and so I blame/accredit Tolkien with where I am today. 🙂
Tolkien is a great person to blame, don’t worry. Did you always dream of being published? Or did you start writing as a hobby?
A little of both, actually. I started writing with a group of two other girls, and at that point, I was too young to really think beyond just having fun. When I started to write fantasy at ten, it was a definite dream. I remember (this is silly; I laugh at myself) crying, actually crying when I would watch girls my own age at the Olympics and who were actresses, because they were living their dreams and being published was mine. I prayed for a long time that God would allow my book to be published. So, I’ve dreamt a long time about being published, but not always.
How old were you when THE KEEPERS OF ELENATH was published?
Actually printed? It was June 13th 2008 when I got a call that my book had been accepted for publication. I was 16. I actually held the first copy of my book the next May, when it was released.
Woah! 16!! Are there more titles in the series?!
Yes! Not published though. *weeps* I have six more books planned and the second book, The Phantom Assassin, has been complete since I was about 18. Due to some issues with my publisher (who are wonderful, by the way, just not for me anymore) I’m seeking a new publishing house. To get a series published, the house will want all the books, and I’ve found they’re not all that interested in slapping a new cover on an old book, so I’m currently in the process of editing Keepers, just to freshen it up a bit and get rid of the errors. 🙂 Anyone have a good line on a publishing company? *winks*
Good luck with your search! (The Phantom Assassin is a terrific title…just sayin’.) What’s the last book you read and what made you pick it up?
Other than textbook… Hm. It was Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer. I’d read the other two in the series and liked them well enough, so I bought it at Half-Price Books for two dollars and read it. I can’t say it was particularly inspiring, but it’s a cute story and I enjoyed it.
So do you think teens should be writing and trying to get published? Or should they wait until they have more life experience?
*laughs* Hard question, and it’s not a one-answer-fits-all sort of deal. I think that a teen should work really hard at their art, always always always seek to improve his writing, and seek God’s blessing in whatever they do. Teens often run slipshod into a situation and not realize how huge a responsibility it is to be a writer. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of “Well, my favorite author does this in their writing, so I’ll do it, too”, even if whatever the author is doing is against grammar and storybook rules. Teens, you have to be better than famous names, because, let’s face it, we’re not famous. That means you have to be better, work harder and longer, and take criticism from people who know what they’re doing. Your book, your talent is important. Don’t drown it in your pride.If you work harder, and really try to make your book the best, that’s all the experience you’ll need.
Can you give us a brief description of how you went about getting THE KEEPERS OF ELENATH published?
Did a lot of praying. 🙂 And a lot of research. We didn’t have internet at home at that point in my life, so every time I went to the library or to my cousin’s house, I’d spend as much time as I could looking up Christian publishing companies who didn’t require agents. At one point, my cousin and I went through and wrote down as many publishers as we could find and then did more in depth research on each of them. Tate popped up during one of those searches, and I was really excited. No agent, they accepted book proposals over the internet… it seemed SO perfect.
I requested an information packet and not very long after, I got it in the mail, all professional-looking and amazing.
They require the author to pay them a certain amount of money to get their books published (about $4,000 at that time; I’m not sure what it is now) and there was no way ever that I was going to be able to afford that. Ever. I mean…. ever. So crushed and brokenhearted, I went back to the drawing board. My parents were so gracious, and they told me to send in my book to the company, even though I couldn’t afford it, and see if they wanted to publish my book. I did, and then I waited, and waited, and waited. For six months. Six. Months.
Then, one day, when I had given up, I got a call that The Keepers of Elenath had been accepted for publication!My parents paid the fees and I slowly worked on paying them back. A year later, my book was finished, and my dreams had come true. 🙂
What kind of press is Tate Publishing?
Tate calls themselves a traditional press, but that’s misleading, because they’re not. They’re more of a hybrid between traditional and self-publishing; in that the author does pay a lot of money to be published. They’re not a small press, though, they publish a lot of books per year.
What kind of things should teen writers be doing while they’re working towards publication? (Besides, actually finishing and polishing their book, that is.) Blogging? Tweeting? Do you think these hold real weight in today’s publishing world?
Being visible is oh so important. Being known, the same. Yes. If a writer has a group of fans before they’re published, that’s a really, really good sign. I do believe that being both visible and known can be a writer’s ticket to victory or defeat. The more involved they are with the outside world, the better. Blogging, definitely. I’d suggest Goodreads, Pinterest, and Facebook as well. I’m still learning how to Tweet *blushes* and so I don’t have very many followers yet, but I’m sure that tweeting can pull people in as well.
Good ideas there! Do you have more writing projects on the go? When will we see them in bookstores?
Yes! I am currently working on *mentally calculates* eight books at the moment, including the edit of The Keepers of Elenath, as well as various short stories and two other novel ideas I haven’t begun yet. They’re all very different and I love them all very dearly. I post a lot (when I’m not tied up completely with trying to graduate from college this May) on my blog about them, especially my special agent/action/semi-dystopian novel Duchess and my fairy tale Imperfect. I work a lot on freelance editing, too, and so that takes up some time. I love it, though! I really needed someone to edit my book before it was sent to Tate, so now I try to be that person to teens and young adults. 🙂
(And lastly) Are any chocolate bars harmed when you write your novels?!
If their sudden and violent disappearances count for anything, I’d say so. Coffee, too. 🙂
Amanda Bradburn’s love of writing began at a young age. At ten years old, she watched the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring movie, and adored it. Her newfound passion for all things fantasy became a book, The Keepers of Elenath, published in 2009. This book was soon to turn into plans for a fantasy series in the fashion of C.S. Lewis’s masterful Chronicles of Narnia.
Currently, the college student lives and attends college in Indiana. Full of a love of life, she enjoys meeting people and getting to know her readers. She also loves to help young authors find their feet (though some would call her a young author herself) and does freelance editing by appointment on the side.
She loves travel, history, violin, and teaching the Bible to children. She also loves coffee, but then, most writers do.
The Keepers of Elenath can be found online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Tate Publishing.com, as well as independent businesses.
Amanda also sells KoE at a discounted rate, signed and personalized, through her blog. Find it here.
Thanks for talking with us today, Amanda!
And blogglings, Amanda will be responding to comments! So if you have a curly question (like what is the secret handshake of the publishing world?), now is your chance!
You can catch Amanda on facebook, pinterest, goodreads and twitter. And, of course, jump over to her blog and get sneak peaks at her characters (she does some insanely fun interviews with her
moody cautious characters).
Now for the GIVEAWAY! If you’re a resident of the USA, you’ll receive a signed hardcopy of Amanda’s book THE KEEPERS OF ELENATH. If you’re international, you’ll receive an e-copy! (We’d post Amanda to you to sign it, but she won’t fit in an envelope, weirdly enough).
You must be a follower of the Notebook Sisters blog to enter the giveaway.
Also note, that there are options for extra-entries for those who have been playing the Party Games during our Blog Book Party. Only click them if you’ve played (you didn’t have to win, just participated) the games with us.
Have you done the tag yet?
Tomorrow we’ll announce the winner of the Simon Says contest! (If you haven’t voted, it’s your last chance!!)
Guess who we’re interviewing next? Stephanie Diaz, author of soon-to-be-released YA novel, EXTRACTION.
And next Tuesday, kicks of our Survival Party Game (that’s right, you get to survive Mordor or the Panem Arena. Wow. May the odds be in your favour, guys).