Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview with Amanda Carlson author of Full Blooded

Don't know what it is about Minnesota, but it's certainly been good to me. Late last year I had the first guest post on the blog by Carolyn Crane, who resides in Minnesota, and now I have the first female author interview on the blog with Amanda Carlson, a Minnesotan herself. Amanda's first novella was released last week, Blooded, a prequel to her debut novel coming later this year, Full Blooded in the Jessica McClain urban fantasy series.

I read the Blooded novella last night, and really enjoyed it. If it's representative of what we can expect in the novel, then I certainly will be looking forward to it. It promises plenty of action, and that's right up my alley.

In any case, hope you guys enjoy the interview, it certainly was fun for me.

Bastard: Hey Amanda, glad to have you here. Welcome. Keep in mind that you're the first female author interviewed here, so no pressure. It's not like the fate of the world depends on it, or does it?

Amanda Carlson: I hope not! That may be too big of a burden for me to shoulder at the moment. But I’m certainly honored to break you in to doing interviews of the female persuasion. Us gals can write some kickass fiction, much like the guys. It’s not always about the sexy midriff, you know—just sometimes.

Bastard: Seeing how you interact with people, you give a vibe of someone who's very upbeat and friendly, and certainly very enthusiastic. Making a wild guess here, are you a morning person? Or just happy to soon be a published author?

Amanda Carlson: I’m actually not a morning person, but I am a seriously upbeat person. I love life and am so excited to become a published author! It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time. My philosophy in general is that life is too short to bitch and moan, so I prefer to spend it happy. And even though I’m not a morning person, after my first cuppa joe, life falls into place pretty damn quickly.

Bastard: So, a "Minnesota girl, born and bred," can you tell us a bit about how it was growing up and living there? I hear it's hot as hell during the winter and you got some nosy, or is it noisy, neighbors like Carolyn Crane.

Amanda Carlson: Minneapolis is a beautiful city, and contrary to what out-of-towners believe, not surrounded by corn fields. Well, that is, until you get miles out of town. We have lots of lakes right in the city & Carolyn and I walk them together on occasion! I’d describe Minneapolis as artsy, urban & a great place to raise kids. It was a fun place to grow up, so we decided to stay. The winters are wicked, but my kids play winter sports, including hockey, and that makes it tolerable. We even build a huge backyard ice rink every year. But that said, I can’t wait to travel once my kids graduate. All my destinations will be WARM.

Bastard: Before I forget, thanks for Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics fan here). How do you like this for #winning? Anything is possible!!!

Amanda Carlson: That was fun and I think I reacted the same way once I got my contract!! There was a lot of yelling and grabbing of my head. The press was all around me and I think I was in an arena. At least it felt that way, but I may have just been in my living room. Of course we wish Kevin had taken the Timberwolves to the championship, but you can’t fault a guy for being good. Maybe I can get him to read my novel?? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Bastard: We got Minnesota, we got timberwolves. On your website you mention a fascination for shifters. Seems to me that writing about werewolves was the natural thing to do. Before we talk about your novel, what is it about shifters and specifically werewolves that has attracted you so, and did living in Minnesota and all the talk about the timberwolves had any effect on this attraction?

Amanda Carlson: I am sorry to disappoint your male audience and say my love of wolves didn’t originate from basketball! Though that would be a great story (and especially since Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are sporting full beards and look a little wolfish this season). My love of wolves started mostly because I was craving more hot-blooded supes in the books I was reading. There was something I really liked about the wolf heroes in the books I’d been reading – but there were very few females leading the “Pack” so to say (in the books I had read). When this great action scene started in my head, with this kickass shifter, the book began on its own and carried me with it. Voila! The progression of wolf love.

Bastard: I know I'm putting you on the spot, so my apologies, but on your website you have a list of urban fantasy authors you recommend others to read, about 24 or so. Curiously, none of them are male authors, although Ilona Andrews is listed there who's half man, half amazing...or something. There has to be some male authors you can recommend no?

Amanda Carlson: HA! I love male authors, especially for high fantasy. I love Tolkien, but who doesn’t? My husband just finished George R.R. Martin and I’m cuing up next. Joe Abercrombie & Brent Weeks will follow soon, when my time frees up. But the reason you don’t see any on my site is: For some reason in the urban fantasy genre specifically, I like female protags. It just works better for me in the urban fantasy setting. I don’t know any men who write women leads. Do you? If you do, send the rec my way! I have no bias or preference for that author’s sex, just the protag’s. In PNR, I enjoy the male perspective, but not as much in urban fantasy. But maybe I’m missing something?? I’m open to reading any good book, so if you have a favorite, lemme know. (Or whoever is reading, give me some good recs!)

Bastard: What have you read recently that's worth mentioning?

Amanda Carlson: I actually haven’t finished a book since I signed my contract. Every waking moment has been filled with writing or editing my own projects. My routine has been to fall asleep with my computer on my lap. But on my nightstand, and partially started, are: Amanda Bonilla’s SHAEDES OF GRAY & Sandy William’s SHADOW READER. I’m enjoying both, but it’s taking some time to make my way through. I’m hoping to even out my life soon, but deadlines are scary stressful.

Bastard: Full Blooded is your upcoming debut novel through Orbit. What can you tell us about it? All I know is that you had me at "if you love kickass".

Amanda Carlson: Yes, Orbit is my publisher; they are the sci-fi/fantasy imprint under Hachette Book Group. I feel so damn lucky to be a part of such a great publishing house. My experience so far has been so wonderful. My book, and specifically my protagonist, is all kinds of kickass. Lots of action and snark. Jessica McClain is born the only female and she’s not supposed to exist at all. In BLOODED, we see her fighting for a life off Compound. In FULL BLOODED, her life changes from the very first page. (BTW, if you buy the novella, BLOODED, you get a sneak peak at the first full chapter of FULL BLOODED.) The reader gets to go through every step with her as she figures out her new life. It’s full of action and I’m hoping everyone falls in love with her like I did.

Bastard: Getting back to the werewolves, you know that there's going to be those readers who are going to roll their eyes at another werewolf book in urban fantasy. Care to enlighten us about the werewolves found in this series that may change their mind? For the record, I love werewolves.

Amanda Carlson: Every author has their own take on supernaturals; their own style to tell their story, their own voice and world they’ve created for the reader to explore. That’s the reason I love this genre! My wolves are my own and they act and operate by my rules, so when a reader dives into the story, they have a chance to experience it the way I see it. Will they like it? I hope so! What my agent & editor hold to is: Great writing sells. No matter what. If you have a good story to tell, people will read it. I think everything has been done before, really. And trying to keep up with the next “trend” is exhausting. I do agree that the bottom line is: a reader wants a really good story. And, personally, I’ve never cared if I read about vamps or weres, angels or demons, swamp things or possessed hags. Gimme something great to read. That’s exactly what I’m hoping I’ve created for you. I wrote what I loved, and I hope like hell it comes across in the pages!

The Howling II: ... Your Sister is a Werewolf
Bastard: Romance and erotica seems to always be a going concern among some urban fantasy readers. Female werewolf surrounded by male werewolves, I think it's clear what everyone is wondering. Are you going to subject us to a paranormal orgy?

Amanda Carlson: *coughs* That is such a hilarious take, it could’ve only been conjured up by a guy!! I think most women, when presented with the same plot scenario, would think: Lone female must overcome many obstacles to be a good as a man. While a man may think: Hmm, hot chick all alone surrounded by men? SEX! And the answer is NO, LOL. No orgies! This is very much an urban fantasy. Personally, I like my UF with a little steam on the side, but with the main focus on the action. Those are the rules I live by. If I want a lot of steam I read PNR. I think that’s a good divider for steam and sex.

Bastard: Blooded is your novella released on April 11, 2012. It's set in the same world as your soon to be debut novel. Anything we should know about the novella?

Amanda Carlson: My novella, BLOODED, releases April 11th (so it’s out now) & I’m so damn excited!! It’s a prequel to the series and it was a blast to write. It’s set seven years prior to the novel and gives us a look at what my heroine, Jessica McClain, went through growing up and how she was shaped into the woman she will become. There’s a lot of punching and fighting. She gets the shit kicked out of her for most of the novella. If you want more character depth, check it out, but it’s not necessary to understand the novel. You could also read it after the novel to see where she came from. Either way, I hope you like it!! It was so fun to write. It also gave me a much better sense of who she was, so moving forward, I have a very clear sense of her character, which was so helpful.

Bastard: At the moment, what are your current plans for the Jessica McClain series, and does she die at the end?

Amanda Carlson: HA! I can promise you she doesn’t die at the end. You have my solemn oath. I have more books up my sleeve, and if I sell well, maybe I’ll get a chance to write them all. That would be the dream! I see at least six books with Jessica roughly arced in my head, and then I’d love to write some spin-off books with some of your favorite characters. If you have any, LOL. Still NO orgy books, however. They will all be kickass, with heavy emphasis on the kick.

Bastard: Crap, almost forgot. Please scream at the top of your lungs what your favorite beer is, and I'll let you go to run with the wolves.

Amanda Carlson: CORONA WITH LIME!

Bastard: Thanks for the visit Amanda, hope you have enjoyed your stay at Casa de Bastard, where we treat our guests as if they were royalty, and good luck with your releases. Give us your best howl.

Amanda Carlson: I had a great time being here! Thanks so much for hosting me. I hope I was masculine enough for your male brethren!! Can’t wait to come back for the novel. Okay, here’s my howl: AR AR AROOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! (Okay that may be the silliest thing in an interview to date. But it was fun.)

Thanks Amanda and of course you're more than welcome to return when Full Blooded comes out. It's been great having you here.

If you haven't done so, buy yourself the Blooded novella and after that go pre-order the Full Blooded debut novel. For more information please visit Amanda Carlson's website.


  1. After reading the first few questions, I was just wondering whether you forgot all about the beer...well, guess not :)

  2. Nayan, I think I need to go to a beer tasting party! I stick to my faves, but I know there's a lot of good beer out there I need to try. I tend to like it light and not heavy. We should do a beer vote here next. I had a taste of Kalick, a Bahamian beer, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It tasted like Corona :)


  3. I don't know what it is about Corona's that they always but a lime in it, and it's not something I encounter with other beers.

    And Amanda, here are some male authors writing female protags you can have a look at:

    MLN Hanover (Daniel Abraham) - The Black Sun's Daughter
    J.A. Pitts - Black Blade Blues

    And now I'm having a tough time coming up with more, seems like a rarity. I wonder if it's the same the other way around with female authors and male protags in UF.

    I wonder, have you checked Jim Butcher's Dresden Files by any chance, I think that's a must regardless.

  4. I've tried Jim Butcher years ago, and don't hit me, but I didn't connect immediately. But, I've heard great things about the series and there are some rabid fans. I'll have to re-check it out when I get some spare reading time. There are many series where it's taken me more than one book to become invested.

    I'll check out the others as well.

    I've tried putting a lime in different beers, but other than a lemon or orange wedge in a Blue Moon, I haven't found one that works quite as well as a Corona. It just tastes weird.

    Thanks for hosting me, Bastard! I'm having a great time.

  5. Although I connected right away with Harry, seems like many didn't care for the first book. I always tell UF fans to give the series up to the 3rd book, since I think that's where things really start to pick-up.

  6. LOL, I hope people give my series three chances! That would be awesome. I'm telling them you said so.


  7. LOL! Bastard got you to howl! :D That was awesome. :D Wonderful interview for both of you. :D

    And Male authors in UF, hmm, there are just now a few that are starting to show up. But yes, there are not many. I started the M.L.N Hanover series, only 2 books in of the 4 out. You do have Kevin Hearne now, which I so need to read. And Jim Butcher, which I'm highly surprised Bastard didn't jump up and down about. ;P

    But I have a few of those fantasy books on my shelf to read, or started the series. ;D Great picks. But I would recommend Brandon Sanderson as well, if you and your husband haven't tried his books. Really amazing magic systems and stories.

  8. Great interview, Amanda! You rock!!!

  9. @Mel Thanks for the recs!! I will take them to heart. What I always want is just a GREAT read. No matter what.

    @Amanda I heart you, woman!! Thanks for all the love. You're the one who rocks. Always!

  10. The 2010 NBA Final was sooooo much better. :)

    "While a man may think: Hmm, hot chick all alone surrounded by men? SEX!"

    In many cases that is true. But I think that some of us, especially when it comes to UF, are more along the lines of "I personally hope that the plot doesn't go in that direction". No offense intended to the many readers who enjoy sex scenes.

    I haven't read very many UF series yet, but ime all of them have started off weaker then they eventually became. Usually Book 3 is when the writers, ime, seem to find their groove. And actually the same happens with a lot of TV shows too. Babylon 5, BtVS, Angel, ST: TNG, ST: DS9, and Fringe are some that, off the top of my head, needed at least half a Season to smooth out some of the wrinkles. Early Dresden falls into that same category. I think that there are some good and great elements in the first few books, but the prose was simplistic and unpolished in some places, as far as I was concerned.

    One male UF author who I don't often see mentioned is Mike Carey. A British author whose Felix Castor series, starring a London based freelance exorcist, began in 2006 with "The Devil You Know". I found the second novel to be the weakest, but imo the noir-ish series is well worth a read, with the 4th and 5th novels being outstanding.

    AO / Chris

  11. Thanks to both parties for the interview, btw!

    (I knew that I was forgetting something)

    AO / Chris

  12. Awesome interview Bastard, got me interested to read the book.

  13. @AO that was a complete BS game. 37 free-throws to 17? What a joke. But whatever.

    @Melissa, I'm at the same place with you with Hanover, going to see about resuming the series soon, it's time.

    @Amanda Bonilla, c'ma & Kristin, thanks for stopping by, been lucky so far with my interviews, hopefully it'll continue. And thanks once again to Amanda for taking the time.

  14. Great interview, as always, Bastard. And thanks for braving the man-cave, Amanda. Glad to have you here to help clear out the testosterone funk of the last two interviewees. :)

    I wish you all the best with your book.

  15. Thanks for having me, Bastard! I enjoyed the man-cave. Your interview questions, such as favorite beer and wolf howling, may go down as some of my very favorite of all time.

    I hope you and the "boys" will welcome me back in Sept. And just an FYI to the brethren: there's no sex in the novella.



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