Happy Sunday, RG2E Peeps!
Welcome to The RG2E and/or Welcome Back!
It’s time for another one of Alicia Street‘s Reader2Author Interviews!!!
Take it away, Alicia…
Today I have a special Reader2Author interview for you!
Our Reader is Anna Kaye. She is 16 and going into the 10th grade.She is also a dancer who has performed at the Kennedy Center and attended a residential ballet school for pre-professionals. She currently goes to a regular high school and also teaches ballet.
Amanda Brice leads a double life. Mind-mannered intellectual property attorney by day (under her real name) and young adult author by night, Amanda writes the type of books she would have liked to read as a teen —mysteries set in the dance world. Her latest, Pointe of No Return, will be released on Wednesday.
One reason I chose to interview Amanda is because she was the dynamic force spearheading the creation of ETERNAL SPRING, a YA short story anthology featuring thirteen authors—including myself—with stories ranging from contemporary to historical to mystery and paranormal.
ETERNAL SPRING is available in both print and e-book formats. But you can download the e-book for FREE!
Alicia to Amanda and Anna: When did you first become an avid reader? What got you started? Do others in your family read?
Amanda: I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was a little girl. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but prior to having me she was an elementary school teacher. Her master’s thesis was on early childhood literature and she worked as a reading specialist, so she really worked with both me and my brother when we were little. I was reading on my own by age 3 (which is crazy to me, because I have a 2 1/2-year-old right now!), and pretty much always had my nose in a book. And it’s always been like that!
Anna: I really started to read in the middle of 8th grade when I lived away from home. I was living with a host family, going to school, and dancing at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. I had some down time during school or late at night and started reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians and I fell in love with reading. My Mom, my Dad, and my brother all read, but my Mom reads oodles of books and writes them too.
Alicia: How often do you read? Where do you read?
Anna: I read a book whenever I get a hold of one that looks intriguing or one by an author I like. I grab my book to read whenever and wherever I can. I read on the bus, in the car, in school during really boring classes (I finished five Harry Potter books during one class), on my bed when my mom thinks I’m sleeping, and in the bathtub; so there’s really no specific time or place I read.
Amanda: Anywhere and at any time I can! I have a toddler and an infant, plus I work full-time in addition to writing in my spare time, so my reading time is very limited these days, which makes me sad. But I try to sneak in as much reading as I can while feeding the baby and also while riding the exercise bike. I used to be a confirmed print book lover and refused to try e-books, but I got a Kindle for Christmas and now I’m hooked! I’ll always still buy print for some things, but I love the gotta-have-it-now of e-books.
Alicia: Do you read across genres? Which are your favorites?
Anna: I love Japanese Graphic Novels (Manga) I read them like they’re water, but I’ll read anything if people tell me it’s a must read and give a whole summery of it.
Amanda: I do read across genres, but my comfort reads are YA, cozy mysteries, and romance. All types of romance, from sweet YA to edgy romantic suspense. I also adore historicals. The balls, the ballgowns, Mr. Darcy…swoon!
Anna: Do you read YA other than your own?
Amanda:I love YA. I’m definitely a teenager at heart. And you have to read in the genre you write if you want to grow as an author. Fortunately I think some of the most exciting fiction out there is in the YA section of the bookstore. Some of my fave authors are Meg Cabot, Libba Bray, Juli Alexander, Niki Burnham, Gemma Halliday, Ally Carter, Rhonda Stapleton, and Sarah Dessen.
Alicia: Since all three of us are (or were) dancers, I’d like you to compare dancing and reading. Because even though dancing is physically dynamic and reading is not, I think there are a lot of similarities. What do think?
Amanda: Dancing and writing are both beautiful forms of expression. When I performed, I poured just as much emotion into my dance as I do on the page. Writing allows me to dance with metaphors, tap out frustration, and let my words leap off the page. It’s not always graceful, and sometimes you stumble and fall.
It’s the same with reading. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I often pick up a particular type of book because of the mood I’m in. And that’s how I feel in a dance class, too. Sometimes I’m in the mood for an intense barre workout. Sometimes a slow leisurely lyrical or adagio. But it always makes me happy.
Anna: Words paint a picture to explain the story; dance movements do the same thing. When I read I see the story unfold before my eyes. Dance is taking that unfolded story and putting it into words within my subconscious. Dance and reading are far more alike to me then I think it would be to a normal person.
Anna: What’s your favorite ballet and ballet step?
Amanda: OK, I know this isn’t a popular answer in the dance world since it’s such a cliché, but I still love Nutcracker. There’s just something so magical about that ballet. It makes me feel like a little girl again with the magic of Christmas. I’ve even performed in it as an adult. Before I had my kids I volunteered as a “Party Mom” (Act I Christmas Party scene). It was so much fun to get back onstage.
As for favorite ballet step…I love pirouettes. I used to be able to triple them fairly easily but these days I have to fight for a double. But this past summer I nailed them even while pregnant! Go me!
Alicia: Kudos! I was more of a jumper than a turner. And Snow from Nutcracker is one of my very favorites.
Amanda:I love Snow! And I was a jumper, too. Jumps and turns —anything fast really. Adage killed me.
Alicia to Amanda: Was there a particular book that first made you want to write?
Amanda: I wrote my first “novel” when I was in 4th grade, a brilliant (in my mind, at least) book titled “Nancy Flew and the Mystery of the Lady Ghost.” Then I took a long hiatus while I concentrated on other things, like dance and then eventually law school.
I finally came back to writing on Election Day in 2004. I’d just finished reading The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez and decided that it would be a lot more fun to write a chick lit novel than my paper on the patentability of indigenous medicinal methods for my International Patent Law class. (It really is as yawn-inducing as it sounds.) So I banged out the first 88 pages and begged my professor for an extension on the paper. (Kids, don’t try this at home!) And I was hooked from then on.
Alicia to Amanda: Do you have an author you currently read that inspires your writing?
Amanda: Yes, so many of them! I actually love Anna’s mom’s romantic comedies. Hilarious! And Gemma Halliday can’t be beat when it comes to funny mysteries. I like to think of my books as a cross between Nancy Drew and the movie Center Stage (or the show Dance Academy)…but funnier.
Alicia to Anna: How did you discover the first Amanda Brice book you read? How did it affect you?
Anna: Amanda is one of my Mom’s friends and she wanted me to read it because it was about ballet, so I put it on my kindle and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the mix of mystery and dance, and there couldn’t be a better combination.
Alicia to Anna: Which of one Amanda’s characters is most compelling to you? Any that you don’t like?
Anna: I love Dani, she is just so smart and she sounds like a really good dancer. I never liked Hadley, from the first time I met her she just seemed like a stuck-up drama queen.
Alicia to Amanda: Is there a character you’ve created that is your personal favorite?
Amanda: I actually really love Dani, my heroine in my mystery series. But I also get a lot of comments about her spunky friends Maya and Analisa. Lots of readers seem to want to know whether I’ll ever write books featuring them. And the answer is yes! I’m actually going to have a novella in the upcoming Behind Barres anthology, and I’m going to give Analisa her day in the spotlight then. Maya will get her own story next year or the year after.
Alicia to Anna: What kind of heroine or hero do you usually like to read about? One that you will go back to again and again?
Anna: I like the self-sufficient, strong heroines, but someone who is still in need of someone to be close to… my romantic side I get from my Mom.
Alicia to Amanda: Is there a particular character you get the most compliments or complaints about?
Amanda: I’ve had a number of people ask me if they could see more of Grandma Rose. Perhaps. And of course everyone loves Craig.
Alicia to Anna: What is the reason you continue to read Amanda’s books?
Anna: I continue reading them for the dance and the feeling of being back in a dance studio even when I can’t be.
Anna to Amanda: Do you listen to music wen you write? If so what type and what bands?
Amanda: I absolutely can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing. I know. Weird. But I have a tendency towards ADD, so I actually find myself humming along and singing and concentrating on the lyrics and then the next thing I know I’ve lost an hour of writing time. Or worse, lyrics start appearing in my paragraphs! So I either need complete silence, an inane talk show (those courtroom judge shows work well), or classical music.
Alicia to Amanda: What was the most satisfying response you’ve gotten from a reader? The most unusual?
Amanda: I love getting fan mail. It really is one of the most exciting things ever. And I especially love hearing from teenage dancers. I’ve had so many of them tell me they love my books and want me to write faster. I know it’s the type of book I would’ve loved when I was that age. Too bad there were so few dance books on the market then. I gobbled up the Satin Slippers series, but so much of what was available was either for toddlers or was non-fiction about the lives of famous ballerinas and choreographers or stories about the great ballets. There’s been a real explosion in dance fiction just in the last year, and I think it can be attributed to the popularity of shows like Dance Academy, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Moms, and now the CW’s Breaking Pointe and ABC Family’s Bunheads (which premieres tomorrow night).
Alicia to Anna: Is there something you’d like to say to most authors? Something you wish they’d understand better about younger readers?
Anna: Authors… you are AWESOME at what you do, so keep doing it. If a teen really likes a book, and they know there is going to be a sequel, they want it right away. Waiting kills us, but we understand it takes time so we make fandoms, some of them rock and some fandom writers would like the authors to find them, and like them.
Find Amanda here:
The Best of RG2E Reader2Author Interview Wishes — Alicia Street, RG2E Contributor
***D. D. here: Thanks Bunches, Alicia, Amanda and Anna for another terrific RG2E Reader2Author Interview!!!
While y’all are loadin’ up your Ereaders with Amanda and Alicia’s FREE Anthology, be sure to Enter to Win our next RG2E Kindle Fire Giveaway right here:
The Best of RG2E Ereading Wishes — D. D. Scott, RG2E Founder