Hi Christine. Welcome to Savvy writers and congratulations on your new novel.
Madison’s Song is your 7th novel. Does the creative process gets easier with each completed novel or does it actually become harder to come up with new concepts and novel ideas?
Yes. 🙂 With each new book, I learn more and understand more. I have a better understanding of the process from beginning to end, what makes a plot move, and my writing style is very natural.
BUT … there’s more pressure with each new book. I find myself worrying more and more about what my audience wants. I think about the reviews of past books, of what people liked (and to a lesser extent what they didn’t like) and I feel driven to recreate that experience for them. At this precise moment, this has me in a (temporary I hope) creative freeze. I just don’t know what to write next that will stir people the way Cassie Scot and Madison’s Song have.
When you compare writing this novel to your first novel, what aspects of the writing are the same? What aspects are different?
Looking back, it feels so different! When I wrote my first novel, more than half of my purpose was to prove that I could actually finish one! I’d only been trying since I was a teenager. Now I know I can finish a novel, and my purpose is to write one that readers will love. I’ve learned so much about writing since publishing Touch of Fate that I sometimes feel like putting a disclaimer on the cover, “Debut novel: Reader discretion is advised!” My style has improved. My story-telling has improved. And my confidence has improved.
Yet there are some things that have stayed the same. My first novel was Touch of Fate, a paranormal mystery about a woman who could predict the future but had no power to change the things she saw. The damaged heroine is still something I find myself writing to this day, and I don’t see that changing. (I’m damaged!) There was a romance in Touch of Fate that never got sexual because I was afraid of sex scenes at the time. I’ve loosened up there, and can now write a sweet physical encounter.
What about the publishing and marketing process? Are those processes easier because you’ve done it several times before? Or were there unique challenges to this project?
To tell you the truth, marketing for Madison’s Song has suddenly made me doubt what I thought I knew about marketing. I did everything I did for the Cassie Scot series – everything that made it so successful that it sold many thousands of copies. But Madison’s Song is suffering a relatively sluggish debut and I don’t know why. Either I haven’t learned everything I need to know about marketing or worse – there’s only so much you can do. Timing and luck might be bigger factors than I want to believe they are!
Most of us are well acquainted with Cassie Scott. How is Madison a different heroine from Cassie and how is does her story compare to Cassie’s? Will the reader who loved Cassie love Madison too?
Madison is not Cassie, but I do think readers who loved Cassie will love Madison too. Madison is shy, wary, even fearful. She’s insecure about her weight. (Cassie was insecure too, but about other things.) And Madison is fiercely loyal – she and Cassie have that in common. That, I think, will inspire admiration.
The other thing that I hope will inspire readers is the fact that Madison is her own character. Often, when I read many books by the same author, I feel like they all become one big blur in my mind. I call myself a character girl, and to truly own that I need to be able to write more than one character. Madison isn’t Cassie, and by being herself, I hope she shows readers that “character girl” isn’t just a catchy phrase. It’s my motto.
You’ve mentioned in interviews before that Madison’s Song is a dark story. How so and is there a place for darkness in your segment of the market?
Madison’s Song is dark in comparison to the Cassie Scot series. The prologue, in particular (which is available on my website) starts with Madison in a horrifying situation, one that establishes her fear of the hero, Scott. Scott is a werewolf in the truly terrifying sense of the word – he becomes a monster once a month. He loses his humanity.
Yet the story is mostly dark because that’s where the characters took me, not because I set out to write a dark book. The darkness in the book is nothing more than an extension of what I said above – that Madison isn’t Cassie (who tends to maintain a positive outlook no matter what). For this reason, I think the book will continue to appeal to lovers of the Cassie Scot series.
Who do you think would enjoy reading Madison’s Song and what would you like for the readers to say the moment they finished reading the novel?
If you enjoyed the Cassie Scot series, read this. It tells more of the story, the part that Cassie didn’t know. It adds to the world building and it brings to life characters that tickled your imagination in the original series.
This will also appeal to readers who enjoy a self-contained paranormal romance. (One in which the suspense and romance are settled in a single volume.) For this reason, I made sure that the book would stand alone. I personally recommend reading the Cassie Scot series first, but if you really don’t like cliffhanger endings and romances that span four books, check out Madison’s Song instead (and then maybe get so hooked that you have to go back and read the rest 🙂 ).
After finishing, I want readers to say: “More please!”
Thank you so much for visiting with us, Christine. We wish you great success with Madison’s Song.
Thank you for having me! It was a pleasure.
Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that affects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.
Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel,The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She is one only a few Hispanic women writing fantasy in the United States today. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories.
When she is not writing fiction, Dora also writes features for the award-winning blog Murder By Four and Savvy Authors, where writers help writers.She lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.