I’m very excited to introduce Amanda Fleet, author of the Guardians of the Realm series.
Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
I’ve written since I was young, though none of that teenage angst rubbish will ever see the light of day. I suppose I wrote more seriously much later in life, writing my first book (which will also possibly never see the light of day!) in 2007. I know this will sound terribly cliched, but there were stories and characters in my head and they wouldn’t shut up unless I wrote about them.
Describe your desk / writing space.
It’s a large, wooden desk, with drawers down either side – antique style, though not actually an antique. It faces the window that looks out over part of the garden. There’s my laptop on it, plus an external monitor, and the edges are cluttered with notebooks, pens, more pens, scraps of paper, and some more pens. I really need to tame it!
Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?
A bit of both. I write most days, and apart from a time where I was close to having a breakdown, have never run out of ideas, so inspiration always seems to flow. When I was close to a breakdown, I had zero inspiration and that was horrible.
How do you come up with the title to your books?
Great question! My first published book “The Wrong Kind of Clouds” got its title via my husband who is a keen photographer (as is the main character in the book). I have spent so many hours of my life waiting for “the right kind of clouds” for his photographs – clear blue skies aren’t great; small, fluffy white clouds aren’t great… menacing, stormy skies with lots of light and shade are what hubby is always after! It’s linked to in the book (though I can’t say more without giving away spoilers).
For other books, the titles spring from the books more directly. “Aegyir Rises”, “Aeron Returns”, “War” and “Invasion” all describe what happens in the book.
What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
The hardest scenes for me to write are death scenes and sex scenes! Death scenes because I cry so much while I’m writing them; sex scenes because they are difficult and embarrassing to write.
My favourite scene to write was in “Aeron Returns”, when Aeron and Faran have come to Earth (from The Realm) and he is a total fish out of water. He’s incredibly fond of honey (a scarce resource in The Realm) and Aeron buys a jar for him. It’s the first time he thinks she might love him again.
What inspired your series, Guardians of the Realm?
Ah. A trickier question. Often the ideas for a book come from just a single question that then grows and grows until it becomes a book (or a series). A lot of the things I think about writing involve people being in the wrong place somehow. It started out with wondering if there were portals to other worlds and grew from there, really. Landscape can be a great trigger – rocky outcrops or slabs of craggy rock… who wouldn’t wonder if they led somewhere exciting?
What are you working on next?
I’ve just published the 4th book of the series – “Invasion” and once all the dust has settled from launching that, I’ll start to edit my next book – something completely different for me: a time-travel romance set in Scotland, near to where the battle of Culloden took place.
What authors or books have influenced your writing?
Sarah Fine was definitely a big inspiration for the Guardians of The Realm series. I adored her Guardians of The Shadowlands series. Patrick Ness is another huge favourite. I don’t think I’ve read a book of his that I haven’t thought was amazing, but the Chaos Walking trilogy is outstanding.
If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
Ooh. You know, it’s a tight race between Scotland and Italy. Since I speak almost zero Italian, I might be better off staying in Scotland, though not where I currently am. It’s a tough one as I normally crave the countryside and wide-open spaces, but I’m also getting older so the sensible bit of my head wants a big hospital nearby! And I hate midgies (small, biting insects that are very common in the west of Scotland). Scotland-wise, I suppose somewhere up near Inverness would tick most of the boxes – open and rugged, yet Inverness is a city with a decent hospital and the east has far fewer midgies. Near the sea too. Italy? Somewhere in the north, near the coast.
What is your favorite meal?
Stir-fry and noodles.
Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
Describe yourself in three words.
Introvert; loyal; perfectionist.
Amanda Fleet is a physiologist by training and a writer at heart. She spent 18 years teaching science and medicine undergraduates at St Andrews University, but now uses her knowledge to work out how to kill people (in her books!). She completed her first degree at St Andrews University and her doctorate at University College, London.
She has been an inveterate stationery addict since a child, amassing a considerable stash of fountain pens, ink and notebooks during her lifetime. These have thankfully come in useful, as she tends to write rather than type, at least in the early stages of writing a book.
During her time at St Andrews, she worked with the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. While in Malawi, she learned about the plight of the many street children there and helped to set up a Community Based Organisation that works with homeless Malawian children to support them through education and training – Chimwemwe Children’s Centre. It was this experience that helped to inspire the Malawian aspects in her novel “The Wrong Kind of Clouds” (briefly released as “The Call”), though, of course, the book is entirely fictional.
She is the author of the urban fantasy series: “The Guardians of The Realm”, the crime novel “The Wrong Kind of Clouds”, and the psychological thriller “Lies That Poison”.
Amanda lives in Scotland with her husband, where she can be found writing, walking and running.