Today, I am pleased to welcome A.L. (Amanda) Davroe to Magical Musings. Amanda is the author of several adult and young adult fantasy books.
Jennifer: Welcome, A.L.! Please tell readers about your new book, Nexis, which was released on Dec. 1.
Amanda: My favorite one-line way to describe Nexis is: “Matrix meets Tron meets Ender’s Game.” That’s usually epic enough to answer all the questions. We have a daughter going into her father’s virtual reality game (which is more than what it seems). My characters are wicked cool — flying through the air, riding motorcycles, (generally just being awesome) while battling in-game baddies (and also possibly saving the world). Yet, the main character playing the game ends up making a giant mistake that impacts Real World in a big way.
P.S. — There’s also a love story, glitter-bomb flying monkeys, and crazy robots. How could you not want to read something like that?
Jennifer: This is the first book in your Tricksters series. Can you tell us a little about the series?
Amanda: The Tricksters series follows the descendants of a long line of activists (or terrorists, depending on who you ask) as they help fulfill the final steps of what their ancestors had been working toward.
Jennifer: What appeals to you about the young adult and science-fiction genres?
Amanda: There is so much to love about both! For YA I love that everything is so fresh and new. Characters are just starting out on a very long journey and you get to be front and center to those experiences, remember what it’s like to deal with the same traumas or perhaps face entirely new ones without the filter of adult experience. It just seems more raw and genuine to me. My proclivity for science fiction probably comes from a similar area. There is so much potential in science fiction and we get to explore infinite possibilities while still somehow being rooted in logic and reality. Science fiction (usually) has to make some kind of sense, but it’s a hypothetical sort of sense. Plus, you get to imagine what we will become – really feel out the scope of human potential. We can have cautionary tales that explore what certain bad choices we currently make will do 50, 100, 1000 years in the future. And we get to see what we evolve into as a society.
Jennifer: What inspired you to write Nexis?
Amanda: There is a fun story behind this. The initial idea for Nexis came about when my agent, Louise Fury, was still part of the L. Perkins Agency. She and Lori Perkins and I were eating dinner at a convention and they were talking about wanting a Steampunk Cinderella story. I also write Steampunk, so the idea was intriguing to me. On the spot, I came up with a Cinderella who loses her whole leg instead of just a shoe and ends up with some crazy Steampunk gadget for a leg instead. I didn’t want to do another Steampunk story though, so I decided I’d try and do a futuristic Cinderella instead. I’ve always been a huge fan of anime and, if you’re also a fan like me, you’ll probably be able to pick out some of my influences. Anyway, I wrote this sort-of futuristic Cinderella story. The initial set up in the original version was very Cinderella, but then, I flew off course with the whole virtual game idea and the ending. The work and the character became so much bigger and better than its initial starting point. After numerous edits and Cinder coming out in print (yes, I wrote Nexis that long ago), I decided to nix the Cinderella aspect all-together and really make Nexis its own story. I really love what this story has become and the journey that the characters and I have taken.
Jennifer: What are some of your favorite young adult and science-fiction books/authors and why?
Amanda: Oh grief, this is a hard question! When it comes to YA books, I think one of my favorite series is Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands and Teeth series. For whatever reason that series just stole my soul and I couldn’t put it down. I literally sat in the hot sun ignoring everything at a Scottish Festival we’d driven two days to get to so that I could finish the first book. It’s still the one I pick up and hand to people whenever they want to read a YA book. As for Sci-Fi, well of course I love me some dystopian novels. I love those cautionary tales and I think they have a very important place in our society. You can’t beat The Hunger Games or Divergent, but I also really love some of the classics like Ender’s Game and The Giver.
Jennifer: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What got you started on your writing journey?
Amanda: I didn’t always want to be a writer, actually. I didn’t really read or write at all until high school. I started writing when a friend of mine asked me to start writing a fan-fic for a Dragon Ball Z/Digimon mash up. I had so much fun when it was my turn to write the story that I found myself hounding her to hurry up and write her part. At the same time, I picked up Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce and after devouring that, I found myself sitting around one day with nothing to read and nothing to write. So, I started writing my own story that was similar to what I’d just read that I could work on between the days my friend handed me back the clip board containing our growing fan-fic. That story and the rest of that series was something I worked on throughout the rest of high school and into college. Then, I learned about a particular historic character who inspired me to write the first novel that I actually finished and then attempted to get published.
Jennifer: What’s next for you? What are you working on?
Amanda: I’ve just finished Redux, the sequel to Nexis, so I expect that I’ll be working on editing that quite soon. Other than that, I have a large number of various projects that I’m constantly working on. Right now, I’m focusing on trying to get a finished YA horror novel and a finished YA paranormal romance novel published. I’m also working on writing an adult fantasy novel with some heavy Steampunk elements in it. Wish me luck!
Jennifer: Good luck!
ALL ABOUT AMANDA
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, is coming out with Entangled Publishing December 1, 2015!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.
In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.
Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.
But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.
And it’s been waiting for Ella.