Tell us about your publishing journey?
The trek was a long one with Blood Gift. The story started with me writing about vampires in a desperate attempt to make sense of my life turned upside down after Hurricane Katrina. I found myself in a new city with a new job and a disintegrating marriage. Writing kept me sane.
I would talk about my writing with friends and one day one of them asked me when I was going to share my story. I started posting installements of it on my blog for only certain people to read and that continued for almost two years until one of my writer friends said: When are you going to publish your story?
Until that point I hadn’t figured I had the talent to actually get something I wrote accepted and published. I knew my vampire story wasn’t ready for publication. It was wickedly long, essentially plotless, and it basically wrote itself. To wrestle it into something I could submit was beyond my ability at that point. So I entered NaNoWriMo with the goal of writing a novel in less than one hundred thousand words.
That’s how I got sidetracked into writing a series about wolf shifters called the Wolf Within. Which actually did get published. But I never forgot my vampires.
Last year I took all the stuff I’d learned about writing from working with my wolf shifter novels and returned to my vampires. I realized I would have to gut the story as it stood and come up with an entirely new heroine. The original was just way too Mary Sue. I had too many characters so I had to choose the ones that would drive the plot I’d chosen. That’s how Andre, Parker, Oliver, Gareth and Neal got to stay. And how Ursula was resurrected. I’d originally killed her off in the first of the original novels.
I wrote a brand new novel using my vampires and sent it off into the world. Where it was promptly rejected. I sent it out again. Rejected, but this time I received a personalized rejection letter telling me just how close I’d come. Then once more – this time to Loose Id. They sent me a revise and resubmit letter. The things they wanted changed in the novel necessitated that I start over and rewrite. I used maybe three original scenes and recrafted the rest using the same essential plot. I added the part about Claire helping abused women and I’m proudest of that addition. That was thanks to a beta reader who said Claire had no purpose and needed a job. She was right, she did. But not a job where she was paid, but more of a job she gave herself to make herself feel worthwhile. Loose Id liked the revision and Blood Gift was accepted. So a very long journey. Seven years or so.
What’s your favourite vampire book series?
As far as books go, Barbara Hambly’s Those Who Hunt the Night and Traveling With the Dead rank up there.
For the most part though, I am never satisfied with vampires I find in literature. Part of the reason I wrote my own, I suppose!
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
This is difficult. I’m torn between a vampire and a wolf shifter. I love the immortality aspect and never aging of the vampire, but who wouldn’t want to be able to shift into a wolf?
Stuart Townsend would be Andre and Matt Bomer would be Parker. Kristen Bell would be a good Claire, I think.
If you could have dinner with a literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Hercule Poirot. He was quite the gastronome and so I am assuming he’d arrange the menu – everything from soup to nuts and most of it French, n’est pas? We’d eat in an exclusive French restaurant in 1940s London. Live music performed by a jazz band and there would be sirop de cassis for our after dinner drink.
What life advice do you wish that you’d be given sooner?
Don’t settle just because you are afraid something better won’t come along. It will.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?
Just my usual one – recognize and take advantage of all the right opportunities I’m offered this year.
Where can fans find you online?
On Twitter @amyleeburgess
And my blog: http://amyleeburgess.blogspot.com/