Another hot talent that we have at J.Ellington Ashton Press is up and coming horror writer, Amanda.M.Lyons. Her work has received much high praise and critical acclaim just recently and is certainly worth checking out!
So, here we are ~ Amanda.M.Lyons, the next of author to be featured in my recent series of Author Profiles:
Author: Amanda M. Lyons
Books/SS: Eyes Like Blue Fire, Wendy Won’t Go
Links to author pages and websites and Amazon page:
genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write horror. It’s often flavored with elements from other genres but
that would be my main genre. I’ve always been into scary things and the
love grew into a hobby. In a lot of ways it’s about me trying to explore
and understand my own fears.
What is Wendy Won’t Go about both on the surface and down deep?
Wendy Won’t Go is a novelette (a long short story) about a family
haunted by a particularly vicious ghost, one that was once their (the
father and daughter in the story’s) wife and mother. On the surface it’s
about endurance and pain and down deep it’s about loss and the toll it
takes over time. There are a lot of little details and nuances to this
one and I think it’s the kind of story that people might just go back
and re-read when they catch onto the sub plot and bigger surprises in
What inspired this?
It’s an odd story actually. I started writing it a few years ago when we
were dealing with a lot of stress in my family. When we’re under stress
I tend to have nightmares and some of them can give me lingering images
that eventually turn into stories. In this case the image was of Wendy
hiding around corners, in the cracks of doorways and down low at the
foot of beds. The image of this woman just sitting there and watching
and looking so malicious made me want to write a story more to get her
out of my head than to write something. She was a very imposing thing
and as a result I only got a few pages into that first draft before I
stopped and moved on to other things. I got it back out a couple of
months ago when I started working on a short horror collection I have in
the works (Apocrypha which I’m writing with another writer Robert
Edward Lyons II) I read through it and not certain if I could make it
work started typing it into the laptop. Suddenly it all worked again and
in a few weeks I had the completed story. It’s one of my strongest
pieces so far and draws some elements from my own life.
Who is the main character?
We have three main characters in this one, Billy, the father, his
daughter Sara and the thing that was once their loved one Wendy.
What was difficult about penning this?
I knew I had an interesting story with this one and I kept stopping to
make sure that things were going well all throughout the writing
process. I had to take breaks a lot because I would stop and second
guess what I’d written. The ending in particular was hard to decide on
and it could have gone in so many directions by that point. I talked it
over with a few other writers before I finally sat down and got it all
out and decided this was the best piece I was going to get. I like to
think my choices were good ones.
What is difficult for you as a writer?
That inner critic. She’s a tough and brutal editor, she hates a lot of
what I like and can stop a story dead in its tracks if she smells a hint
of cheesiness, inferiority or cliché.
What is the best part about being a writer?
Creating! This is true in all areas of my life. I love nothing better
than making something from nothing.
How did you begin your career?
As a very shy and uncertain 12 year old writing a story about a homeless
family at Christmas. It was a cheesy little thing but it also got the
attention of my 6th grade teacher who encouraged that spark to smolder
and then burn. I kept writing after that and started taking it more
seriously in high school when I finished my first novel. I actually
tried turning that first story into a novel, I might rewrite it someday
now that I have the skills to give it a fair shot. My first publication
is Eyes Like Blue Fire, a rewritten version of that first novel. It’s
about vampires and trying to move beyond our pasts. I self-published it
in April of this year.
What advice do you have for new writers?
Never give up and never stop working. Working means reading and writing a
lot, taking things in and really working to create something strong and
clean. Not giving up means that you don’t stop, not even when it seems
like you’re doomed to fail. That’s a lot harder than most writers
realize until they reach that point.
What writer(s) inspire you and why?
Gary Braunbeck, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Michael Kanuckel,
Robert Edward Lyons II there’s a long list and they’re all wonderful
because they love stories, give life to what could be just another
jumble of words and have strong voices. Most importantly without these
writers I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. They taught me a lot about
so many things storytelling, fantasy, art, humanity, darkness, fear and
the dark depths of the mind.
Do you write for yourself or for readers?
Both, I write for myself first and then when I edit I make sure that the
reader will have the ability to see what I saw in the work.
Do you ever use dreams/nightmares as a basis for writing?
All the time, in fact it’s probably one of my richest resources along
with the what if fears of everyday life.
What is entertaining/scary/ exciting to you?
I love my imagination because it can offer me so many ways to look at
things but it’s also a source of fear and anxiety anything that can get
that going has a good chance at capturing my attention. If I really and
truly care about the characters too I’m sold. As for what scares me
generally the unknown, death and that perennial favorite clowns.
What is difficult/frustrating about writing or being a writer?
Finding an audience that really and truly gets your work, getting to
that point at which a draft becomes a polished manuscript and sharing
something only to find it rejected.
Have you had a strange fan experience?
No, but I am just getting started so who knows what the future will
What have you learned from fans/reviews?
There are as many opinions and ways of seeing your work as there are
readers. Bad reviews are a good ways to see both what works best for
most readers and what will need work in the future.
How is your writing evolving?
Over time I’ve started to let the story come naturally rather than
forcing it to fit the mold I formed when I first had the idea.
What 3 words describe your writing? Atmospheric, emotional, imaginative
Which actors/actresses would you love to see in a movie version of your
When I was younger I would have had a list for this but over time I’ve
grown to prefer the idea of unknown actors playing them. It would allow
the characters to come through rather than the actors.
What is a genre you will never write in and why?
Sports, it’s just not my thing and I know too little about it.
Do you like to write a series or stand alones? Why?
It depends on the story. For Eyes Like Blue Fire the answer was yes
because I felt there was enough left to tell about the characters but
for other stories like the one in another novel I’m working on called
Jodie the story is all in one chunk. You have to know where the natural
end to a piece is.
How do you pick names for characters and which ones are you fond of?
Most of them come naturally but when I need something fresh or I can’t
think of a name I go to my baby name book or the internet. Abigail or
Abby is a good one from my novel Other Dangers and another is Delamorte,
this one was from Eyes Like Blue Fire. A name should suit the character
Abby is strong and straight forward so she gets a simple strong name
Delamorte is dramatic and unusual so he has a dramatic name.
Have you ever written real people into books?
A few, but most of the time my characters are original. I notice this
happens most with my short pieces and even then I always change so much
about the person or take them from a distant view so that they’re my own
creation, more bits and pieces of the real person that an exact
Do you outline and plan or wing a book?
Most of the time I wing it and this has been my bane at times because so
many of my plots can be difficult to plot without a clear outline. Why
do I still go by notes at most? I like the idea of a plot I discover
myself as I go along and I HATE outlining.
Which of your works ended differently than you anticipated?
Wendy Won’t Go, there were just many directions it could have gone and
in the end I was sort of startled at what I ended up with.
Do your covers matter?
Of course! Covers are the first thing a reader sees. If the cover isn’t
interesting, or the story inside is too far removed from the cover the
results can be a book that doesn’t sell or a book that gets read by the
wrong people. Both terrible disasters many indie writers face every day.
Does art/ music influence you?
All the time, it sets a mood and van help a piece really build over
How do you begin a novel?
With an idea that I jot notes down about over time. I might have a scene
or two I write first and then I go from there.
Do you get “writer’s block”?
Yes and as a result I set things aside and pick other ideas up. This is
how I ended up with 6-8novels in progress and only one completed over
Will you be prolific/ are you?
I’m not a Dean Koontz so I don’t think I’ll be publishing twice a year
but I hope to have a book out about every year or two.
What is your goal?
To be successful as a writer, to make some sort of income from it and in
time to have fans who really enjoy my work.
Do bad reviews bother you?
Of course, but I don’t blow my top. The first read through is always a
disappointment (and I can swear a little to myself and my fiancé about
some of them) but in the end I always go through them again and look for
what there is to learn from it. Did I make a mistake here? Why didn’t
this work for this reader?
What do you wish to learn?
If my work is good enough to merit all the time I’ve spent on it. I
think that’s true of a lot of writers.
DO you research books?
Yes, if it’s needed and there are usually bits and pieces I need to
verify in a book.
Which books have been grueling to write?
Other Dangers and Eyes Like Blue Fire, both of them have taken me years
to work on and Other Dangers (my apocalyptic novel) is only about
halfway complete at around 400 pages. Eyes Like Blue Fire was always my
problem child, which is rough with your first book. I’ve always been a
little bashful about my interest in the romantic so it was strange to be
writing a novel that’s got such strong romantic elements despite its
Well, thank you Amanda....that was a great insight into your writing and I look forward to reading some of your work for review in the future...
(Once again thank-you Catt Dahman for the insightful questions!)