Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Interview with Christine Amsden, Author of The Immortality Virus (Coming in June!)
Our guest today is Christine Amsden, author of The Immortality Virus.
Christine 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. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Christine. It's wonderful to have you here.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in the St. Louis area, but have since wandered and settled on the Kansas side of the Kansas City area.
When did you begin writing?
In my mind, I have always been a writer. Before I could read, I have clear memories of myself as a child, making up stories to go along with the pictures. The first story I actually wrote was about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars, when I was seven or eight.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
My schedule revolves around my children. Right now, my son is in afternoon pre-school and my daughter takes afternoon naps (or at least, afternoon quiet time), so I consistently take two hours in the afternoon to write. For all the rest of the things I have to do – marketing, teaching workshops, writing reviews for my website – I steal time whenever I can. I usually get up an hour before my kids, I often steal an hour after my husband gets home, and I play catch up on weekends.
What is this book about?
The Immortality Virus is a far-future science fiction novel that asks: “What if the entire human race stopped aging?” It takes place in 2450, four centuries after The Change (when humans stopped aging), and tells the story of a blacklisted P.I. named Grace who is hired to find the man who caused The Change – if he's still alive. There's action, mystery, and a sprinkling of romance to help brighten the darkness of an otherwise dystopian novel.
What inspired you to write it?
The Immortality Virus didn't come to me in a burst of inspiration. I started out with the idea that I wanted to write a science fiction novel (I had just finished a paranormal novel and wanted to try something a little different), and then started doing a random search on Wikipedia. The search led me to the article on DNA, which helped me recall something I'd read about a genetic source for aging, which led me to more articles, and after about a week of reading and researching, it all came together in my mind: Someone released a virus that altered the human genome in such a way that we no longer aged.
After that, things came together fairly quickly. I got into characters (which is where I usually start, to be honest), world building, and I wrote an exploratory draft. Grace came to life as I started writing, as if she had always been inside of me and we were just waiting to be introduced.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
Probably Grace, because I spent the most time with her and got to know her well. She's tough on the outside, but soft and caring on the inside, which is what I love about her.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband. That was an easy one. :)
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I have been a member of many critique groups throughout the years. I have taken to heart the advice that a critique group is only good for a year or two, and then you generally need to move on, to get some fresh perspective. I have made many friends, and keep in contact with most of my old buddies, but for each book, I look for new sources of help and inspiration. I am a member of Codex, and I have found many novel buddies there. Before that, I had a lot of luck at Hatrack (Orson Scott Card's site).
Who is your favorite author?
I only get to pick one? I like so many different authors, and for many different reasons. I read science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and even young adult – each type of writing is my favorite when I'm reading it, and many authors are my favorite when I'm with them. I love Orson Scott Card, Asimov, Heinlein, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, JK Rowling, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Catherine Anderson, Madeleine L'Engle...just to name a few
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
I've never heard of a paved road to success – they're all made of dirt, mud, and gravel, and most of us don't have a four-wheel drive vehicle.
There were moments of pain, many moments of doubt, moments of joy, and most of all – hard work. All in all, it's been great, bumps and all.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I did not do a very good job marketing my first novel, Touch of Fate. When people ask me how well it did, I usually say, “It was a learning experience.” And it was.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The Immortality Virus will be available June 15. You can pre-order it now through Barnes and Noble. Amazon.com should also have it listed for pre-order soon. The book will be available through both Ingram and Baker and Taylor, which means that most bookstores can order it (though few will stock it). In Canada, I believe Rand McNally bookstores will be able to order it.
You can also get an eBook version through many distributors, including amazon.com and b&n.com.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Yes! You can visit me anytime at http://www.chrsitineamsden.com/, where I not only have the latest on my books, but I also write book reviews and tips for writers. I love comments from readers.
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
Honestly, time. I have to put myself out there, meet people, talk to them, listen to them, and make friends. It's rewarding as well as time consuming, but I think it is the only way to promote a book.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Writers write. (For more details, see my blog. :) )
What is up next for you?
I am hoping to sell a four-book urban fantasy series soon. At the moment, I am trying to decide upon the best home for it. It is likely that I will go with my current publisher, because she's been great, but right now the series is my baby and I'm having trouble letting it grow up. :)
Thank you for having me!
Thanks for spending time with us today. We wish you great success.