Saturday, March 5, 2016

Inner Demons Interview


Clean Teen Publishing is excited to present Inner Demons the latest installment in Amanda Strong's The Monsters Among Us Series.


Who do you trust when you can't trust yourself? 
Having discovered who was behind her abduction, Samantha Campbell is still haunted by what happened. Memory lapses and a nagging suspicion that the cabin was only the beginning means Sam needs answers. Her only problem? The one person who might have them still wants to kill her. 
With Mack unwilling to forgive himself, and Blake refusing to let her anywhere near his brother, she must find other ways to piece together her missing time line. Hoping that returning to Tonbo's Islands will help, Blake and Sam are horrified to learn Kory's treachery runs even deeper. Ancients are missing, Kate's disappeared, and the worst part is Sam feels she may be responsible. 
She's willing to try almost anything to know what her other half has been up to, but with each new discovery, she slips deeper into something she may not be able to recover from. Driven by the need to set things right, she's thrown into a web of lies where she realizes she can't trust anyone, least of all herself. 


Interview with Amanda:


Q: What inspired your The Monsters Among Us series?

Honestly, the initial inspiration probably came from the countless murder mysteries I read as a teenager. I am a sucker for the who-done-it. I had been bogged down editing and re-writing, The Awakener, for the umpteenth time, and thought, I just want to write a scene that grabs me. Like a cozy murder mystery, which usually starts with a puzzle to unravel, I wrote the opening scene to Hidden Monster with no idea where I was going with it. (I know that is so comforting to readers to hear, right?). I just saw scene after scene in my head, and went with it. Then about forty pages in, I thought I better slow down and do a little research. After I’d decided I wanted dragonflies to play a major role in the plot, I became obsessed with them! They are fascinating and inspire me as I write each book in this series.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing, just ask my childhood best friend, Jackie, she listened to all my made up worlds from third grade on. Thank you Jackie for being the first person to believe in my writing skills! I wrote my first complete, full length book when I was sixteen, which I credit my dad for actually reading and thinking it was any good. (That story sits in a box, pretty sure I’ll never dust it off.) I’m not sure what I could say motivated me initially, I just had stories in my head I had to get out on paper, but I can answer what motivated me to write again in my life. My great friend, Gail Wagner. I had stopped writing when I went to college, got married, and had kids (sort of got pushed to the back burner for a later time in my life). Gail asked me one day if I’d like to read her manuscript she was trying to get published I had an epiphany, if she could write a book with three little kids, why couldn’t I? Much to my husband’s chagrin, I’ve been addicted ever since!

Q: How long does it usually take you to write a book?

I wish I could say three months, but alas, it’s more like six months to a year by the time I start to the time it’s polished and ready to be published. I need to get faster! Something I’m working on now ;)

Q: Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to use a mouse! I can’t stand using my laptop’s touchpad. When I write, I prefer to sit at my desk, with a big glass of water and/or cup of herbal tea, a few snacks (sometimes just chocolate). The other thing about me is, when I’m writing, I get so cold. It doesn’t matter the temperature in my house, or what season it is. I end up freezing! So after a minute or two of typing, I usually end up throwing on a hoodie, wrapping up in a blanket, and cranking up the pellet stove fire behind me. I have a pair of awesome fuzzy slippers that are more like booties (they go up to my knees). One day, while cleaning out the closet, my husband was like, “What are these? Can we throw these away?” I’m like, “No way! They keep my toes so warm while I write books!”

Q: What are your current projects?

Currently, I’m working hard to finish, Monsters Among Us. Which will be the third and final installment in the Monsters Among Us series. After Hidden Monster and Inner Demons, I was having a hard time coming up with the third book’s title because what fits it best was the series name. I finally decided maybe I should just call the book that too! Hopefully it doesn’t confuse the readers too much After I finish Monsters Among Us, I will be returning to work on Watchers of Men series!

Q: What authors have inspired you?

Too many to list here! But to name a few; Mary Higgins Clark, Orson Scott Card, Gaston Leroux (Phantom of the Opera), Jane Austen, J. K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Kerstin Gier, and many, many others!

Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up on your dreams! Don’t stop! If writing is important to you, you love it, can’t get enough of it, dream of your characters, and hear the crazy voices in your head…then you can’t stop. Okay, maybe I made that sound a bit crazy, but I think you know what I’m talking about. As with any talent or skill, writing takes a lot of practice. Do it every day, or find a schedule that works for you. Try to enjoy each step of the way; the brain storming, the plot building, and the character development. I know when I wrote my first book I was so obsessed with getting it published, but after you are published there is a lot more to writing then just writing. Enjoy the time you get to just let your imagination go wild! Don’t set boundaries on yourself. With that said, find a friend or someone you trust to be a beta reader! Learn how to take criticism…because it’s coming! Regardless to how brilliant you may be ;) Everyone one of us has room to improve, and everything we pen isn’t perfect. Even this interview I’m sure is full of typos and grammar errors.

Q: Do you have anything you'd like to say to your fans?

Thank you!!! I can’t thank you all enough for what your support has meant to me. The love you have for me and my stories, blows me away. I wish I could thank each and every one of you personally. You don’t know how much it means to me when you share, tweet, like, or tag my posts! You have no idea how happy it makes me when I hear you enjoyed one of my books! Every good review I get, I’m doing the happy dance! Some of my most cherished writing moments have been the awesome feedback I get from you! I couldn’t do this without you! Readers rock!!!

Excerpt:


The images I’d conjured of an actual prison cell were nothing like what I found Mack in. The cot bed and plain chair gave it more of mental hospital feeling than a jail. The restroom was down the hall. According to the guard, that was the only time Mack would leave his holding cell. The door was shut, but through the rectangular glass window, I got a clear view of Mack as we approached.
My stomach clenched. With his spiky hair turned into a shaggy mess and no glasses, I hardly recognized him. He leaned against the wall, where the headboard would’ve been if the bed had a frame. He didn’t notice us until Blake opened the door, glancing first at Blake and then me.
His eyes widened and he jumped to his feet, running his hands up and down his face before putting his glasses back on. In that moment, I had to resist the urge to make a spectacle of myself. I wanted to hurl myself past Blake and throw my arms around Mack. Everything about this felt wrong. His eyes widened even further as I drew close.
What are you doing here?” he asked. I tried to ignore the frown he shot at Blake. “I told you I didn’t want her to come here.”
Blake shrugged. “I don’t think anyone can tell Sam what to do. She wanted to see you.” To my surprise, Blake gave my shoulder a squeeze. “Hey, I’ll be right outside the door when you’re done, okay?”
“Okay, thanks,” I said, surprised he seemed to know what I needed right then. I turned to Mack as the door clicked behind Blake. We were alone. Maybe now he’ll stop frowning.
Instead, Mack sat back down on his bed, his face contorting into a grimace. It was so unlike the Mack I knew.
“Hey, I come all this way to see you and this is how you treat me?” I asked, trying to make light of the situation.
As soon as I sat down next to him, I could feel him tense. I reached over and touched his shoulder. “Mack, hey, it’s me here. What’s wrong?”
He grunted. “What’s wrong? You shouldn’t be here. I don’t deserve you coming to see me. I don’t deserve Blake letting you.”
“Well, Blake doesn’t get to say what I do or don’t do,” I said, annoyed Mack was under the impression he did. I ignored the fact he’d refused to let me see Jaxon.
That’s different…
“Of course I’m going to come see you. You’re being ridiculous staying in here in the first place. No one’s keeping you here.”
“That doesn’t matter, Sammy.”
I let the name slide. Mack had been calling me that for so long, I wondered if he even noticed the difference anymore.
“I need to serve my time. I committed crimes. Against the islands, against Tonbo and Blake, and most importantly, against you.” His voice softened a bit with the last statement. He cleared his throat. “I will do whatever Tonbo decides.”
“But he already decided that you’re free to go. The door’s not even locked.”
He glanced away from me and shook his head.
“Mack.” I squeezed his shoulder. “It’s time to come home. I mean, what do your parents think? Don’t they miss you?”
“They think Tonbo’s training me for something,” he answered, his shoulder’s slumping. “That’s what Tonbo told them when they called him to find out where I went.”
“Oh. Well, that’s good.”
“No, it’s not. No one should be doing me favors. I’m the monster. Remember, Samantha?”


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Hidden Monster (The Monsters Among Us Book 1)



For seventeen-year-old Samantha Campbell, running back woods trails usually means freedom from her less-than-perfect life. That is, until the day a morning run turns into a living nightmare. When Samantha wakes up to find herself bound to a dirty, pinstriped mattress, she realizes she’s anything but free. With a masked abductor repeatedly injecting her arm with an unknown substance while holding her captive, Samantha tries in vain to find out what he wants, but he refuses to speak. Until the day he breaks his silence and his twisted words are worse than what she’d imagined. He promises her one day she will fall in love with him but the best part will be that she won't know who he is... until it's too late. 

Finding herself freed from captivity, with her captor still at large, Samantha is on guard against everything and everyone around her. Unfortunately, walling up her heart proves difficult when eighteen-year-old Blake Knightley moves in next door. When Samantha starts experiencing strange changes within her, she realizes her captor may have left her more damaged than she originally thought. Now she must turn to Blake for help in order to unearth the truth behind the monster who started this all... or risk experiencing worse things than just falling in love.


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About The Author



Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia and now New Mexico home. Amanda has loved to spin tales since childhood.   It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses.  You could say some things have not changed. 

Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013.  Her first novel, The Awakener, book one in a young adult paranormal romance series called: the Watchers of Men, came out in October of 2013. She is currently working on book two, The Holy and The Fallen, expected to come out in the early part of 2015.   Amanda’s newest creation, Hidden Monster, released November 4th of 2014, and finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new a young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.

When Amanda isn't writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream. 

Connect With Amanda:







2 comments:

  1. I have to use my mouse too, people who don't use them freak me out a little, how do they control it? Great interview, this sounds interesting and I love that whodunits inspired your monsters.

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  2. I love how this came about and I loved murder mysteries as well, I went through a faze my junior year and that was all I read until I graduated LOL. This sounds fun!

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