Weather the Storm progresses well and is nearing completion. The cover is currently a work in progress
The Dragonlore trilogy will conclude in Greet the Dawn
Wishing all readers of the Dragonlore Trilogy all the best for 2019 – Amanda Crozier
Interview conducted by Mark Jackson
Read Mark Jackson’s author interview with Amanda Crozier on his website at https://markjacksonauthor.com/2018/12/03/an-interview-with-fantasy-author-amanda-crozier/
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Born in London, I have lived in Middlesex, Essex and Derbyshire before finally settling down in rural Suffolk. I am married with three grown up children and a grandson. A springer spaniel and a mini lop rabbit complete my family. They say never work with children or animals – I have done both in addition to working in customer service with the public. I am an avid reader, have a sense of humour, enjoy rock music and love to dance. I have a love for dragons anda tale to tell.
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
As well as writing, I enjoy stitch work. I have many bespoke tapestry and cross stitch pieces that have gone to customers worldwide. I believe the furthest travelled pieces are two chair seats that went to New Zealand. I love making jewellery and my favourites are bead woven necklaces. Other interests are photography, gardening, and, of course, reading.
3. Do you have a day job as well?
I retired from working in early years childcare (2 to 4 year olds) three years ago and now do occasional bar work for events. I also earn from my stitch work.
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Whilst in High School, English was my favourite subject and all my essays were way above the requested word count. Since September 2000, I have been volunteering at my local Primary School, hearing children read, where they need extra support. I work with all ages from Foundation Stage (4 years) up to year 6 (11 years). One lunchtime, in the school library, I had an idea for a children’s story but it was years later that I actually did something with it. A Nativity poem that I wrote for Pre-School was published in an anthology in 2013 and a short story “The Inheritance” which was originally written for my ‘O’ Level exam, was published in 2014 in a new anthology. Ride the Wind was completed in 2017 with a final pre-publication edit early in 2018.
5. How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?
Having been around horses for most of the first half of my life, as a young adult I progressed from “pony” books to westerns. Whilst having to lay flat following an injury to my back, a friend introduced me to Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragon Riders of Pern”books. I was immediately hooked! A dragon was so much more than a horse and my allegiance changed from a lover of equines to a lover of dragons. Since then, with a few author exceptions, Sci-fi/fantasy has been my favoured genre to read.
I do not know where I get my ideas. The story flows from within me and I am often surprised when I read back. The number of times that things tie in to clues that I did not even know at the time would be a clue never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes I will see a person for the first time and think to myself that they are exactly as I already imagined a particular character – it then makes it easier to describe them and bring them to life. I also once saw a fellow passenger waiting for a train who had the most amazing carved walking stick/staff, so I just had to write it in somewhere
6. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No, never. I guess I have been lucky that way, but then I do not write if I am not in the right frame of mind for it.
7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
When I started, I had a good general overview, because it was intended as a shorter children’s story. However, when I got to the concluding dragon hatching, I realised that this was not the end but merely the beginning of something far larger. I rewrote the beginning and 400 pages later,I came to the realisation that there was too much for one book. Turning my thoughts to the sequel, I decided that it could be split into three and become The Dragonlore Trilogy. Once I started on the larger story, it simply flowed as I typed. When I write, I see a picture in my mind as if I am watching a scene from a film, and I write what I see. Now and again I will see a specific scene that I have to write down, even though I may not have got to it yet – but these have been in the second book rather than the first. I do know how the second book will end, and one event that will conclude the trilogy. Meanwhile, I await the words appearing on the page from the image in my mind to truly know what will happen.
8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I have always loved books. I was read to by my father at bedtime every night before I could read and later loved reading for myself. The three authors who have inspired my love for dragons are Ann McCaffrey, her son Todd McCaffrey (both together and separately have penned the Pern series), and Robin Hobb.
9. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (self-published or traditional)?
I was lucky to have the support and advice of a very good friend who is a creative writing teacher and has worked in publishing. So getting self-published was not as challenging as it would have been had I been in the position to try and do it alone without advice and support.
10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would not have had the first book on an online site, but instead, would have self-published straight away. I was happy with the take up rate for readers, except for the fact that very few leave a review whether it is positive or negative, which is frustrating to not know how it had been received.
11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
My book has not been out long, and I have had a steep learning curve learning to use social media platforms. I have designed A6 handouts and A4 poster which I keep with me when I am out and about so I don’t lose an opportunity to promote or advertise it. In some ways,though, you cannot beat the old fashioned word of mouth, although online recommendations are also a great help. I have several other ideas for promotion, but it is early days and I need to take one step at a time. I also have my own website. One problem with the Sci-fi/fantasy genre is people either love it or you get the reaction “Oh no, I don’t read that” even when you know they never have tried the genre.
12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, Ride the Wind is the first book that I have written.
13. Can you tell us about your upcoming or recently published book?
My first book has recently been self-published and is available in large format paperback and Kindle editions and is available from Amazon, your local bookstore or local library. Ride the Wind is the opening book in the Dragonlore Trilogy, written under my pen name Amanda Crozier, which also happens to be my birth name (I was adopted from birth so it was only used for a few weeks). The trilogy is suitable for any age of reader including YA.
The back cover blurb reads:
Zysal was the only person who truly believed in dragons, the ancient guardians of the peace. A War Lord has invaded, subjugating peaceful folk and taking all in his wake. Zysal’s sire,Zimadon, returns from his travels with this news for the village Elders at the Kevii Hall.
Zysal is drawn to return to a cave where he gains access to a hidden way, leading him to discover a large egg from which a dragon hatches. Magic has frozen time allowing the pair to mature together before returning to the village over the sacred waterfall.
He has to adjust to his new status as a Rider with help from two guardians who are as old as the mists of time, and whilst his sire agrees to return to the coast to gather more information, the pair need time to grow in strength, but what can they do to help the situation that is so far from their remote village?
They discover that the Kevii’s apprentice, Axen, can communicate with his dragon, Opalina, so what part will he play in the adventure that unfolds, and what will Zimadon learn when he travels down the coast with two fishermen?
14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I draw from life observations; after all, emotions are the same whatever the setting – whether real or made up. I also draw from half a lifetime spent with horses and most of my life living in a deep rural setting to create the type of world in my book. Place and people names are made up – I will see a name and think if you change a letter there and another there, that would give a good name. Mostly though, it is the product of my imagination.
15. What project are you working on now?
I am halfway through the second book of the trilogy “Weather the Storm”.
16. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Hopefully, Weather the Storm will be ready to publish late Autumn/winter 2018.
17. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I would like to do a prequel with the back story of Opalina’s dam Carnelia and Zysal’s ancestor Kethraine.
18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest was receiving a rude post in response to one of mine in an online book group from someone who had never even read my book. The best was when a friend who does not normally read the genre came to me after she read it saying that she had really enjoyed it and could see everything so clearly.
19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself, especially in those moments of self-doubt! Don’t rush the end the story; let it evolve at its own pace. I find that keeping a time line helps with continuity, especially when events occur in different places.
20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
To anyone who has taken time to read Ride the Wind – thank you for helping the dream become reality, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. It was only becoming an author that made me realise just how important reviews are to an author. So, please, always leave a review, even if it is only a few words such as “I liked it” or “good book”.
Social media contacts:
Cover photo (waterfall) by Bernd Hildebrandt (User: Barni1 www.pixabay.com).
Previous publications and links:
Ride the Wind by Amanda Crozier ISBN 9 781975 939373
Amazon Author page:
Back in August of this year a very good friend announced a wonderful surprise that she had booked us both on a writer’s retreat, and that it was a belated birthday treat.
On a cool grey Saturday morning in September, she picked me up early and we headed deep into the heart of rural Suffolk. We arrived in plenty of time for a nine o’clock start at a quaint village hall that was really pretty. The windows were arched and tables were set up for six of us. Hot coffee (or tea) and cookies were available on arrival, so a good start – this author needs a coffee fix to feel human in the mornings! By now the sun was shining and there was nothing but peace and quiet.
At first it was hard to apply myself to my laptop, which I had brought with me. I was almost waiting for the first family interruption of “Mum….” or the phone to ring. There was no four legged companion asking to be let outside for the umpteenth time. It was a strange feeling to know that there were no other calls on my time. Having read through the last chapter written – I had brought with me also a paper copy of the novel so far – the images started to flow and soon my fingers were flying over the keyboard in an effort to keep up with the “film” playing in my mind.
Before I knew it, the lunch trolley was being wheeled into the hall and it was time to have a break, stretch our legs and refuel. There was a chance, also, to chat and compare notes.
Back to the keyboard again with my bottomless mug of coffee, I was now used to the silence. I was really pleased with how things were shaping up. I was adding an event to the story that I had not even thought of before. I was quite taken by the revelation, but that is how I write, I see it in my mind, get it written down and am often surprised afterwards how many earlier “clues” or references all link up as the story comes together. All too soon, it was time to leave – the day had simply flown by. It had been great to have some unadulterated me-time, where I did not have to feel guilty for being immersed in the fantasy world of the Dragonlore trilogy.
Thank you Sandy for a wonderful birthday treat.
My thanks must also go to Cara Thurlbourn for hosting the retreat.
Dragon cuteness overload. I would love this little fella sitting on my doorstep.
Having seen a post on Social Media from a large supermarket chain for a dragon scale Easter egg with a soft gold burnish to it, I decided it would be ideal to photograph with Ride the Wind for promotion purposes. I had visited my local store several times and searched among the myriad of Easter eggs offered but, to my disappointment, there were none. I tried other branches in the area, but still no luck! I was beginning to feel frantic – time was running out – it would soon be Easter and then any chance of getting them would be gone. I had left my name and number with customer services but had heard nothing.
I then had an idea! I found the original post advertising the eggs and placed a comment saying that I wanted one to promote my new novel and that I was having trouble sourcing them. Having asked me by reply where my local store was situated, they very kindly got in touch with the store and a few days later, I was able to pick two dragon eggs up. Panic over with just a few days to go to Easter. Phew!
The day I chose to photograph them must have been the hottest day of the year at that point, and they chose to leave their mark behind them where they had been placed. I have just realised that they are still there waiting to be eaten, several months on – that is the longest I have ever had Easter eggs in the house without them being eaten!
In the early days of writing Ride the Wind, I saw a piece of clipart of a waterfall that I really liked and gave me the inkling of an idea for a cover. Later when the book was finished, I had it on Inkitt for a while and had to choose a photo to use. Pixabay was suggested as a source, and it was there that I found some photos of Skogafoss Falls in Iceland that were to my liking. In the book, Springall Falls are held sacred as part of the Dragonlore and are relevant to the tale.
I found a monochrome photo donated by Bernd Hildebrandt (User: Barni1) that I could envisage as the front cover with a silhouette of a dragon flying in the sky. All that remained was to find a font that I liked for the text. The first proof copy had red text, but I was not happy with it, so changed it to two shades of purple to echo Opalina’s eyes. Holding the first hard copy with the revised cover was a very special moment – one that I will never forget. It was the moment that a dream became reality!