Interview with J Amandra

What's the story behind your latest book?
The Onyx series follows a female vampire throughout a period of her life in which she finds and loses lovers and friends. She discovers things about herself that she never thought possible and finds an entirely new direction for her life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always wanted to write but until the character of Onyx developed in my mind everything I've ever started before has run out of steam within the first few chapters. With Onyx if was like the first book wrote itself and even when it was finished and I sat in tears in reaction to that, I could already feel the sequel trying to burst free. I never thought it would stretch to four books but it did and even after that I felt there was more I had to write but I had to give Onyx a rest.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I sent samples of my novels to various publishers who accepted unsolicited manuscripts but was disappointed to receive no feedback whatsoever. After looking at the prices of self-publishing, I found out about Smashwords and decided to give it a try. The feeling of excitement when I first saw my own piece of fiction available to be downloaded was indescribable. How successful my novels will be is still to be determined but I'm sure Smashwords will have contributed in a very big way if they are.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Self-doubt is something I'm sure every aspiring author suffers from and after reading another published author's work I'm often left wondering if mine even come close. However, when I read back over my own work I find myself drawn into Onyx's world and enjoying it all over again. Being able to enjoy reading something I've written myself has been incredibly satisfying.
What do your fans mean to you?
When I'm writing I'm not only writing for myself but I'm writing for the pleasure of my readers. Although I'm yet to receive any feedback from my Smashwords readers, I have had positive feedback from my sample readers and am thrilled to discover that they have enjoyed my first published attempts.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on both the fourth and potentially final book in the Onyx series although whether that is the end is still yet to be determined. This has been written but is going through editing at the moment and hopefully will be released via Smashwords in the next month.
I'm also working on a spin-off novel that was inspired by the fourth book but with different main characters. I'm about 50% through writing that one.
Who are your favorite authors?
As an avid reader (it's rare for me not to have a book in progress with 2, 3 or even up to 7 waiting for me) I have a huge variety of favorite authors but to list just a few I'd have to include Mathew Reilly, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Lee Child, Jeaniene Frost, Keri Arthur, Charlaine Harris, Karen Moning and Thea Harrison.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My work, my family, my pets and my writing. It's as simple as that but not always in that order.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work part-time as a consultant doing administration and reporting for a group of Childcare Centre operators. Spending time with my family and pets and maintaining my home takes up most of my non-working time. I'm also a keen game player (Castleville, Candy Crush, etc). and I'm rarely without a book in my hands if I have no other demands on my attention.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually through Smashwords but also through Overdrive via my local library.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes and I still have it although I cringe a little when I read it. All my initial stories were handwritten and I have most of them in a file in my study just to look back on and reflect how far I've come. I only ever finished one short story before the Onyx series began. All the rest were just the first few chapters, if that.
What is your writing process?
I guess I'd call it freestyle. For some reason the opening line of a new book always comes to me after I've gone to bed for the night and just before I fall asleep. The rest of the story just develops from there. The only structure I adhere to is a timeline so that I can keep all my character's stories straight. The internet is a valuable tool, especially for deciding on my character's appearances. For some reason, as I write, the resolutions to the issues that develop at the start of the book seem to become clearer and their rectification just flows as the book comes to a close.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not really. I've been a reader from a very early age and was actually diagnosed as a natural born speed-reader when I was in primary school, after my teacher hauled me in front of the principle for wasting time in class when I should have been reading like the rest of the class were still doing. I'd actually already finished the specified text which I was able to prove by answering questions about it.
My family used to say that I'd read anything anywhere. In fact if I was stuck on a bus without a book, I'd read the signs we passed and even the bus ticket.
How do you approach cover design?
I don't do anything about this until the book is finished and then I try to find the one physical thing that instantly reminds me of what that book is about and this is included on the cover. For example, in the first book, jewelry in the form of pearls has a big impact and hence a necklace of pearl-like onyx beads was a natural choice. The second book was a little harder to define but since it started with a broken heart, that's what I chose. Book three has a pyramid and book four has a wedding cake. You'll have to read them all to find out why. I decided to veer away from the half-naked man theme that so many vampire novels use but that doesn't mean there's any less sensuality involved.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Published 2014-10-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Til Death Do Us Part
Series: Onyx. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 82,640. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
A wedding is something that is fraught with pitfalls. Mine was a perfect example of how it shouldn't be done. I gazed at myself in the mirror. The woman looking back at me wasn’t anyone I recognized. To start with she was a bride but I had absolutely no idea who she was, no idea who I was at all. This is the 4th and final instalment in the Onyx saga.
There's No Place Like Home
Series: Onyx, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 68,220. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
There’s a famous line from The Wizard of Oz that tells you that There’s no place like home. Whilst I believe that implicitly I rarely, if ever, willingly visit the place of both my human and Vampire birth. The memories are too painful. Whoops, already gave myself away didn’t I. Yes, I’m a Vampire. I’m immortal. My name is Onyx and I am over 3,000 years old.
I Want To Be Alone
Series: Onyx, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 68,950. Language: Australian English. Published: August 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
A famous actress once said “I just want to be alone” in that famous smoky voice of hers. Apparently when questioned about it she corrected the reporting of it and advised she had actually said “I want to be left alone”. There’s a difference. However, before we start I need to enlighten you about some things. Firstly I’m a Vampire. I’m immortal. My name is Onyx and I am over 3,000 years old.
Series: Onyx, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 73,270. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Erotica » Paranormal
It is said that everything has a time, a place and a reason. I have none of those. I am immortal therefore time is of no consequence to me. I move constantly and call no place my true home, hence it also is inconsequential. I have no true purpose and hence no reason. I am the exception to the rule. I am Vampire. This is my first story but the one you should read first.