Interview with Amanda C. Davis

What's the first thing you remember writing? - ETM
A story in first grade, to the prompt of How to Train a Dinosaur. I figured you needed 1) a dentist, to pull its teeth out so it couldn't eat you, 2) a shoemaker, to make it shoes (so it could dance, or something?) and 3) a lion tamer, to do the, you know, actual job. I had no role for myself in the mix. I had, and have, no business training dinosaurs.
What's your favorite sort of scene to write? Favorite type to write that you don't get to do enough of? - Peter Damien
Favorite sort of scene: I like writing dialogue-heavy banter scenes that don't advance much plot except for maybe a revelation or two. Which is tragic, because I always end up having to plug them into some other scene where something actually happens.

Don't get to do enough of: Happily, I'm at a stage in my career where I'm still basically free to write whatever I want, so I can indulge in all the banter, dramatic emotional breakdowns, swordfights, and feats of RIDICULOUS luck that I want. :)
Where is your favorite place to write? - jaybuls
Around the house, either at the kitchen table or in bed, on my wonderful little red netbook that is wonderful and little and EXTREMELY red. When I need to be out-and-about, Panera Bread.
Favorite pizza toppings? If you could instantly attain any skill, what would it be? - JD
1) The default in my Domino's app is pepperoni and mushrooms, but I'm also a big fan of banana peppers, bacon, and (if the sauce is barbecue), chicken. When I make pizza from scratch over the summers, when my garden is going, I top the crust with roasted tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, and whole handfuls of chopped basil. Crazy amounts of basil.

2) The skill of instantly attaining any skill, of course! AND THEN I RULE THE WORLD.
What's your writing process like for short fiction? Did you know Bay's story would be a novelette before you wrote it? - Laura Christensen
1) I usually start in with a first paragraph that interests me, which leads to a second paragraph that interests me, and keep going to the end. If I get to something that doesn't interest me, I skip ahead (if I already have an ending in mind) or push through until it's interesting again. Shorter pieces usually turn out pretty well with this process, but the longer pieces can take a lot of work to shape up after the first draft. The interesting first paragraph only makes the final cut about half the time. I can usually do better.

These days I have enough experience to start out a story with a mindset that kind of frames the length and tone as I go, so I get something in the ballpark of what I expect.

2) I had NO IDEA. I thought it would be long-ish, meaning four or five thousand words. It ended up twice that.
Is your sister the best or the VERY best? - Megan Engelhardt
The MOST BEST, the best of all possible sisters.
What do you think about authors who transition from print books to digital books? - Chris Ifill
I'm format-neutral. You could build a castle with all the print books in my house, but last weekend I stayed up until four in the morning reading Alif the Unseen on my cell phone. I certainly wouldn't stop reading a series because it switched from print to digital, although I might gripe about only having the first three on the shelf.
What writing advice would you give to your younger self? - Deborah Walker
The important thing to know is that I am terrified of using time travel to interfere with my younger self, assuming that any butterfly I step on will result in me growing up to be a dinosaur. So thank goodness I can't.

The thing is, for any advice that comes to mind, I can look back and say, "If I'd heard X, I wouldn't have Y." Strunk and White changed my whole approach, but if I'd gotten Elements of Style sooner I wouldn't have created so exuberantly and prolifically when I was younger. If I'd warned myself to put my energy into original fic instead of fanfic, I'd have missed out on whole communities of friends and colleagues, wide experience in things like getting reviews and running a zine and formatting stuff, crits and advice I wouldn't have gotten elsewhere, and a body of work that I can simultaneously be proud of and treat like a hilarious skeleton in my closet. Even if I went back and told myself, "Just write a ton"--and I DID write a TON--Little Me might have frozen up with expectations, and not written anything. I'm not saying Now Me is the best possible Now Me, just that I'm not sure I could engineer a better one.

Okay, but say I did meet a little writer and I wanted to give her advice that would help and not hurt. I'd make sure she was reading like mad, and writing as much as she felt like, and I'd tell her to keep doing what she was doing, maybe to not be afraid to experiment. And then I'd teach her about how copyright works on the Internet, because you can't start too soon.
Buy, Borrow, Burn: What 3 books would you choose? MFK for bookworms. - Gef Fox
Okay, first of all, this game is amazing, I'm going to use it for icebreakers at cons for the rest of my life.

To get three books to play with, I picked the three most recent books in my Kindle app: The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell, The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton, and the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. I did actually buy both the first two, but I feel sliiiiightly more confident that I'll love The Princess Curse, so that's my Buy and The Torn Wing would be my Borrow. I'm sorry, Smashwords Style Guide! I don't want to Burn you, but THEM'S THE RULES.

If you forced me to do this with three books I'd already read and adored, I would probably combust.
What is your writing routine? What authors inspired you most? (Bland questions, but am genuinely curious) - Senna Black
No, these are awesome questions.

1) My writing routine is dictated by my day job and family obligations, so: evenings and weekends when I'm home. When I'm first-drafting, a typical evening would be get home, work out, eat, write until bedtime; I can do 5k over a weekend without too much trouble. When I'm just editing, I'm...not so driven. :P I also try to get submissions out over my lunch break, with medium success.

2) I actually consider my author-inspirations in two different camps. There are the ones whose books influenced me: Susan Cooper via The Dark Is Rising, T.H. White via Once and Future King, Ellen Raskin, J.K. Rowling (like everyone, heh), Edgar Allan Poe. People who wrote stuff I read when I was young, and I find myself doing the kind of things they did, in my own way, trying to give myself the experiences I had when I was reading their books. I'm still finding those--I recently rediscovered one of my most influential books, just a middle-grade paperback from halfway through a series I never finished. I was so little when I read it that I had no idea who the authors were, but I still hear its echoes.

Then there are the authors who inspire me with their work ethics or successes or careers, even if I'm writing nothing like them. Robert E. Howard, for his vigor, a hack in the best sense. Robert Louis Stevenson--what did we even call Jekyll-and-Hyde situations before him? His impact on pop culture blows my mind. Stephenie Meyer delivered a story that millions of people didn't know they wanted, just by indulging her own id. I don't understand how Neil Gaiman is wildly good at like four different forms of media, but there you go. Anyone who creates an archetype or coins a phrase. I can't imagine a bigger win than that.
Published 2014-01-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Suddenly, Zombies
Price: Free! Words: 6,550. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00 from 1 review)
Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.
The Lair of the Twelve Princesses
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,680. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A soldier and her genie must solve the mystery of the twelve dancing princesses in three days or face the chopping block for their failure. Unfortunately, that's just what the princesses want. 9000-word novelette.