Blog Tour Interview: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla
Kitt: Hi Amanda, we’d like to welcome you to Paperback Dolls! We’re so happy to have you here.
Amanda: Thanks so much for hosting me today on my blog tour. I love Paperback Dolls and I’m thrilled to be here!
Kitt: Releasing tomorrow is your debut novel Shaedes of Gray! Congratulations!
Amanda: Thank you! I have to say, finally seeing my book on the shelves rates right up there with the birth of my children. I’m pretty sure they won’t take that personally. ;)
Kitt: How does it feel to finally have your first novel published?
Amanda: Surreal. That’s the only way to describe it. Looking at the finished book, seeing my words in print, and smelling that new book smell…It’s amazing! When my editor sent me the first finished copy, I grinned like an idiot for an entire day.
Kitt: When did you first start writing? What made you decide – ‘ok, this is it, I’m writing a book’?
Amanda: I’ve been writing off and on since I was eighteen. But I got serious about writing with a goal of publication around three years ago. I was talking to my aunt on the phone and she raving about a book she was reading. She said, “Can you imagine? Writing a book and having people fall in love with it?” For some reason, that phone call made me realize that I couldn’t simply dream about being published. I had to sit down and make it happen.
Kitt: Do you have any authors that you took inspiration from or influenced you the most?
Amanda: People are probably going to get sick of hearing this from me, but I absolutely love Bernard Cornwell. I seriously want to just sit down with him and pick his brain for hours. He writes the most amazing historical fiction with complex, compelling protagonists. Anne Rice is another favorite. She paints such a vivid picture with her words. I’m also a huge fan of J.R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Patricia Briggs, and one of my new go-to authors is Darynda Jones. I could go on for another hour or so. There are so many great writers out there!
Kitt: Can you tell our readers a little bit about Shaedes of Gray?
Amanda: Shaedes of Gray is about Darian, a Shaede who can become a shadow once the sun sets. She’s an assassin who’s lived the last several decades under the assumption that she’s the last of her kind. Her entire world is turned upside down when she discovers she’s not as alone as she’d thought. She’s forced to face the ghosts of her past and the reality of her future while navigating a supernatural world she never knew existed.
Kitt: Shaedes sound like a very interesting idea, I have to admit – I’m intrigued. Coming up with something new in the urban fantasy genre can be so difficult, can you tell us how the idea came about?
Amanda: When I came up with the idea for the story, Darian just sort of popped into my head. She was standing on the roof of a building, waiting for someone, and contemplating the path her life had taken. I saw her as a wisp of shadow, just drifting away in the breeze. I wrote the first five chapters in a day. The story really took on a life of its own.
Kitt: What made you choose Shaedes over other paranormals and beasties? Or will we find them in your Shaede Assassin series as well?
Amanda: When I started researching creatures for the book, I realized that there wasn’t anything that truly fit what I wanted. Most shades were portrayed as the signature or shadow of someone who’d died and that’s not how I saw my Shaedes. So rather than take from traditional mythology, I created my own. My Shaedes and Lyhtans (the Shaede antithesis) share the same family tree. I even gave them their own creation myth. I’ve created my own Jinn mythology to suit my story as well as a couple of others. But I do have more traditional secondary creatures such as: sylphs, fae, shifters, sprites, demons, and so on. The more the merrier!
Kitt: Are any of your characters, such as your heroine Darian, based on other people? Do you have mental images for your characters?
Amanda: A lot of my characters share personality traits with people I know, though none of them are based on actual people. I have a very clear picture of how everyone looks in my mind. One of the things I love about the cover art for Shaedes of Gray is how the artist seemed to crawl right into my brain and extract a picture of Darian. She couldn’t be more perfect!
Kitt: Even though we know you must love all your characters, it must be hard not choose one over another, do you have a favorite? Or a least favorite?
Amanda: People might be surprised to know that Xander is my favorite character. It drives a couple of my friends crazy. He’s so easy to dislike, but that’s why I love him. I’m a sucker for his pompous attitude and arrogance. I can’t help myself! I don’t really have a least favorite character, but I think the hardest character for me to write is Tyler. He’s sort of my polar opposite and I have to really dig deep to get his character across.
Kitt: Was there a particular scene or part of the book that was more challenging to write, if so, can you explain?
Amanda: Oh, the sex scenes, without a doubt! It’s such a private and deeply emotional moment between two people. I feel like a voyeur when I write sex scenes. And even though it’s just me and my laptop, I get so embarrassed sometimes. It’s taken me a while to get comfortable writing those scenes, but I’m definitely getting better! ;)
Kitt: What can we expect next from your Shaede Assassin series?
Amanda: Blood Before Sunrise, which is book 2 in the series will take Darian deeper into the mystery of what she is. Her relationship with her mentor Raif will deepen and that’s going to cause some issues with Tyler. Darian doesn’t have many friends, so when she makes a connection with someone, she’ll do anything for that person. And whether Raif realizes it or not, Darian is going to bend over backward to give him some answers to his own past. In the course of the series, readers are going to see Darian finally starting to live her life. She’s been alone without any real relationships for almost a century, just going through the motions, and she’s going to have to learn to deal with life’s ups and downs just like any other person.
Kitt: So, what’s next on your “to-do” list? We know you are busy promoting your new book, but are there any new works in progress we can be anticipating? or are there any other genres that you’d like to explore?
Amanda: Right now, I’m finishing up a Shaede Assassin novella, When Shadows Call, that will be available for download in June 2012. It’s a prequel to Shaedes of Gray, and readers will get to see how Darian’s journey started. In the meantime, I’m working on edits for book 2 and cranking out a first draft of book 3. I have plans for a Shaedes spin-off, and more books in the series. I’m a huge urban fantasy junkie, and I’ve got other projects on the back-burner that I’m dying to get to. I love to write tough heroines. You see so many male protagonists who are damaged and emotionally closed off, but I like to flip that around and portray women who deal with those same issues.
Kitt: Thank you so much for answering my questions! We are super thrilled to have you on Paperback Dolls. Best of Luck to you!
Amanda: Thanks again for having me! You guys are awesome!
Kitt: Lovely readers, Go. Get. This. Book! It’s fabulous!
Amanda Bonilla lives in rural Idaho with her husband and two kids. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves the outdoors, black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock. – Website
In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind-an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.
When Darian’s next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she’s taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished…