Amalie Howard is the author of the novel Bloodspell – a fantastic novel filled with mystery, romance, vampires and witches.
Amalie has kindly answered some interview questions for Treasured Tales. Thanks Amalie. 🙂
Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in the Caribbean—an area of the world rich in occult folklore and mysticism, so I had more than enough inspiration to develop an early and ongoing obsession with all things fantasy. Growing up, we were the family that saved money to travel, so I’ve been doing that from a very young age and continued it into my older years. It’s given me a great foundation for experiencing different cultures and understanding the true meaning of diversity, which I think gives my writing a unique edge and voice. I have a wonderful husband, and we have three kids, two boys and a girl. They’re a handful, but they’re my joy. We live in New York. My favorite thing about myself is that I have a quirky sense of humor and I love to laugh. Sometimes I make myself laugh. That’s never pretty. My least favorite thing is that I don’t give myself enough of a break sometimes. My favorite poem is Self-Pity by D.H. Lawrence, and I am completely obsessed with movies. My favorite quote is “Everything you can imagine is real” by Pablo Picasso.
HERE ARE TEN FUN FACTS ABOUT ME:-
1. I’ve traveled to 141 cities in 18 countries.
2. I fenced competitively in college.
3. I lived and studied in France for several years (I still look back on them as some of the best, most self-defining years of my life).
4. I danced ballet for eleven years but stopped to focus on academics.
5. I have three tattoos.
6. I entered and won a beauty pageant when I was 16.
7. I’m a closet gear-head. I love cars, bikes, boats and anything with an engine.
8. I bungee-jumped 765 feet off of the Macau Tower in China.
9. I’m a PADI-certified deep-water scuba diver.
10. I once surfed on the coast of Australia and a 20-foot great white shark was spotted there the next day.
Have you ever had the opportunity to meet one of your favourite authors and if so what was it like?
I would probably faint if I met J.K. Rowling who is one of my most favorite authors. I say this with complete certainty if only because of how light-headed I became when I met Lisa McMann at Book Expo America last week. I think she may have become a little nervous by my stalkerish fawning, so I did try to restrain myself at one point when she was signing my copy of her new book, The Unwanteds. I mean, I like Lisa McMann but I LOVE J.K. Rowling. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I met her. More than likely, I’d probably be frozen like a deer in headlights, while breaking out into a cold sweat and blurting out my undying devotion. Yep, I’m probably going to have to work on that.
How would you describe your writing style?
I think I’m quite a lyrical and descriptive writer. I also like writing in the third person, and I like to have the points of view of different characters. Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite authors whose writing style is like this. In terms of genre, I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction, and I really enjoy writing for young adults. My favorite books come from those genres so it’s really no surprise that that’s where I feel most comfortable exploring my own voice. In fantasy, I love that you can create whole worlds, with characters that may not exist in real society. I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal and the supernatural, and anything not of this world. In terms of voice, I just feel like YA is where I belong.
Bloodspell has such an interesting and intriguing storyline – how did the concept start?
Bloodspell technically started out as a short story. Actually, it was a pretty terrible story that I wrote about ten years ago … I recently dug it up and it literally had me snorting and laughing in tandem. Anyway, the good part about the story was the vampire so I used him as a loose framework for Christian’s character in Bloodspell. The heroine needed work and an interesting backstory, so as it turned out, her development really drove the direction of Bloodspell. What started out as a story about vampires evolved into a story about a young witch trying to face her fears and embrace what she is, and once I had that idea in hand, it literally just took over. The vampire element suddenly became peripheral and took a back seat to this unique twist that completely consumed me. I really identified with it because I loved the idea of having this monster inside of her that she had to overcome. Think of Victoria’s blood curse as a metaphor—for example, a disability or an eating disorder or self-image issues—something big and terrifying that any ordinary teenager may have to overcome in everyday life. The message of courage is the same. Bloodspell is Victoria’s story of becoming, where she has to find herself, face her fears, and only then, really own who she is.
Is there a message in Bloodspell that you hope readers will embrace?
I personally like strong female characters, or characters who show growth over the course of a story. Heroines in books especially for teens become role models, whether we want them to be or not, and I think writers have some responsibility to be conscious of that. I’m a pretty avid reader of books, young adult books especially, and I wanted Victoria’s character to be strong but relatable, because her growth in the novel has to be believable. As a reader, you have to connect with her and be willing to be a part of her journey. It has to be something that any reader/teen can accomplish themselves, even if they’re not the most powerful witch in the world. I refer to Victoria as every-girl and no-girl at the same time—we can all find some part of ourselves in her, some little thing to identify with. She’s likeable, she’s funny, she’s smart, she has a lot of empathy, but she also makes mistakes and does stupid things sometimes. She’s a normal person who evolves into someone extraordinary, and that is what makes her strong … it’s the same strength that’s in every girl, the same strength that will inspire all of us women, young and old, to be unique, fierce, and fearless. She is not going to give up even when the odds against her to fail are so great. In the end, it’s about rocking who she is, no matter what. The core message of this novel is that being different sucks sometimes, but it’s not always going to suck—one day, you’re going to be psyched you’re the exception and not the rule.
If you were to write yourself into Bloodspell as a character, would you choose to be a vampire, witch or human and why?
As much as I love vampires, I would definitely have to choose to be a witch. The biggest draw for the vampires would of course be their immortality—living forever is an intoxicating idea, especially for us mortals who have about eighty years of life on average, at best. However, the witches in my novel live much longer lives than humans so it’s not a total loss. For example, the High Priestess Aliya, who Victoria meets later on in the novel, has already lived a few centuries so even though they’re not immortal, they do still have a long lifespan. Add that to their magical abilities and I’m sold. I love the idea of magic and being able to perform spells to make things happen. Plus, as sexy as it sounds when you read it, who really wants to drink blood forever? I love cakes and cookies way too much to forego them!
How many books will there be in the Bloodspell series?
Is there anything you can share with us about the sequel?
Bloodspell is the first in a planned trilogy, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of Christian and Victoria, plus some of the other characters like Leto (a lot of him!) and Angie, and maybe some new ones. The sequel is set in Paris so I’m really excited about that, and it really delves into Victoria’s past and how the curse started. Readers will also learn more about the Reii, the Vampire Ancients, and will come to understand more about Christian, how he was turned and why he is so important to the vampire society. In the third installment, Victoria actually becomes consumed by the blood curse so it’s going to be the story of how she survives it. Very excited about the next two books!
Thank you to Amalie Howard, and also to Marissa DeCuir for arranging the interview.