This is a very exciting post for me. It is my first ever author interview and I am so glad it is with Amanda Bouchet the author of A Promise of Fire. I requested APOF a few months on Netgalley and boy am I glad I did. It is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year, which my regular readers know because I cannot stop raving about it! If you haven’t read it already you can find my review here. I enjoyed the book so much I asked Amanda if she would be happy to have an interview with me for her blog and I was lucky enough for her to say yes. So here it is. Enjoy!
1. To begin with can you tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m excited to be here! I’m an American living in France. I grew up in New England, studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and then moved to France after I met the man who is now my husband while I was studying abroad. We have two kids and live just outside of Paris. I started writing about twelve years ago, trying my hand at paranormal romance mostly. The stories never quite clicked for me, though, and I didn’t feel like any of them were “the one.” I felt that magic with A Promise of Fire, though, and really got serious about polishing it and then presenting it to literary agents. I got an offer of representation, the novel sold in a three book deal (for the trilogy), and here we are, with A Promise of Fire about to make its debut in the world. Very exciting!
2.What inspired you to write A Promise of Fire?
The heroine, Cat, was the real inspiration behind the story. She was so vivid in my head—what she looked like, her unusual magical abilities, her smart mouth and big problems. Everything else grew out of this strong, secretive, feisty female character who was becoming so clear in my mind and so insistent that I tell her story. The other characters, the setting, the villain, the hero and the romance, and even the storyline itself all took shape in order to bring Cat to life. Once she was firmly in place, the novel took off from there without much forethought on my part. My writing is firmly on the organic side, and I’m not much of a plotter. I like to just see where the characters and the action take me without trying to work everything out in advance.
3. Who was your favourite character to write?
Definitely Cat! The novel is solely from the heroine’s point of view, so I’ve spent a lot of time in Cat’s head. I’m still there, in fact, since this is a trilogy and the only thing I’m currently working on. We’re not that much alike, truth be told, but she somehow sprang from my mind anyway, and I have so much fun expressing what she’s thinking about, her reactions to different things and people (especially to the hero, Griffin!), and living out her adventures in my imagination. I love Cat’s sarcasm and snark, her loyalty and fierceness, and her bravery in spite of her fears. If she existed in real life, I’d love to be friends with her—although I doubt I could keep up!
4. What was your favourite scene to write?
This is a tough question because the whole novel was fun to write! The action scenes were exciting to imagine out, and anything with Cat and Griffin, whether they were bantering, kissing, or arguing, was a lot of fun for me as the author. I especially love a scene where Cat steals magic from a random person (she can take it for herself), thinking it might help her escape Griffin, but it turns out to be a “euphoria” spell, or a magic-induced, feel-good high. She ends up high, too, completely by accident, and it was great fun having her let go of her fears and secrecy and just be happy and outwardly express her true feelings for once—especially about Griffin.
5. If you had to pick one of the Beta Team to be stranded on a desert island with who would it be?
I love this question! Do I get to pick Griffin? Even though he belongs to Cat? Tall, dark, handsome. Charismatic. Sense of humor. Loyal. Strong. Capable. Protective. A bit bossy. Warlord! There’s no contest here, even though I love all the guys in Beta Team.
6. Was there a lot of research involved in writing A Promise of Fire?
A Promise of Fire is set in a fantasy world based on Greek mythology. I definitely did some research to further the worldbuilding and make sure I had my facts straight about different ancient Gods, legends, and mythological creatures. I then applied bits of Greek mythology to a world of my own creation, making what I hope is a fun and easy to grasp mix, with familiar, recognizable terminology sprinkled into an exciting new setting.
7. What can we expect from the rest of the series?
More Cat and Griffin! The next two novels will continue the story and stay in Cat’s point of view. There will be lots of exciting Beta Team moments, and Griffin’s family remains an important presence. Andromeda, the villain, will continue to be a menacing shadow over Cat and her happiness, becoming more present and increasingly dangerous as the story advances. And Griffin will keep nudging Cat toward the destiny she’s worked so hard to avoid. Like in A Promise of Fire, you can expect emotion, passion, thrills, danger, adventure, and slowly unraveling mysteries. One thing I can promise is no cliffhangers. While it will take the whole trilogy to complete the story arc, Breath of Fire comes to a satisfying conclusion in itself and will feel as much like a unit as possible, and Heart on Fire will wrap up Cat and Griffin’s adventures.
8. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
My advice would be to not rush things and to make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible before presenting it to agents and editors. The same advice applies to anyone aiming to self-publish. It’s really important to put your best work forward from the start because you may not get a second chance to convince readers. Watch out for repetition in your manuscript and for long interior monologues, especially if they rehash things the reader already knows. You want to keep things moving, and you definitely don’t want your readers skimming because they’re not getting anything new.
While finishing and polishing your manuscript, you might also want to follow on social media agents and editors you’d be interested in working with. It’s a great way to see what kinds of things they get excited about—and to gauge whether or not your work might appeal to them. Since there’s a good chance you read in the genre you write in, a great place to get some names of agents and editors is from the acknowledgments section of your favorite books.
Most importantly, don’t give up! If writers weren’t such a dedicated, passionate, and persistent group, soldiering on through the inevitable rejections, so many of our favorite novels wouldn’t be on the shelves today.
9. Describe A Promise of Fire in three words.
Sexy emotional adventure!
Thank you so much for having me on Read. Dream. Live and helping to spread the word about A Promise of Fire!
Thank you so much Amanda for this amazing interview. I cannot wait to read Breath of Fire and Heart on Fire, especially if it includes more Beta Team! I can’t resist those charming soldiers. I also can’t resit the gorgeous cover, it is one of my favourite covers. Cat looks amazing on it.
If you would like to read Promise of Fire it is available August 2nd. I can’t wait to buy myself a paperback copy to go with my e-copy. I definitely need this book on my shelf.
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