It is a pleasure to welcome Amanda Cherry author of Rites & Desires.
Welcome Amanda to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know you and your stories better.
Thanks a Million for having me!
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
Rites & Desires is a distillation of what’s on the protagonist’s mind all the time. Ruby is obsessed with getting what she wants, the return of her lost magical powers most of all. And since the book is all about Ruby, I wanted the title to be a reflection of her inner world.
Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you? If so, give a few examples…
The only character I got to name on my own was Arsho Barsamian, who is a minor character who I love in a major way. They are a genderfluid top-tier executive and part of the Armenian Diaspora. I think nonbinary people in positions of power aren’t often seen in fiction, so I gave them the name that means “Dawn” in Armenian, because I think of it as a beginning of a kind of representation that we don’t get enough of. Everyone else was already an existing character in the universe or in mythology.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
My book takes place in the Cobalt City universe of heroes and villains. I had read several earlier stories and was already a big fan of the characters when I was invited to submit to their short story anthology in 2015. The character of Ruby Killingsworth, who became my book’s protagonist, was loosely based on me when she was first seen in a story by Dawn Vogel. After my short story sold, and I had set Ruby on this course, I really wanted to see her through it. I was thrilled when DefCon One Publishing said yes!
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
There’s a balance to be struck between adequate focus to get things done, and being so hyper-focused you forget to brush your teeth or wash your kid’s clothes. Ruby is a champion of multitasking—I wish I were as good at it as she is. For me, sanity while writing (while drafting especially) lies in part in finding joy in your fictional world and being able to look forward to returning there day after day after day. Ruby is a practiced hedonist and she has a way of finding joy in every moment. If she’s not having a good time, she changes something until she is—and that’s a great metaphor for a story: if I’m not having a good time, the readers won’t either, and I should change something until it’s fun!
What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?
Most people who are familiar with me as a writer know that I cut my author-teeth writing fanfiction. So I am very accustomed to doing my research and having to get to know existing characters and their voices before sitting down to create a story. This book took things to a whole new level. There are multiple mythologies represented in this book. A Norse god is a featured character, and there are brushes with both Tibetan Buddhism and the Queen of Sheba. I had to spend oodles of time making sure I had things just so. I didn’t want to misrepresent anything with a basis in genuine tradition, so it was a lot of work—but it was worth it in the end. I’m very happy with the finished product.
What makes you laugh?
My four year-old. A good Star Wars joke. My dog.
What makes you cry?
The fact that my childhood best friend, my mom, and my lifelong hero aren’t here to read my book. Go out and create RIGHT NOW, people! Tomorrow could be too late for the people you love most to share it with you!
What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?
I am a geek of the highest degree. I love Star Wars and Harry Potter the most, but my love for Star Trek: TNG. The X-Files, Buffy, and the West Wing have also spawned epic fannishness. I think I see a little of all of this in my writing. There’s definitely the kind of witty banter that my favorite characters are known for as well as elements of magic that you might find in the Buffyverse. There’s even a little politicking.
Is there anything else you want to add about the story, series that has not already been mentioned?
This is my debut novel and I am more than thrilled to be sharing this story with everyone. MY protagonist is objectively a villain, which is an interesting point of view from which to tell a story. I think it’s fresh and fun and I think people will enjoy it.
What is the best way for readers to interact with you?
I am super accessible! I am probably most easily reached via tweet @MandaTheGinger . I also have a Facebook Page, a Website: www.TheGingerVillain.com, an Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/amandacherry
and a Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16099525.Amanda_Cherry
Amanda Cherry is a native of Pensacola, FL and an alumnus of UNLV who hasn’t been thoroughly warm since moving to the Seattle area in 2003. Amanda’s first love was performing, and she has had a successful career as a theatre, television, and film actress.
Amanda’s first book was penned in her family’s den and published by her father in time for Christmas in 1985, she was six years old. After the limited success of that first outing, Amanda turned to writing stories for fun. She spent the next twenty-odd years doing just that.
A lifelong nerd, Amanda joined the staff at her favorite Star Wars site, Tosche Station, as a contributing writer in 2016 and discovered that letting other people read what she’d written was actually pretty fun. Thanks to the encouragement of a friend, she was invited to submit to Cobalt City Christmas: Christmas Harder in 2016 while living overseas in Berlin, Germany. When she learned that her story was bought, she cried.