Author Interview: Dark-eyed, Light-hearted A.G. Porter, Author of The Darkness Trilogy

For my first author interview in December, I have the pleasure of sitting down with A.G. (Amanda) Porter, indie author of The Darkness Trilogy. On her blog, she lists writing as her favorite past time; and in this writer’s fortunate experiences with Amanda, she makes a great beta reader and an even better friend. Like me, she grew up in the hilly countryside of Alabama, where she resides today with her husband, stepson, and self-described furbabies.

Amanda Porter (1)

Could you tell us about your journey to the exciting, fast-paced world of writing fiction?

Oh gosh, where do I start? As cliché as it sounds, I know it began when I was just a little girl and I watched my mom typing away at her typewriter. Yes, a typewriter. She would writer the scariest stories! She still does and I can’t wait for her to put them out for the world to read!

I had always been an avid reader of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street Series. In high school, I carried around a 5-subject notebook that I would use to write my stories in. I wonder if my parents still have them because I’m sure those stories would be so funny to read now and probably really embarrassing!

After graduating from school I thought I had to get out in the real world and get a real job. I went to school, got a degree in business, and went into the corporate world. All the while, I was still writing. It hit me one day that I was never going to know if anyone would be interested in reading my books if I didn’t put them out there. Then in 2012, after being told “No” for the millionth time by literary agents, I decided to just do it myself and I’ve never been happier.

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Did you have someone helping you along the road to self-publication or was it an entirely self-taught experience?

I had plenty of encouragement from family and friends, but most of the process was just me. I had to figure things out on my own. For example, where to find a cover artist, how to convert the Word document into an ebook, etc. I thought once I was finished writing then that was it. I was so wrong. There is so much more to being an Indie Author than just writing a book. You don’t realize that you’re actually a small business and you’re not only an artist, but you’re a marketer, a personal assistant, a promoter and the list just goes on.

It would have been nice to have a mentor to help, you know, someone who had been through it before. I know many self-published authors who are more than willing to help now, but back then I didn’t know anyone! Ha! That is why if I see someone who I know is new I try my best to reach out to them or if someone reaches out to me I will drop whatever I am doing and help them.

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What have you learned about the rigors of the writing, editing, and self-publishing process from Book One of the Darkness Trilogy to Book Two?

Don’t rush it. Yes, you will have readers that want you hurry up and get those books out and that is get, but you will be doing them a disservice if you rush the books just to get them out of the door. Also, you can’t edit your own stuff. Let someone else look over it. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny to make your stuff look good, but not just to anyone. Do your research! There are some people out there who just want to take your money.

If you want to use Beta Readers, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, please make sure this person is trustworthy. I have heard so many horrors about Beta Readers being Book Pirates. I can’t imagine seeing my work online for sale by someone else just because I thought I could trust someone to read an ARC. Again, do your research.

The Shadow book cover

Do you have a preference in genres that you prefer to write? Any that you plan to avoid?

I have always loved the paranormal, so I will probably stick to that most of the time. One day I would love to try a Sci-Fi story. I love that genre, but we’ll see. I plan to try my hand in fantasy as well. I have a dragon rider series that I have been working for about 10 years that my stepson wants me to finish. We shall see!
I’m not too much into Romance. There are romantic elements in my books because I believe that people love to be in love, but I couldn’t write a book that is entirely centered on someone’s romantic relationship.

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You mentioned that you weave your faith and beliefs into your storytelling. How do you go about it without coming off like you’re proselytizing to your audience? Have your received any feedback, positive or negative, about it?

My faith is just a part of who I am, I suppose. It just automatically comes out into the words that I write. I’m not sure about most authors, but for me, my books reflect my mind when it comes to my faith. I’ll also say that my books have a lot darkness in it, but that isn’t me at all. I’ll put it this way because someone else approached me with a similiar question. This is how life is; you have goodness and darkness. Sometimes they come at you at the same time and you have to fight with all you have in you to hold on to the light. For me and my writing style, I fight with my faith.

However, I know that there are people out there who do not share my beliefs so I would never want to come across as shoving what I believe down their throats. The main character of my book, Rayna, is dealing with an evil presence, a darkness, so she clings to the light, her faith, to fight it off. She also knows that she has to find her inner strength as well. There isn’t one time in the book that she or anyone else says, “You better go to church or you’re going to Hell.” Haha!

There are many characters in the book that have no religious upbringing and mention nothing about faith because, again, we’re all different. I’ve just created a world where (think Supernatural or Buffy) demons roam the earth so you better watch out. So Rayna uses her gifts and her faith to fight that evil off. So far, the feedback has been positive and I think it’s because the readers know it’s a work of fiction.

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As with any discussion of faith and religion, my mind drifts to sin, to guilty pleasures. What book is your guilty reading pleasure? Why?

Hmm. I would probably have to Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and all her other vampire books. I guess it’s a guilty pleasure because Ms. Rice can get pretty dark. I started reading those books when I was pretty young and they were darker than anything I read at the time. So I felt like I being mischievous. Haha!

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Bringing the conversation back around to your writing, could you tell us a bit about your creative process? Are you much of a “plotter” or do you write by the seat of your pants…or tights as the case may be? 😉

Haha! I am not a plotter. I sit down and let it fly, for the most part, when it comes to my paranormal books. The fantasy book is something different though. That series has so many characters that I’ve had to create a list and have even drawn a map. It’s a terrible map because I’m not a cartographer! I wanted to draw it though so I could have a visual of the world I was creating. I haven’t really created an outline for it, but it’s more preparation than I’ve ever done for a book.

What other authors have influenced you the most as a writer?

R.L. Stine and Dean Koontz for sure are at the top of my list. I love their writing style and the strong careers that both of them have had. If I ever get the chance to meet them, I think I might just pass out. 😉

The Geek Gathering 2014

The Geek Gathering 2014

Are you working on anything currently? Would you provide a brief excerpt from it?

Why yes, I am working on book three of The Darkness Trilogy. I’ll be glad to share something. Here you go:

He didn’t get to finish his sentence. An ear splitting sound ripped through the night sky and blinding pain stabbed me in the back. A force, stronger than I had ever felt, kicked me in the spine and threw me across the yard. I landed hard on the gravel, skidding for a while before I stopped.

My back felt hot and my face was raw. I was fairly certain that more than one bone in my body was broken. I tried raising my head, but the muscles in my neck didn’t seem want to work. My eyelids were heavy and I really wanted to sleep. Something was telling that I shouldn’t, that if I did, I wouldn’t wake back up.

The Shadow descended on me, crushing my will to stay awake. He held me underneath his power, wrapping my broken body in his powerful arms. Using his strength, he pulled me up into the sky where I had a bird eye view of the carnage below. It was hard to look at, like something from a war zone.

Up here the air was cold and my breath turned to mist as soon as it left my mouth. My fingers and toes were numb and my nose started to run though I was unsure if it was blood or not. Tears turned to ice as they stung the corners of my eyes.

I saw my body lying on the ground; my left leg was twisted at a grotesque angle. My right arm was underneath my body and it looked as though I wasn’t breathing. A large chunk of my hair was burned and the back of my shirt was scorched off, revealing red flesh that would take time to heal if I lived that long.

The Forsaken book cover

Is there an upcoming (or recent) release that you’d like to promote here? If so, what’s it about and where can we find it?

My most recent release is Book 2, The Forsaken, of The Darkness Trilogy. You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IP1DBCA

Thanks again, Amanda. Let’s hope the new year brings with it the final installment of The Darkness Trilogy. Best of luck on finishing it. I’m sure your fans are as eager as your friends to see this project brought to fruition.

For more about A.G. Porter and The Darkness Trilogy, check out her blog at the following URL:

https://agporter.wordpress.com

Stay tuned to this blog for more interviews. My next author interview is Alexander S. Brown, author of Traumatized and Syrenthia Falls. Plus, we’ll talk more with the sexy dolls of Cherry Sparkle Burlesque.

Horror Author, Jeremy Hicks talks about The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers

Author A.G. Porter interviews me about writing horror and the Cycle of Ages Saga. Check it out for a snippet from the upcoming sequel novel, Sands of Sorrow.

A.G. Porter

Jeremy Hicks       Jeremy Hicks

Author Jeremy Hicks is one of the first authors I met when I started going to conventions. Let me tell you, if you’re just starting out and haven’t had the opportunity to meet your fellow authors, conventions can be very intimidating. Meeting Jeremy immediately put me at ease. I knew if all of the authors I met were like him, then I was going to have a great time!

Jeremy has been on my blog before and I am so glad that he’s back to talk to us about his horror novel The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers. He’s also giving away a paperback copy! Enter below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c01ba827/

AP: Where did you get the idea for The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers?

JH: The idea came from my past role-playing experiences, specifically playing in a D&D campaign run by my friend…

View original post 1,951 more words

Writing Process Blog Tour: Jeremy’s Entry

I’m not much of a blogger or self-promoter for that matter. I find it easier and derive more joy from promoting the works of others. That being said, I was talked into participating in a blog tour about the writing processes of different authors. I tend to field similar questions at conventions or whenever someone finds out I’m a writer.

Before we get into the question-and-answer portion, I would like to thank A.G. Porter, the talented, alluring author of The Darkness Trilogy, a series of YA Paranormal Thrillers. She brought me onto the tour.

Amanda Porter

You can find out more about her and her works at the following links:

http://agporter.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TDTAGP

In this installment of the Writing Process Blog Tour, you’re getting a sneak peak into the world of a writer who likes to write horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Namely, me! Good luck! Hope you come out with as many sanity points as you had going into this blog. If you don’t blame A.G., not me. 3:)~

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What am I working on?

At the moment, I am working on a number of short submission projects for various anthologies with a few different publishers. I finished the rough draft of a submission for Chaosium’s The Summer of Lovecraft anthology, which features Cthulhu Mythos stories set in the 1960s. However, I ran long, so I had to edit it down a couple of thousand words before the deadline. Thankfully, several beta readers helped me through that difficult process. I’m in the planning stages for a hardboiled detective short story for Dark Oak Press. And have a couple of other short stories in various stages of completion for upcoming Pro Se Press projects.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm…good question. I’m assuming that other people are being read more than me. My career as a professional fiction writer is just getting started, so I’m working on developing my style, playing with characters and different narrator voices, and experimenting with different genres. In doing so, I produced a truly unique piece of steampunk fiction set on our fantasy world of Faltyr. It’s a story about dwarves on a submarine deep within the abyssal seas contained within the planet. I tried to handle the steam technology in a different way and fused much of it with our Aethyr magic system.

Why do I write what I do?

Various reasons. It depends on what I’m writing actually. I’ve written stories to expression emotions, viewpoints, beliefs, conflicts, or tackle touchy or controversial subjects. I’ve written strictly to entertain and have fun with it too. So, what I’m writing at the time is really influenced by my mood and what scenes my imagination station is developing at the time. However, most of my work tends to be darker, grittier pieces as I tend to have a very pragmatic outlook on many subjects and have highly critical viewpoints on other topics. I also tend to live by the phrase: hope for the best; prepare for the worst. So, that mindset tends to influence the tone of a lot of my work. And then there’s the revenge fiction. Muwahahaha! One of those will be coming soon in Dark Oak Press’s werewolf anthology, Luna’s Children: Full Moon Mayhem.

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How does my writing process work?

Well, first there’s the concept or initial idea. Followed by a flurry of activity, which is mostly planning and research. Then there’s the procrastination. And the hem-hawing, the paralysis-by-analysis, and finally some forward progression. More procrastination aids in the percolation process for imagination station. Occasionally, there’s some advice from outside sources along the way. Then I wrestle with Act II. Hate myself and my writing. Procrastinate some more. Get frustrated. Maybe have a smoke to relax and then go back to writing. Finish the third act, usually well above the anticipated word count and then move onto editing. But not before I criticize, procrastinate, and proofread. After I’m done editing, some other poor bastard beta-reads it and then unloads on me with both barrels. I fume. Mostly, I think things like: Why does everyone hate adverbs anyway? And adjectives, don’t I need those? I sulk and then procrastinate. Then I edit some more. Eventually, it goes to a professional editor before coming back to me. We send it back and forth like a game of pong, only less fun, until the publisher is happy. Some months down the road a check shows up in my mailbox or I get some free copies or both. And there you have it. The guide to being a very poor professional writer.

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Well, there you go, kiddies. That’s how the magic happens, from its origins in imagination station to publication. If you feel enlightened and/or educated, I have succeeded. If you feel slightly traumatized, I have succeeded better than I could have possibly imagined. If you have any other questions about the writing process or need help with yours, feel free to look me up on social media or chat with me at a convention or booksigning.

In the meantime, check out my newest release, a Pro Se Digital Single Shot entitled “The Savior of Istara”, another standalone tale from The Cycle of Ages Saga. It’s only 99 CENTS on Kindle and Smashwords. Click the picture below to purchase it through Amazon.

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As part of this Writing Process Blog Tour, I am supposed to tag three more people with this blog and provide links to their material. Coming up on this blog tour, you can look forward to the following authors:

HC Playa:

HC Playa

HC Playa is a writer, a mad scientist in training (translation: full –time graduate student), a mother of three, and an animal wrangler. Although, some days she wonders if maybe she’s the one being wrangled.
An avid reader since the precocious age of four, she devoured books from numerous genres, but science fiction and fantasy hold a special place in her heart. A rambling, late night phone conversation with her sister sparked an idea, which led to discovering a new passion. Bitten by the writing bug, at last count she had seven novels in various stages of completion, and a growing collection of short stories.

Her favorite activity is to play in fantastical worlds, as it’s the best adventure there is.

https://www.facebook.com/HCPlaya
https://hcplaya.wordpress.com/

John McColley:

John McColley

John A. McColley lives in a vortex of worlds, characters, machines and language, constantly dragging images and forms out of the storm onto canvas, paper or computer screen to share them with others and give them new life. When not wrestling with words, he cranks dials and makes sparks at his local hackerspaces and searches the wilds of New England for semi-precious stones with his wife and son. His work is currently available in Crossed Genres’ first issue of the year, various anthologies, including the first Capes and Clockwork, and at Mad Scientist Journal.

John has an author page of Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-A-McColley/105420682981117 a twitter account @JohnAMcColley and a blog http://johnamccolley.wordpress.com/ that he’d love for you to visit.

J.H. Fleming

JH Fleming

J. H. Fleming is the author of the upcoming Lifting the Veil: Tales of Discovery and Magic. Her work has been published by Visionary Tongue Magazine, Evil Girlfriend Media, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Seventh Star Press. She writes fantasy that isn’t afraid venture into the shadows. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, or possibly playing a video game or watching anime. J. H. lives in Arkansas with a Yorkie, a cat, two turtles, and her Asian American friend with a voice to rival an anime character’s.

http://www.someplacetobeflying.com/apps/blog/someplacetobeflying.com