Friday 24 May 2019

Interview with Amanda Marin and Review of North To Nara

I am delighted to be welcoming Amanda Marin to the blog for both an interview and my review of her book: North To Nara. Here's a little about Amanda!

When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.

Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven't involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.

Amanda has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and books with characters that make you go "awww." She lives in the northeastern United States with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.

And onto the interview!

Do you read your own genre? Is it a favourite?
Absolutely! I love all things YA, especially romance, futuristic, dystopian, and contemporary novels. I like the creativity and genre-bending of YA—it really feels like a “safe zone” for exploring all kinds of topics… plus, there’s almost always love involved as a subplot!

Was writing always your dream choice of career?
Yes, it has. I’ve been writing since I was little—I’ve always loved stories and books, and I have a pretty active imagination. When I was around 13 years old, my English teacher was extremely supportive and encouraged me to keep going with my interest—so I did! Now, I’m a marketing content writer by day, and my debut novel, North to Nara, a YA dystopian romance, released at the end of March. I feel very lucky to get to do what I love!

Do you have a writing space? Pictures or descriptions!

I usually camp out on the couch with my laptop—nothing super special, but it’s comfortable. (Like Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, I have my special “spot”!) My dog often snuggles up next to me while I write. Sometimes she reaches over and slaps the keyboard with her paw—I’m not sure if she’s jealous or trying to help… We’ll go with helping! :)

Playlists? Yes or no? And why?
I’m addicted to satellite radio and love long drives listening to music—so yes, I often make playlists for my writing. It really helps to keep me inspired and thinking about my characters. A few of the songs on my playlist for North to Nara are: “&Run” by Sir Sly, “Move” by Saint Motel, and “Geyser” by Mitski… Each captures an emotion or dilemma faced by the main characters.

Which social media do you see as a must for writers?
Hands down, it’s Instagram. I was reluctant to try it for a long time, but a friend of mine convinced me to sign up, and now I love it. Plus, it seems to have a really strong book-oriented following. Not only do I love seeing everyone’s fabulous pictures (Bookstagram has changed my life!), but I’ve also really enjoyed the people I’ve interacted with.

What's your favourite book you've read?
Definitely The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s not YA. Or dystopian. Or sci-fi at all. Still, I love it—the writing is superb, and the relationships in it are all so complex. I re-read it fairly regularly.

Morning or evening writer?
Definitely evening… often late at night. My day job can be quite hectic, and I consider it a reward to be able to sit back for a few hours, enjoy the quiet, and get lost in my own little world of stories. (Sometimes I’m horrified when I look back at what I’ve written when I’m at the point of exhaustion… other times, it’s pretty funny!)

Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward... and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.

The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and
gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.

My review: 5 stars
I fell in love with the idea reading the blurb and picked this one up. I was hooked from the first page, a fresh storytelling that makes you want to settle in and keep turning the pages. I adored the story between Neve and Micah, the idea that love can conquer everything but that rush for freedom, the feeling that sometimes being free isn't all that the government say it is. I loved this book and will be picking up the second in the series when it comes out because it is an amazingly crafted world and story! Highly recommended.

You can follow Amanda on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

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