Happy New Year's Eve, book nerds! James here, and I'm so excited to introduce today's Beyond The Bio guest, bestselling fantasy author Amanda Hocking. Her new book Between The Blade And The Heart comes out this Tuesday. It's the story of a Valkyrie named Malin, whose job requires her to slay immortals in order to return them to the afterlife. And if that description's got you excited, just wait until you check out the sneak peak we've included at the end of the interview! Let's get to it!
James: Hey Amanda! Thanks so much for joining us today! Can you tell me about where you got the idea for Between The Blade And The Heart?
Amanda: I have already written several books inspired by Scandinavian folklore, and I was always fascinated by Valkyries. But because I had already done in Scandinavian fantasy, I wanted to come at this one from a different angle. I imagined the Valkyries helping to police a gritty, diverse, cyberpunk metropolis, in a world filled with not just Norse figures but from many mythologies.
James: So what came first: The world, the mythology, or the characters?
Amanda: I usually say the characters come first, and the world builds around it. But for this one, it really was the world that drew me into it. I knew I was writing about a young woman who was a Valkyrie, but that about all when I began building up the world and the mythology.
James: Were there any particular cities that inspired the urban haven where the Valkyries live?
Amanda: I was really obsessed with this idea of an overpopulated metropolis, and so I took a lot of inspiration from some of the biggest cities in the world, particularly Tokyo, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Manila. The city itself is actually a sort of futuristic, alternate reality of Chicago (one of my favorite cities in the world), and I wanted to incorporate that into it as well.
James: Who’s your favorite character in Between The Blade And The Heart?
Amanda: Oona or Bowie. Oona because she’s so practical, supportive and determine, and Bowie because he’s adorable.
James: Which character is the most like you?
Amanda: Demeter, because she’s pretty dramatic – she basically kills all the plants in the world when her daughter goes missing – but she’s also determined, and will stop at nothing to protect those she cares about.
James: Alright, Amanda, I know you're a fellow movie buff. What are some films your characters would pick as their all-time favorites?
Amanda: That's a tough one. Malin- The Crow, Oona- Pan's Labyrinth, Quinn- Wonder Woman, Asher- Inception, and Marlow- Twelve Monkies.
James: If you were to create a soundtrack for your book, what would it include?
Amanda: This is my favorite question! I love creating soundtracks that I listen to while writing a book, and here are some of my favorite tracks from my Between the Blade and the Heart playlist: Annie Lennox’s “I Put a Spell on You,” Daniel Johns’ “Preach,” Halsey’s “Trouble,” Meg Myers’ “Sorry,” and MYYRA’s “Human Nature.”
James: Will there be any more books in the “Between the Blade and the Heart” series?
Amanda: One more! From the Earth to the Shadows will be out in April 2018.
That’s it for today’s interview with Amanda! But don’t leave yet! You can check out the opening pages of Between The Blade And The Heart by clicking here. We’ll be back with another awesome interview next week, when Julie Anne will be interviewing Lianne Oelke about her new book, Nice Try, Jane Sinner. See you then!