Meet the Author: Amara E. Starling

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

About two years ago. I’ve written all my life, starting from the time I could shape letters into words and words into sentences, but I was always told what I should and shouldn’t be, and sadly, none of those things were what I wanted to be: a writer. I spent a lot of time telling myself it was a dream, and I repeated the words I was told as a child constantly. “You can’t keep living in a fantasy world.” But about two years ago, I couldn’t deny who I was anymore. I hit a serious bout of depression, and I started on a path of self-discovery. In doing so, I found my passion for words again. I took a deep breath, sat down at my computer one day, and said, “You’re a writer. You’re going to be a published author. This is where your heart is, so this is what you’re going to do.”

I never looked back after that, and once I fully embraced it, everything began falling into place.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I write pretty much all variations of fantasy, but Grimdark seems to be my go-to genre. I think, for me, it helps me explore that darker side of the human psyche as well as themes that might not be considered in day-to-day living. Things such as where the line blurs between a hero and a villain. After all, we’re all fighting for something. Who chooses which side is right or wrong?

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

One of the biggest points of growth I’ve had creatively is my ability to remain neutral and unbiased to all sides of a situation. I used to be exceptionally opinionated and judgmental, but after the journey of self-discovery I mentioned above, my eyes really opened to how every coin has two sides. That revelation alone helped improve my writing tenfold.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t be afraid to be bold or daring. Put down all of the “how to” books and just write. Read a lot, too. Get involved in your character as much as you can, even if that means facing your fears. Does your character go on deep forest adventures at dark? Get out in the woods and sit for an hour. What do you hear? What do you see? Write it all down. The experience you can get from doing will far exceed the information you get from reading a “how to” book. One of my favorite pastimes came from my main character excelling at knife throwing. Some call it an impulse buy, I call it research. All in all, be bold. Be daring. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Write. Read. If being a writer is what you want, never, NEVER give up.

Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?

Fragments is Book One in the Symphony Ryelle Saga and is more of a backstory on my main character, Symphony. She’s a sweetheart in the beginning, abused and orphaned, just trying to fit into a world that doesn’t have a place for her. She knows all of two things in her earliest days:  She hates fancy dresses, and for some reason she heals exceptionally fast.

As punishment for ill behavior, Symphony is sent to collect some things from the local village, and it’s there that she meets a stranger who ultimately helps her escape her prison. Only her expectations of this individual are much too high, and she learn very quickly the toil of learning to survive on her own.

Just when Symphony thinks she has everything figured out, she discovers that her knack for speedy healing is directly tied to her immortal blood and that she is being hunted by the leader of the Uthor Igni, a tribe of dark elves.

While hiding in the most unlikely places, Symphony learns of the existence of a group of immortals calling themselves The Gathering. She promptly sets off to discover their sacred society of protectors, a family she can call her own, but what she doesn’t realize is that her enemies are closer than she thinks. Her only means of escaping them lie in the southern dragon lands of Acariya.

Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?

Symphony is bordering on being an anti-hero. She doesn’t want any real part in the fate handed to her, and yet she keeps getting tangled in it anyway. She’s not the typical pretty-faced heroine, nor does she care to be, and she gets along as “one of the guys” more than she’s inclined to be in the company of women. Symphony is a character that readers can relate to. She’s a voice for the various roles a woman can represent, and it’s unlikely you’ll see her adhering to gender biases. She rarely depends on anyone, men included, and is capable of taking care of herself. She’s angry and facetious, catty and witty, kind and gentle, and helps where needed.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Neil Gaiman. His writing has been an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember, and I often reflect on his work to “recharge” my own writing. I love that he isn’t afraid to step over that boundary of weird to downright uncomfortable and then jump over to writing children’s books. I swear the man has no boundaries, and I fully appreciate that, as well as hope to embrace that same versatility in my own writing career.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Above all, music. I listen mostly to instrumentals. Saltillo, Nils Frahm, Michael Nyman, Tchaikovsy, Audiomachine, Brand X Music. Non-instrumentals, I can be found listening to Haggard, Fever Ray, Lorde, Sick Puppies, and The Head and the Heart among various others. I’m always up for listening to new music, especially the kind that fuels my writing!

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

To have patience. I often joke that patience is a terrible color on me. It isn’t a joke at all. I am likely one of the most impatient people on the planet, but writing has fine-tuned my tolerance to make the constant waiting bearable. I spent an entire year querying only to discover that the book I was querying for had some severe pacing issues, so I had to restart the entire process over again. That’s when Fragments was born. Another near-year of querying, and I finally found a wonderful small publisher to take it on. There were many times when I wanted to quit, and at one point I did, but I have an amazing editor who helped pick me up and shoved me back into the query battle.

What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

The anxiety that comes with waiting for feedback and reviews. I think most writers have that nervousness, that wondering of whether or not their work will sink or swim in the reader’s eyes. I tend to ignore the barriers around heavier topics, so I’m constantly at odds with myself over whether what I include in my stories is appropriate or not. But then I have to stop and realize who I’m writing for, which is me. And that’s all that matters. Still, the internal conflict doesn’t make it easy at all.

Amara cover

How to connect with Amara and discover more about her work?
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest Amazon Author Page | Book

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