As one of the #CMCon21 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2021 and introducing you to their many stories.
Writing short stories, even mini-fiction, can’t always be worked into a writing schedule; so for those authors who may not be able to let their characters play in the sand, I’ve invited them to a nighttime beach bonfire to have a drink, listen to the crashing waves, and answer a few questions of my own.
Joining me in the sand is Amy Lane, author of Crafting Category Romance: The Art of Fiction Haiku, All the Rules of Heaven, the Fish Out of Water series, the Little Goddess series, and so much more.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, something readers may not have heard before?
This one’s hard–I’ve done enough of these and my life is so boring that I’m not sure there IS anything diehard readers haven’t heard before. How about this–I wanted to be an actress in high school and part of junior college, and I hung out with the band and theater kids. However I was just not that good–either as a flute player or as an actress. That hasn’t stopped me from making a number of my characters part of the arts community, though–although, because my children were involved with dance, I’ve used dancing more than theater. When I became a high school teacher, I used some of my theater skills to keep my students engaged, and I’ve always been fascinated by how much that part of my life has given me when I was, in fact, a very small part of it.
Official Bio: Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
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Can you introduce us to the world(s) that you have created?
Well, I grew up (mostly) in the Sierra Foothills, which had a history of the Gold Rush behind it, and a sort of natural supernatural vibe. (For fun, watch a lot of television about quirky small towns and see how many of them are set in Northern California!) I set my very first series–the Little Goddess series–here, and this new series, All that Heaven Will Allow is also set in the Sierra Foothills. There’s even a sly Easter Egg in All the Rules of Heaven about how there’s a fairy hill ten miles away, and why can’t those people take care of Tucker’s problem? My world building tends to take the very real, ordinary, human dilemmas we must all face–intimacy versus isolation, hope versus despair, oatmeal versus bacon–and adds in the supposition that magic is real, but it follows the same rules that all human interaction and power follows. If it’s abused, it corrupts the abuser. If it’s used well, there is no guarantee of HEA, but there’s hope for peace at the end. I love writing in this subtly skewed world–and for me, it allows me to explore the themes of what it means to be human with just a little extra oomph of the other possibilities out there.
Will this be your first Coastal Magic or are you a veteran? What was it about Coastal Magic that drew you to it? Why have you continued to return?
I am a veteran–in fact, I have a little known short story based on the now legendary terrifying hotel that housed the very first Coastal Magic (called Old City, New Blood that first year!). The story, Left on St. Truth be Well, was sort of a quirky little bit of sexy mystery, but those of us who attended that first conference said my depiction of the “Bates Parrot Hotel” was pretty on-point!
If you’ve been before, what is your favorite CMC memory? If you’ve never been, what are you looking forward to?
I’m a veteran–so much a veteran, in fact, that I was pulled into the very first Flash Fiction–and have been one of the recurring people in the feature ever since. Being a part of that has been one of the highlights of my year when I attend Coastal–and for the two years I haven’t been able to go since its inception, I’ve missed it terribly.
Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that stand out in your stories?
A couple of characters stand out as being SUCH characters that, completely without my permission they either got their own book, OR they got to be a principal love interest for someone I’d planned to be monogamous. Bracken from the Little Goddess series was one of these. Cory and Green were SUPPOSED to be a monogamous couple after they lost Adrian, but damn, Bracken and his enormous manhood would not leave me alone. He was a snarky asshole–but he was also unbelievably tender–and I just… I had to… oh my God. Bracken. The same thing happened with Aylan in the Triane’s Son saga–Torrant wasn’t supposed to love anyone but Yarri, but Aylan was not leaving me alone! In more recent stories, Henry in Shades of Henry was such a good guy! He showed so much character growth he HAD to get his own book. So did Burton who started out in Racing for the Sun. Dustin from A Fool and His Manny starts out as the 9 YO jerkoff who flicks lasagna onto Taylor’s eyepatch, but by the time he hits 21, all of that bravado has become damned sexy, and he literally dominates Quinlan into his bed. When I’m done with my current book–in which Grace, a cat burglar, has successfully demanded a sequel–I’ll be working on the fourth Search and Rescue book, Guarded Heart. There were only supposed to be three, but Spencer Helmsely walked into book two as a new employee. The first thing he did was hit on Damien, and then ask if Glen was available, and when Damien–in a fit of exasperation said, “You can’t hit on any of the customers either!” Spencer said, “Killjoy. Can I still have the damned job?” I was like, “Oh, baby. You need your own damned book.” And he’ll definitely get it. Dude.
Since creating your world, has there been anything you’ve regretted starting or wish you had started sooner? Was there something that worked out great in the beginning, but now you wish you had done differently?
Series. Bible. OH MY GOD. Series. Bible. I used to think I had a mind like a steel trap and would remember everything–but just like pregnancy brain ate my real life memory, giving birth to over 100 books has eaten all of internal hard drive. SERIES BIBLE. I WISH I’d started one way back in the wayback. Who would have thought I’d still be writing now?:
Which do you find is more central in your writing: the characters or world creation?
I think, both in contemporary and Alternative Universe fiction, the world helps build the characters. They’re dependent on each other. A character raised in a harsh environment will either be harsh or frightened. A character raised in warmth will have warmth to spare. If someone with math brain is raised in a word-only world, they will feel alienated. If someone who is good with words is thrown into a world in which words aren’t the express means of communication, they will have both skills and weaknesses to change their circumstance. We are both products of our environment and forces of change to it–and that interaction is constant and immutable. The world building has to be organic with the characters and that interaction needs to be reciprocal or the book feels like, “Well, there were people with fire shooting out their asses and they had to do a thing.”
If you could be any fantasy creature/person/magical thing, what would you be? Why?
In my Little Goddess universe, I have human sized shapeshifting housecats. Not pumas or jaguars or cheetahs–just like, mass-translatable housecats. They’re deadly in battle and very catlike in person and spend a lot of time sleeping in the middle of the damned floor on Green’s hill. That. I’m a big woman, so I’d be a GIMONGULOUS housecat, and I’d probably be a ginger, although I wouldn’t mind being a black and white or a torti either. I wouldn’t care about the size of my ass, I’d go out and hunt bad people and come back and lay the corpses of my enemies on the porches of my friends. It would be great.
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 40 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
If you haven’t been to Coastal Magic yet, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. Be sure to keep up with all things Coastal Magic, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Tumblr | Pinterest | CMCon21 Reading Challenge