I’m lucky enough to have Amanda Holohan on my blog today. A huge thank you to Amanda for answering my questions, and a big thanks to Penguin for setting up this opportunity.
1. Tell us a little bit about Unwanted…
Unwanted follows the story of Bea Azaeli who has grown up in a devastated city surrounded by an enormous wall. She knows that beyond the wall is a terrible enemy, and that if the wall falls then the enemy will overrun the city and she, her family and all her friends will die.
In the city, citizens are rewarded with ink – incredible fluid shapes that flow just beneath the skin. But not every person is worth ink and there are less desirable people living in the dump, known as Unwanteds.
The idea for the novel came to me as I found myself wondering what it would be like to be isolated on one side of a wall, knowing that a war was raging on the other side. How helpless would you feel? Would you do everything you could to reach out? If you were isolated with other people, would your community create its own rules? The story developed quite dramatically from there.
2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Persistence is key to success. Write every day. Read as much as you can including books on writing. Listen to advice from published authors whose novels you admire and incorporate from this only what you feel will improve your work; you don’t have to take everything on board. Remember, you’re an individual and your writing is unique. Believe in yourself. Write what you love. Develop a thick skin – not everyone will like your work but some readers will love it. Never stop.
3. Are you a planner or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I’ve always planned my writing and even the stories I wrote in my childhood had meticulous character profiles developed for them. It’s always been part of the fun.
With Unwanted, I knew how the novel was going to start and end and a few key moments in between before I started work. I put together a brief chapter-by-chapter synopsis and pencilled a rough chart. Then, once I started writing, the novel gained a life of its own and took me to places I hadn’t imagined. Having the synopsis meant I was always able to steer the novel back in the right direction so that it ended where it should.
4. Do you utilise the help of critique partners in your writing process?
I don’t have critique partners, as such. I do however bounce ideas off my husband, David. He’s great because he’s an avid reader and I respect his taste in books. He’s never afraid to tell me if something isn’t working. I like this honesty. If things don’t work I want to know so that I can improve them.
5. What genres do you like to read?
I mostly read fiction. I particularly love science-fiction, fantasy, and young adult books in general because they explore broad themes and often present ideas that are new and exciting.
6. What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I’m working on a follow up book to Unwanted.
7. Did you make any 2015 New Years resolutions?
To finish another awesome book for Penguin. To seek the beauty in every day and cherish it.
8. What are your future writing goals?
Oh, wow, I have so many writing goals! I’ve more than twenty book ideas in mind and I’m excited about all of them. After the next book has been completed, I’d like to write a thriller. I’ve been scribbling notes for it as they come up and filing them away until it’s their turn. Right now, I’m loving being immersed in the world of Unwanted.