Spotlight & Author Interview With Amy Braun

Today I’m hosting author, Amy Braun for the blog tour of her new book, Storm Born.

Let’s start off with an exclusive interview.

Hi, Amy. Welcome to the blog!

Tell me a bit about yourself, your hobbies, likes and dislikes.

I’m a Canadian author who lives for writing. It’s my favourite thing in the whole world, and I do it literally every second I can. When I’m not obsessing over a story, I’m often reading, watching TV shows or movies, exploring classic mythology and comic book lore (Marvel, not DC unless we’re talking about Batman villains), or playing board games with my friends. Not sure if this counts as a dislike, but I often get teased about not being able to relax. I’m constantly doing something, whether it’s writing or promoting or research, etc. Even when I watch a TV show or movie, I’m at least subconsciously studying it for writing.

How did you get into writing?

A long time ago, one of my friends told me I had an overactive imagination. It probably comes from reading Choose Your Own Adventure books and Lord of the Rings at a young age, in addition to being a compulsive daydreamer. I started writing fan fiction when I was in my early teens, moved on to collaborative writing, then finally decided to write my own stories. I decided to submit a short story to horror publishers at Mocha Memoirs Press, and was so excited when they agreed to publish the short story. After that, my thoughts were basically: “Wow, that worked! What can I do next?” It was uphill from there, and now I’ve independently published five full length novels, one novella, and dozens of short stories, with a lot more on the way.

Did you choose the genre you write in or do your stories lead you?

I tend to stick to three genres– urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror. Those are my favourite genres to read, and I tend to live by the advice to “write the book you want to read.” That being said, I’m not opposed to trying other genres. I have a lot of books I want to write that delve into solid fantasy, and even have a couple series’ set in cyberpunk and sci-fi settings. Not really the genres I seek out, but when I came up with the ideas, I knew those were the genre/settings where the stories belonged. So while most of my novels stick to three genres, I go wherever the story tells me to go.

Give me all the wonderful facts about when I can get a copy and where?

Storm Born is available now on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords, and iTunes. Paperback copies can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace.

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

For the last couple years, I’ve regularly participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Lately it’s been a funny experience for me, because I’ve come up with ideas on my own, worked hard to organize them, then get sidetracked a couple months before the event starts and end up writing an entirely different novel. This happened with my first full length standalone novel Path of the Horseman, and Storm Born was no different. I had a story planned, was working on tweaking it, then came across a writing prompt on Pinterest. I fell in love with it immediately, becoming much more attached to it than my original plan, and set to work on it. I had a blast coming up with the research, the characters, the world, the fight scenes, and the whole concept. It was a pretty wild idea and I was nervous about it, but given the generally positive feedback I’ve gotten, I’m glad I made the choice that I did.

Who is your favourite character in this story and why?

It’s probably a tie between the main characters, Ava and her Guardian, Hadrian. I typically write characters who are strong physical combatants and it was a nice change to write a character that was a little more “normal.” Ava is exactly the kind of klutzy, quirky young woman I’m sure we’ve all met at some point. She was a lot of fun and definitely has an inner strength that’s just as powerful as physical muscle. Speaking of muscle, I have a soft spot for Hadrian, Ava’s Guardian and romantic interest. I can’t help but love a broody character sometimes and it was a lot of fun to write Hadrian’s character arc.

Will you tell the readers your favourite scene, if you can without giving away too much information? 

Ooo, I like this question. Honestly, it’s a hard choice. I actually really enjoyed writing all of Chapter Two, since that was when Ava began to “recover” from her ordeal, but I also enjoyed the chapter where she was introduced to Hadrian’s world for the first time and realized she was in way over her head. The entire story was thrilling to write from start to finish, but those are the scenes that have stuck with me the most.

Thank you for the interview!

About the author

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Amy’s current work includes the full-length novels Demon’s Daughter, Dark Divinity, Crimson Sky, and Path of the Horseman, and the novella Needfire. She has short stories in various horror and urban fantasy anthologies such as Call From The Grave, Hotel Hell, The Maker of Monsters in Spawn of the Ripper, Survivalism in The Dead Walk: Volume 2, Dismantle in The Steam Chronicles, Lost Sky in Avast, Ye Airships!, Secret Suicide in That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, Bring Back The Hound in Stomping Grounds, Charlatan Charade in Lost in the Witching Hour, and her award-winning short Dark Intentions And Blood in AMOK! Amy can be found online through her frequently updated blog, Literary Braun (literarybraun.blogspot.ca), as well as on Twitter (@amybraunauthor) and Facebook (facebook.com/amybraunauthor).

About the book

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STORM BORN, a 354 page standalone novel, is set in an alternate world where humanity endures the Centennial– a barrage of storms that wreck havoc across the world. But as a young woman learns when she’s violently cursed with supernatural powers, there is more to the Centennial than humanity understands, and if she is going to survive its aftermath and the secret societies battling for control, she must find her own courage and strength before her powers destroy her…
STORM BORN is a paranormal, urban fantasy novel with dash of romance, and takes place in an alternate reality where every hundred years, a devastating storm known as the Centennial ravages the globe. Every kind of storm imaginable– blizzards, floods, monsoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, dust storms– occur on this one day. Storms that might not be caused by natural elements. While the world has prepared, with the United States working under mandates set by the Storm Protection Union, a young woman named Ava Reid finds herself caught in the middle of the Centennial, face to face with a Stormkind, an alien creature capable of controlling the weather. But it’s not just the Stormkind Ava needs to fear, but a secret society burdened with containing the Stormkind. After her attack, Ava is soon pursued and taken into the custody of the Precips, a group of men and women determined to unravel the mystery of how a human was granted Stormkind powers. As they train her to resist her powers and their deadly urges, Ava finds herself falling for her handsome Guardian, Hadrian, a man whose sole mission has been to seek revenge on the leader of the rival Guardian band. Everything Ava knows will come into question, her will tested like never before, and if she cannot learn to control her powers, they will surely control her…

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STORM BORN wasn’t a novel I planned to write. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment ideas that I couldn’t let go of once I had it. I spent a lot of time planning my novel for National Novel Writing month in 2015, but the story wasn’t working for me. That was when I found a writing prompt that offered the idea of the Centennial happening. I’ve always wanted to write a novel where the characters had control over the weather, and I loved this prompt so much that I abandoned my original NaNoWriMo plan, and started creating this one. I was eager to push myself and create something as unique as my last standalone novel, PATH OF THE HORSEMAN.

And believe me, it was a challenge. I wanted to create a new history, a new type of warrior, and an unlikely heroine, but it wasn’t easy. Constantly thinking about how the powers worked, how the world might react (or criticize) this kind of phenomenon, all while incorporating romance, conspiracy, and action, made for some difficult writing. But it was worth it in the end. I worked my butt off, and I think it shows.

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I was really excited about my new characters, particularly Ava and Hadrian. I think a lot of readers will understand Ava. On the outside, she’s a typical shy, klutzy girl, but on the inside, she has fire and spirit and understands what’s important in her life– her family and her friends. So when Hadrian enters her life, she’s genuinely unprepared for him, the tall, broody warrior who is as confused by her as she is by him. Something draws Ava to him, and while he fights it, he becomes vulnerable around her. He wants to continue his duty as a Guardian to protect her, but he also cares about the frightened girl underneath the burdensome powers. Slowly but surely, his control begins to fracture, and he’s torn between choices that will make him question what he knows, and what he wants.

After I finished STORM BORN, I was mentally drained. It was a few months before I decided I wanted to take the risk and release it. I knew the story needed to be edited, and I nitpicked like crazy. My editor was a major help, pointing out little things I hadn’t noticed, and offering the suggestions I desperately needed.

As you can probably see from the graphics, the team at Deranged Doctor Design worked their magic yet again, and each image has been given the praise it deserves, so thank you again to Kim and the rest of the DDD team.

Even with all this work, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this release. Without question, this is the trickiest novel I’ve written to date. It flowed out of me the way every story does, but it’s pretty bold in terms of creativity. I hope that it reaches a wide range of readers and that they enjoy it. I’m not sure this is the novel that will change my career, but I love that it’s out there, and that it will offer readers a unique reading experience. That’s the most any indie author can ask for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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