Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stolen Dreams by Christine Amsden

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.


Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own?

Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series. 

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Cassie herself. She came to me in a flash of inspiration one morning as I was playing with my (then) 9-month-old daughter. I had taken a writing hiatus (something I think can be very good for writers experiencing writer's block), but knew that whatever I wrote next, I wanted it to involve a truly special character. But what could I do that hadn't already been done in fantasy? A new magical power? Or wait … what about no magic power at all? That was my lightbulb moment. As soon as my daughter went down for her nap, I wrote the first paragraph more or less as it exists today … but for a day or two, Cassie was Nick. (It didn't take me long to decide I didn't want to write a first person story from a male perspective.)

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Which draft? :)
After my lightbulb moment, I spent two months brainstorming. I knew I wanted to write a series (although I originally aimed for seven books, not four) and I tried to plan, not just for the first book, but for the long road ahead. Once I started writing the first book, I penned that first draft in less than two months. Fastest first draft I ever wrote! But that was in 2009 and the book didn't come out until 2013. In the end, each book in the series took an average of a year to write, with a lot of back and forth revision across the entire series. Since all four books were done before the first one was released, I feel confident that the overall arc is solid.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Revising. I used to think the rough draft was the best part, but as I jot down those first raw ideas it looks less and less like the dream and more and more like a mess. The revision stage cleans up the mess and reveals the true nature of the story … never exactly what I dreamed but always something magical.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Marketing. And as much as I've loved being able to put out all four books in a series in just over a year's time, I will be relieved when this is all over and I can get back to the writing I love. There are parts of it I enjoy – like connecting with fans (and I never get tired of reading glowing reviews) – but I have the soul of an artist, not a businesswoman or saleswoman.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I'd love to be famous myself! Not because I want to be rich (you don't write to get rich), but because I want people – lots of people – to connect with my work.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Salad dressing – but it can't be more than a year old. My husband goes on a rampage about twice a year, throwing out any food or medicine in the house that has passed its expiration date.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
The story is over for Cassie, but two of her friends got too big for footnotes in her series and are getting single-volume spin-offs of their own. Madison's Song is finished and undergoing editorial review. It should be available in 2015. Kaitlin's Tale is a work in progress. After that … I don't know. I'll just have to wait for inspiration.

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