Welcome this month’s Meet the Author guest, Amanda Marin.
If you love YA Dystopian, “swoony, forbidden romance”, and “heart-pounding suspense and action”, Amanda has some treats for you! Flicker to Fire, the third and final book in the Crimson Sash series comes out this week, and Enchanted Kingdoms: A Limited Edition Twisted Fairytale Anthology, due out in February 2021, is available for pre-order now, so give her a warm welcome, check out her books, and join the discussion below.
Let’s find out more about Amanda, her books, and her writing life…
Flicker to Fire
Publishes August 4, 2020, Inkspell Publishing
Outside the refugee center in Kébec Village, the border wall separating the New Republic from the Nation continues to crumble. On one side, Neve Hall and Micah Ward are Sans Murs operatives, documenting cases of the Nation’s human rights violations as escapees arrive. On the other, Isla Pryce has begun a ruthless mission to purge the Nation of Sufferers who, like Micah, have been unfaithful to their vows.
Then she arrives: Blythe Thatcher, a mysterious young woman on the run from Isla’s vicious Inquisition Board. In Blythe, Neve sees a way to help Sans Murs further its cause—and rid the Nation of its callous Suffering system once and for all. But when the Nation uncovers their plan, the struggle that started as a flicker quickly turns to fire, and only Neve and Micah can extinguish the flame.
On Sale Now for 2.99 at all your favorite e-book retailers!
The Crimson Sash series is best enjoyed in the following reading order: North to Nara (Book 1), Sky to Sea (Book 2), Flicker to Fire (Book 3). Find more information about me and my books by visiting my website.
Also available for Pre-order…
Enchanted Kingdoms: A Limited Edition Twisted Fairytale Anthology
Publishes February 23, 2021, Enchanted Quill Press and Dragon Realm Press
Old Tales, New Twists … The stories you loved as a child have been twisted into wildly addictive tales that will bewitch you as an adult: enchanted castles, spellbinding magic, handsome princes, beautiful princesses, and as many happily-ever-afters as your heart desires.
This mesmerizing set includes 20 novel-length retellings of different classic fairytales—all by a collection of best-selling and award-winning authors. And—because everyone deserves a fairy godmother—100% of proceeds benefit Puzzle Peace United, a children’s autism charity!
(Currently available for pre-order exclusively through Barnes & Noble and Apple Books) Only .99 cents!
Now, let me explain how I came to write what I write…
Writing that Matters by Amanda Marin
There I was: twenty-two years old and eager to learn everything I could about literature and writing. So what did I do? Enrolled in graduate school. For English. (A practical choice, of course!) I was quiet in school, always taking notes, so when a professor cold-called on me one day, I was stunned and horrified and wished my desk was a cave so I could hide inside it and never come out again.
“Is it a writer’s duty to reflect the history of the times in their work?” she asked me.
That’s the thing about graduate school—you have to think. So I thought. And I came to a stunning conclusion.
“Yes,” I’d said. “A writer can’t help but write from the perspective of the era he or she is living in. The duty is implied.”
It was an answer that many—including the professor herself—disagreed with. Oh, where was that cave when I needed it?
Fast forward several (I won’t confess exactly how many!) years later, and I’ve found myself on the other side of the table: not only a reader but also a published writer, with the debate from that night in my grad school lit class still haunting me. Now, with three novels out and another on the horizon, I have to amend my prior stance on my professor’s question from years ago.
No, it’s not writers’ duty to capture the history and issues of their times—but it inevitably happens, and it makes stories so much richer when they do.
I’m stubborn, so modifying my stance—even this much—is a big deal. But the proof is in my own work itself. My first three novels, you see, comprise a YA dystopian romance series that reflects (wait for it …) modern social issues. Yes, the Crimson Sash trilogy has swoony, forbidden romance—it’s a reimagining of The Scarlett Letter, after all! And it’s got plenty of heart-pounding suspense and action, including running from the government, kidnappings, and war. But at its heart, it’s also about empathy, immigration, and inclusion—super important themes these days!
I started writing the series in 2018, soon after seeing a story on the news about a couple unable to marry in their homeland. The pair ran away to the US to be together—and soon after had to flee to Canada for fear of deportation. They had a brutal journey through snow and with plenty of suffering, but they persevered. Their story reminded me that the comforts and freedoms I’m lucky enough to enjoy aren’t available to everyone, and their struggle became a major influence on the first book in the series, North to Nara. I tried to stay true these themes throughout the rest of the series, and I am so excited to bring my characters’ dystopian journey—inspired by real life issues—full circle in the series’ conclusion, Flicker to Fire, which publishes August 4, 2020.
Without meaning to, I did exactly what my professor debated with me that day years ago: I wrote a story that reflected the times.
My next question to myself is why did I do that? The answer is easy. Because I care. Because the issues in my trilogy matter to me, and I hope they can help make a difference to someone else. I hope my work prompts a reader to think about what’s happening in our world or to reach out and help someone in need—and I hope it helps someone experiencing a similar struggle feel a little less alone.
And you know what? I think I like writing fiction that helps to make a difference.
I like it so much, in fact, that my next novel, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz that grapples with loss in a fantasy underworld setting, is part of Enchanted Kingdoms. Enchanted Kingdoms is a digital box set for which the authors are donating all proceeds to Puzzle Peace United, a children’s autism charity. Puzzle Peace United works to raise autism awareness, gives parents tools to help their autistic children prosper, and offers autistic kids opportunities to be a part of their communities with events and activities.
I feel incredibly honored to be a part of this project because, as a writer, words have made a huge difference in my life—and now I can also use them to make a positive difference in someone else’s. To me, that’s priceless.
So no, Professor, writers don’t have to tell tales that reflect the times and help make a difference … But it’s so much better when they do! Don’t you think?
When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing back a book as a present for her. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about faraway knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.
Nowadays, Amanda writes books of her own. She holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College, and she works in scholarly publishing. Her favorite things include Starbucks lattes, lazy summer afternoons at the beach, and stories with characters that make you go “awww.” She lives in New Hampshire with her family and furbaby, Snickers the Poodle.
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Thanks for joining us this month, Amanda. I’m anxious to read your series, and best of luck with the anthology. I already went over and pre-ordered my copy!
I, for one, love YA Dystopian Romance, but of course, I’m biased:-) What about you, dear readers?
Welcome Amanda! I’ll get this party started and answer my own question.
I loved writing my Lily Carmichael trilogy, a dystopian YA set in the year 2057. It was super challenging and like nothing else I’d written but it just poured out of me as if someone was feeding a movie reel through my head, lol. I had no idea when I started the series that it would be so prescient and that we’d actually be dealing with a pandemic so soon.
I guess I enjoy writing…and reading dystopian because it sets characters in challenging situations and lets readers see not only what might be, but how people deal with the worst thing that could happen and still hold onto their humanity. Survival stories are always appealing to me.
What drew you to write YA Dystopian, Amanda? How did you come to the premise of your books? The trilogy sounds so interesting and unique!