Debut Author Feature & Giveaway: Amara Royce

We love brand new authors here at The Book Pushers! Fresh new voices in our favorite genres gives us another person to cyber-stalk and glom onto! We figured since there are always new authors getting published through both the big New York publishers, as well as the smaller digital first publishers, we should take the time and hunt them down and introduce them to you!

Today we’ve got Amara Royce here to talk about what it’s like being a brand new author!

Amara Royce

First, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! It’s an honor to be here, especially on the official release day of Never Too Late! I’m thrilled to celebrate the big event with The Book Pushers and your audience! 

 

Explain to us your journey to publication:

Frankly, my journey to publication still stuns me.  I’m not a lucky person. In my house, I’m not supposed to touch other people’s lottery tickets. Sometimes it’s best when I’m not near a TV during an important sporting event. And yet I consider myself extremely fortunate when it comes to publishing. 

I began Never Too Late during the summer of 2011.  While I fiddled with it a bit during the fall and spring, I really finished writing, editing, and revising it during the summer of 2012. And then I immediately began querying. See my “The Call” story below for the rest of the story… 

Suffice it to say that my head is still spinning over this whirlwind journey, and everything about it seems like a beautiful, impossible dream.

 

What’s your first published book about:

My debut historical romance, Never Too Late, is the first of a series set in Victorian Britain at the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It can be read as a standalone, but several characters will appear in my sophomore book, Always a Stranger.  I have plans for additional books in what I think of as the “Crystal Palace” series. 

Never Too Late features widowed bookseller Honoria Duchamp, whose subversive printing activities are making some powerful people very nervous, and Lord Alexander Devin, the viscount who is being blackmailed to ruin her business and her professional reputation. When he meets her, she is not at all what he expected, and their mutual attraction surprises them both. But he isn’t the only one whose secrets can tear them apart.

 

Do you have anything in the works?

Yes, I’m currently working on the next book in this series, Always a Stranger, for eKensington.  It should be out in 2014. Always a Stranger focuses on Miss Hanako Sumaki, an Asian performer at the Great Exhibition. The Earl of Ridgemont has been assigned by the Royal Commission to confirm that all performances are legitimately contracted and beyond reproach. When Lord Ridgmont learns that her employer is using the troupe as a front for more nefarious business dealings and may be auctioning off Hanako’s innocence, he is determined to rescue her and her companions. To complicate matters, powerful people in Lord Ridgemont’s life disapprove of their cultural differences, throwing deep pitfalls and massive boulders in their path to happily ever after.

What are your overall dreams, goals and expectations for your future as an author?

I have future books in mind for this series, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the secondary characters, especially characters who are somewhat unconventional heroes and heroines in historical romance. Since I love all things Victorian, I plan to stick with historical romance for a while.  Even though ideas for other genres pop up occasionally, historical romance is really my “home” and holds my heart.  

 

What’s your writing process like? Has it changed from when you first started writing? 

When I started writing, seriously writing, I worked on literary fiction, and I find that my process has changed a great deal since then. I started out with an “organic” process, writing without an outline or plan and just seeing what popped up.  I’ve become much more of an outliner, although I still write non-linearly. I still jump from scene to scene, depending on what seems most vivid to me at the moment. What’s different now is that I have an overall master plan in mind. And I’m much more likely to try outlandish ideas or “alternate routes” in scenes just to explore what works.  So I’ve paradoxically become both more adventurous and more controlled as a writer.

 

When did you start writing? What was your very first story about?

Well, I wrote what I thought of as silly, “non-writerly” stuff in high school. I don’t know if that really counts. I started writing in earnest in 2006, give or take a year. My first—unfinished—novel actually used the same setting as Never Too Late, but it was historical literary fiction. It centered on a young Victorian couple, forced into marriage and faced with the harsh realities of Victorian commerce, industrialism, and colonialism.  It had a “horrible, terrible, no good, very” traumatic plot, and eventually I just couldn’t bring myself to complete a story I found so painful and depressing.  I find writing historical romance much more enjoyable!

 

Who were some of your inspirations for becoming an author?

Diana Gabaldon

Audrey Niffeneggar

George Eliot

 

Never Too Late e book

Give us the story about when you got “The Call”

I got two calls, actually.  

During the summer of 2012, I’d been querying for a few months when I got impatient and submitted to a couple of trade publishers that accepted unagented queries. I ended up getting The Call from my now-editor at Kensington, John Scognamiglio, before getting The Call from an agent.  

Actually, come to think of it, John called me twice. The first time, I answered the phone but wasn’t actually in a position to talk so we scheduled another call for the next day. When he called back and offered me a two-book deal with eKensington, I’m pretty sure I sounded like a bumbling fool who couldn’t string two words together. I was speechless. Fortunately, I’d prepared a list of questions to ask because my brain seemed to stop functioning independently.  

John gave me some time to consider eKensington’s offer so I got over the speechlessness fairly quickly and updated agents who had requested partials/fulls of the manuscript.  As a result, I ended up getting The (Agent) Call from three wonderful agents.  And I’m thrilled to be represented by the amazing Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds, LLC.  

Note: This may seem strange, but I don’t recommend impatience! I don’t wish that level of stress on anyone!

 

Who is the author you would most like to meet living or deceased and why?

This is such a difficult question for me. There are so many authors I’d love to list here, and I can’t pick just one! 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

George Eliot

Adrienne Rich

Diana Gabaldon

A.S. Byatt

 

 

To be eligible to win a copy of the Never Too Late e-book, respond to the following question in the Comments section. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only and ends on May 9th. Good Luck!

I’m borrowing from The Book Pushers: Who is the author you would most like to meet, living or dead?

Comments

  1. erinf1 says

    Congrats to Amara on the new release! I’d love to meet Dean Koontz : )

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  2. Jeanne Miro says

    I really enjoyed your interview with Amara and finding out about her first two books. I already want to not only read Never Too Late but also can’t wait to find out how long we’ll have to wait for Always a Stranger! I love reading books during the Regency era and was trilled to learn they are set during the time period of the Great Exhibition.

    I had a great High School English teacher back in the 1960’s who “made” the class read Dpn Quixote which not only introduced me to Historical Romance but also the master of the genre, Cervantes. Reading that one book totally changed my outlook on not only reading but the way I looked at life and what a true “hero” really was! Whenever I read a new author today I always think back to my introduction he gave me to open up my mind and heart and to never judge a character until you read “the rest of the story”! When reading the genre you can always expect the unexpected and not be disappointed to what you will learn!

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  3. says

    bn100–Oh, yes, Jane Austen is on my all-time favorites list too!

    erinf1–Thanks so much! Ooh, Dean Koontz! Good one!

    Jeanne Miro–Thanks very much! Always a Stranger isn’t due out until sometime in 2014…I don’t have a more definite date than that yet–but I appreciate your interest! And I agree Don Quixote is mind-expanding in so many ways!

    Thanks so much for your comments! And thanks again to Book Pushers for this opportunity!

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  4. Maureen says

    I would like to meet Jane Austen since she has so influenced the romances I love to read.

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  5. says

    Great interview, Amara. Your Victorian romance sounds intriguing. As for which author I’d like to meet, that is hard to say. I’m thinking I might like to meet Jan Cox Speas. I’ve been reading her Scottish historical romances and they are amazing. I’d like to ask her how she captured the sense of the period in which she set her stories. But then an afternoon with Kathleen Woodiwiss might be fascinating, too.

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  6. Victoria Zumbrum says

    I would love to meet Penny Jordan, Stephenie Meyers and Stephen King.

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  7. Donna Braden says

    Jane of course, but now, presently, Diana Gabaldon and Amara Royce, who seems very nice and a really nice person….

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  8. Justine says

    It’s too difficult for me to choose from all of the fantastic fiction authors, so I’ll pick nonfiction author Mary Roach.

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  9. says

    Ella–Thanks so much! And thanks for the tweet!!

    Justine–Oooh, I don’t know Mary Roach’s work but am now rushing to Amazon to take a look! Thanks!

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