Please welcome 21-year-old AMANDA L. DAVIS, award winning author and novelist.
I met Amanda several years ago at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference in a YA teen writing class that she and her father, author Bryan Davis, taught. Amanda took time to help me plot one of my novels and offered excellent advice from a teen’s perspective. She started writing when she was fifteen, started her first published novel when she was 18, and was 19 when she completed it and received her first contract. She was 20 when the book was published.
What writing advice can you give teen writers about the journey to becoming a published author?
I always tell people to learn the craft first. Before you can become a published author, you have to know how to write a good story. I recommend attending writing seminars and writers’ conferences. Writers’ conferences also offer opportunities to meet editors and show them your work.
What is the name of your latest book? Is it a sequel to the first? Describe both.
My latest book is Noble Imposter, and it is the sequel to my first book, Precisely Terminated.
It is 800 years in the future, and the world is being oppressed by the ruling class. Millions of slaves toil under the Nobles’ oppressive thumb, but because of microchips implanted in the slaves’ skulls at birth, there can be no uprising. Monica, a young slave girl, escaped the chip implantation process. She is able to infiltrate the Nobles’ security and travel where no one else is able, but can one girl free the world?
How did you find the premise for your book? What inspired it?
I had it easy when it came to a premise for Precisely Terminated. I dreamt the whole first chapter and just went from there. The first chapter of my book is written from what I saw in my dream. I’m not sure what inspired it, maybe just my crazy brain.
Describe your writing “den.”There isn’t much to my writing den. I’m not picky about where I write. I don’t need music or anything like that. I just sit on my bed with my laptop in front of me, slouching in a position that’s probably terrible for my back, and I write away.
What part of writing is the most difficult part for you, and how do you overcome it?Editing is definitely the most difficult part. It gets tedious and boring. I overcome it just knowing that it needs to be done and that my work will be all the better for it in the end!
Is your father your mentor? How has he shaped the writer you are?My father has mentored my writing and continues to help me by helping with the editing process for each book. He has taught me all I know about writing, so I think he’s definitely shaped me into the writer I am today.
What is the most important part of making a book salable?The book needs to be something the writer is passionate about. If the writer is passionate about the subject, it will show in the book and the reader will know and get the message. Writing isn’t about chasing a market, trying to be ‘in,’ it’s about writing with your heart and telling what needs to be told.
How do you decide which stories to tell? Are they for fun or is there a message or theme you’re trying to share?I decide which story to tell by which one I’m most excited about. There is generally a theme in each story, whether I recognize it in the beginning or not. The only ‘just for fun’ stories I write are usually 3,000 words or less, and I write them to stretch my writing skills. I once wrote a 6,000 word story about a kitten and a talking pocket watch that will probably never see the light of day, but it was a fun an educational experience for me.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What inspired that in you? I became interested in writing when I was around 15 years old. I had been traveling on book tours with my dad for about three years and had seen the amazing difference that stories could make in people’s lives, and that prompted me to try writing as well. I didn’t know for certain I wanted to be a published author until I was around 18.
Is there anything else you’d like to share—interesting facts about the book and/or you? Maybe people don’t know that I have severe dyslexia—a learning disability that makes it difficult to learn to read and write. I struggled with dyslexia through my childhood, but eventually overcame it and became the writer I am today. God certainly had a plan for me most people didn’t see coming. Of course, I didn’t just ‘overcome’ dyslexia, it’s something I’ll deal with my entire life, but I know how now and it barely hinders me anymore.
Another interesting fact is that I spin yarn. Yes, writing is spinning yarn in one way, but I spin yarn on a spinning wheel, too, with wool from sheep. I also help with a neighbor’s shearing every year and clean and process fleeces myself.
Any advice you’d like to give writing teachers? Always encourage when you critique. Receiving criticism, even constructive and helpful criticism is hard to take. I know I was afraid to get it when I was younger, but it’s very necessary, so at the same time, don’t be afraid to tell them what’s wrong!
What is your writing process like?I don’t have much of a process. I have an idea, I sit down, and I write it from beginning to end. Skipping ahead chapters or scenes is not how I write, though I know plenty of other authors who do. Once I finish a first draft, I go back and edit.
Do you have an agent? No, I do not have an agent. My father helped negotiate my contract for The Cantral Chronicles, but he is not officially my agent.
How many other agents turned you down before you “landed” the one you have? I never sought out an agent, so I was never turned down, though I was approached by an agent or two telling me that if I needed an agent, I should send them my work!
How many rejections did you receive on your first novel?
Here is the teaser for Noble Imposter:
Monica has risked life and limb to free the inhabitants of Cillineese, but the computers still rule the rest of the world.
Now she must journey to Cantral and take the identity of her dying cousin, Amelia, to infiltrate the Nobles’ world in the guise of a teenager who is a master computer programmer. Because of her childhood living among the slaves of Cantral, Monica knows little about programming and must improvise to stay alive.
As the only chip-less person in the world, Monica must convince the Council of Eight of her innocence, destroy the computers, and free the world from the nobles before they discover her ruse.
Purchase NOBLE IMPOSTER HERE: Amazon