Thursday, April 11, 2013

Author Interview: Mat Lazar and Amanda Thomas

Mat Lazar and Amanda Thomas, the authors of Warrior Girl, were kind enough to answer a few questions for me today!

1. When did you first know you wanted to write?
Matt Lazar
Matt Lazar: I got serious about writing while studying oral history in grad school, where I learned storytelling techniques. I'd always been passionate about writing and had written on the side, but grad school is when I realized I wanted to be an author.
Amanda Thomas: When I was at boarding school.  I was very home sick to begin with and I used to write to comfort myself.  Later I went on to write stories to order             for my classmates and got a 10/10 from a very difficult to please English teacher on an essay I wrote on jealousy.   I think that was the moment I realized that writing was what I wanted to do although it took a long time to realize that ambition.

2. Which authors inspire you the most?
Amanda: I love the atmosphere that W. Somerset Maugham brings to his writing.  You can almost smell the tropical scent in the air.  The evocation of by gone eras also appeals to me a lot.  I also like the way that Stephen King writes, his description of his characters and his ability to put into writing the every day mannerisms that we all recognize, is superb.
Matt: James Clavell (Shogun, Noble House) is an amazing person and author. I fell in love with his novels, and later learned that he began as a writer during his years in a Japanese POW camp. I also find Tucker Max very inspiring. Tucker Max is a self-made writer or grew his fan base organically, writing about his life and opinions. 

3. How did you get the inspiration for your novel?
Amanda: I have to confess that the idea for the novel was all my co-author’s Matt Lazar.  I brought the characters to life but his was the original idea and he thought of using Oxford as a backdrop for the story. 
Matt: I was inspired to write Warrior Girl after a college friend introduced me to World of Warcraft and the MMO genre. I'd never seen a game so massive in scale where you spend months or years building your character. I wanted to explore how playing WOW might impact a student's 'real life'.

4. What is your favorite part about being an author?
Matt: I like creating a new story and characters that no one has seen before. I also love the feeling of getting a scene right (usually after many revisions).
Amanda: The sense of being my own boss and of being able to do what I want in my job. I do a lot of ghost writing and also do web content and children’s writing.  The variety of that appeals a lot - the chance to work on what I am in the mood to do.

5. What is your least favorite part about being an author?
Matt: Warrior Girl is my first novel, and second book overall (my first was an oral history of the Cleveland Browns football team). Learning about the publishing industry has been a fun challenge.
Amanda Thomas
Amanda: It can be a lonely life – there are rarely any colleagues to share water cooler moments with.  When I am in the middle of a project I have to be careful not to become a recluse.  I do take long walks with the dog and meet other dog walkers, which breaks it up a bit. 

6. Could you write a bit about what your publication process was like?
Amanda: Again I have to say that Matt took care of it all. I have published other works and it has been a mixed process of frustration and fascination!
Matt: I had a voice in the book design and publication/pricing of the book. I worked with Tulsa based artist David Carman on the cover art. One of my goals was to make Warrior Girl accessible to readers, so I asked that the pricing of the Kindle version be $0.99.

7. When can we expect to see the sequel of Warrior Girl?
Matt: I'm developing a sequel to Warrior Girl that explores more of Kaito's character - hopefully it will be available to readers in time for Christmas 2013.
Amanda: Matt and I have talked about this and we are still talking. You will have to watch this space!

8. Describe in three or fewer sentences what makes your book unique and why a reader should buy it.
Amanda: This is a book that has as its backdrop the game World of Warcraft.  I was a bit worried at the outset that this might make it uninteresting for non-gamers but I think that my co-author Matt has put just the right amount of gaming in to satisfy the gamers but not too much so that the story is still a great read for those not familiar with the game. 
Matt: Warrior Girl reviews have been fun to read! It was important to me that Warrior Girl be a quick, fun story, even for people who are not gamers. From the reviews I've gotten so far, Warrior Girl is a satisfying love story that shows a reader a world that they haven't seen before.

A beautiful young Korean girl, Sun Hi Kim, is beginning her first year at Oxford University. Thousands of miles away from home for the first time, she struggles to adjust to a different culture. Sun Hi befriends two English boys. Miles is a handsome final year student who is also captain of the Oxford rowing team. Adam, a first year student who is also a hunk, hero-worships Miles, his rowing idol. Sun Hi knows that she's naive and has never had a boyfriend, let alone an English boyfriend. Her first forays into desire very nearly end in disaster. Between rowing, her studies, boys, and an arrogant roommate, Sun Hi often feels overwhelmed. Playing World of Warcraft is the one thing she can do to escape her problems, at least for a little while.

Book Website


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