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Take 5 with Amanda Stevens

Kath here.  When prolific thriller author Amanda Stevens [1]guested with Writer Unboxed last October [2]and outlined her Strange Attractor theory of creating a marketable concept (genius!), I knew I wanted to have her back to talk about her newest series The Graveyard Queen, and its lead novel The Restorer [3] (in stores now).  Check out the insanely good trailers for The Restorer HERE [4] and the Graveyard Queen HERE [5].  I’m thrilled she agreed to let us pick her brain.  Enjoy!

What is the premise of your new book? 

Amelia Gray is a southern cemetery restorer who sees ghosts.  Greedy, grasping, ravenous entities that feed on human warmth and devour the life force of their hosts.  In order to protect herself from the parasitic nature of the dead, Amelia has always held fast to her father rules.  But a haunted police detective has entered her world and now everything is changing…including the rules that have always kept her safe. 

What would you like people to know about in this story?

For one thing, it’s not just a ghost story.  It’s also a mystery and a romance with elements of the Southern Gothic.  A true hybrid.  Secondly, the ghosts in The Restorer are a little different from what you’ve seen before.  I call them netherworld parasites because their appetite for human warmth and energy is almost vampire-like.  The people who can see them—like Amelia—are in particular peril because the thing ghosts crave above all else is acknowledgement by the living so they can feel a part of our world again.  

What problems and challenges do your characters have to overcome in this story?

I used shackles as a motif because every single character is attached to a literal or symbolic ball and chain, be it the protagonist bound by her father’s rules or the love interest haunted by his dead family or even the villain perpetually chained to evil.  How they strive to free themselves is an integral part of the plot.

What unique challenges did this story present you, if any?

It’s the first book of a continuing character series with a three-story arc.  The challenge was in creating a stand-alone plot with a satisfying ending while leaving enough unanswered questions to fuel the next two stories.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of this book?

I was allowed to write it exactly as I envisioned it—a dark, lush, modern-day ghost story rooted in the tradition of my southern background.  Also, I got to explore cemeteries for research.  I call myself the accidental tombstone tourist because along the way, I developed a real passion for old graveyards.  There’s a term for that affliction—taphophilia (not to be confused with necrophilia!)

 The Restorer is available at all retail and e-tail outlets.

About Kathleen Bolton [6]

Kathleen Bolton is co-founder of Writer Unboxed. She writes under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ani Bolton [7]. She has written two novels as Cassidy Calloway [8]: Confessions of a First Daughter, and Secrets of a First Daughter--both books in a YA series about the misadventures of the U.S. President's teen-aged daughter, published by HarperCollins, and Tamara Blake, for the novel Slumber [9].