Please welcome Amanda Arista!
-How'd you get the idea for this book?
A wise woman once said that your first novel is always a little bit autobiographical. Books are therapy and your demons will be confined to the page. What these wise women failed to mention is that every book you write is autobiographical, especially in Violet Jordan’s case.
In the case of Diaries of an Urban Panther, Violet was unabashedly me in a slightly taller, slightly more stubborn, slightly more preternatural version. Diaries was born out of an intense need to see a normal chubby heroine in paranormal situation. I’d read every necromancer and vampire hunter out there and couldn’t see me on the page. Yes, they were strong and I like to think of myself as strong, but they kicked ass. I try not to make a habit of that. They have guns and cross bows and I have a
slugger under my bed and I dog with bat-like ears.
Violet has my love of coffee and turtles. She writes, I write. I love
she lives in Dallas.
She has some self esteem issues, and I might as well. She loves comfy lounge
pants and has fluffy curtains in her kitchen. I love comfy lounge pants and
have annoyingly fluffy curtains in my kitchen.
As the story developed, so did Violet. When she began asking why, I knew that she had out grown me. Why was she a writer? Why was she so reclusive? Why didn’t she have any family? Why Chaz? Her need to define who she truly was and why she had to go through these hardships built the novel, flushed it out into a story about an orphan looking for her true family and a quest to become the woman her mother knew she could be. Quite a stretch from the chubby writer in the alley
As the writer, I knew that Violet’s trials weren’t over, so I turned inward to see what I would be scared of to see what I could throw at Violet. For the second book, Claws and Effect, my and Violet’s fear of the man she loved running played a major part in how she saw her relationships and made her doubt all the allies she’d made. And when you’re trying to protect the city from itself, allies become very important. Violet helped me explore that universal fear that all superhuman women of keeping what they fought hard to get in the first place.
When Violet passed that trial with flying colors, I knew she still wasn’t done, because I wasn’t done. I wanted to know the future. What does Happily Ever After really look like? Could she have the fairy tale, even though there were real fairies involved? Would those long buried feelings of low self-esteem prevent her from getting her knight in shining armor? Nine Lives was my answer to that. Or should I say our answer to that.
I have my own set of baggage and my own trials to face, though knowing Violet’s has helped me understand my world a little bit better, to figure out how I feel about certain things and pre-write witty comebacks. And even though I know that it was completely fictional, I really try not to make a habit of hanging out in dark alleyways just in case.
Along with a daily giveaway, enter to win a Diaries of an Urban Panther gift set at the conclusion of the Nine Lives blog tour, running August 20th to September 3rd. See my website for details.
Facebook: Amanda Arista Fan Page (one like equals one entry into the giveaway)
Twitter: @pantherista (a follow equals one entry into the giveaway)
www.amandaarista.com (comment on the tour info equals one entry as well).
Please leave your comment along with an email to enter to win an ARC copy of Nine Lives of the Urban Panther.