Today, I have author Amanda Meuwissen in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release Their Dark Reflections, a m/m paranormal romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
I interviewed you last time for your author spotlight tour. So I came up with a new batch of questions for your latest novel Their Dark Reflections. Here we go!
Amanda Meuwissen on Their Dark Reflections:
1. How did you come up with the concept and characters for Their Dark Reflections?
Amanda: The weird thing is—I really don’t remember. I think it was last year around October. I was participating in Whumptober, which, since it’s in October, makes me think Halloween and monsters mostly, and I’d also finished a vampire/werewolf rough draft that I might revisit to edit and publish someday. I had vampires in an intense and more brutal way on the brain, is what I’m saying, and somehow that led to this book.
Ed, my vampire character, isn’t the brooding regretful type. He loves what he is, and sometimes he can be terrifying. The fact that the other half the time he’s adorable and nerdy and has no idea how to flirt makes him a well-rounded delight that scratched my vampire itch.
2. What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
Amanda: Every time my sweet, bumbling, dorky vampire shows his brutal predator side. That sudden switch, while both sides are very much him, was so fun to write. I’ve always been that type who loves the moment when a good character snaps, or when a villainous character does something unexpectedly good.
3. What did you least enjoy about writing the book?
Amanda: Maybe coming up with the title. It took TIME, but I always knew that my original title for the book wasn’t quite right: Blood, Fraud & Romance. Thankfully, my publisher pointed out that it was too on-the-nose. Thinking of what it should be instead was tough though, which I’ll get to with a later question below. ^_^
4. Tell us about your main characters–what do you like most about them?
Amanda: Ed’s duality. He loves old things like books and bowties and taking photographs the old-fashioned way instead of digitally, but then he also enjoys comic books. He’s wonderfully quirky—while also being deadly.
Sam’s ability to still love and accept Ed even though discovering his true nature is terrifying. Sam is definitely the type to roll with the punches, he’s just never been punched quite like this—with reality, fear, love, all at once. He has an existential crisis over all of it for sure, but he comes out of that the better and is still able to accept the darkness in Ed, because he sees the light there too.
5. Let’s keep this on the main characters. Tell us what you like least about them.
Amanda: Ed’s self-sabotage, thinking he must be alone. That’s maybe the only thing that hits on some common tropes for a vampire. Ed isn’t broody in the, oh no, I’m a monster, type of way, but he does think he’ll never find someone to share eternity with, and that it’s better if he just keeps people away, because if they’re human, he’ll always eventually have to leave them, or they’ll leave him. He’s a sad, lonely dork and needs to get over it.
Sam is a little needy. He’s always gone without. He’s only ever had his friends and what he can steal. So, when he’s finally given something he wants to hang onto, he is very attached, almost obsessively so, and maybe needs to take a breath. Yes, he and Ed are wonderful together, but as Ed will remind him, he needs to consider his own young life and how his feelings might change over the years.
6. How did you come up with the book’s name?
Amanda: As mentioned above, originally this was titled Blood, Fraud & Romance, but that was a no-go. I spent some time thinking of the duality of both characters, and how they are not only reflections of each other, in that they have a lot in common, but both have a reverse to them, another side that’s the opposite of the side they usual show (like how a reflection is technically usually a reverse of you), AND they parallel a telling of Hades and Persephone throughout the book that is also like a reflection of them. There are many ways that Their Dark Reflections works for the title, and I love it for that.
7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Their Dark Reflections?
Amanda: I wish I could write the MCs and their continuing adventures between the initial end of the main story and the epilogue, but that would make for a series more than a single novel. However, it does make me consider writing future stories with them to show how they get to the epilogue. I might just do that and make a series out of this after all.
8. If Their Dark Reflections was a country, what country would it be and why?
Amanda: Unites States easy. It’s filled with conflicting emotions and opinions.
9. If Their Dark Reflections was an alcoholic beverage, what would it be and why?
Amanda: A Mar-TEA-ni. This is a drink my husband and I first learned of through How to Drink, one of our favorite YouTube channels, about cocktails. This drink is a very strange people pleaser. Even though it might have some things in it that you normally wouldn’t think you would like, how it all works together just makes it… delicious.
1.5 oz earl grey infused gin, recommended Ford’s Gin
¾ oz simple syrup
1 oz lemon juice
1 egg white
Dry shake first, then shake with ice
Strained into sugar-rimmed glass
Garnish with a lemon twist
11. If Their Dark Reflections was a celebrity, who would it be and by?
Amanda: Gary Oldman. Talk about versatility. He can be the good guy, or the bad guy, and anything and everything in between, and he still manages to surprise me. That is both my main characters, as well as representative of all the twists and turns the plot takes you on.
12. Tell us why Their Dark Reflections is a must-read.
Amanda: It takes all my favorite things about a vampire. Yes, he’s brutal. Yes, he’s relatable and you can understand why someone might fall in love with him. But it’s the rollercoaster of it all that will keep you gripped and attentive, because one second Ed and Sam will be gushing over their modern retelling of Hades and Persephone together and how it reflects them, and the next they’ll be disposing of a body. If you’re a fan of murder husbands, this is one of those tales.
13. What can we expect from you in the future?
Amanda: More vampires actually, though next time on the high fantasy side. Before that, I’ll have a fun somewhat paranormal short story romance available in January, and then a high fantasy fairy tale romance planned for after that. So stay tuned! If you want to keep up to date on my work, join my Facebook group, Amanda Meuwissen Books, and/or sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gz1_Rn
Amanda Meuwissen on Writing:
1. What is your writing process? (e.g., researching first, create outlines, character building, etc.)
Amanda: I always start with an idea gripping me so hard, I just write, whether the beginning or an important hook scene, as well as likely a million notes that I keep in a separate document as they come to me. Then I tend to plot out chapter 1 and let the story flow for a while, before I dig in deeper to organize my notes for future chapters and plotpoints. The more I’ve focused on this pattern, the more books I’ve pumped out each year.
2. What is your writing setting? (e.g., loud music, at a café, evening, etc.)
Amanda: I could never listen to music, but I don’t need complete silence. I’ve written whole chapters while sitting at my desk for my day job with ambient noise around me, or at the local Starbucks. Mostly though, I’ll be upstairs in my home office with as little noise as possible, the shades drawn, and a kitty sleeping in the corner of the room.
3. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Amanda: My day job. When you work all day, sometimes that can spark creativity, make you want you to get something different out of you, but if you’re too stressed or drained, it’s hard to want to use more brainpower that day. I usually write after dinner when I’ve destressed for a while, or early mornings on weekends. If the Kryptonite starts getting to me, destressing with a video game can usually snap me out of it too, but sometimes, I might just need to take the night off from writing.
4. How do you decide when the book is finished and ready for publication?
Amanda: I always know when a book is done, as far as the plot being finished and good to go, but I re-read it all at least twice, the first for deeper edits and note-taking on whether things need to be added or hugely fixed, and then again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Even then, after sending something to my publisher, it can amaze me how a good editor thinks of things you didn’t and makes a book better.
5. Do you read the reviews for your books? If yes, why? If no, why?
Amanda: I do, probably more than I should. It’s always nice to hear something good about work you put a lot of yourself into, but as I tell all aspiring authors, it can also be tough, because for every 10 good reviews, a single bad one can ruin your day—or week—or month. It’s just how we’re wired as people, but I wouldn’t trade reading reviews. I like knowing what people think, and I know which reviews are meant to be ignored. (Pro tip: if a super negative reviewer has a ton of reviews they’ve left for other books, say in the hundreds or more, but their average review score is less than 3 stars, you can ignore them. They don’t like anything they read).
This or That for Amanda:
For each answer you give, explain why you chose “this” or why you chose “that.”
1. Introvert or Extrovert?
Amanda: Introvert who acts like an extrovert. Being around people for too long is draining, but I am not shy.
2. Big advance for your next book but it must meet what the publisher wants or no big advance and writing what you want?
Amanda: No big advance. I could never write anything I wasn’t wholly invested in.
3. Would you rather live in your dream home in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere?
Amanda: Northern. I’m a Minnesota native, and I love having four seasons.
4. Reading: Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Amanda: Fiction. I live for losing myself in other worlds and characters, which is why I’m a writer.
5. Writing: Typewriter or Pen and Paper?
Amanda: Pen and paper. I used to write all the time in notebooks and journals before typing up my books. While overall I prefer typing to handwriting, typing on a typewriter requires too much pressure on each key. I need my fingers to fly!
Book Title: Their Dark Reflections
Author: Amanda Meuwissen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Dark Paranormal M/M Romance
Trope/s: Friends to lovers, vampire/victim, boss/employee, thief with a heart of gold, hidden agenda, kind but vicious vampire
Themes: Self-discovery, finding light in the darkness, embracing one’s darkness, love against all odds
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 70 096 words/204 pages
Everyone has a second face.
Blurb: Personal assistant Sam Coleman can do it all: housekeeping, groundskeeping, bookkeeping. The catch? It’s a con.
Ed Simon, his newest millionaire boss, doesn’t know Sam Goldman is a Robin Hood for hire who targets rich jerks. Sure, Sam keeps the money for himself, his crew, and his real employers, but at least they only steal from bad people.
Until sweet, fumbling Ed, who doesn’t seem to have a single vice. Too bad the people who hired Sam won’t let him back out. They want Ed’s money, and they’ll hurt Sam and his friends to get it.
For years Ed has kept people at arm’s length, but Sam’s charms wear down his defenses—just as he learns their budding relationship was an act. Sam isn’t who Ed thought he was, but Ed has a dark secret too: he’s a vampire. And someone is framing him for a series of bloody murders.
When the real villains force their hand, Sam and Ed must choose: work together, trust each other, and give in to the feelings growing between them… or let what might have been bleed out like the victims piling at their feet.
Note: It is a standalone book.
Sam was exhausted, probably because he hadn’t slept well in the past two days, but when he was ready to call it a night and looked around for Ed, he was surprised to find him outside, already in the pool. Sam was usually gone before Ed took his swims.
The tricked-out radio by the patio doors was blasting loud enough to carry outside, playing Blue Oyster Cult and making Sam smile. He didn’t fear the reaper so much himself anymore either.
Ed wasn’t doing any complicated strokes, just floating serenely on his back, arms gently moving to keep him up while he gazed at the stars beginning to glitter above him. He’d left the doors open as if to invite Sam to watch, so it was easy to do so without calling much attention to himself.
Ed didn’t look like a predator while swimming, his trunks clinging to him, chest bare. Sometimes it was hard for Sam to accept that dissonance—this version of Ed compared to the swift, brutal one—but then, wasn’t a lion capable of seeming like a housecat even if it was always dangerous?
“Would you like to join me?” Ed called without turning to look at him. “I have an extra suit upstairs.”
Sam wondered if that made him the lion tamer.
Enjoying the way Ed’s eyes fixed to his mostly bare body when he descended from upstairs in the spare trunks, Sam took his time walking to the edge of the pool, set his clothes on one of the lounge chairs, and stepped off for a simple, smooth drop into the water. He shook the excess from his hair and face when he resurfaced, seeking out Ed at the other end.
“Tell me,” Sam said, lifting up to float lazily on his back, “even without your telescope, how many of those can you name?”
“The stars? Or constellations?” Ed lifted as well, both watching the sky as they orbited each other.
“Does it matter?”
“No. I can name most of them.”
“Then where am I?”
Ed navigated to drift up beside Sam, tracing over invisible lines in the sky. “Gemini. Sort of like two stick figures holdings hands.”
Sam chuckled. “And you?”
“Pisces is there.” Ed dragged his finger the other direction. “See the way the ends connect and then it makes a sort of tilted V?”
“Doesn’t really look like a fish.”
“We had to be more creative back then.”
Blinking as what Ed was implying sunk in, Sam righted himself, not sure if he could ask, “You mean…?”
“I’m not that old.” Ed grinned. He didn’t clarify how old he was, however.
“You know, one of these days, I’m going to get you up on that roof to use your telescope properly.”
Ed scrunched his nose. “I wasn’t lying about not caring for heights.”
“I figured. Any particular reason?”
“I don’t know. Maybe because there weren’t as many tall buildings in my time.”
“Which was…?” Sam tried again, but Ed glanced away.
“Is this our first date?”
“If it was, would you tell me?”
“I said my age wasn’t a first date reveal, so….”
Sam read Ed’s hesitancy and didn’t want to push. “I don’t think this counts.” He smirked when Ed looked at him with a start. “We need to leave the house for a real date.”
“We’ll have to start thinking about our rain check, then.” Ed smiled back at him.
Drifting closer, Sam slid his hands around Ed’s waist to finally connect and pull him in. Even in the heated pool, Ed’s skin felt bracing. “I guess we will,” he said and started to lean forward.
“Sam.” Ed wrapped his arms around Sam’s neck, but his hands fidgeted, and he held back from letting Sam reach his lips. “You’re not only pretending because you think this is the only way to be safe from me, are you?”
The idea that Ed still expected treachery surprised him, but then, Sam almost had betrayed him again, scared as he’d been. Ed was the most powerful and deadly creature he’d ever met, but he was still vulnerable, still so human.
“According to you,” Sam said, “I’m putting myself in more danger by being with you. You gave me an out, Eddie, and I chose to stay.”
Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual author, with a primary focus on M/M romance, and works in marketing for the software company Outsell. She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed Creative Writing major from St. Olaf College, and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. As author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and several other titles through various publishers, Amanda regularly attends local comic conventions for fun and to meet with fans, where she will often be seen in costume as one of her favorite fictional characters. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga, and can be found at http://www.amandameuwissen.com.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebooks from the author’s backlist.