Calling all dystopian lovers! Author interview
This week’s featured author is Amanda Dew, writer of dystopian romance!
Amanda Dew was born and raised in Northern California. She grew up playing volleyball and hanging out with friends. She went to college at a junior college in her hometown to play volleyball for two years before transferring to Utah State.
“I met my husband, Daniel, there and received my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education. After teaching high school math for one semester, I decided I needed to go back to school because I hated teaching so much. While my husband was in law school, I got my Master’s Degree in Statistics from Cleveland State and then started working for an insurance company. After my son was born and Daniel graduated from law school, I quit my job to stay home with the kids.
Daniel and I have four kids now and live in Northern Virginia. I still enjoy playing volleyball and hanging out with friends. I also love The Bachelor, doing anything outside, traveling, eating, riding on my Peloton, reading and writing (of course!), and spending time with my family.”
I was delighted to meet, interview, and learn more about author Amanda Dew’s debut novel, The Story Seer! I’m a huge sucker for dystopian, and romance as well. The blurb alone had me intrigued right from the first line!
“They tell me he's dangerous. His memories tell me he's not.
Someone is lying, and it's my job to figure out who.”
21-year-old Aurora Reynolds is an artist in the canvas of the mind. Rory is a lobe-tech, one of the chosen few who can navigate another's memories to find their most guarded secrets and exploit the intel they're hiding. She’s the best chance the country has at stopping the Seers—the terrorist organization using the weather as a weapon. January 13, 2042 should be just another day of pillaging minds and gathering secrets for Rory. But when she turns down the normally sterile hallways to her office, she finds them covered in blood.
What she finds inside her new subject’s mind is even more startling.
Not everything is as it seems in this fast-paced, can’t-put-down dystopian romance. For readers of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Selection.
Being a fan of The Hunger Games, and Divergent myself, I couldn’t wait to lean more about The Story Seer, and Amanda Dew. So of course I had to ask: What inspired her to write such a fantastic dystopian? I love to hear what inspires fellow authors, and Dew’s answer was brilliant!
“I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl, but in high school I had a teacher who called my writing -and I quote- “a disgrace to the English language.” That really put me off from creative writing (and reading) for a long time—close to ten years. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education and my Master’s degree in Statistics and began working as a Statistician in the field.
But looking back, I see that I always found a way to write and tell stories. I kept a journal all through high school and college. I started a mommy blog when I was staying home raising my four kids. I really got into statistical documentation and “telling the story” with the data at work.
When my oldest son started learning to read, I really wanted him to become “a reader.” To do this, I knew he needed to see me reading. After ten years, I picked up my first novel—The Selection by Kiera Cass. I loved it so much! It felt like I had been starving and finally given food to eat. I didn’t know how hungry I was until I took that first bite. After that, I began reading non-stop.
One day I had the thought, “I think I could do this, too!” When I had the idea that became my debut novel, The Story Seer, I was off and running!”
To get a little more personal with The Story Seer, I asked Amanda Dew about her character names. I wanted to know if they were personal to her, and what type of scenes she enjoys writing. My personal favourite to write is romance, so I was excited to hear what Amanda had to say!
“I love love love to write love scenes. I probably like to write them a little too much. I usually have to go through multiple editing sessions until I can get those scenes to fit in the YA boundaries. (wink wink) There’s just something about that heart fluttering, body tingling, breath quickening feeling that I can’t get enough of.”
“I really wanted to name my third child Aurora and call her Rory. While my husband liked the name, something about it didn’t quite fit. You see, he had it in his mind that we needed to name this child after his great-great grandmother Lina Lee White. For personal reasons, neither Lina nor Lee would work as a middle name, so we decided to go with White. And Aurora White just sounded a little too Disney Princess-ey for our taste (combo Sleeping Beauty and Snow White).
Yet, I still pined to name someone Aurora.
When I began writing The Story Seer, I knew my chance had come to use the name I loved so much. Aurora would be the perfect name for the protagonist.
I chose Ophelia because I thought it would be fun to have sisters with very regal sounding names with fun nicknames: Rory and Fifi.
Thatcher, Noah, and Everett were three of my son’s best friends at the time.
Jordan Daniels is named after my husband Daniel Joseph (inverted a little.)
I didn’t know what to name Blake’s character, so I googled “jerk boy names.” Blake was on that list. Haha!
There are also minor characters with all my kid’s names: Logan, Reagan, Ansley, and Elsie. So keep an eye out for those while you’re reading!”
An idea for a story can come to an author at any moment, while doing anything. Whether it be walking in nature, driving (like myself) or singing in the shower. Or, my personal favourite, right before I fall asleep! Each author has a unique answer to this question: Where, and when, do your ideas come to you?
“Ideas come to me at all hours of the day and night, usually when I least expect them. I’ve gotten pretty good about stopping what I’m doing to quickly jot down a few notes. But finding time to actually turn those ideas into words is another battle altogether.
As a stay-at-home mom to four kids (ages 10, 7, 5, and 1), I’ve become accustomed to writing anywhere and everywhere. Any time I have a free minute I bust out my phone or computer and write.
I wrote the majority of The Story Seer on my phone, lying next to my toddler while she napped in my bed. I wrote in the car pick-up line every single day, picking up my third grader and kindergartener. I wrote at the park, sports practices, dentist appointments, hair appointments, birthday parties, etc. Anytime I had a free minute, I was writing.
Now that 3 of my 4 kids are in school all day, I write mostly while my baby naps. My husband is also great about letting me take weekends away to write or taking care of kids on mornings I was up until 4 am. I truly couldn’t do this without such a supportive partner.”
Many authors, such as myself, have some truth in each story they write, even if only a few little things; they’re in there! Lol! I wanted to know what truths Amanda had written in, or had taken from a real life situation.
“I had the idea for The Story Seer when I was reading a lot of “epic love” stories. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl save the world. In a weird way, I was jealous of those love stories. I wanted that.
Then I realized I did have an epic love story -of sorts-. While we weren’t saving the world from some crazy super-villain, we did have an immense amount of love for one another, and had overcome obstacles in our own way. If I could just frame those stories in a dystopian-type world, maybe I’d have something really special.
That’s when I got the idea for having the protagonist, Aurora, somehow look into a man’s memories and find tiny snippets of him falling in love with his wife. Bingo! This became the framework for my debut novel, The Story Seer. All the stories Rory finds are based on my true life love story.
Of course, some things are exaggerated. But overall, it’s been fun to write our story, and to have so many readers connect with it. Everyday love can be epic love!”
Amanda Dew’s debut novel, The Story Seer, came out September 20, 2021, followed by the sequel, The Truth Seer, on September 27. She says she’s currently working on book three and hopes to have it completed by summer 2022!
Closing statement from author Amanda Dew, and links to follow or find your next great read!
“You can read my books, The Story Seer and The Truth Seer on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and paperback! Thanks so much for following along on my journey and reading my stories. It means the world!”
Big thank you to Amanda Dew for this fantastic interview! I wish you all the best, and Ill be following along your writing journey as well!