Q&A with Amalie Howard of ‘Waterfell’

You released your first book “Bloodspell” in 2011, which led to an impressive five book

publishing deals. How the heck do you have time to write so much, and what does it feel like to

have your work recognized in such a great way?

I am so incredibly grateful that my wonderful editors saw something they loved in my books

and wanted to publish them. All three of my upcoming novels—WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL,

and ALPHA GODDESS—each brings something different and unique to the table, so I’m really

excited that readers will get to sample such a diverse range of what I have to offer as an author.

As far as writing so much, I’m very lucky that I’m a fast writer, so once I get an idea in my

head, I just go. I plot a basic outline of my expectations, and then I let the story take me on its journey.

And as I always say to my teen creative writing classes, writing is like homework. You have to make

time for it and be diligent about doing it.

 

What will fans of “Bloodspell” like best about your upcoming titles?

Fans of BLOODSPELL will enjoy meeting some very special new characters and being

introduced to completely different worlds—figuratively and literally, especially in THE ALMOST

GIRL. In WATERFELL, I was particularly excited to share my love of the ocean (I grew up on an

island) and surfing! I also wanted to explore the myth of the sea monster and shift it from something

terrifying into something beautiful … enter the mysterious world of the Aquarathi!

I’ve always been fascinated by quantum mechanics (even though I was hopeless at physics in

high school) and the possibility of alternate universes. In THE ALMOST GIRL, I was able to explore

that and more in this book, like the whole concept of nature versus nurture and whether we evolve

differently based on harsher environments. I think this book will take readers on an interesting journey.

In ALPHA GODDESS, I wanted to explore some of the stories I’d been told as a child. I also

wanted to share some of my experience with readers. My father comes from a long line of Hindu

priests, so these myths were a large part of my childhood. The Ramayana is a particularly beautiful

love story, and while my novel is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed crafting my version from such an

inspiring mythology.

 

Your next release, “Waterfell,” departs from the world of vampires and witches but stays in the

realm of fantasy and science fiction. What do you like about those genres?

Clearly, I love escaping reality. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my true loves.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a great contemporary novel as much as anyone, but getting lost in a an epic

fantasy world or meeting characters from other planets who have superhuman powers is icing on the

cake for me. I like being able to push the boundaries of reality, to create mind-boggling ‘what if’

scenarios … for example, with WATERFELL, what if sea monsters really did exist? And what if they

were a species from another planet hiding on ours? And what if they could shift into human form? With

science fiction and fantasy, the possibilities are endless.

Like all of your books so far, “The Almost Girl” features a strong, independent female character

as the protagonist. What do you hope readers learn from her?

I’m a huge fan of strong female protagonists (that said, I do have a novel with a strong male

protagonist so I’m not gender-biased). I do like strong protagonists on the whole, but I also do think

there has to be character growth that is transparent and meaningful to the reader. No one’s going to

relate to a character who stays the same. With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, I love that she has to

dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable

on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build

so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that

she was brave enough to trust her heart. In the end, I’m hopeful that readers will empathize with Riven

and learn, as she does, that humans are born to feel, and that being open to life and love doesn’t make

you weaker … it makes you stronger.

 

“Alpha Goddess” is your take on an Indian mythological tale. Where did you first hear about it?

Although ALPHA GODDESS is a work of fiction, a lot of my inspiration for the characters and

the world-building in this novel is based on Hindu mythology. My father is a second generation

Brahmin (priest class in traditional Hindu society), so Indian mythology was an integral part of my

childhood and religious education. Fascinated by stories and legends of various Hindu gods who

incarnated as avatars to avert human tragedy, I wanted to write an epic story that encompassed some of

the Hindu mythology elements I enjoyed as a child, like the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. Of

course, ALPHA GODDESS is my own invented take on another reincarnated version of these

characters, and does not actually exist in Indian scriptures.

 

You are quite the world traveler. How do you incorporate the cultures you come across into your

writing?

I love meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I really believe that traveling the

world has helped me to craft my characters, especially the ones that aren’t human (whom I have to

invent). How do they evolve? How are they different from regular people? How are they the same? I

enjoy using elements and facets from all the different cultures I’ve interacted with over the years to

develop compelling scenarios and create robust characters in my writing.

I also like to include some of my favorite cities in my novels, for example, Paris and New York

in BLOODSPELL, San Diego, California in WATERFELL, and Fort Collins, Colorado in THE

ALMOST GIRL. Although a writer can research anything online, writing about a place I’ve actually

been to helps me to picture scenes and places more vividly. It allows me to create more authentic

descriptions, so that my readers can feel like they are there, too.

 

We can only imagine you’re working on something new. Can you give us any sneak peek into the

mind of Amalie Howard and what’s to come?

 I’m working on several different projects. I’ve just finished writing OCEANBORN, which is

the sequel to WATERFELL, and I’ve also just completed a near-future, technological YA

thriller/romance, which has a male protagonist that I’m very excited about. That one is now in the

capable hands of my agent. In addition to that, I have outlined a companion novel to ALPHA

GODDESS, and I am about to start writing the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL. Lastly, I’m fleshing

out a joint project with another YA writer that’s super secret and under wraps for now. So yes, I’m

busy, but I’m embracing it all (with a lot of gratitude).

 

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