The Writing Life with Christine Amsden, Author of FROZEN

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. In addition to being a writer, she's a mom and freelance editor.

Social Media Links:
· Blog

About the Book:

Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married.
When a couple freezes to death on a fifty degree day, Cassie is called in to investigate. The couple ran a daycare out of their home, making preschoolers the key witnesses and even the prime suspects.
Two of those preschoolers are Cassie’s youngest siblings, suggesting conditions at home are worse than she feared. As Cassie struggles to care for her family, she must face the truth about her mother’s slide into depression, which seems to be taking the entire town with it.
Then Cassie, too, is attacked by the supernatural cold. She has to think fast to survive, and her actions cause a rift between her and her husband.
No, life doesn’t end after marriage. All hell can break loose at any time. 

Buy Links

Frozen (Cassie Scot Book Seven)

Print Release: July 15, 2018
Audiobook Release: TBA
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot Book One)

What got you into writing?

I don’t know, but I can’t seem to get out of it!

Seriously, I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. I use It’s just in my soul.

What do you like best about being an author?

I like the days when I crawl so deep into my character and my story that I lose myself for a while. When I finally reemerge, I’m often shocked by what I created.

When do you hate it?

The business end. Some part of me wishes I could just be the storyteller, the creator, because I’m not a good salesperson. But if I locked my stories away in a trunk, then what have I created? Writing is a communication tool, and communication requires more than one pesron to be involved.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

I like to write second thing in the morning, when I’m at my best. I wake up slowly, and I don’t like to force myself into anything first thing in the morning. When I’m ready, I make myself a cup of fresh, loose leaf tea (oolong has been a recent favorite), retreat to my basement study, light a candle, turn out the overhead light, and read whatever I wrote yesterday. Then I let myself write up to 1,500
words. If I’m deep in flow and go slightly over that word count marker, it’s fine, but if I’m struggling for words, I cut myself off. This peaceful approach to writing has ironically helped me produce work a little faster than when I made myself write at least 2,000 words a day, which was often just beyond my natural inclination and which regularly resulted in me deleting a lot of words. Now I focus on quality rather than quantity, to great effect.

I usually finish my writing by about ten in the morning, at which point I break for yoga. Then I do a bit of that business I mentioned above. After lunch and a brisk walk, I spend my afternoons on freelance editing. If I’m between editing jobs, I have a variety of “downtime tasks” I like to do, such as brainstorming, research, continuing education, writer’s forums, extra yoga, and reading a good book.

Do you think authors have big egos?

I don’t! Wow. Is that really a thing? I’m sure some do, but if that’s a stereotype, it’s way off. Most authors I interact with have deep-seeded self doubt.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I don’t read them.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I read them!

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

“I’ve wanted to write a book for so long, but I can never seem to find the time.”

And can I just add, “Grrrrrrr!!!!”

I’m not sure why everyone in the world thinks he or she can be an author, if only they had the time. It’s hard work. Really hard work. It requires far more than time, too, it requires dedication. And possibly obsession.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

By setting daily word count maximums, I have a built-in escape hatch for days when the words aren’t coming. However, if I’m not writing at least 1,000 words, I do spend extra time brainstorming to figure out where I’m getting stuck. I have a “companion” file that’s basically a daily journal, with each entry headed with a date. I work through my issues there.

Any writing quirks?

My writing is a bit quirky, yes. :)

And I find that I have real trouble writing someone else’s story. One of the biggest problems I have with the business of writing is that I work so hard to separate it from the creation side of writing. I don’t want market trends to force my hand, even if it might help make me more successful. I’ve tried, resulting in some of the biggest flops in my “trunk.”

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

Many of the people around me don’t take my writing seriously, and do see it as more of a hobby. :)

One of the most bittersweet comments I get, especially now that I’m publishing book #9, comes when a long-time friend or acquaintance finally, after all these many years, picks up one of my books and says, in some tone of surprise, “Wow, you can write! I can’t believe how good you are!”

Yeah, I am. And going back to your question above, that’s not ego. That’s hard-won self-confidence. I have doubts about a lot of things, including the stories themselves and how various choices will come across or be misconstrued, but heck yeah I can write! I’ve been doing it long enough.

All of which means that I have to take myself seriously. I can’t wait around for someone to do it for me.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

Of course! Sometimes, writing is a release. Other times, it’s a compulsion.

After Kaitlin’s Tale, which was book #8 for me, I didn’t write anything for almost two years. I tried, but couldn’t. Frozen isn’t actually my healing book – there is another completed manuscript I haven’t decided when or how to publish yet – but it is my comeback book. I learned a lot about myself as I healed from that dark phase of my life, and I’ve come to a new peace with writing. That includes some of the things I’ve mentioned here – I have word count maximums now, not minimums. I take time every day for self care, including yoga, walking, and some time every morning to let myself ease into things.

What’s on the horizon for you?

So many things! Frozen is another Cassie Scot book, and she’s definitely not as done as I thought she was a couple years ago. I’ve got a new plot arc in mind for her, one that will take at least two more books to complete.

In addition, I’ve written two more books, each of which is the first book in its own brand new, unrelated series. The first of these, my true healing book, is undergoing an agent hunt. 

Metamorphosis is a light scifi story about a woman who finds herself pregnant despite not having had sex in a while. (I couldn’t bring myself to write the virgin cliché.) The second of these, Playing God, still needs a round of revision before I decide what to do with it. This one is a darker, more serious story that doesn’t have a great one-sentence tagline. Superficially, it’s an Anastasia retelling, but really it’s about family and loss and love (not the romantic kind) and holding grudges and letting go of anger. So basically, I still have a lot of work to do on that one, both on the story and on the marketing – even just deciding what to say it’s about!

Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process or about being a writer.

Remember that, first and foremost, writing is supposed to be fun. (aka my New Year’s resolution!)

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