Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chatting with Award Winning Author - Christine Amsden

Today we are chatting with award winning author, Christine Amsden. Welcome Christine!

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy 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 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, a condition that effects 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. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.

MM: Many authors relate their characters to people they know. Is this the case with your characters and do you see yourself in any of them?

Yes and yes, but it's not a 1:1 ratio. There is no character in any of my books who I think of as “me” and likewise, though I often think of people I know when I conceive a character, none of them are precisely a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

In The Immortality Virus, the main character, Grace Harper is full of a certain bravado that I wish I had, but can't honestly say I do. A woman she befriends along the way, Meg, contains a certain innocence combined with inquisitiveness that may be a part of me. I did find I could relate to her pretty well. The two men in the story – Sam and Alexander – both have a bit of my husband in them, in that they're both geeks. (In the scientifically skilled sense of the word, rather than the socially inept sense of the word.)

MM: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Meg – because of what I just said – I can relate to her. She's also sort of the character that brings the story down to earth. It's a big concept, and a big world, but here's this girl/woman just trying to live in it.

MM: Who is your most favorite character from any book of all time?

Can it still be one of my books? Because I'm seriously in love with Cassie Scot, the heroine of the series I'm working on now (the first book is coming out early next year).

When it comes to other author's books, I spend so little time with them (compared to how much time I spend with my own characters) that it's difficult to think of a favorite. Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher comes to mind, but maybe that's because there are thirteen books in the series, so I've spent a lot of time with him. I do think series have the advantage when it comes to this question – Harry Potter, Mackayla Lane (Karen Marie Moning – great example of character change), Bean (Orson Scott Card), Meg Murry (Madeleine L'Engle)...just to name a few.

MM: If you could dive into the pages of any book, which book would it be and what character would you be?

Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels. I grew up with her, and related to her both as a teenager, and as an adult (in Swiftly Tilting Planet). Plus, she had some pretty exciting adventures.

MM: If your book was to become a movie, which actors/actresses do you see playing the parts of your characters?

I am so terrible at this question! I'm honestly not all that up to date on actors and actresses, and don't get a chance to watch many movies. (I have two small kids and no family nearby, so the cost of a movie includes the $10 an hour cost of a baby-sitter!) For Grace, the best I can think of is Sarah Michelle Gellar because Buffy has that sort of tough on the outside soft on the inside thing I was going for, and she pulled it off well. As for the rest of the cast, if this ever does become a movie, I will leave that in the capable hands of the casting director.

MM: What can we expect from Christine Amsden in the future? Any new projects?

Oh yes! Did I mention Cassie Scot? And did I manage only to do it once? :)

Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective (Book 1 of 4) [Note: The “para” in paranormal has a strike through. When posting to sites that don't allow this, I go with “Normal.”]

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, living between worlds, but not belonging to either. At 21, she just wants to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family's reputation isn't easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.


I'm working on the fourth book now, so this series will be coming out back to back starting early in 2013. It's pretty different from The Immortality Virus, both in genre (urban fantasy instead of science fiction) and plot. (Cassie Scot does have mystery in it, but it is more of a character story, heavy on the romance. The Immortality Virus is more of an action-packed mystery with emphasis on the world building.)

MM: Where can readers connect with you?

All over the place! You can check out my website at I have a blog that I update regularly with book reviews, interviews, tips for writers, and of course my own book news. I am on twitter, facebook, and goodreads. I teach writing workshops at Savvy Authors. And you can just e-mail me if you want:

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a wonderful pleasure.

Thank you so much for having me!

In the mid-21st century, the human race stopped aging. Those who know why aren’t talking, and the few who are brave enough to ask questions tend to disappear. To an elite few, The Change means long life and health, but to the ever-increasing masses, it means starvation, desperation, and violence.
Four centuries after The Change, Grace Harper, a blacklisted P.I., sets off on a mission to find the man responsible for it all and solicit his help to undo The Change — if he’s still alive. To complicate matters, Grace’s employer is suspected of murdering his father, and when the police learn of their connection, they give her a choice — help them find the evidence they need to convict Matthew Stanton, or die. But if they discover Grace’s true mission, they won’t hesitate to kill her in order to preserve their shot at immortality.

Why did you call me here?” Grace asked. She remembered the newspaper headlines again and found herself wondering if, just maybe, Matt had killed his father. Accidents, murder, or disease were the only way for a person to die when age didn’t plunge them towards that fate. Perhaps Matt had been sick of waiting around for his father to step aside and leave control of Medicorp to him.
Straight to business, then?”
Grace nodded. “You have to admit, this meeting is unusual.” She did not specifically mention the blacklist, but she was sure Matt would know what she meant. “Does this have anything to do with your father’s death?”
My father?” Matt cocked his head to the side. “That was a terrible accident in the midst of a robbery. Once you get as old as we are, you begin to tempt fate every day just by being alive. Old age might not get to us, but accidents are inevitable. Besides, the police have already handled the investigation.”
They found the killer?” Grace asked, confused. She would have heard. Besides, since the robber had successfully stolen a holosuit, it seemed unlikely that anyone would find him.
Not yet, but our city has a fine police force, and I’m sure they’ll do their job admirably.”
Grace decided not to argue with the idea that the Kansas City police force was either “fine” or “admirable.” They would enthusiastically serve the rich, perhaps, but a madman could go on a shooting spree in the park, and they’d just call in the recyclers.
Then why–?” Grace began.
How old are you, Ms. Harper?”
I’m sure you know,” Grace said. She suspected that this man knew quite a lot about her.
Yes, but I’m trying to make you feel more comfortable.”
I’m one hundred and thirty.”
Still quite young, then,” Matt said. “The odds are still on your side. Although you chose a dangerous line of work.”
Is there a safe line of work? This is what I’m good at.”
Rumor has it that you’re good at finding people,” Matt said.
Grace didn’t hesitate. “The best. I’ve had a fifty percent success rate across my career.”
Fifty percent?” Matt echoed, his voice hollow. “That doesn’t sound very certain.”
Grace shrugged. “Who said life was certain? But most in the business don’t find more than one in ten.” Grace hesitated, but decided to go for broke. “I don’t always get work looking for people with ID chips, either. My clients aren’t people who deal with The Establishment, but I guess you know that.”
Of course.”
So then I must assume that the person you’re looking for is either someone without an ID chip or someone The Establishment wouldn’t want you to find.” Grace paused and tried not to think about the implications of that. “Probably both.”
A small smile played at the corner of Matt’s mouth, but he did not answer in words. He walked to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out an old-fashioned digital diary, the kind people used to buy when they had more money and resources than they knew what to do with. Grace had only seen them in movies. It looked a little like a notebook from the outside, but opening the cover revealed a microphone and speakers. “I ran across this diary a few weeks ago, mixed in with some old records the company was throwing out. It’s fascinating.”

Title: The Immortality Virus
Author: Christine Amsden

Author web site:
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 978-1-60619-003-6
Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: June 15, 2011
Pages: 270

July 16 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
July 18 - Interviewed on KWOD Radio
July 20 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Mommy Reads Too Much 
July 24 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Books, Books, and More Books
July 26 - Reviewed at The Self Taught Cook
July 30 - Interviewed by Louise James
August 1 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Words I Write Crazy
August 3 - Interview & Giveaway at MK McClintock's Blog
August 6 - Review & Interview at A Book Lover's Library
August 6 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at From The TBR Pile


Christine Amsden

Thank you so much for the interview.

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