Author Interview with Amara Lynn (@AmaraJLynn)
I had the distinct pleasure of setting up an interview with fellow writer Amara Lynn recently. We came across each other on Twitter some undisclosed amount of time ago, and we became mutual followers of our respective feeds that were and are full of nonsense and writing goo.
Amara is always writing and working hard to promote other queer authors in their sphere, using hashtag games and writing events in order to get more people writing and commiserating through social media and beyond. They have some new stories out and a pile of other books, so I decided to reach out to Amara to find out more.
Let’s start by talking about inspiration. Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Is there a source, or does your Muse drop them on your out of the blue?
I always cite music as my main source, but that’s just what gets my muse/the gears turning the most. I also get inspiration from classics, and what-if questions. I like fairy tales so a lot of my inspiration is me reading classics and thinking how I can make it queerer.
What do you find most rewarding and least rewarding about the process?
The most rewarding would be when a reader tells me I inspired them to write their own stories. Least rewarding is the whole drafting process. It takes so long for so little payoff sometimes!
You do a daily Q&A on social media geared toward queer writers. Can you talk a little about that and tell us why you started and why you keep it going?
Yes! So, I started off with #LGBTQWriMo for the November 2018 NaNoWriMo (I can’t believe it’s been that long, but it has!). I got the idea from a couple other queer writing hashtags around (#writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ, run by Evie Drae), and I thought, why not start an LGBTQ NaNoWriMo hashtag?
It really took off, and I loved doing it so much, that I started a regular queer writing hashtag afterward called #QWriters. Initially, it only ran weekends, due to my lack of spoons to make it daily, but I recently started doing it daily with the questions posted weekly instead of monthly, which takes a lot less energy.
The reason I keep it going is because I just love the queer writing community on Twitter. They are the kindest, most supportive people, and I genuinely love supporting them back and cheering everyone on each week.
Speaking of social media, do you think it’s changed over the last handful of years thanks to certain political groups and figures using it to push their shitty agendas? Has that affected you in any way or shunted your ability to use Twitter and other social media apps as a platform to push your writing and brand?
That’s a loaded question! I do think it’s become a different space, and while there are definitely a lot of politics going on, I mostly stick to the queer writing community on Twitter. It’s exhausting to be anywhere else, so I usually just hide on my hashtag! Which is another reason I like running it, and I’m sure others love having the space to hide, too. So I guess, it’s affected me in that, I stick to the spaces I like, but I don’t mind it. It’s less stressful that way!
A ton of indie writers have popped up over the last decade or so. Some may say too many. Is there a threshold one must meet before deciding that self-publishing is right for them, and do you feel that the market for indie writers has become too full of posers and those who just feel like pumping out books?
I think it’s become easier to self-publish in recent years, which is the reason for the flooded market. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Sure, there will be posers, but the gems among them will (hopefully) shine through!
As for how to decide if one should self-publish, it’s going to be different for everyone, and not all people have the means and resources to do it, and that’s okay. You’ve got to weigh the pros and cons and your own situation, and do what feels right to you!
We spoke about the indie community a little bit, but you’re also part of a writing community with other queer and trans authors. Is there a difference for you between indie authors, queer authors, and/or queer indie authors?
Short answer: no. Long answer, I’m here 100% for any queer authors, whether indie or trad pub! Just us getting our stories out there, no matter the outlet, is what’s important.
Do you ever feel like you’re in competition with other indie authors out there? Do you find any ill will between them and yourself at all, or do you get along well with everyone?
Not at all! It’s cheesy, but I always quote High School Musical and say, “We’re all in this together,” because it’s true. It’s not a competition, and there’s room for everyone!
Are there any individuals in any of writing community that you’d consider to be a cut above the others? Would you like to name names and talk about some your favorite people are? Is there anyone in your personal life who isn’t a part of the social media community who’s a big part in your writing adventure?
Some of my favorite people are some QWriters participants and discord friends. Ceillie, Christen, Sara, Abigail, and Lane, to name a few! My good friend Lore is not too active on social media; but we talk a lot about stories and writing, and ze beta reads for me. And last but not least, my best friend Emma, who inspired basically all of my stories.
I’m sure you’ve gotten your fair share of trolls and bad reviews. There are always those who remain negative in all spaces. How do you deal with the negative presences when they arise?
I try to put those out of my mind. There will always be one, and your book won’t be for everyone. But you’ll also be someone’s favorite. So, embrace the positive and push out the negative.
What are some writing ‘rules’ you habitually break, and what are ones you follow religiously?
I’m a believer that all writing rules can be broken if one does it well. A big one is “show, don’t tell” because it’s cryptic, and there’s definitely a balance. Sometimes telling can be powerful! For ones I follow, I’ve been trying to work on reducing filter words when they aren’t needed (feel, see, hear).
I haven’t forgotten about your books! You have a new one. Can you tell us a bit about it and what drew you to this story? Is there any significance to it that we may not know form the content?
Yes! My newest book is Futures, Friends, and Other Firsts, and it’s a fluffy, hopeful, post-apoc sci-fi short. It’s a prequel to my other sci-fi short, Tundras, Travelers, and Other Travesties (but can be read on its own). I got the initial spark of inspiration from an anthology call for stories about the future you want to see. The premise grew from there into what I would like a future in space to look like.
As far as hidden significance, there’s actually a good deal of science behind the story. I’m not super sciencey (and definitely not a math person), but I’ve always been interested in space travel and climate change, so my sci-fi shorts are a meeting of those two things. Humans made it to space, but climate change left Earth uninhabitable, and not in the ways people thought.
I’m such a big fan of the themes I’ve seen you use. I have to admit to not reading as much of your stuff as I should be, even if I have unfinished books of yours on my shelf. Can you talk a bit about your ‘back issues’ and the books or stories you’ve written and published in the past?
Sure! I love to write things with fantasy elements, magic, urban fantasy, and retellings. My back catalog as of right now contains:
Masks & Raven: a supervillain/antihero urban fantasy series with lots of superhero action, m/m romance, and fighting demons. Masks was my first published work, originally with a small press that closed, and I republished it as my first self-published book.
Rom & Yuli: This one is a post-apoc hopepunk short that takes some of the lore I developed for my Masks series and is a “what if the demons won?” scenario. I originally wrote it for a call for “hopeful post-apoc stories that aren’t about saving the world”, and it didn’t get in, so I self-published it. It’s also my first story that’s own voices for a nonbinary character!
Into the Deep: This is one of my first stories that I came up with, based on the prompt “language barriers”. There’s a long story behind its evolution over time, and it took me ten years to actually finish it, coming back to it on and off over the years. Anyways. This one is a pirate/merman m/m romance fantasy adventure comedy that’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Treasure Island. I’ve loved pirates since the first POTC film came out, and this is my take on that, basically. It’s the book of my heart <3. Also, it’s coming soon to audio, so watch out for that!
Tundras, Travelers, and Other Travesties: Lastly, previously mentioned, this is another fluffy post-apoc sci-fi short, and this one came about from a couple of different calls for “solarpunk” (stories involving solar tech), and one for “hopepunk” (hopeful post-apoc stuff). This one is fluffy, a little sad, but with a hopeful ending, and is also own voices for nonbinary/agender, and chronic pain rep.
I also have a few short stories that tie into my Masks series published for free!
And that’s all they wrote for now!
What does the future hold for Amara Lynn? What projects are you looking forward to tackling?
Many things! I wrote a full novel for November’s NaNo, which isn’t quite finished, and is a Beauty and the Beast X Alice in Wonderland mashup retelling with an all genderqueer cast. I wrote a ton last year, and now I gotta finish up all my drafts and work on getting them out into the world! Most of the stuff I wrote last year was fluffy and cozy romances set in a magical/witchy town. I’m looking forward to getting those all out in the world! And lastly, I spent most of last year rewriting the third Masks book, which I also hope to get out there very soon!
Who or what are you reading at the moment, and how big is your to-read book stack?
We don’t talk about TBRs here *eyes the huge stack of books I keep adding to lol*. I’m trying to read more, though. Currently, I’m reading Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. To read soon: Cemetery Boys, Lost in the Neverwoods, both by Aiden Thomas, The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune, and The Evanstar Chronicles by Sara Codair.
Now for the toughest question of all. Do you prefer board games over video games or vice versa? Please explain your answer.
Video games! I prefer playing things alone, or with my partner, so I’ve never been big on board games. I’m also an anime fan, and there are many anime games, so there’s that, too!
Amara Lynn has always been a quiet daydreamer. Coming up with characters and worlds since childhood, Amara eventually found an outlet in writing. Amara loves anything to do with pirates, villains and superheroes, and angels and demons.
Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.
Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.
Amara’s first audiobook for Into the Deep just dropped as well, a pirate / merman fantasy full of adventure and romance.
Amara’s newest book Futures, Friends, and Other Firsts is now available via the links above.