- Nikky Lee
10 Questions with A. A. Warne
A. A. Warne writes elaborate, strange, dark, and twisted stories. In other words, speculative fiction. Located at the bottom of the Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia, Amanda was born an artist and grew up a painter before deciding to study pottery. But it wasn't until she found the art of the written word that her universe expanded. A graduate of Western Sydney University in Arts, Amanda now spends her time wrestling three kids and writing full time.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I am a speculative writer for both children and adults currently located in Sydney, Australia. I've been writing for twelve years now and publishing since 2019. I'm also a researcher of lost knowledge, finder of the unusual, mother of three fascinating children and two seriously naughty dogs. And I'm no morning person.
2. What drew you to that particular genre?
I love everything fantasy. There's something magical about discovering something beyond reality, or beyond limitations that we put on ourselves. Plus fantasy has no boundaries. So I start with fantasy but I tend to weave in other genres and really break the fantasy genre. So it's safe to say that I'm a speculative writer. I dabble in other genres but only to compliment, facilitate, or co-exist fantasy. The best thing is speculative fiction is fluid and can be designed by the author to their needs. For me though, I prefer the story to tell me the best way to express it and I try and remove any boundaries.
3. What are you currently working on?
I'm currently writing with my co-writer Michelle Crow, a follow up book to Concealed Power, which will be book two in the Hidden Truths Trilogy. And I'm also drafting the second book to The Reluctant Wizard. I am not a person that can work on one book at a time. So I have a few books to juggle while researching future books.
4. What inspired you to write it?
Michelle and I were at the same stage of writing when I pitched her an idea about a psychic meeting two guys that are mythical in a sense but at war with one another and they fight over her but she hasn't a clue any of this is going on. Michelle was so happy to be on board that we started writing like crazy. The story blew out to be massive but we've developed a system now that the writing is much more directed in the right parts and as a result, we are breezing through the next book.
While I was half way through Concealed Power, my mind kept visualising a young boy lost in a wizard's world and hiding from their enemy. I couldn't shake the idea. Then I started dreaming about it. I knew I had to write that story too. So while I met all of the deadlines with Michelle, I also wrote The Reluctant Wizard on the side which ended up being a much longer and more complex story.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research?
I'm first and foremost a thinker. I can come up with a hundred story ideas a day. But I cannot write that many. So I generally let my head play them out. If something repeats or gives me chills, that is the idea that gets written down. Sometimes I will combine that idea with a plot or a character profile, but often times, they sit there until I need some inspiration.
I don't research directly for my stories. Instead, I research for my mind—like cultivating ideas so that my mind can push boundaries, explore new concepts and think dynamically. I only research things that are interesting to me. Once I find things that I know are perfect for a particular story, then I write it down and shove it in a folder for later. When I go to write that story, then I pull out the folder which is usually thick full of ideas by then, I can weave them into the plot.
It all sounds complicated but that is the simplest way I can explain my complicated brain. I just lean into it, because it's natural for me. Any time I've tried to simplify the process or even change the process, then I stop writing altogether.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
Even though I write speculative fiction, I try and not speculate on much. Instead, I've read something, or found something in my research that made it into the books. So things that seem weird actually occured in real life. And I love doing this because it gives that sense of reality threaded throughout the story. So I'd have to say the strangest places I look for things are the CIA database and FBI archives. I love looking through some of the investigations that they participated in and the thinking of that time.
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
I don't put myself or anyone I know into my stories. Real life can be seriously boring and no one I've ever met is so interesting that I need to immortalise them in literature. Instead, I thread my feelings and emotions onto the page but not in a conventional way. Usually I'll have a story idea in my mind and I'll hear a song. That song gives me an emotion that I'm hearing the words in a whole different way. Then each time I hear that song, I feel that emotion again and it's like that scene is intertwined with that song. As I write the scene, all I'm trying to do is express that emotion.
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
Karen Miller is an amazing writer. Her literature taught me that there shouldn't be boundaries and stuff the word count! Epic stories need to use as many words as they need.
Erich von Daniken taught me to break the rules. In writing we are often told to learn the rules. What rules!? I don't want rules, I don't want boundaries, I want to express my imagination in the best way that I can.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly taught me that ideas are more important than the book itself.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
A huge pile! I have so many research books and an endless number of novels. I also have a kindle reader which I've promised all those writers I know, I will read all of their books on this year. Sometimes the research sidetracks me and fiction misses out on my attention. I'm hoping to correct that this year. Right now, in paperback form, I've started Spirit Hacking by Shaman Durek.
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
All of my book links are on my website at www.aawarne.com. There are heaps of links to all sorts of retailers right around the world. Just hit the one you recognise.
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