The mysterious aqua powers that be gobbled up many of our March posts, including this one! Well, you can’t keep a good YA Mystery Author down so take that Mr. March Mermaid Post Gobbler! Please enjoy this reposting of our interview with Amanda Brice.
Welcome, Amanda! We’re happy to have you swimming with us in the Mermaid lagoon today & super stoked that you’ll be talking about Pas de Death!
I’m happy to be here! It’s been rather chilly here in the DC area (as I’m sure all the Mermaids know!), so the thought of a “lagoon” conjures up the exotic – a lovely little grotto somewhere tropical. I’d love to be there right now! Especially if there are cabana boys. There are cabana boys, right?
What kind of lagoon would it be if there weren’t? Well, I guess it would be a normal lagoon, but this is no normal lagoon. 🙂 So, Amanda, how did you get your start writing?
You mean other than carrying around a little notebook and a purple pen all day when I was a little girl? My opus back then was “Nancy Flew and the Mystery of the Lady Ghost.” It was highly acclaimed by the very toughest of literary critics – my 4th grade teacher. (Thanks, Mrs. Koochagian!)
But my dad convinced me to “do something practical” so I went to law school instead. Eventually drafting legal materials was a little too dry to keep my attention and I needed an outlet. I remember the day clearly – I’d just finished reading Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (brilliant book, btw, if you haven’t read it) and was supposed to be writing a patent on the patentability of indigenous medicinal methods (yawn!), but I decided that writing a chick lit novel would be a lot more fun. So I whipped off the first 88 pages of a book that shall never see the light of day and asked my professor for an extension of time on the law paper.
Can you tell us what is the last great book you read?
Indeed I can. Just last night, in fact, I finished Bluebood, which is book #2 in Matthew Iden’s Marty Singer Mystery Series. I’ll be quite honest and say that I started reading this series because I know Matt personally and I wanted to support him, but just a couple of pages into the first book (A Reason to Live), I was quite literally blown away. It’s THAT good. Kinda like James Patterson in the early days, but much better. The series follows a retired DC homicide detective who left the force because he’s battling cancer, but he can’t seem to run away from the ghosts of his past – they keep popping up in the form of cases left unsolved and he must now find the answers. The writing is gripping and he keeps you on the edge of your seat. And his descriptions of Northern Virginia just highly amuse me. I read the first one a couple of months back, but then got sidetracked finishing up my own book, so didn’t have time to dive into the second one until just now. And I can’t wait to start the third one (One Right Thing) tonight!
What can you tell us about your daily routine?
Ha, routine? You clearly don’t know me well. I don’t exactly have what you’d call a routine. Between balancing a full-time job as an attorney, managing a busy RWA chapter as president, and being mommy to two high-energy toddlers, writing is rarely at the top of my priority list, unfortunately. Except for when I’m on deadline. Then my family knows not to bother me and that we’ll be eating a lot of frozen pizza. But I really am a spurter. I’ll go months without writing much of anything, and then there will a couple-month stretch there that I live-and-breathe writing. I need to get better about that.
What was your inspiration for Pas De Death?
This is the third book in my YA mystery series set at a performing arts boarding school. The first book featured a sabotage and the second one featured a kidnapping. And while there were definitely some suspenseful and dangerous parts of those investigations, I knew I needed to step up my game a little bit. Throughout the first two books, my heroines is always trying to pass herself off as 15, even though she’s still just 14. Well, she celebrated her birthday during the short story that takes place between Books 2 and 3, so now that she’s 15, she thinks of herself as more grown up and edgy, so a murder mystery seemed like the right move.
Last spring I offered up naming rights to the murder victim during the Brenda Novak auction. I assumed that someone would buy it to take out a little “literary revenge,” so imagine my surprise when I discovered that the winner was a book blogger who’d met me at the Turn the Page signing last year and who wanted me to use her name! LOL. So that started the wheels turning, and I eventually made my murder victim be a dance critic rather than a book reviewer.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book?
Hmmm…good question! Actually, there’s a scene where my heroine and her movie-star-slash-on-again-off-again boyfriend are locked in a closet hiding from the police. They’re “off again” during this part of the saga, so it was fun to write that little bit of tension.
Sounds fun! Can you tell us a little bit about your new release?
Here’s the blurb:
pas de deux (NOUN: pl. pas de deux)
1. A dance for two, especially a dance in ballet consisting of an entrée and adagio, a variation for each dancer, and a coda.
2. A close relationship between two people or things, as during an activity.
pas de death (NOUN: yeah … totally made up)
1. A dance of death.
2. When Dani Spevak stumbles over a dead body and gets into another crazy situation.
Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is back home for the summer, recovering from an injury. What was supposed to be a simple day trip into New York City to visit her friends at the Manhattan Ballet Conservatory turns deadly when Dani discovers that the world of professional ballet can be cutthroat – literally.
Check out Amanda’s Book Trailer!
And Catch Up With Amanda Here!