Michelle Rowen

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Q&A with Amanda Ashby! Win a book!!

I’m so happy to welcome Amanda Ashby, who has consented to do a Q&A on my blog to celebrate first YA release The Zombie Queen of Newbury High — out today!!! I’ve been so lucky to get the chance to read both of Amanda’s books (Zombie Queen and You Had Me At Halo) and I can tell you she’s absolutely fabulous! I gave her a quote for Zombie Queen. I said:

“Zombie Queen of Newbury High is a delicious treat! Who knew zombies could be both fun and funny? It’s Zombilicious!”

ZOMBILICIOUS!!! It’s a word.

Plus, she lives in one of the most beautiful countries in the whole world — New Zealand. I got to meet her — if only for a very brief time — this past summer in San Francisco at RWA Nationals. Amanda rocks! And, to show she rocks even more, she’s giving away a signed copy of Zombie Queen to a commenter today! So comment, people! Comment!!!!!! (no pressure)


Tell us about your book — what’s it about?

Zombie Queen of Newbury High is just an average cautionary tale of what happens when Mia Everett tries to do a love spell to stop her prom date from dumping her and instead ends up turning the entire senior year into zombies. Seriously, it could’ve happened to anyone. Of course the kicker is that not only are they all turning into zombies but she is now at the top of their new diet unless she and zombie hunter hottie, Chase Miller can find a cure.

What inspired you to write about zombies, especially teenaged ones?

I wish I could say that I’ve been a hardcore zombie fan for years and years but the truth is that not only do zombies scare me but it’s a pretty funny word as well. I mean you think zombies and you think gorefest. Anyway, I had joked for ages that I was going to write a zombie book and eventually I decided that perhaps I should do one for real. As for why I made it a ya? Well, I just really love teen books and teen culture so it just seemed to make sense.

You live in New Zealand, but your book is set in the United States. Were there any problems getting the voice of an American teen on paper for you?

Ever since I first clapped eyes on The Brady Bunch, I’ve tended to watch a LOT of American television shows and movies, especially teen ones so I think my writing voice is quite US orientated anyway. Of course because I grew up in Australian and I’ve also lived in the UK before moving to New Zealand, I do sometimes manage to stick in a few weird phrases that have had my editor scratching her head (aka saying ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about here so perhaps we could change it for some words that actually make sense!’). But on the whole, it hasn’t been too hard at all.

I get the feeling from reading Zombie Queen that the author (aka you) may be a little bit obsessed with the Buffyverse and the brothers from Supernatural. What is it about these shows that you love, and what other shows are rocking your paranormal universe?

The thing I love most about both shows is the way they used juxtaposition to really show the balance between light and dark by a series of carefully planned contrasting events, and…oh, hell, who am I kidding? My real reasons can be summed in four lovely little words — Angel. Sam. Dean. Hot Dad (okay Hot Dad is two words but it is wrong that I love Sam and Dean’s dad as well?) (Michelle says: No, not at all). Anyway, as you can see I’m all about the pretty guys, but the other thing I love about both shows is that the dialogue is so snappy and fun – and I’m sure the juxtaposition is really great as well (if of course I knew what that meant!!)

As for what other shows I love. Well, I was a big, big fan of the first season of Dark Angel though it went a little weird in season two but I still watched it. Firefly was great and I’m a latecomer to Battlestar Galactica but am definitely feeling the love of Apollo’s arm muscles. Oh and lately I’ve become a big fan of the movies Day Watch and Night Watch and if you haven’t seen them yet then I can definitely recommend them!

Of the non-paranormal variety I’m still a big fan of Friends and I’m grateful that one of our stations over here plays repeats all year round – I swear I laugh more each time I see them!!!!!

What’s your favorite book of all time?

Oooh — cruel question. Why don’t you just make me choose between my kids. I have different favorite books for different things but perhaps the one that made the most impact on me when I first read it was The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin.

Favorite movie?

Toss up between Princess Bride and Clueless

If Zombie Queen because a movie, who would you cast in the main parts?

Argh — I’m so bad at this game and I never really imagine my characters as real actors so it gets hard for me to try and match people up. Perhaps Robert Pattinson for Chase since he’s okay looking (isn’t he Michelle???) (MIchelle says: Yes, Amanda. Yes he is) and Emma Roberts for Mia. As for who would play Candice, I have no idea but I’m sure they would have a lot of fun doing it!!!!!

What’s next for you with your writing?

My next book for Puffin is about a girl who goes to an elite slaying skill and suddenly starts to see invisible, killer fairies that no one has ever heard of. Unfortunately, due to a small incident something along the lines of the ‘girl who cried wolf’, no one will believe her and she’s forced to try and fight the fairies on her own (did I mention they were killer ones??!!!). And right now I’m working on a mid-grade book as well as another young adult idea that I’ve had for a long time and have finally decided to try and breathe some life into it.


Thanks, Amanda!! You can visit Amanda at her website at: www.amandaashby.com

Amanda will be picking one winner from the comments (on this blog as well as my LiveJournal mirror blog) on Saturday, March 8th. Good luck!

23 comments to “Q&A with Amanda Ashby! Win a book!!”

  1. Glenda Heath
     · March 4th, 2009 at 10:44 am · Link

    OMG! This sounds awesome. I can hardly wait to read it. I’m always on the lookout for new series with interesting twists and I have to admit that as I get older I’m more drawn to those with humor. Keep writing!

  2. Dawn aka Froggy
     · March 4th, 2009 at 12:43 pm · Link

    Sounds awesome! I love to paranormal books and I am ALWAYS on the look for new ones!! :)

  3. Bonnie Staring
     · March 4th, 2009 at 12:56 pm · Link

    Zombie Queen sounds like a tasty read, Amanda! And I couldn’t help but notice that Spike wasn’t mentioned in your list of inspiring male characters. What’s up with that?

    Congrats on your release!


  4. amanda ashby
     · March 4th, 2009 at 1:08 pm · Link

    Dawn and Geland – thanks so much for the nice comments.

    Bonnie – should I confess that I’m an Angel girl? Of course it’s not a big problem and I’ve almost got the obsession completely under control (okay, that’s a lie, I’m rabib, but he’s just so darn pretty!!!). I do like Spike as well but we could only ever be friends!!!!

  5. amanda ashby
     · March 4th, 2009 at 1:10 pm · Link

    Gelend? You see this is what happens when you stay up until 1 in the morning working on a synopsis. Sorry, Glenda!!!!!

  6. Maureen McGowan
     · March 4th, 2009 at 2:19 pm · Link

    Hi Amanda! **Maureen waves south**

    Can’t wait to win your book. LOL.

  7. Lisa N.
     · March 4th, 2009 at 3:50 pm · Link

    Great interview!! I loved You Had Me At Halo and can’t wait to read your newest release! I also am a huge fan of Supernatural and I’m so excited they got picked up for season 5!

  8. deltay
     · March 4th, 2009 at 4:55 pm · Link

    I didn’t know that you live in New Zealand – that’s so cool! I love Supernatural too, it’s a great show. Very spooky though, to watch late at night. Because then I get creeped out when I have to go downstairs for anything. Haha, I can’t choose favourites either.

    Great interview!

  9. amanda ashby
     · March 4th, 2009 at 7:29 pm · Link

    Hey Maureen – I’m waving right back at you – that’s me in the black top!!

    Lisa N – yay that you enjoyed Halo. Zombie is very much in the same tone but just with a bit less body sharing and a bit more flesh munching!!!!

    Deltay – the only bad thing about living in NZ is how far behind TV is. I want season 4 of Supernatural – wah! On the plus side they have been repeating season 3!

  10. Karen W.
     · March 4th, 2009 at 8:36 pm · Link

    Amanda, the book sounds fantastic! I loves me some zombies. :)

    I’m right with you about “Buffy” and “Supernatural” (AND the reasons why)! And heck, yes, I include the dad too!

    Good luck with the book! I can’t wait to read it.

  11. Cari Quinn
     · March 4th, 2009 at 8:49 pm · Link

    Fun interview!

    My knowledge of zombies is basically nonexistent, but I loved Amanda’s first book. Not to mention, anyone who loves Clueless and Friends is a smart cookie. I have to say I’m a Spike girl (though I *just* starting watching Buffy. I’m always late to the party.)

    Best of luck with your release, Amanda! :)

  12. Donna S
     · March 4th, 2009 at 10:04 pm · Link

    It sounds like its going to be a great book. I would love the chance to read it.

    Congrats on the release!

  13. Melissa N Walker
     · March 4th, 2009 at 10:18 pm · Link

    Hmm…Interesting thought, zombie Brady Bunch!

  14. Michelle Kuo
     · March 4th, 2009 at 10:55 pm · Link

    Hi! Came over here from Amanda’s blog party ;) I keep wanting to read this book, and after reading so many blogs about zombies over there, I really want to win this! Haha.

    :O A zombie Brady Bunch…

  15. the epic rat
     · March 5th, 2009 at 12:37 am · Link

    Zombilicious is an amazing word! I’ve never thought of it before and will now and forever try to slip it casually into conversation!

  16. Amanda Ashby
     · March 5th, 2009 at 1:13 am · Link

    Karen W – it looks like we are as one!

    Cari Quinn – Thanks for your kind words and – oh I’m jealous that you’re just watching Buffy/Angel now – so much great stuff to look foward to. And don’t forget Firefly as well, which doesn’t have vampires but is equally fabulous!!! Anyway, any fan of Clueless and Friends is a friend of mine!!

    Thanks Donna

    Melissa – omg zombie Brady Bunch is far too funny for words. I can just see Jan totally going on an eating binge. She’d take down Marsha first and then perhaps move onto Cindy before turning on the boys. I love it!!

    Hey Michelle – yay that you came over to play!!!! Good luck!

    The Epic Rat – hehehe – I’ll look foward to hearing how your new conversation goal goes!!!!

  17. Sue
     · March 5th, 2009 at 1:21 am · Link

    Hi! I also came from Amanda’s Blog Party. Like everyone else, I want to get my hands on a copy.

  18. Nora
     · March 5th, 2009 at 1:39 pm · Link

    Great Q&A…can’t WAIT to get my hands on this one!

  19. CrystalGB
     · March 6th, 2009 at 11:12 am · Link

    Hi Amanda. Great interview. Your book sounds good. Nice cover.

  20. Erika Lynn
     · March 6th, 2009 at 1:11 pm · Link

    Clueless is a great movie, but not what I expected to be one of your favorites.

  21. blackroze@yahoo.com
     · March 6th, 2009 at 10:19 pm · Link

    im still a stalking ,lol
    still love how you keep the interviews questions fresh

  22. Paradox
     · March 14th, 2009 at 9:44 pm · Link

    I know I’m too late, but I’d like to say that I enjoyed the Q and A! I love The Princess Bride too!

  23. How I Lost Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days
     · April 29th, 2009 at 2:01 am · Link

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

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