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. (You can learn more here.)
In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
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.
Her latest book is Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I've always been a writer, and I have always wanted to be an author. I considered (and discarded) dozens of “real jobs” during my lifetime, ranging from computer programmer to nun (hey, I was 7 and attended a Catholic school), but I have never wavered in my desire to create and write stories. I made them up before I could write, and then one day when I was 8, my mom pulled an old manual typewriter out of the basement. After getting my fingers stuck in the keys a few times, I wrote my first short story about a group of Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars.
What books have influenced your life the most?
I had to come back to this one because I'm not sure how to answer. I can tell you which books have influenced my writing the most (Orson Scott Card and Jim Butcher), which I've enjoyed the most (Karen Marie Moning, Jude Deveraux, Catherine Anderson, Jayne Ann Krentz), and which I've reread to the point of absurdity (Harry Potter). But I'm not sure that these books have influenced my life so much as made it a joy to live. I do sometimes read the sort of books that are meant to open your eyes or change your view of the world (Middlesex) and they do. But I had to have an open mind in the first place in order for that to happen. As strange as this may sound, I think readers create their own stories. Yes, the words were immutably written by someone else, but our own tastes, experiences, and personalities bring the stories to life inside our own mind. At that point, did they influence us or did we influence them? It's hard to say. A lifetime of reading has to have made an impact on me, but I can't point to any one book and say – This one!
What are your current projects?
Cassie Scot will be a four-book series in the end. All of the books are written, under contract, and in various stages of the polishing process. Book two, Secrets and Lies, is awaiting cover art. I expect it to come out this fall. Mind Games, book three, is being copy edited. Dreamer, book four, will go to an editor soon.
Meanwhile, I'm still writing new books! I've got a new one called Dreamwalker that's in the rough draft stage. I've also got a rough draft for a spin-off sequel to the Cassie Scot series involving a minor character who wouldn't leave me alone. :)
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I did have it all to do over again and now I wouldn't change a thing. :)
Seriously, I was finished with the last book in the series before the first one was published. I went through many revisions and rewrites, the last of which didn't happen until I saw how the entire story (series) would play out. I didn't change much in that last pass, but I added a few things that probably won't even click with readers unless they read the last book and then go back to the first.
Most of my reviews have been positive. The few nitpicks I've seen haven't made me want to change anything yet. They make me wonder how readers will feel about the rest of the series, but go back? Nah.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I'm my own worst critic. Nothing any reader or reviewer has ever said has really stuck with me for long. Oh, I do listen, especially when I'm looking for feedback. But I listen, digest, and improve. No one has yet told me anything about my writing that I couldn't a) respectfully disagree with or b) improve.
What has been the best compliment?
I love when people love my characters! And they do it very often. Cassie, in particular, seems to have stolen readers hearts. Since she's the heart of her own story it has been indescribably gratifying.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Tons! I put up “tips for writers” on my blog: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=200
And I teach writing workshops at Savvy Authors: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I look for the best in people.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I always look for the best in people.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thanks so much for having me here today! I love to hear from readers. I'm on twitter, facebook, goodreads, and google+. Or you can e-mail me.