Amanda Marrone: I do remember it. I was working on a middle grade and all of a sudden I got the idea for Uninvited. I opened a new file, and my fingers flew on the keyboard. Most of the first chapter is exactly the same as it was when I first wrote it. I get an idea and bang out a first chapter in a couple of hours. Then I take a month or so to figure out what happens next! The same thing happened with my second book, Revealers, due out next year. I wrote the first chapter, and then dwelled on it a bit to figure out what happens next.
Amanda Marrone: Opening the file everyday. I have Inattentive ADD and I get easily sidetracked—the Internet has been very bad for my writing. Luckily deadlines are a huge motivator—give me one and I can sit and write.
Marlene P.: What are you working on now?
Amanda Marrone: I just sent Revealers to my editor a few days ago—the first chapter is in the back of Uninvited. It’s about five teen witches who hunt vamps, werewolves, and demons as sort of a public service—but they discover their coven in hiding a secret worse than any of the creatures they hunt. Next up I’m revising a middle grade for my agent, while working on a new paranormal YA and a picture book!
Marlene P.: What kind of research did you have to do for this story?
Amanda Marrone: I researched vampire facts—I was always a vampire lover, but I wanted to dig deeper. I found some fun things I didn’t know—you can kill a vampire by immersing it in water, or hire a Bulgarian sorcerer to do it for you!
Marlene P.: How did you become a writer?
Amanda Marrone: I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t actually start until I was 29 years old! I have a screwy pencil grip and writing was always painful, and tedious. Once I learned keyboarding I was set. I started out with picture books—I wrote and illustrated two, got some nice personal rejections, and the third picture book turned into a novel. I fell in love with writing longer stories, and I always said I’d never go back, so this new picture book idea that just popped up was a surprise.
Amanda Marrone: Probably the end of the first chapter—it shows how conflicted Jordan is about Michael.
But the leaves are falling and soon Michael will sit on bare branches. Moonlight will finally find its way to his face and I’ll see what I know is true: that Michael is a monster. I’m just afraid that one of these nights I might let him in.
Marlene P.: Was there any part that you struggled with or avoided writing?
Amanda Marrone: I struggled with chapter two! I avoided writing it for six months! That seems to be the way I work, but I’ve decided it’s because I need to think about where I’m going with a story after the first chapter was written in such a frenzy. I’m hoping to be a little speedier with my new YA and tackle chapter two in a more timely fashion!
Amanda Marrone: Jo Knowles’ Lesson from a Dead Girl. It’s a haunting story about abuse—beautifully written.
Marlene P.: What are your hobbies?
Amanda Marrone: I love to draw, read, study insects—I have hissing cockroaches, and I love to hike.
Marlene P.: Have you ever wanted to quit writing? Why?
Amanda Marrone: I’ve never wanted to quit, but I have gotten discouraged in the past. Finding an editor seemed like such a needle in the haystack scenario—I actually only sent my story out to two editors I’d heard speak at conferences. Luckily, I got an agent and she took over with the matchmaking.
Marlene P.: What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Amanda Marrone: Hershey’s special dark miniatures.
Marlene P.: What scares you?
Amanda Marrone: The basement after I’ve been watching something spooky like Supernatural, and mean girls.