Thursday, February 15, 2018

Interview with Amanda McKinney, DEVIL'S GOLD

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Devil’s Gold is a sexy, small-town murder mystery about two strangers—private investigator Dixie Knight, and sexy marine Liam Cash—who find themselves thrown into a serial killer’s path, which unleashes a series of unexpected events, including a sizzling attraction to each other. Devil’s Gold is the first book in my new Black Rose Mystery series about three single, rich, uber-smart and super badass sisters who run one of the top private investigation companies in the country, Black Rose Investigations. It’s got it all—murder, mystery, small-town folklore, romance, and even witches!

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, after weeks (literally) of research and reading blogs/advice, I started the very long, arduous process of querying publishers for my first book, Lethal Legacy. I went through several versions of query letters/packages (I learned very quickly one letter does not fit all!); had a detailed spreadsheet to record everything; and extensively researched each publisher that I pitched to. And on my final day a querying, I sat back, crossed my fingers, and poured a hefty glass of wine. And then began the most difficult phase… the waiting.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
It was around six months after I started querying that I received my first contract offer for my first book, Lethal Legacy. And shockingly, that exact same week, I received another offer from a different publisher! I couldn’t believe it. I can still remember the exact moment when I received that email. I immediately ran outside and called my mom (because all important conversations take place on the back porch) and we both squealed together. I remember it so vividly, even the way the afternoon sun sparkled through the trees, and the warm breeze that swept over my skin as we discussed all the details. It was an awesome moment that I’ll never forget.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
No, it was very important to me that my first contract be for only one book. Being completely new to the publishing industry, I wanted to get my feet wet, so to speak, before making a big, multiple book commitment. And since then, I’ve dived head-first into self-publishing, and have completely fallen in love with it! I’m a bit of a control freak, and being able to control everything from the story, to the cover design, to the marketing, to the price point and retailers, is awesome. I’ve learned that I’m quite the little entrepreneur, too. I really get into the business side of things; the analytics, the financials. I love it.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I’m someone who loves schedules, plans and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So, I keep myself on a tight schedule, professionally at least. I write every day, no matter what. I find that this helps keep the same tone through the book, and keeps my creative juices flowing. There’s nothing more frustrating than opening my computer and staring at the screen for thirty minutes trying to figure out what my next word should be. Writing every day helps to avoid that. I also have a weekly word goal, and I’m pretty hard-core about meeting it. I’ve been known to set my alarm for four a.m. to get some writing time in before the kids wake up. No music for me, I need it as quiet as possible when I write, so I can hear the voices in my head. J

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
As I’ve mentioned, I’m a very structured person. When I begin a book, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline, bulleted of course. And although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Besides Amazon; Barnes and Noble, and Apple iBooks.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Aside from the old cliché, “never give up”, it would be to write every single day, no matter what. Fully commit to your dream and know that it’s going to be one hell of a roller coaster, but keep at it. Keep writing and improving on your craft, every day.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs! I’m fiercely allergic to cats.
Coffee - I couldn’t make it through a morning without it.
Talk – I’m an old soul at heart, and one of those annoying people who think that texting is destroying our people skills. But, I have to admit, I text a million times a day. So…
Day – I’m not a night owl. Early down and early up, my whole life.

What’s next for you?
I’ve just finished up Black Rose Mystery Book #2 (I’m still going back and forth on a title). It’s scheduled to be released in Spring 2018; I’m so excited about it!

Devil’s Gold
Amanda McKinney
Publication date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Despite being chronically late, occasionally disheveled and a tad disorganized, Dixie Knight is one of the top private investigators in the country, and when a young woman goes missing in the small, Southern town of Devil’s Den, Dixie takes the case. She expected it to be another ordinary missing person case—until Lizzie Meyers is found naked and beaten to death at a local, seedy motel.
While visiting relatives on his two-week leave, Marine Liam Cash bumps into Dixie at the local bar, and his attraction to her is immediate. When Liam connects Dixie’s current case to two unsolved murders in his hometown, he steps in to help find the killer, and keep her safe, whether Dixie wants him to or not.
After another woman is found brutally beaten, Dixie turns the town upside down trying to solve the mystery—could it be the rumored witch that lives in the mountains; the rich, neurotic doctor’s wife; or the perky, blonde receptionist at the local medical clinic?
Time is running out and Dixie knows she has to put the pieces of the puzzle together before another body turns cold in Devil’s Den.

Author Bio:
Amanda McKinney, author of Sexy, Suspenseful Mysteries wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. When Amanda isn’t tending to her two beautiful boys, she’s hidden behind her computer screen crafting page-turning murder mysteries, peppered with titillating love scenes. Having been born and raised in the south, Amanda’s books are set in small, country towns and reflect southern culture at its finest.
Amanda’s debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, was released in January 2017, followed by the first two books in the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES, THE WOODS and THE LAKE. The third book in the series, THE STORM is scheduled to be released in the Winter of 2017.

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