Saturday, January 23, 2016

Amanda Bigler ~ an interview and her novel ~ The Takers

TITLE:  The Takers
 RELEASE DATE: November 25th
 AUTHOR: Amanda Bigler
 KEYWORDS: young adult, vampirism, empath, vampire, paranormal, supernatural, twilight
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction 

 ISBN: 978-1517110987
 IMPRINT: Howling Wolf

Thomas Feist’s only goal for the immediate future was to successfully graduate from high school. After a freak car accident and the appearance of mystery girl Anais, Thomas’ priorities change. Believing that Anais and his friend Z were somehow involved in the accident, Thomas becomes leery of Z and curious about Anais’ background.

When some of Z’s extended family members are found dead, Z attends the funeral where she confides in Thomas that she had, in fact, saved his life in the accident. Z explains that she was sent to protect Thomas, and she offers him an expense-paid trip to Paris to further his studies. Thomas learns that his hosts are unique and must feed from the emotions of others, in order to survive. 

ONE LINER: When you find out they are feeding off your emotions to survive, will you be brave enough to face them?

Amanda Bigler

Amanda Bigler received her BA in English Literature with a Creative Writing emphasis from the University of Kansas in the United States. In 2010 she was awarded the University of Kansas' Creative Writing award for her short work, "Tightrope." She then completed her MA in Literature with a negotiated pathway from Loughborough University in 2013. Currently, she is a postgraduate research student at Loughborough University. Amanda's research focuses on contemporary literature, humanist American and British literature, and technology's influence on current literature in a post-postmodern era. Amongst her publications are: "Unorganis(z)ed Chaos" (You Is for University), "On the River's Edge" (The StoryGraph), "Patriots, Lobsters, and Nudity: Exploring Situational Irony in Contemporary American Humorist Literature" (New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing), "Cloven" (Goldsmiths Literature Seminar (GLITS) e-journal of criticism), and “Cardinal” (Wicked Young Writers Award 2014.


Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A: It’s the weirdest thing, but I fall asleep listening to streaming of true crime television documentaries with my headphones (my partner has to sleep with dead quiet).

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: I have always been an avid student. I’ve loved school so much I’m still at the university now working on my PhD. I’ve always been one who enjoys learning and experiencing new things.

Q: Dine in or dine out?
A: I love dining out, especially by myself. It allows me the time to relax, enjoy some good food, and people watch without having to entertain another person/people.

Q: Texting, love it or hate it?
A: I think texting is the bane of human interaction. When we are out and about, my partner and I are always shocked at how many people can be together, but not interact with one another. Their eyes are constantly glued to their phones. It’s not polite and it’s quite depressing to see.


Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I began when I found an old word processor in our garage when I was about 9 years old. Something about creating words and seeing them stamped out on a page excited me.

Q: How did you come to write your genre of choice?
A: I think the story just always existed as young adult fiction. I wanted to write something that would entertain myself (while writing) and would also be of interest to others.

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A: It’s a tie between David Sedaris and J.K. Rowling. I grew up with the Harry Potter books, but I idolize Sedaris’ structuring and humor.

Q: What geographical locations are your favorite and why?
A: I love writing about France, the U.K., and the Midwest in the United States because I have lived and experienced those places. I believe that a reader can tell when a person does not have the authority in their settings.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I have a short story coming out that has quite a twist ending. It’s in a compilation called “The Ten Commandments” and it fairly creepy. I also have piles of articles and short story chapters I’ve written for finishing my PhD.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: The book I have coming out is called “The Takers.” It takes the idea of emotional vampirism and looks at the moral implications of feeding off of other people’s emotions. The protagonist is the only known person who is not severely damaged by the Takers.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A:  Yes, I do. Here are the links.    


Buy Links:


Thomas looked away from her and forward into the spring night. The wind blew the rusted swings chained to the set back and forth with small, lulling squeaks. Ana dragged him over to a spot on the walking path that had been strewn with twinkling lights. She dropped her hand and pulled a device out of her small beaded handbag.
            “This is going to have to do,” she said, twirling the dial on the music player and slipping it into Thomas’ pants pocket.
            “We’re going to have to share, though.”
            She held two separated earbuds connected to the player, the same type his teacher had confiscated.
            “Here you go. I already pressed play.”
            He stuck the bud in his right ear, both content and nervous to be so close to her. The soulful swing of old, crackling blues assaulted his eardrum, and he smiled as he was reminded of his father’s old record player and the many evenings spent listening to music. The mood his father had been in often dictated the selection of the night.
            “Shall we?” she asked, not waiting for an answer before placing the silk of her gloves around his neck.
            He clumsily put his hands on her waist. Under the light fabric of her dress, he could feel her strong, muscled back. It made him self-conscious. He wondered what she thought of him. Surely she was fond enough of him to trouble with putting this night together. Then again, from what she had said about watching him because he had been chosen for some unknown quality made her interest in him seem more like a job than a personal attachment. He reminded himself of the promise he had made to mute his emotions, and he tried to clear his mind. They rotated slowly, crunching the pebbles below and stepping in time to a lazy blues guitar.
            “Have you gotten into any trouble yet?”
            He had inched closer to her so that he could speak into her unobstructed ear.
            “I’m sort of at the point where I just don’t really care about the protocol of things.”
            She was breathing against his neck, and he forced himself to concentrate on the conversation.
            “Protocol?” he gulped out.
            “Mmm,” she replied quietly. “I wasn’t supposed to interfere, but I did. Watch, not play…But what’s done is done. And really, I began breaking rules when I saw you at the lake, but then you were about to die. And you were just so…accepting of it. The powers that be were not very happy with me for getting you out of that one.”
            “So you did get me out of my car.”
            “Just, just let’s not talk about it right now and listen and dance and be. I’m already in a mountain of trouble. We might as well enjoy ourselves.”
            The next few songs flowed along, and Thomas grew comfortable swaying and relaxing in the scent of the air, or maybe it was Ana’s hair that smelled so calming. The two mingled together so flawlessly that he was wrapped in a blanket of honeysuckle, dewy grass, and clover fields. He closed his eyes, feeling more at peace than he thought possible.
            The next melody shuffled into play, vastly different from the others, and Ana’s cheek was incredibly close to his. As he listened to the beginning notes, he recognized the song as one of the old lullabies his father used to sing to him when he was a boy. His heart hurt from the memory of the cedar smell of the wood floors and the sound of the creaky lull of the rocking chair his father’s steady feet set into motion. He was transported back to a time of simplicity, and he could not help but feel comfort in Ana’s arms as their movement swayed into the minor lift of the song. His eyes began to smart from blinked back tears. He could smell his father, saturated with prairie grasses and musky dirt, rocking Thomas back and forth to the cadence.
                        Cross o’er river Barrow
                        Near the end o’ day,
                        By hushin’ feet and keepin’ low
                        The triskelion will say:
Ana whispered along to the instruments’ eerily peaceful verse. Thomas’ cheek had grown hot and he felt the small puffs of air on the back of his neck from her words. She continued singing in a low hum.
                        Is she missin’ for her sisters?
                        Nore and Suir they bend and bough,
                        If it be so, you’ll be her savior
                        And triskel gathers now.
With each phrase, her voice became stronger and her accent embraced her Irish roots. His mind was still wrapped around thoughts of his father and the way he used to sing the lullaby. The words melded together to where his voice would seem unrecognizable to Thomas as a child. They were a fluid, rumbling being of their own. He would tuck himself deep into his covers and drift off before his father had finished.
            Drink of river Barrow
            In the breach o’ night,
            By sippin’ sweet the zephyr’s blow
            Esus won’t take flight.
Thomas started at the word “zephyr” and was immediately reminded of Z. He was surprised that anger shot through him swiftly and steadily, and he had to take a deep breath to calm himself. He was upset that the word had interrupted him from memories he had not thought of, had not been able to reconstruct fully, in years. Knowing the irrationality behind his emotions did not help to alleviate them. However, he tried to concentrate on Ana’s presence. He tried to lose himself in the words of the song. Ana had seemingly felt his sense of calm leave him, and grabbed him to her tighter. Her hair tickled his cheek, and she breathed deeply, finishing the last verse with intense fervor.
            Is he missin’ for his brothers?
            Taranis and Toutatis?
            If it be so, you’ll be one other,
            A triskel’s circlin’ kiss.
            “Where did you find this song?” he whispered, after the last notes of the guitar had faded from his ear and the player had gone silent.
            “My grandpapa used to sing it to me when I was little. It makes me remember those times. Sad and beautiful, all at the same time.”
            “My dad used to sing it to me too.”
            She stopped swaying and looked at him in surprise, letting her arms grow lax on his shoulders.
            “That’s not likely. It’s an old Celtic tune. Took me ages to even find the instrumental music for it. I don’t think a version with lyrics even exists.”
            “Well, I definitely remember him singing it to me,” he said defensively.
If he was certain of one thing, it was that the song had been sung from his father’s lips.
            “Huh,” she said, resuming the music by digging into his pocket and pressing a button on the machine.
            They resumed dancing to another old jazz tune similar to the first one she had played. Their feet turned them in a slow, lazy circle. He moved his face close to hers as the wind grew chilly. Her cheek continued to radiate an unnatural heat that warmed the tip of Thomas’ nose without having to touch her. He looked down over her small shoulder and something bright red caught his eye. To his astonishment, the flower on Ana’s corsage had bloomed. A brilliant Irish rose lay innocently on her gloved wrist, petals still slightly wrinkled from their sleep in the bud.

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