Women In SFF Author Spotlight — Amelia Thorn
Amelia Thorn is originally from a small village near Leeds in West Yorkshire, (for the unaware, read English,) and studied Law with Criminology at the University of Salford. She’s been writing as long as she can remember, but really began writing her own stories during one of the most difficult times of her life, during the recovery period following an accident which left her with a broken back. She has since made a full recovery, but was left with a passion of writing fantasy worlds. Outside of writing, she often participates as a stand up comedian (as I’m sure you can tell, I think I’m bloody hilarious,) and also a good old fashioned debate. She loves horse riding, swimming, and of course reading. Though recently, the latter has been a bit more debatable.
Welcome to the Hive, Amelia. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I’m man enough to admit 2020 has been a bit of a rubbish reading year, coronavirus has done very little to spur my reading on. However, I recently graduated from university! So I hope to be reading more in the future. The only books I’ve thus far read (a meagre three) I kind of hated, so I’ll go with the most recent one I enjoyed. I absolutely adored A Night Flight to Paris, and so recommend anyone into historical (WWII) thrillers to pick it up, its so good.
Now tell us a bit about your book The Dawn Thief? What can readers expect?
The Dawn Thief surrounds a lycanthrope (a werewolf, but more Twilight than the Wolfman) who was cursed from a young age. A tragedy in his youth left him labeled a monster, and ever since he has lived his nights chained in a cell, and his days under careful supervision. Winning the trust of only a very small handful of people. But when a massacre strikes his home town, Silas will have the chance to prove himself something other than the monster he has always been thought to be.
The tagline I use for advertising (I think it sounds cool, please don’t break my heart by telling me its awful) is:
A monster seeking salvation, a prince seeking acceptance and a soldier seeking peace.
What inspired you to write The Dawn Thief? Were there any specific moments, things or people who set the story off in your head?
A booktuber known as ReadwithCindy made me write this out of spite. I have been a ‘writer’ (emphasis on the quotes) for years, but my most recent book before this was proving a bit of a dick. I had set myself with such high hopes with it, I could barely write a hundred words without deleting them, thinking them unworthy. I had backed myself into such a corner that writing wasn’t fun anymore for me.
Then Cindy posted her first writing vlog about beginning to write her book, and I thought, I bloody wish I could do that.
It took me longer to realize than I cared to admit that I could.
I decided immediately I would begin writing, and then naturally spent a stupid amount of time deciding what the hell to write. And it sort of spiraled from there. I set out doubting I would get it past 5000 words, and well… Here we are.
What (or who) are your most significant female fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Maggie Stiefvater and Leigh Bardugo are two of my absolute favourite authors, I love their worlds and styles of writing, and they seem like brilliant and empowering women from their twitters. (That makes fekk all sense, I’m aware.) I would full-on drop dead if they ever as much as blinked in my direction, so for the sake of my heart I probably wouldn’t do that XD.
I would love to collab (help me I sound like a YouTuber) with Erin Morgenstern (such a fake fan I had to double-check the name spelling.) Her writing is so beautiful it borderlines on poetic, and it would be so fun to get into her head.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
Either Peaky Blinders or the Umbrella Academy, (I don’t watch enough telly.)[Yes I talk in brackets too much.] Because Diego Hargreeves and Tommy Shelby… if you’re unaware, google them. You’re welcome. In the meantime I need to wipe up a little drool.
I’m not really a gamer, but I am absolutely addicted to Planet Zoo! I am the worst crafter in the history of existence, but I love animals.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
You mean a normal day? I don’t exactly live a strenuous life as it is, but I would probably go for a nice walk in the park with a book (or three, don’t let my book count fool you, I am a weirdly fast reader.) with a little picnic, and just enjoy the day.
What are your favourite mythological creatures? What would you ride gloriously into battle upon?
Its not a mythological creature, but Black Panther made a rhino look like a really cool battle steed, though I doubt I have the grace of Okoye, and would probably die before I put my foot in the stirrup. Actually mythological creature? Dragon. I’m boring like that, judge me. IT’S A DRAGON.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Cheesy route: just start writing. The worst that happens is you realise you’ve written the biggest pile of garbage (Fifty Shades exists, there’s a fairly low bar.) and you bin it. There is never anything to loose in trying.
Non-Cheesy route: (still cheesy but shutup) [and no I’m not going to stop] is write what you want, not what the market wants.
Worst piece of advice: in an effort to make my grandfather more interested, a friend suggested I add cowboys XD. Not quite fitting, but you never know.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Dumb as it sounds, but when I struggle to decide how a chapter should go, I have a mildly worrying (please don’t judge me) habit of inserting my characters into existing universes. Marvel is my usual go to, and I see how I think characters would interact with existing universes that have already had the gritty details figured out, and it usually helps spark inspiration for my own. (Critics did wonder why and how Thanos ended up in my final scene, but it sorted the plot out so…) [I jest, but don’t try me. I like killing characters, it’s a hobby.]
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Anywhere during the time dinosaurs existed, they’re as close as I’m going to get to dragons, and I’d do my best in attempting to tame one and just ride it around. I’m a grown-up, promise.
Who are your favourite female characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of female character you enjoy writing?
I adore Nakia and Okoye in Black Panther/Marvel, (bit of a nerd, can you tell?) but I also really enjoyed Nina and Inej from the Six of Crows duology. And Daenerys will always own a real estate in my heart (I’ve still not seen season 8 of Game of Thrones, and I’m terrified too.)
I feel there’s a bit of a stereotype that strong women in literature have to be fighters or badasses. I always enjoy writing strong women who aren’t fighters (though we have a few in all my books,) but show their strength in how they care for their families, or are healers, strategists, etc. I try to show that women don’t have to be physically strong to be strong characters (I know what I mean). Though I’m sure someone will tell me I’m terrible about it.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I’d say Night Flight to Paris, but that seems cheating (and I never know what counts as obscure.) I loved Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
BUY MY BOOK AND I’LL GIVE YOU BROWNIES.
Fine. If you like fantasy worlds, sassy main characters, a gay (not in this book, but trust me, very gay) main couple, and a love interest with no survival instinct, sweet relationships, a sprinkle of heartbreak, and just a little touch of madness. I hope you will check this out!