Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi! My name is Amanda Bonilla. I’m the author of the Urban Fantasy, Shaede Assassin Series. I also write Paranormal Romance as Kate Baxter (The Last True Vampire Series) and Romantic Suspense as Mandy Baxter (The U.S. Marshals Series).
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’m inspired by the world around me every day. People, places, songs, news stories, current events, even insects or flowers will spark a story idea or plot point in my mind. The more I observe, the easier it is to get lost in my imagination. Even though I write contemporary fiction, my favorite genre to write is fantasy. There are so many endless possibilities.
How do you deal with creative block?
I’ve dealt with creative block as well as burn-pit several times in my career. The best advice I can give is to write through it. Even if you’re uninspired or you feel like the words aren’t flowing. What matters is nudging your brain through the block and getting the story out. Anything can be fixed in edits later.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I don’t like the word “mistakes” when dealing with creativity. I feel like there are guidelines that should be followed such as formatting and story structure. It’s important to research the genre you’re writing in, read in that genre, and observe what your peers are doing and learn from it. If there was a “mistake” to be made in the course of writing a book I would say that it’s not staying true to your voice as an author. Be a storyteller first and foremost and worry about the small stuff later.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I’m horrible at choosing titles! If at all possible, I leave that decision up to someone else! LOL! The same goes for cover art. But if I do have to have control over cover art, I’m sure to work with a cover artist that I’ve either worked with before or one that I’ve researched and know is a good fit for my book.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
When I first started out, reviews really got under my skin. To the point that I balled up on the couch and wanted to throw in the towel. It’s important to have thick skin and writing, like all art, is subjective. I try to remind myself of that. I love chocolate chip cookies, but there are people out there who think they’re horrible and that’s okay. Not everyone is going to like my writing or my stories and that’s okay too. I don’t read reviews anymore. Reviews are for readers. They’re not for authors. It’s none of my business what reviewers think of my work. My job is to write books. That’s all.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’m not sure if it’s improved, but I’ve learned ways to be more efficient. I’m a lot better at outlining than you used to be and I’ve improved my productivity by using dictation programs to write. I use storyboarding and create book bibles to help with world building and to keep track of characters and plot points.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
You have to be true to the story. Period. I’ve written things that I knew would upset readers. I’ve written storylines that I wasn’t even fond of but I knew it was how the story had to go. A good story feels REAL. It has highs and lows and not everything works out perfectly every time. Authenticity is the most important thing when telling a good story and that might not make everyone happy, but that’s how it has to be.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
My mood can definitely affect my writing and vice-versa. It’s a very intimate process and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the story and the characters and what they’re thinking and feeling. Sometimes I have to take some time to decompress after writing something emotionally heavy. Other times, writing can pull me out of a bad mood. It’s cathartic.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m taking a break from fantasy right now to work on a contemporary thriller. It’s a little out of my wheelhouse and has been research intensive. Definitely slower to write, but it’s been a lot of fun so far and I’m enjoying the change of pace!
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Oh boy. I’m actually so boring! LOL! I have purple hair, my favorite colors are pink and black. I absolutely love to eat and I can’t sleep without the TV on for background noise. Oh, I can’t leave the house unless my bed is made. Otherwise, it will drive me crazy all day!