Interview by David McDonald.
Born and raised in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, Amanda hails from fishing and farming stock. The youngest of four children, her three brothers raised her on a diet of Rocky, Rambo, Muhammad Ali and AC/DC. Naturally, she grew up somewhat of a tomboy, preferring to watch action/sci-fi films over the standard rom-com and liking her music rock hard. But that said, she can still swoon with the best of them.
She moved to Perth (Western Australia) to pursue her dreams and study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.
Her third novel Aurora: Meridian was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Five books are currently available worldwide in the Aurora series. Book six in the series, Aurora: Decima is scheduled for release in 2016.
Your Aurora series is going from strength to strength – with Book 6 due for release next year! Could you tell us a little bit about the series, and and some of its inspirations? When you began, did you envisage such longevity?
The Aurora series is the story of Captain Saul Harris and Corporal Carrie Welles, two very different soldiers thrown together on a classified mission that turns out to be a lot bigger and more dangerous than they ever imagined. It’s an evolving saga that follows their professional and personal lives as they are drawn further into the classified world of the UNF and discover how the fate of mankind rests in their hands. It could be described as the love child of Aliens, Battlestar Galactica, The Silence of the Lambs and Universal Solider – if there were four parents involved that is… When I first wrote Aurora: Darwin, it was supposed to be a film script, but I decided to write it as a novel first while I worked out the finer elements of the story. Even then it was only supposed to be one novel. But as I wrote the story grew in my mind and before I knew it, it had turned into an epic! There will be 8 books in series by the time I’m done, and I’m about to release book 6 – Aurora: Decima – so I’m almost there!
I studied both film & television and creative writing at university, but I’ve never done any screenwriting professionally. This is something I’m hoping to change, however. I’ve been undertaking a lot of reading on the subject matter (to refresh my training) and I’ve begun writing a TV pilot for the Aurora series, so you never know. I have to admit, to me, writing novels has always been the most logical way for me to write down the ‘movies in my head’. It’s just a natural step for me to take the story/film I visualise in my mind, then put it into the words of a novel and flesh it out, then (hopefully) distil that back down into a film/tv script.
I’ve now written two stand-alone novels outside the Aurora series, although one (known only as ‘TS’ at this stage) is only in first draft form. The hardest part about writingThe Time of the Stripes, which was the first novel I’d written outside the Aurora series, was convincing myself I could do it. It meant a lot to me when I finished it, because I wanted to prove to myself (and others) that I could write something outside the Aurora series. Hopefully I will find a home for The Time of The Stripes soon, and after a few more edits the new novel ‘TS’ will follow suit.
In terms of what’s on the horizon, aside from finalising these two stand-alone novels and releasing book 6 in the Aurora series, I’m hoping to spend a little time on screenwriting (initially working on adaptations of my novels). I also have several other novels I’d like to write, both in the SF genre but also in other genres – namely action/adventure and psychological thriller. Finding the time to do it all seems to be the hardest part!
I’m part way through a few good series and I need to finish them! I always enjoy reading Nina D’Aleo’s books, so for people who like a Sci-Fi Fantasy blend, check out her Demon Chronicles series. If people like thrillers with a SF edge, they should check out Nathan M Farrugia’s Fifth Column series. For those into YA Dystopia, check out Justin Woolley’s The Territory series. Readers seeking a different slant on Vampires/Werewolves should try Amanda Pillar’s Graced series. And those into urban fantasy should check out Rebekah Turner’s Chaos Born and her Chronicles from the Applecross series). Also, it’s a few years old now, but I really loved Max Barry’s Lexicon – it had such a great concept.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
Probably JK Rowling. I’d love to listen to her talk about her experience with writing and publishing the Harry Potter series, but also her experiences writing and publishing as Robert Galbraith. I think she’d have an interest tale or two to tell about all that!