writing

Author Interview (Danielle Bannister and Amy Miles)

Danielle: In 2012, Amy Miles and I had a crazy idea to write a series of books together blending our two unique writing styles. Me with romance, and her, well, within 2014, my co-author, Amy Miles, and I with all things fantasy. Living in two different states wouldn’t stop us. We had the internet! And a cruise to the Bahamas (yes, really) to write the first draft. We also had a few flights to each other’s house for a few weeks, but the sun wasn’t quite as bright.

By 2014 we had finished the final touches on Netherworld. The first in a trilogy of books we had planned to write. Then, long story short, 3 days before the release, it got picked up by an agent, where it sat for about 2 years collecting dust. We left the agency, took back the manuscript, revamped it, and released it ourselves in 2017. Book 2, Hollow Earth, was released a year later in 2018, with plans to release the third book in 2019. Ah, the best-laid plans.

You see, Amy has Lyme Disease, which means some days are good, and some…well, Amy, why don’t you tell us what a bad Lyme day looks like. 

Amy: Living with chronic Lyme is like playing a game of, “what’s going to hurt today” every single morning. Because something always hurts. But it’s rarely the same thing for long. Today I might wake up and I can’t bend my fingers. Tomorrow I might not be able to straighten my elbow because it has completely locked up on me. And the day after that I might be hobbling around my home like an 80-year-old lady because multiple joints are inflamed and my muscles all hurt. It’s fun times, haha.

But the worst part is that it affects my memory. Short term. Long term. Word recall is a real challenge. I lose stuff ALL THE TIME and the memory never resurfaces. It’s like something scrubbed it all away and I’m just left with a blank nothingness. As you can imagine, if I’m unable to remember a conversation I had 5 minutes before, it’s rather difficult for me to remember what I wrote a page ago. Or a chapter ago. Poor Danielle had to become my memory lifeline as I went through months of treatments that sadly never helped improve my neurological issues. She has the patience of a saint, let me tell you. But it sure did bring up some funny moments during editing when we tried to decipher what on earth I was thinking of at the time I wrote a particular section. 

Danielle: So, needless to say, (then why am I saying it?) Book 3 took a little longer to write. This was the last book. There were lots of loose ends to tie up. We needed both brains firing on all cylinders. Working around Amy’s good days was the only way this was going to get done. But we finished it!

After all this time, the last book was finally going to be ready for readers who had been ever so patient with it. Then, pandemic strikes in the month we had planned to release. Not great timing. 

Amy: Danielle and I knew that releasing a book during the middle of so much upheaval in people’s lives wasn’t the best plan. People were scared. So many lost jobs. Others were working insanely long hours. Our whole reason in writing is to bring enjoyment to people and we decided to hold off and let life return to a semblance of normal first. Even though we need readers we’re excited to get their hands on this final book, it was the right call to make. 

But now, the series is finally coming to a close. We’re both excited (and nervous) about how readers will like this last installment. 

What has been the hardest part of co-writing for you?

Amy: For me it’s was definitely the blending of our two styles. I’m a die-hard dark fantasy kind of gal and mushy romance just isn’t my thing. So I would get all excited about an upcoming battle scene or get focused on world-building and Danielle would have to remind me that we still had to write some romance scene and I would get annoyed at the delay, haha. But of course, she hates the things I love so it worked out well in the end. We were able to complement (and temper) each other’s passions. 

Danielle: Not being in the same room was hardest for me. The brief times we had writing the first drafts when we got to be in the same space, either in the cruise ship cabin, or at your house or mine, were the easiest times. When we had to try and do things while apart, it made it more challenging. Things took longer to sort out then they would have in person.

The most rewarding?

Amy: Getting to see the softer side when it came to romance. Most of my books have a romantic element to them but they are always heavily based in fantasy elements and world-building. Partnering with Danielle forced me to slow down and smell the roses. And let my characters think a bit deeper than they would have without her influence. So that has helped me become a more well-rounded author…I hope. 

Danielle: Being able to learn how my friend’s mind works and embracing my fantasy side (to an extent.) This world for the last two books is heavy in the fantasy side, just because of the nature of the story so it was challenging for me. I was used to lovey-dovey stuff, so I did love making Amy have to put some of that *gasp* emotional weight to some of her chapters. Just as I’m sure she loved giving me world-building stuff to write!

What’s next for you, after this release on June 26?

Amy: I have a ton of half-finished projects just waiting for me but because of my Lyme, I have to take it one day at a time. I’m a homeschooling mom, I help run a couple of businesses and I host Penned Con St. Louis which all keeps me very busy so I try to write a little here or there as I’m able. 

Danielle: I need to get my small-town romances set up for a boxed set sometime before Christmas. I’m awaiting word from my editor for a Young Adult novel I’ve written, and in the first draft stage of a new book, and once that draft is finished, I need to pick up another book or two that I’ve put on the back burner while these other stories bubbled to the top.

Can readers help with your release day (June 26, 2020) even if they can’t buy the book?

They sure can! They can sign up to get some free swag (US ONLY), they can share and/comment on our posts to increase visibility, and they can tell a friend about the books.
We’ve also put the first two books on sale to help out those who like to wait until a series is over to start. You can find book 1 HERE and book 2 HERE and you can PRE-ORDER BOOK 3 HERE.

Danielle Bannister, author, and author to author answerer.

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