Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog: The Golden Age Of Death (That Chris Golden Made Me Do!)

My friend Chris Golden tagged me in this "Next Big Thing" chain letter that you are about to read. It appears, upon first encounter, to just be a fun little Q&A for authors to spread the word about their latest and upcoming projects...but what no one realizes is that "The Next Big Thing" is actually a parasite living off the energy of writers, asking only that they give a little blood and then forward it on so it may infect writers and readers everywhere.

I am a host now. I am infected. I am about to infect YOU!



Where did the idea come from for the book?

After I finished my Death's Daughter trilogy, I was tasked with writing two additional books in my series. Needless to say, after writing three books, I had to find new ways of entertaining myself. To do this, I made the fourth book, How To Be Death, a locked room mystery a la Agatha Christie. and for the fifth and final book, The Golden Age Of Death, I flipped the books on their head, writing in a mix of third person and first person perspective. It was a bit crazy, at first, but I think it turned out rather well. Now you get to play around in the heads of the secondary characters that you've gotten to know and love in the other four books. Yippee!!

What genre does your book fall under?

I write in the Urban Fantasy genre - although, I think these books are a bit more fantasy than the traditional Urban Fantasy books most people are used to. I like to say: if you took Neil Gaiman and 'The Devil Wears Prada' and mushed them together, well, you'd get my stuff.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie

I am a new fan of Sara Paxton. She is amazing in a little indie called "The Innkeepers" and if she ever played Calliope, I would be ecstatic. My friend Ashley Artus - though much taller than my fawn - was the inspiration for Jarvis, so maybe we can entice him to come play with us if we ever make a live action version of the books.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Death is run like a corporation and our hero, Calliope Reaper-Jones, well, her dad is the President and CEO - when he gets kidnapped she has to come and run the company in stead, or her family will lose their immortality.

That's the jumping off point for the series and The Golden Age of Death, the fifth and final book, is the conclusion of Calliope's story.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My agent,Howard Morhaim, is the man responsible for unleashing my insanity upon the world. Poor man, having to deal with me! But he's a mensch.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took me six months then I went back in and made a bunch of changes on the second draft...turning it a bit past my deadline.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Anton Strout and I both write 'fantasy' heavy Urban Fantasy. Especially in his new book "Alchemystic", the first book in his new Spellmason Chronicles series...it has a plucky heroine who makes very human decisions about her life and situation.  Very much like Calliope.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write a female protagonist who wasn't perfect, who made mistakes and learned from them, who grew through the course of the series. That was pretty much the inspiration for writing the books.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

It's funny. And silly. And...I don't know. It's so weird to have to pimp yourself out, ya know? I guess the thing to pique your interest for the book is that it takes place mostly in Hell. Which is always fun for the whole family.  I don't know. Argh.


That concludes the infecting part of this whole endeavor. Now I'm gonna give a shout out to the other authors who Chris tagged to blog today:

S.G. Browne got stuck sitting next to me at one of his first signings...and he didn't get scared! Well, at least not after the first 30 minutes. He wrote a lovely, lovely book called Breathers that I highly recommend. Right now he has I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus…a book that's the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list! You can check him out on his site right here: http://sgbrowne.com/

Cherie Priest wrote the awesome book Boneshaker that I love. Being from Alabama, I can say that she’s a maestro at capturing the heady, spooky atmosphere of the Southern Gothic supernatural tale. Her latest book The Inexplicables is out right now and would also make an awesome holiday gift (wink, wink). http://www.cheriepriest.com/

Caitlin Kittredge is the gal responsible for the Iron Codex YA series, which is just awesome blossom - and makes a great stocking stuffer! I had to steal this bit from Chris's bio because it's just adorable: "She once told me that she’s not ready for the zombie apocalypse, but she is prepared for the kitten apocalypse." Hehehe, I love it! You can check her out here: http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/


And now for the lovely and kind souls who have agreed to carry on the infection on my behalf.  Please go check out their blogs/tumblrs next Tuesday:

Bradley P. Beaulieu is a mensch! And now the whole world knows it. He is the author of the epic fantasy series The Lays of Anuskaya (the third book, The Straits of Galahesh, is out in April) and the co-host of the popular Speculate podcast. He just funded the first level of his kickstarter campaign for the book collection Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories in less than a day and five hours. Did I say he was a mensch? You can check out his kickstarter here: kickbrad & his blog.
Even though Carolyn Cohagan and I share the same editor at Simon & Schuster, we actually met, funnily enough, through our mutual friend, Drea Clark.  Carolyn is the author of the Middle Grade book The Lost Children – which I adore - and its follow-up Ida and The Unfinished City. Right now she is working on a top secret project, but I've been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at it and it's amazing.  So keep your eye on Miz Cohagan and her blog for more news!

My friend, Sina Grace, is one of the most talented artists I know - he's so talented that I snapped him up to do the illustrations for my Middle Grade book Among The Ghosts. Right now he has a new graphic novel out called Not My Bag that he both wrote and illustrated. I think it's the bees knees - by far one of my fav graphic novels ever! Pick up Not My Bag and follow Sina's work right here on his tumblr.

What to say about Sarah Kuhn? She is an accomplished journalist and novelist whose latest novella One Con Glory is so good that it made me laugh out loud like twenty times. It's so good, in fact, that Hollywood has come calling - and Sarah has written the script! Right now she is hard at work on her next book which will be her first foray into Urban Fantasy. You can check her out here on her book page and on her tumblr!

Kate Noble writes really smart Regency Romance novels, including If I Fall and Follow My Lead.  And when I say smart, what I mean is: She creates some of the pluckiest, wittiest, and intelligent heroines in the romance genre, period. Kate also has the best hair of anyone I know – I am deeply envious of it - and you can get a glimpse of it right here in her author picture on her blog.


  1. Joe aka AmberAddictDecember 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Great blog post Amber! I can't wait to read The Golden Age Of Death. I have pre ordered my copy well possibly more then one. ;)

    The chance to learn more about some of the other characters in the 5th book means I'm even more excited about The Golden Age Of Death now if that's even possible. :)

    Thanks for the heads up on the other authors listed. I've recently started reading Sarah Kuhn's One Con Glory and I'm loving it so far. I will have to check out the others too.

  2. I am way too excited to read the final book. What makes everything even better is this year my Niece is getting the books for Channukah and I can't wait to unleash your amazingly talented amount of crazy onto her too.

  3. *smacks phone* I'm just now giveing the series a chance and glad to know there are going to be more. This type of genre is not something I would normaly read. But here lately I find myself trying new things out.

  4. I enjoyed reading this blog. I'm not particularly, tech minded, but i will do my level best to discover where to get these books from here in Britain. Amber Benson is a truly talented woman, i wish her all the very best of luck for all she does.

  5. Awesome post! Can't wait to read more Calliope.

  6. Well, I soemtimes work ona screeplay which I envision with Will Smith as the detecitve sergeant delaing with burnout, Sarah Michelle Gellar as the rookie detctive/veteran cop with anger managment and commitment issues, Lauren Bacall as her grandmother, a vcheaper Danile criag look-alike as the serial killer/sex weirdo/cop killer, a much younger version of Michael delanoa s the wisecrackign detective who sits at the nxt desk, and you a the teacher who leaves town at the beginning of the movie, *after* a certain scene involving SMG & 2 footless catsuits. DaddyCatALSO

  7. Ooops. forgot Bo Swenson (or a younger actor who resembles him , since he's a bit old to be a working officer) as the precinct captain who udnerstands why SMG didn't work out with her first detctive partner and is willing to give her a clean slate in the new precinct. D'C'A'

  8. i actually preordered this book about 45 minutes ago

  9. A bit off topic...

    I managed to finally watch your episode of TableTop; I couldn't help but notice that in additional to all your other hats, you describe yourself as an occultist. I know it's not what it seems, it's just interesting and you do it for research (although if and when you get around to continuing "Ghosts of Albion," please remember that stage magicians...especially those in the early, Robert-Houdin hasn't had his big break yet days of the Victorian era...were called "conjurers" or "conjurors" in Britain. Not that I'm trying to be nitpicky). And yet I must admit that you'd be a natural for biopics about Phyllis Curott, Zita Johann or Ida Craddock (yes, google will be getting some exercise tonight...)

    Enjoy your weekend, and Happy Birthday (You'll be...twenty-three, right?)on the 8th.

    -K. Nonnynonny

  10. Finally heard yoor "Nerdist" interview. In February. On YouTube. Don't ask...

    Couple of comments: re: your Dad's nagging/eagerness for grandchildren. Best way to deal with that? Start being OVERLY interested in the idea. Seriously, be scary, weird him out. I kind of doubt it'd stick, but he might tone things down a little.

    Then again, what do I know?

    On to something that is remotely my business: I, too, have a great love for fictional universes and a desire to somehow end up in one (Hey, quantum physics suggest an infinite number of potential realities, chances are at least ONE of them would fit our respective bills...all we need is a teeny little timeslip or some other disturbance in the space/time continuum). If it's any help...and I may have already suggested this...go to the "Wold Newton Universe" websites, or order from them books like "Myths for the Modern Age" by Win Scott Eckert. Heck, check out the "biographies" of Tarzan and Doc Savage by the Clifford Irving of science fiction (in this case, not an insult), Philip Jose Farmer.

  11. Ha I love the question and answer thing! I have officially read your first book in the series, and as soon as I have money (which tends to be rare considering my college status), I plan on buying the other four to read. I can't wait to see what happens to Calliope :) . Also, I will try to check out those books by those authors!

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