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Author Spotlight with Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Hansen

Tell our readers briefly about yourself.

Hi! I’m Amanda, and I am a writer and an artist. I used to work in the film/television industry as a 3D Artist, but I didn’t return to the industry after having my son, Nathan, in 2018. I still paint and do other artisty things, but my main focus now is the series I write with my friend and coauthor, Kayla Hansen. We published the first book in 2019 and never looked back.

What books do you have available?

We have ten books published, with three more coming. The main series is broken into trilogies and a quadrilogy. Each has their own set of main characters, but they overlap and intertwine. You see them in different books, and some of the same events from different perspectives. They grow together, find each other, and realize their fates are directly entwined. Kind of like the avengers… just with swords and castles.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Our most recent release is Axiom of the Queen’s Arrow, book 10 in the Pantracia Chronicles. Though, I recommend reading the first 9 books before this one, of course. I can’t say too much, because spoilers, but we see some crucial moments in this book and really epic scenes. It’s one of the best, and we loved writing it!

Do you stay in one genre when you write or do you find yourself veering toward others?

Medieval/High fantasy is my comfort zone for sure. But I also write YA second world fantasy and have one project on the go in that genre. Maybe one day I’ll hit the publish button. We’ll see. :)

Are you a panster, planner, or someone in between?

Definitely a plotter. I gotta do my best to guide these characters, or they run away with the story. Corin, for example, was supposed to be a one-chapter side character in book 5. Then everything changed and he ended up on the cover of book 5… and book 7.

What is your writing routine like?

We usually work set times together, and we sit in google docs at the same time, with discord running for voice, and we write over top of each other. We usually each “control” set characters in the chapters/books, and that gives dialogue a very authentic feel as it’s truly two people talking. We write the entire book this way, and then edit in the same fashion.

Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve created?

Oh, you’re asking me to choose between them? That feels so impossible. I’ve created a lot of characters, and many of them hold a very special place in my heart. So much so, that I have actually tattooed my entire left arm with references to my characters. I love them all. Amarie is the original first one, but even so, they’re all my favourite and when any of them suffer a loss, I feel it with them.

Where do you get your ideas for world building?

We started building it as teenagers together, one country at a time. We’ve researched different political avenues, government structures, and ranks within monarchies and militaries. Pretty much every aspect of the world was researched - which flowers can grow where, and regional species as well.

Do you add romance to your writing?

Of course! Romance is a part of life. A big part. There is romance in all our books, though it’s not the only plot, or even the main plot, but it impacts a lot of the characters’ decisions.

What was your favorite scene to create?

There is a really epic fight scene in the third book that I really enjoyed writing. But I also love any reunion scenes, or the ones where the finally get together, kiss, or meet again. Those are my favourite.

Where do you get character inspiration?

We get inspiration from everywhere! Though most of it for this series comes from our original tellings of these stories, which happened 10-15 years ago, depending on which character. They’ve existed for so long. We started Pantracia by doing text-based role playing when we were teens, and while the characters have evolved a TON over the years, their inspiration remains true to our original vision.

What genre do you prefer to read?

Fantasy, for sure. And it must have magic and romance.

Do you have any specific authors you follow and try to craft your work after?

Not specifically, no. We’ve been writing for so long that our style and direction evolved long before I read much adult high fantasy, so it’s truly our own. That being said, I enjoy a lot of indie fantasy authors’ work, and I’m always looking for the next series to get into.

Do you have any recurring themes in your book?

Yes, and the one that comes to mind immediately is mental health. In our books, we address PTSD, Post Partem Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and various other traumas that lead to damaged mental health. We focus on the struggle, and the healing that comes over time, and it’s a way I really relate to my characters. We all struggle and have hard days, and so do they.

What does your editing process look like?

Very similar to our writing process. We read together in google docs and watch each other make edits. Then we argue about the edits until we’re both equally unhap—happy. Until we’re both happy. ;)

Do you have a preferred drink or snack that you eat/drink while writing?

I usually just drink water, haha. I’m boring. I don’t drink coffee or tea, and I’m not much of a snacker during the day, so I often have my water bottle and maybe some berries, veg, or crackers. Mini triscuits are where it’s at.

When is your favorite time of day to write and why?

Whenever I can, honestly. Our schedules are so all over the place that we really just try to snag whatever free time we both have.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Disneyland! I love that place. I’ve been to Australia, Greece, Spain, Cuba… And they’re all great locations, but I’ll never tire of walking into Disneyland.

Marvel or DC? Do you have a favorite character?

Marvel. I love Thor, but Vision is super rad too. And Captain Marvel, she’s the bomb.

What hobbies do you have?

Too many, haha. I sing, paint, play piano, ride horses, work with resin and dabble in photography.

What is something your readers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?

I was actually signed to a record company when I was 19 and released an album. Don’t bother searching, you’ll never find it. It’s under a different name. :)

What defines success for you as an author?

Depends if you ask me while my anxiety is ruling my brain. I feel like success comes in many forms, and I try to focus on those that don’t include making a six figure income. We have ten books published, and they are really good books. The reviews are very positive and everything is moving in the right direction. Readers come ask for photos while I’m at a con, and I think that’s success in itself.

What is your work space like?

A desk with a laptop and second monitor. Headphones, and a drawer of multi coloured gel pens.

Do you have a selfcare routine that you follow?

I really need one, but no, not really. Once I put my toddler to bed, I usually try to relax with video games for 30-60 minutes before anything else. Lets me not think for a little bit.

What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors?

It’s a big, scary writing world out there, but you can do it! Authors are friendly. Reach out, connect, join us. We really look out for each other and it’s a wonderful community to be a part of no matter the stage of your writing journey.

Where can our readers find you?

Our books are all on Amazon, and you can get a free novella from our website just for signing up for our newsletter.

Instagram @amuratoff_author and @khansen_author

Tiktok: @amuratoff

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