Friday, March 06, 2009

Zombie Queen of Newbury High - Amanda Ashby

My special guest today is my fabulous CP and fellow Witch, Amanda Ashby, who's celebrating the release of her debut Young Adult novel, Zombie Queen of Newbury High.

Okay Amanda, it's over to you!

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and has spent the last ten years dividing her time between England and New Zealand. When she’s not moving countries, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to watch television, eat chocolate and sit around doing not much, but let's just keep that between ourselves, shall we?). She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two young children. Her debut adult book You Had Me at Halo has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. This is her first book for young adults. Visit her on the web

Can you tell us a little about your book?

ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH is the story of what happens when a teenage girl tries to do a love spell to stop her prom date from dumping her but instead she accidentally turns the entire senior year into flesh-eating zombies (seriously, it could've happened to anyone). Then she is forced to work with a do-it-by-the-book zombie hunter hottie to try and find a cure before she ends up being first course in an all-you-can-eat-buffet.

We're dying to know, how did the idea for the plot come about?

Well, Christina, like you I am a very deep thinker, so obviously the idea didn't come about because I thought the word 'zombie' was funny. Nor did it come about because I use to jokingly threaten my cps that if all else failed I could always write a book called, 'I Was a Killer Zombie Bride' because either of those reasons would make me come across as silly and a perhaps a little bit shallow. Er, so how about we move onto the next question?

(C) Um yeah, deep thinker... that's me...

I love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

You say road, I say long and winding stone track that was filled with potholes and large immovable objects in the way!!!! Basically I had been writing for about six years (okay, so longer than that but the other manuscripts were so bad that I really can't count them!). Anyway, I knew I was getting closer, but I still couldn't break through.

Then in 2005 my father died. I was living in England at the time and I had to fly back to Australia for the funeral (had I mentioned that I'd just returned from my final visit to see him a week earlier?). Anyway, the day of his funeral was surreal. Not only was I jet-lagged and in shock, but I somehow ended up having an imaginary conversation with my dad (that's right, the dead one). A couple weeks later I suddenly got an idea about another dead person who was watching their funeral and from there the story poured out of me. I finished it three weeks later, signed with an agent not long after and she sold the book two weeks after she submitted it. Sometimes it still doesn't feel real but there is no doubt in my mind that my dad managed to pull a few strings from up above!

We are all about the love here, so please share your fave books, movies, TV shows or current fantasy squeeze (it's all in the line of research!)

It is no secret that I'm a MASSIVE Buffy/Angel/Firefly fan (and if you didn't know that, you would probably guess once you read ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH since in a wild coincidence, so is my heroine, Mia. Go figure!). My other all time favorite television show that I can watch over and over again is Friends. It's just so funny and it never ceases to make me laugh - I'm all for the laughing!

I can't quite believe Amanda didn't mention her not-so secret-beloved, so because I am a very kind, sensitive CP I've posted up a naked photo here of David Boreanaz for her to drool over.

And of course Christina is almost beside herself with excitement now that I've finally seen the light and started watching Battlestar Galactica. What can I say about that show apart from the fact it's awesomely amazing (okay, I could actually say a lot more but then that would just set Christina off and in turn the world would see us for the couple of pathetic fangirls that we are!!!!! So don't worry, Christina - your secret is safe with me...)

Thanks, Amanda. That's a relief...

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

I recently finished another young adult book about a girl who can see invisible killer fairies (and we're not talking Tinkerbell with a bad attitude) and now I'm working on a mid grade book which is lots of fun and I've only rewritten about one hundred times!!!

How can readers keep up with your writing and books?

This will take you to my website, which will take you to my blog, which will take you to my twitter account, which will...well, you get the picture!!!


donnas said...

Great interview. The more I read about this book the more I want to go find a copy. And for the next invisible killer fairies, sounds great!!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Amanda, yay - Christina's converted you into a BSG fan!! Woohoo! BTW - I don't think it was much of a secret :)

Congrats on the release. I love that you are writing for different age groups. Good luck with them all.

Christina - what an efficient blog host you are - what with going to such lengths to find a photo of David Boreanaz. I'm sure it was all very difficult ;))

Nell Dixon said...

Lovely interview!

Amanda Ashby said...

Christina - you are a cp who goes above and beyond the call of duty. No, I'm not talking about my bloopers I'm talking about supplying me with a pretty picture of Naked David Boreanaz!

Pat Posner said...

Great interview you two witchies!

Thank heavens for blogs because, being in different countries, they are a great way of sharing Release Day(s) Excitement.

Emma Lai said...

I can't resist zombie stories or David Boreanaz! Great combo ladies!

Kaye Manro said...

A thousand congrats on the release of Zombie Queen, Amanda! Another great interview, Christina. And talk about fast writing-- that's fantastic about Halo. But killer fairies? I can't wait...

Good luck, Amanda!

Helen Hardt said...

Amanda, I've said it before, this sounds amazing. I laughed out loud at your responses. I can't wait to read it!

And Christina, the fact that one of your labels for this post is "Naked David Boreanaz" was truly inspired ;).


Jenni said...

Nice interview!

Amanda Ashby said...

Pat - I know. I feel like zombie released about 3 days ago (oh, wait, it almost did by NZ time!!!)

Emma - I see you have very good taste!!!

Kaye - I was worried my 8 year old daughter might hate me for doing killer fairies but she was more concerned about the fact I said dragons were bad!!!!

Helen - thank you so much! And Christina is very wise to label it Naked David Boreanaz since it most definitely will get her lots of future hits since apparently people like to google that phrase (of course I can't mention names!)

Thanks Jenni!

Erika Powell said...

i love that everywhere you go naked pictures of David follow! YAY Amanda!

sweetmelissa818 said...

Seriously? More Naked David Boreanez? Can't you get enough?

I know, me either!

Mary Ricksen said...

Congratulations, on your release.
I could use a fun read!
I love this stuff!
You are a pistol.

Erica Hayes said...

Oooh, zombies! I love zombies! Congrats on your release, Amanda.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Amanda,

Ah, naked David Boreanaz is following us from blog to blog! (And I'm SO NOT complaining! ;-)

Good luck with the book!

Christina Phillips said...

Eleni, haha! I think my sad obsession with BSG travels before me now!!

Helen, I wish I could claim the inspired thinking behind the Naked David Boreanaz tag but in fact I totally pinched it from Amanda since she got heaps of hits the last time she used that tag!!!

Lucy said...

Another great interview (and yes, I'm going to stalk you everywhere! :) )

Unknown said...

you had me at halo
was a great book! though a tad sad, but im glad to have read it

Me said...

Not that I google "naked David Boreanaz" or anything but I'll just say that DB earned you another fan. The book sounds like lots of fun. Will definitely check it out. Any fan of Buffy/Angel/Firefly is fab in my book ;P

Thao said...

I never knew Amanda was Born in Australia. That's interesting. And the book she's working on sounds so cool

Shelley Munro said...

Killer fairies? Seriously, I have to read that one. :)
Congrats on the release, Amanda.

Cari Quinn said...

Great interview! As I mentioned on Michelle Rowen's blog, Amanda, I'm just getting into Buffy and can already tell I'm a Spike girl, but a naked David Boreanaz can't be bad. Oh, and did I mention he was born not far from where I live in New York? ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooh nice interview, thanks for sharing Amanda. :)

Paradox said...

Loved the interview! Can't wait for the killer fairies!