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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Indie Fall Fest: Amy Bartelloni Interview, Creative Writing Prompt, & Review

Today Amy Bartelloni is here answering some great interview questions from a fellow author, sharing a creative writing prompt, and I even have a review of Andromeda for you! Stay tuned for it all.

Don't forget to drop by the kick-off post and enter our HUGE giveaway!
Over on Pretty Little Pages, Ruth Silver is being featured today! So don't forget to stop by!

Ten years after a pandemic swept the globe, survivors were forced into factions and camps in order to survive.

Jade and Sera are two orphans who have found refuge in a government camp. It's there where Jade falls in love with a young soldier, Anyon. But Anyon has his own secrets, carefully guarding a past that involves Sera. Before Jade and Anyon admit their feelings to each other the camp is attacked and they're separated.

Jade knows to lead Sera to Albany, the last free camp in the east, but the road is dangerous.

Not only must they dodge pockets of infection, but they're threatened by drifters and gangs. When they arrive in Albany, they find it deserted.

Anyon and his friend Malachi are close on their heels, but not close enough. The Provisional Government is on a mission, and no one is quite prepared for what lies ahead.
Andromeda was a very interesting read. I had seen it be classified as a dystopian before, but honestly, I felt more like it was a post-apocalyptic read. I’m not sure if those are similar genres, or one in the same…but I have only ever read one other dystopian novel (series), which was the Hunger Games, so I didn’t really have much to compare it to.

Jade and Sera have been split up from their buddies Anyon and Malachi and the novel is told through the eyes of mainly Jade, Anyon, and a few others along the way. I believe the provincial government found the camp they had been staying at and had attacked and so the four ran off in hopes to meet up again in Atlanta at another camp. The whole novel, it is expressed that Jade is protecting Sera, Anyon had been assigned to protect her and Malachi is helping as well. I knew pretty much from the first page what Sera’s secret was. 

Jade and Anyon have an affection towards each other, but I never felt it. I was waiting for that moment where I could feel how difficult it had been being apart and then reunited, and I was told, but never shown. I wanted to feel that. I wondered a lot while reading the story if that was because it was third person omniscient. I tend to gravitate to books that are written in first person and I did wonder if that was the reason I never felt their “love” for one another. I could tell they liked one another, but never felt the love. 

Sera’s “powers” if you want to call it that was pretty cool. I liked that she was able to keep them out of trouble just by a simple feeling. I wondered if it had anything to do with her beginning to remember parts of her past. Out of all of the characters I think I liked Sera and Nicky the best. I liked their personalities and although brief, I really liked Nicky’s relationship with his girlfriend. I could really feel how much he cared for her. 

I liked the astrology references throughout the book and would have liked to have seen more of that. The story itself was solid and only took me two days to finish. I liked that it was easy to follow and flowed nicely. I’m interested to see more from Amy Bartelloni!

You’re walking to grab lunch when you see a crowd gathered around a building. You look up and see that someone is standing on the ledge, looking to jump. You hear a police officer close to you mention that the person is about to commit suicide. He also mentions the person’s name: and it’s someone you know! Write a scene where you attempt to stop the jumper from jumping.

The protein pack lunch was less than filling, and I decided to sneak out of work to see what was on the black market. My stomach grumbled as I muscled my way through the crowd outside the building.
Wait, a crowd?
I worked in the remodeling unit of the local hospital.  It was a booming business, and though I was only a secretary, I’d heard it all.  Horns, hooves, snouts, dyed skin – and that was only the beginning.  Lawsuits were threatened all the time by a group called the Naturalists.  They sometimes held protests outside the building, and their clear skin and natural hair was a startling contrast to the city life I was used to.  I assumed this was another protest, but when I got to the front of the crowd, the news cameras pointed up. Reality Jones, the local news anchor and a patient of ours, adjusted the microphone over her double cleavage.  I looked up.
I could barely see him, sitting on the ledge.  The building was ten stories high, and he sat carelessly on the ledge, gazing down at us.  There was something familiar in the orange of his skin.  I tipped my head.
Charlie was one of our first patients.  He’d come through before the ethical laws were enacted, which, admittedly, were flimsy. Charlie had none of the psychological tests that were mandatory now.  What he wanted – well, we had no reason to question then.  I still thought it was some of our finest work.
I walked to the edge of the crowd and stretched my arms, then people started to stare.  Wings were no big deal, but mine were top of the line, a job perk.  An officer tried to stop me but I flew past him, darting the laser rays from his gun. I glided up and sat down on the ledge.  It was indeed Charlie.  He cradled his head in his hands.
“Why did you let me do it?” he asked.  He didn’t seem surprised to see me. I folded my wings and put an arm around him.
“Charlie, you signed the forms.  What could we do?”  He looked up, and I was startled by the sight of his face. He’d tried to scrub off the orange hue and beautiful black stripes.  The whiskers we’d implanted were hacked off, leaving open wounds.
“Oh Charlie, why didn’t you come to us?  We can change it?”
“I just wanted to be pretty.”  He put his hands back over his face.  “But now I want to be myself again.”
I sighed.  That was the one thing I couldn’t give him.
“Come on,” I pulled him up and the crowd below cheered.  “Maybe something different this time?  Flamingo tint is all the rage.”  
He looked back at the ledge one last time, and decided to follow me. 
“Maybe the flamingo,” he said, his voice perking up.  “And can you do something about these whiskers?  They itch.”
“Charlie.”  I put an arm around him.  “We can do anything.”

Interview by Mary Waibel

1)      What do you write? (YA/Adult? Fantasy/Chicklit/Sci-Fi-- that type of thing)
My current books, ANDROMEDA & the sequel ORION'S CURSE, are both YA dystopian.  I love the YA genre, and dystopian in particular because there are so many possibilities!  I'll probably stick to that or sci/fi with my next books, but no promises.  A good story is a good story, no matter when & where it's set :-)

2)      Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
My current works feature a 3rd person narration, with multiple POV's that change per chapter.  Although I'm working on the 3rd book in the series, and I'm going to change that up a bit. SPOILER: the 3rd book will be written from just one person's POV, but she's the central character in the series so I thought it appropriate :-)  I've experimented with all different POV's, just depends on the story for me.

3)      How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
It's hard to say, but it's usually an idea that sticks with me.  I try to write ideas down as I get them, but the ones I follow through with are the ones that stay with me without having to write them down.  They're the ones that I can't stop thinking about.

4)      Do you draft quickly? (if so, about how long) or are you more detailed in your draft (again, how long)?
First drafts are quicker and more fun than editing for me.  I don't keep track of how long it takes because that would stress me out.  My goal is 1500 words a day for at least 5 days a week, and it's done when it's done.  Editing is longer and much more painful.  I can't even count how many times I go through my work after it's done. I'm getting a little better at the editing process, because there's so much that can be added and improved on, but even then, I usually have a short story or a new novel I'm working on at the same time I'm editing another one.  I just love the rush of creativity that a first draft brings. 

5)      Do you do research before your first draft, during?
It depends, but I usually try to keep my momentum going through the first draft without stopping too much.  That might be why editing takes so long for me, too.  If I'm stuck on a name or need to research something, I'll just put a placeholder in until I can go back to it.

6)      Do you outline? How?
I'm not a big outliner.  I usually have an idea where I want the story to go in my head, but sometimes it surprises me, which is super cool.  I guess I'm called a "pantser" because I write by the seat of my pants :-)  That being said, I try to outline a couple chapters ahead of time, so when I take a break and go back I know where I am.

7)      Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I can't name everything up front, because sometimes I need the whole story flushed out before I can get the right name.  Once I had a whole book written then decided to change someone's name!  Sometimes the details don't come to me until I have the whole story is written and I have a better idea of who the character is.

8)      Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
CP's and beta's are essential!  I have different people that look at the book at different stages.  Mostly I send it out way before it's ready to be seen because I can't wait to share it.  Sometimes it's good to have that feedback that you're going in the right direction.  I also love beta reading for others, too.

9)      What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
The hands-down, number one best book on the craft of writing that I have found is "On Writing" by Stephen King.  There are so many gems in there that I can't name them all.  I think the best piece of advice that he gives  is not to let anyone make you feel bad about your writing.  I spent too long keeping my writing private because I was scared of what people would think.  He also says to read a lot, which is great advice :-)

10)   What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
It might have been nice to realize that it would be a long road, a lifetime - really, and your writing is not going to be perfect from the start, but every rejection is going to make you better and stronger, and discovering how much you love writing is going to change who you are, or at least make you realize who you are and what's important.

11)   What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?
ANDROMEDA came out in May, and the sequel, ORION'S CURSE, releases 11/11!  I am very close to finishing up the first draft of the third book in the series, too :-)  

My website is, but I am much more active on Facebook ( and twitter (  I love Goodreads because I love seeing what other people are reading (  Feel free to friend me there!  I keep a blog with my cousin about parenting & life that can be found at  I love social media and interacting with people!

Amy Bartelloni is a reader, writer, & coffee addict who lives with her husband, 3 children, and various animals in the northeast US. When she's not playing mom-taxi, you can find her with her nose in a book or her head in the clouds. A people watcher and science fiction junkie, she still believes dreams can come true. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Jasper Fforde, Paulo Coelho, and Stephen King.

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Olivia's Catastrophe said...

This sounds like a pretty cool read! The characters sound good and I love books where there are powers as well :D

Krista said...

Hey Olivia-Savannah,

It was a pretty cool read and unique take on the Dystopian genre. I rather liked it! :)