Today I have a special guest joining PRA; the fantastic author of Hunting Human, Amanda E. Alvarez! You can catch my 4 Lovey review on the novel here. A big thank you to Amanda for taking the time to stop by, I hope that you enjoy her post lovelies!
One of the things that I get asked the most is where I came up for the idea for my debut novel, Hunting Human. The easy answer is that I came up with the idea while fighting off an afternoon snooze in the back of my constitutional law class several years ago. But the truth is that is the easy answer. Yes, the initial idea for Hunting Human was born of boredom. But it took years and years and years before that idea finally blossomed into a full blown plot. For some of those years I just sort of let the idea rattle around in my head. I’d think about it every now and again in the shower. Or in traffic. Or while in line. Sometimes those ruminations were productive. Bits of dialogue would filter through, sometimes small scenes. But more often than not I just thought about the characters, what they were like, what their dreams and fears were. Then, a couple of years later I finally decided that I wanted to try my hand at actually writing the novel. The first two or three chapters came fairly easily – after all, I’d been thinking about the story for a really long time. Huzzah! I can do this… or so I thought. Once the initial burst of writing ran through my system I found myself stranded, wondering where to go, what to do. All the ideas, snippets and thoughts I’d had in line, in the shower, and in traffic suddenly abandoned me.
So I stepped back. I took classes. I found a writer’s group. I looked at the characters differently. I looked at the story differently. And ultimately, I boiled everything down to one single question: what story did I really want to tell. It wasn’t a story about werewolves. Not really. The story I wanted to tell was a story about people. One in particular: Beth. I’ll admit that I loved paranormal romance novels. I loved the idea of hidden worlds and exceptional people. Abilities have always fascinated me, so it didn’t surprise me that I wanted to write a book about them. What did surprise me was how I wanted to approach that story. At the time, I remember thinking that most of the paranormal romances I’d read dealt with characters that either had lived with the paranormal their entire lives or were introduced to it by someone they trusted; someone who could answer their questions and guide them through it. This lead me to the single most important question that ever occurred to me when writing Hunting Human: What would happen if someone completely ordinary, someone like you or I, was violently introduced to the paranormal world with no help, no guide, no nothing? That story interested me. That was the one I wanted to explore.
So I stepped back again, I looked at Beth and Braden and the story I was working on and bent and shaped and morphed it until it laid out the journey I wanted my characters – particularly Beth – to take. I didn’t pull punches in Hunting Human. I dropped Beth into a nasty situation, one she doesn’t understand and one she can’t control. Then I made it worse. I snatched away her best friend. I took away her understanding of the world and of her place in it. I made her deal with being a werewolf for years, on her own and without any help. It’s painful and scary and isolating. And when I finally let her turn the corner, take her first steps into the future I yanked the rug out from under her again. I made her face her worst fears, both in the man she loved and in the enemy she loathed. And in herself. Because at the end of the day, the question I set out to answer was a human one. What would Beth do? What would I do? What would you do? What would anyone do when confronted with something so dark, twisted and terrifying and then woke up to realize the nightmare was never going to be over? I hope the answer is survive. Survive and hang on, tooth and nail, until life settles and living can begin again. Beth’s road wasn’t easy. And she doesn’t make perfect decisions. But she doesn’t quit, she puts one foot in front of the other and keeps going. And though her journey is ugly, imperfect and paranormal, it is a human journey. One of acceptance and forgiveness and love. And that story was the result of years of thought. Years of wondering ‘what would an average person do?’
Amanda was born and raised in Texas - and due to an unfortunate three year stint in Michigan - doesn't plan to ever live anywhere where flip-flops and sweatshirts don't constitute winter attire. Often audacious and adventurous, she tends to find herself in a slew of dangerous (and hilarious!) predicaments (law school and fighting raccoons in dumpsters) and thankfully has many friends ready to lend aid (while they laugh.)
When not lawyering, writing, or thinking about going to the gym Amanda is often caught sampling local cupcake offerings and planning to someday co-open an evil bakery and sell dastardly desserts. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas with one regular-sized cat and one jumbo-sized cat, and can be seen writing in public places frequented by hot guys (strictly for research purposes, of course!) with her friends and fellow writers Killer-Cupcake and Pantherista (names omitted to protect the not-so-innocent).
You can read the first chapter of Hunting Human HERE.