Monday, April 15, 2013

Author Interview: Amanda Sun (Author of the Paper Gods series) + Giveaway!

Hey guys! It's been long since we've had someone drop by our blog, and when we say "someone" we actually mean "a super duper cool author". So we're really excited to have the very lovely AMANDA SUN stopping by! Yaaaay!!

Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, a small town where she could escape into the surrounding forest to read. An archaeologist by training, she speaks several languages and will write your name in Egyptian Hieroglyphics if you ask. Her debut novel, INK, is the first in the Paper Gods series and is inspired by her time in Japan, with a paranormal twist. She loves knitting, gaming, and cosplay, and lives in Toronto with her family. You can stalk and chat her up at her blog, Twitter and Facebook, as well!

Check out her books: INK, the first book of the Paper Gods series, will be out this June 25th! But while you're all waiting for it to come out, INK's prequel, Shadow, an eNovella will be out on June 1st. That's the 24-day gap! Both books are being published by Harlequin TEEN.

And we are so very excited to have Amanda Sun here with us today!

Check out our interview with her:

Hi Amanda! Welcome to The Soul Sisters, we are so excited to have you over! (Louisse: *creepy laugh*)

Hi Louisse! Thank you so much for having me here. ^_^ *hears creepy laugh* Um... *strained smile* I'll...I'll just sit here and answers questions, shall I? <_< >_>

Amanda, why don't we talk about your book for a minute. May you give our readers a brief introduction/summary of your debut novel, INK?

Sure, I'd love to! After the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Katie Greene moves to Japan to live with her English-teaching aunt. There she crosses paths with Tomohiro, the kendo star at her new school. His drawings come to life in dangerous ways in dangerous ways, and Katie and Tomo find themselves on the run when the wrong people notice--both the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia, and a darker, unknown group, with ties to the ancient gods of Japan.

Dun, dun, dun. ^_~ There's also kissing, Japanese life, and lots of Japanese food. :D

What is it about Japan that made you want to set a novel in it? How were you able to capture the essence of Japan's culture?

As long as I can remember, I'd wanted to live in Japan. I think it started with a Hello Kitty doll I had growing up, and then took over as I started into anime, manga, and gaming. I lived on exchange in high school in Osaka, and later hosted students from Japan in between visits there. I had written short fiction set in Japan before, but I knew I wanted to turn my experiences there into something more. So, I ended up combining my love of Japanese culture with my love of YA, and poof! INK was born. I really wanted to make Japan accessible to everyone, and I hope that comes across when you read INK. :)

How did you first discover the Kami
? And what enticed you to write about them?

Growing up, I had a beautiful children's encyclopedia of myths (actually, I still have it.) That's where I learned about the kami Izanami and Izanagi, as well as stories about Amaterasu. Those early myths started an interest in Japanese mythology that carried into my university courses in Asian history and culture.

Believe it or not, INK started out as a YA contemporary. It wasn't until I was watching Tomo draw one day in my head that I saw his sketches move on the page. I was shocked, and slowly he explained to me who he really was. Everything he said started to connect to the mythology I'd locked away in my memories, and then I researched from there. All the details fit, and the fact that kami means "paper" and "god" was the final piece. ^_^

There are a lot of significant Kamis that the Japanese recognize right now, such as Amaterasu, Hachiman, Tsukuyomi and others. (Louisse did her research. Haha!) If you were to be a Kami, what kind of deity would you want to be?

Wow, you really did research! Nice work! ^_^ I grew up in a very small town surrounded by lush forests. I used to escape into the woods to read, picking blackberries as I went. So if I were a kami, I'd like to be one of a forest, I think, with a nice little waterfall and shrine or something like that. And foxes. I love foxes. :)

Why did you decide to characterize Tomohiro as an artist? Did you base that off of his "gift"? And would you consider yourself an artist?

I've always wanted to be able to draw, but sadly I can usually only sketch stick people. As I mentioned, Tomohiro as a character appeared in my head one day, and I kept seeing him sitting in a grassy field, sketching all kinds of things in a notebook. He wanted to be an artist, but his dad was pressuring him to be a doctor or a banker. I think it was more the idea that he wanted to create, to be any kind of artist, then the sketching itself that I identified with. His sketches were his own personal dream of what he wanted his life to be, and his escape. That's something I really understood. :)

If you were you describe INK in just three words, what would they be and why?

I'm actually going to pull a quote from the book for this: Such terrifying beauty.

I like to think of INK as having those two sides. There's beauty to the drawings, but there's also danger, and to Tomohiro as well. I think it speaks to the fact that what we want to reach for in life, what we want to hold close to our hearts, is often frightening to reach for. We don't want to mess up or fail, but we still long to attain the dreams we see in front of us. Life *is* terrifying beauty, but we won't give up, and I hope that feeling is at the core of INK for both Katie and Tomohiro.

If either Tomohiro or Jun were to become real people... would you want to date them or run for the metaphorical hills?

Um, yes, yes I would. <_<   >_> But I think it should that be way. If I don't love my characters, then how can I hope readers will? And yes, I like mysterious, angsty artistic guys with spiky hair. There, I said it. No regrets! (o^_^o)

If you were to advertise your book to people, how would you go about it?

Oh, gosh. Well, it's kind of a Japanese drama crossed with a YA paranormal so if you like either of those, I think you might like INK. And it's the most affordable mini vacation to Japan you'll ever have! One of the reasons I wrote INK is because I wanted to share the experience of living in Japan with those that might not have the chance to go on exchange or visit. That's part of the reason it's written in 1st person, and from an outsider's point of view.

So yes. INK: It's Cheaper than Airfare!

They should put that on the cover.

Was easy or difficult writing in dual POVs for Shadow? Especially when your other protagonist is male? And whose POV was more fun to write from?

I loved writing two POVs for SHADOW. It was kind of necessary, since during SHADOW Katie isn't in Japan yet. I wanted to show how she came to terms with the huge changes in her life as she moved to Japan, but I also wanted to show what was going on with Tomo and the ink before Katie arrived. So in that sense, it was a lot of fun because I was still getting that normal life/crazy ink nightmares balance going on that I would get from INK's single POV.

I really love writing male protagonists. My other short published fiction is mostly from male POVs. And it was really exciting to get inside Tomo's head and see things the way he sees them. But it's pretty bleak in there, and his nightmares freak me out, so if anything it made me feel a lot more sympathy for him. He's even stronger than I realized to fight against that side of himself all the time!

And now for the fun part, the quickieeees!

Matcha or coffee? Matcha :D Unless you're talking iced milk coffee. Then the coffee.

Pegasi or unicorns? Unicorns :D I wrote a short story about a deformed horse/unicorn called "Fragile Things" in the anthology Tesseracts Fifteen.

Drama or comedy? Drama. I'm a sucker for angst.

White or dark... chocolate? White chocolate! Nom.

Left or right? Right.

Light or dark? Dark.

Blue or black ink? Pink of course!

TV shows or movies? TV shows. Namely, Asian dramas. :D

Vampires or werewolves? Vampires.

Egg or chicken? Egg.

Jun or Tomohiro? (Hehehe...) SO MEAN. Um. Jun. But I know more about him than you do...yet. ^_^ No wait, Tomo. AGH my brain. Okay, really? I have to say Tomo, because I'm so drawn to his spirit. He fights so hard against what he is to become what he wants to be.

Thank you so, so much for doing this interview with us, Amanda! Stay awesome! (And write even awesomer books!)

Thank you so much for having me! I had a great time, and I hope you all enjoy INK. ^_^

And now for a super extra special treat...

Since I have an extra copy of INK, we'll be giving it away! Yaaay! This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway. Be sure to check out the Term and Conditions below before entering.

Good luck and thanks for reading our interview! :)


  1. Hi, I tried to enter in your giveaway. I just logged in through my email, that's it? :) I hope I win! Thank you for this giveaway!

    Airish ♥

    1. After you log in with your e-mail you have to fill up the form. The corresponding actions will constitute as your entries. So if you like our Facebooks page then you'll get ONE entry. :) You can get a total of 10 but you can tweet every day, as well.

      Good luck, Airish!

  2. It actually ends on my birthday! God, i hope ill win :)))

    1. Fingers crossed! And happy advanced birthday, BJ!

    2. hehehe:D thanks!!! yeah. fingers crossed :3

  3. just read your conversation makes me sooo curious to read it! I really wish i can win :-) thank you for holding this giveaway <3

    1. Good luck! :D And thanks for checking our interview out!

  4. Lovely interview! Learned more abt the book and more intrigued with ink. :) and who Tomo and Jun are..:)

    1. Thanks, Jenna! :) I am so excited for everyone to read INK and meet Jun and Tomo. (Hint: They're both hot and complex guys. Yum.)

  5. Is this book available in the Philippines? I'm very much interested! :)

    1. I'm glad that you're interested! :D It'll be out on June 25th!