The Graveyard Queen Series with Amanda Stevens

Being born and raised in the South is pretty much a guarantee of growing up with superstitions, folklore, and predicting the weather by what animals are doing, among other things.  The Ozarks are particularly rich in that area.  I recall a special that focused on the belief in the fae being very strong in that region, they still believe(d) in “THE WILD HUNT” that the fae are suppose to go on yearly.

Can you share some favorite “beliefs”?

I grew up near the White River and there has always been the belief in a river monster, some prehistoric-looking creature that the locals dubbed Whitey.  The Arkansas legislature even passed a provision that decreed a certain part of the river the monster’s natural habitat.

Water witching was a fairly accepted practice where I grew up, and there was always some talk of country folk who could cure warts and such through incantations.

But what always got me were the ghost stories.  You rarely met a soul that didn’t have one.  My best friend had tales that could raise your hair.  I still remember them and I still feel a chill sometimes when I’m alone.  (And, yes, I’ve used some of them in The Graveyard Queen).

Are your characters real to you?  Do they talk to you, refuse to do things you’d like thereby changing the direction of the story, or are you always in total control?

I’m constantly listening to dialogue in my head, but so far I’ve managed to keep the pretend voices in line. 😉

Is there anything special you need to get those creative juices flowing?

Long, leisurely walks through the neighborhood.  I call them ‘think walks’.  Sometimes it helps just to change locations.  I use a laptop so I often move from room to room.

Have you ever scared yourself?

Constantly!!!   I write a lot at night and my office looks out on our very dark backyard.  I imagine all sorts of creatures slipping through the woods to creep up on me.

Do you think you’ve found what you were looking for with THE RESTORER and Ameilia Gray, the Graveyard Queen?

I really do feel as though I’ve hit my stride.  My natural writing style is dark and descriptive and I think the lush prose works for the dreamy, gothic atmosphere I’m trying to create in the cemeteries and with the ghosts.  At least, I hope so.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure can you give us a brief synopsis of THE RESTORER?

Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts.  Greedy, grasping, ravenous entities that prey on human emotions and devour their life force.  In order to protect herself from the parasitic nature of the dead, Amelia has always held fast to her father’s rules. But a haunted police detective has entered her world and now everything is changing…including the rules that have always kept her safe.

Set against the dark, dreamy, withering backdrop of an abandoned cemetery, THE RESTORER is the first installment in The Graveyard Queen Series.  These southern gothic tales offer peeks into the lush dreamscape of haunted cemeteries, deranged killers and doomed lovers.

The same for the next in the series please.  I have to confess I’m on tenterhooks waiting to see what you have in store for Amelia and Devlin.

Their journey is a long one, full of many twists and turns.  I advise patience.  😉

Hang…I know it’s a virtue but it’s one I really have a hard time with.  I’m not all that patient.

I found the symbolism in graveyard art fascinating.  I never knew that.  Could you share a few of them today?

I always like to talk about the rose, one of the most common graveyard symbols but it can tell you so much about the deceased.  For instance, whether the rose is a bud, flower or somewhere in between indicates the age of the deceased.  A full bloom and a bud are sometimes used to represent a dual burial of mother and child.  A severed stem signifies a sudden death or a life cut short.

Taphophilia, I had no clue there was such an animal.  Does that include the rubbings some people do of gravestones or is that something else entirely?

I think taphophilia refers more to the passion one has towards graveyards and tombstones rather than to any particular act or practice.  Also, most avid taphophiles would advise against rubbings as they can damage fragile stones.  A little something I ran across in my research.

Do you have any plans to revisit any characters from previous books, namely THE WHISPERING ROOM, THE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINTS, and THE DOLLMAKER?

I haven’t read any of those but they sound sooo good and I’ve added them to my tbr list.

Oh, thank you!  No plans at the moment, but I’ve always wanted to revisit the characters in THE DOLLMAKER.  No characters have ever been more real to me  than Dave and Claire.  And Matthew.  He remains my favorite villain.

That really piques my interest…I’ll have to get THE DOLLMAKER sooner rather than later.

Do you have a favorite book?  Are you currently reading anything?

I don’t really have a favorite book, but I’m currently reading lots and lots of Charlaine Harris.  I love all her stories, but I’m particularly fond of her Harper Connolly series.

I’m partial to Sookie myself & I’ve been there from the get go.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit Manic Readers today Amanda.  I’ve really enjoyed it and am anxiously awaiting the next Amelia Gray.

Thank you for having me!!!

Visit Amanda’s site here

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