Today’s interview is with Amir Lane, an author who writes many types of speculative fiction, but especially Urban Fantasy, as well as some non-spec.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
This is actually funny. I wrote the first draft of Shadow Maker almost exclusively on my cell phone. Yeah. My predictive text still gives me suggestions that make no sense in any other context. But I was writing that l while commuting, so that was a special circumstance. I don’t think I’d do it again.
I usually work on a combination of my laptop and tablet but I’m doing something a little different right now. Problem is that right now, I stare at a computer 8 hours a day so it’s hard on my eyes if I go home and stare for another 4 hours. So lately I’ve been writing by hand and then dictating it. And it’s funny but I find I actually write faster on paper – graph paper – and then dictating takes me maybe 10 minutes a chapter depending on how long it is, so it’s much faster. Harder to keep track of word count but pages is a decent estimation, even though my handwriting is atrocious.
Where do the your ideas come from?
This is hands down the most difficult question I’ve ever tried to answer regarding writing. The short answer is everywhere. The idea for Scrap Metal and Circuitry came from the music video for Asylum by Disturbed. The Violinist came from a Vitamin String Quartet cover of a Flyleaf song. Shadow Maker came from, what would a Necromancer study at university? Duality was, you know, I liked the idea of a Baroque violinist vampire. Music is a huge source of ideas for me but sometimes it’s just a matter of, hey, you know what would be cool?
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I used to wing it and it was a lot of fun but I wound up with books that had no real plot until, like, halfway through. When I wrote Shadow Maker, I didn’t really sit down and write an outline but I knew exactly what I wanted to have happen in this book. It was pretty well outlined in my head by the time I started writing. What I found was that compared to the other books I’d written, I started out with a pretty solid first draft and it made the editing process much smoother than I anticipated. It also made the actual writing process much easier because I knew exactly where I had to be next. So I’ve started going that route.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
I would have to say outlining. Basically deciding where the story is going to go before I’ve started is rough for me. I don’t think in events or arcs, I think in scenes. I mean, I can plot in arcs but it’s a bit of a shift for me. But once I get that, the rest of the book comes much easier so it’s worth the struggle.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing about writing Shadow Maker was deciding what to leave out. My main character knows that magic is a thing but he’s never been immersed in that world and since it’s in his point of view, I basically wound up with this sort of warped view of my world. Finding a way to balance the way he sees thing and how they really are, especially when all the other characters assume there’s no disconnect, was a challenge.
The other thing was that there was a lot of information that I could have added but I didn’t because, a) my main character doesn’t know it, or b) it wasn’t really relevant here. A lot of these things fit much better in other books but those books won’t come out for a while. I had to make a lot of judgment calls there.
Amir Lane (pronounced Ah-meer) is a supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario and the author of the Morrighan House Witches series that debuted in October 2016. The series opens with Shadow Maker, and follows physics major Dieter Lindemann as he’s dragged down against his will into Necromancy and blood magic.
Engineer by trade, Amir spends most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, at a back table at their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.
When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.