Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Olympian Heights of Amy Strickland

I met Amy Strickland just this past month during the ever-amazing Alabama Phoenix Festival convention. Needless to say, I was stricken (no pun intended... maybe) by her prose and felt the need to share this talented writer work with my own circle of friends, fans, and stalkers. 

So, without any further nonsense from me, here's Amy.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My current project is a comic adaptation of my novel series, Olympia Heights. I’ve been working with an artist—who also happens to be my brother—for the last six months to create character designs and develop a style. We plan to launch the project on Kickstarter in October to pay for his art. Olympia Heights is a series about a group of teenagers in Miami, FL who find out that they ARE the Greek Gods reborn into human teenage bodies. As they manifest powers and navigate high school drama, they have to figure out who they are, why they are here, and fight off attacks from vengeful titans. Think Smallville meets Glee for the tone. You know, season one before Glee fell apart.

You can get an email when the comic project launches by signing up here: http://olympia-heights.com/comic/

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

The novels often approached the same kinds of things you see in most Young Adult series. It’s a coming-of-age story, but in this case it’s the Greek Gods who behaved like teenagers in their ancient pasts. They’re learning to be modern leaders and learning to be responsible patriarchs for the mortals, rather than self-centered gods.

What would be your dream project?

I feel like doing an Olympia Heights comic is already there. I guess a TV series would be a dream.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

In a way, the Olympia Heights comic is that do-over. The old novels took a very Greco-Roman approach to the mythology. I’m excited to get a chance to stick closer to my Greek sources for this comic. It’s a slightly different worldview.

What inspires you to write?

I love mythology, and that inspires me whether its fairy tales, Greek gods, or Cthulhu. I love that postmodern  idea of taking something we think we know and telling a different story.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I read a lot of Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling. They’ve definitely had the most formative influence. Also, I have to say, my old text-based role-playing buddies, especially Lindsay and Missy. I spent thousands of hours writing with these ladies, telling stories back and forth, and all those hours—well over 10,000 hours, probably double that—gave me the skills and experience I use to write from today.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I probably rank it further on the science side of the scale than most. Language is a traditional “left-brain” skill, even if that whole division of the brain is a highly simplified misunderstanding. There is an art to how you arrange the words, and the stories you shape have a lot to do with creativity, even if they are logic puzzles. The best stories are driven by well-shaped characters making decisions that are realistic for their development. That said, I’m an outliner, and that makes this more of a science.

Most of all, I think the important thing for aspiring writers to remember is that writing is a skill. Whether it’s a creative skill or a logical one, that means one thing. Inspiration is a crutch, and it blinds us to the flaws of our work. Skills can be practiced and trained, and even when you don’t “feel like it,” you have to push through. Some of my best writing comes from times when I was sure I was writing crap because I had to drag myself to do it.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?  

I have a steampunk series. The sequel is coming out this fall. Rescue OR, Royer Goldhawk’s Remarkable Journal is book one. You can grab it on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and paperback.

For more information, visit Amy online:
http://amyleighstrickland.com
http://olympia-heights.com/comic/