On March 12, 2012, WTNH’s Connecticut Style program interviewed me about “Amanda’s Room.” While it was a great opportunity to highlight the book, only a limited amount of information can be conveyed in a four-minute interview. I didn’t know the specific questions I would be asked until just before the taping, so I tried to anticipate the range of possible questions and drafted succinct answers for each. Here is what was not covered during the interview.
Q. How does the weather figure into the book?
A. It’s central to the book and woven throughout the story. In writing the book, I took the U.S, Power Squadron’s course on Weather Systems and Forecasting for Mariners. I also had the book reviewed by a severe storm expert and did extensive internet research on the weather. Every chapter begins with a factual statement about the weather, which is connected either directly or figuratively to the contents of the chapter. One reader told me recently that she is re-reading the book a second time just to figure out the connections between the chapters and their headings. That’s exactly the kind of experience I was hoping my readers would have. The weather events also escalate as the book continues, culminating in a hurricane bearing down onCape Codthat would eclipse the 1938 Long Island Express.
Q. What are the major themes of the book?
A. Certainly one is the struggle between good and evil. On the book’s cover (designed by my son Michael, Miceliproductions.com), you see a fountain in front of the mansion containing Amanda’s Room. At the top of the fountain, a statue depicts St. Michael locked in battle with Satan. Early on in the book, one of the characters, Cynthia Reynolds, comments that it seems like the demon has won. But has he? That’s only the beginning of the story, and it still leaves open the question of whom the real demon is.
Another theme is the human condition. I’ve tried to create real characters with believable needs, motivations, desires, and flaws. Nobody in the book, including my chief protagonist, Katie Jarvis, is perfect, and even the villains, (with one glaring exception), are sympathetic. You may not agree with their actions, but you should be able to understand their motivations.
Finally, there is the weather. The book asks, “What if the weather was something more than just physical? What if it was driven by something conscious? In fact, what if that consciousness actually merged with and became the weather?
Q. Who is the book written for?
A. I wrote it with adults in mind, but it should also be fine for young adults and mature teenagers. The main characters are mostly college students so college age people should readily be able to relate to them. I didn’t write it as a young adult novel, but I would love feedback from young adults on their reactions.
Q. How would you classify the book?
A. It actually crosses two genres. It’s definitely a paranormal novel, but I wanted to make it more than a fantasy or a thriller. I wrote the book as a mystery. I enjoy books by King and Harris, but I also love novels by Grisham and Follett. This book contains elements of them all. There is a puzzle to be solved here and from the feedback I’ve received from readers thus far, it should not an easy one to solve.
Q. What about print copies?
A. That was one of the more surprising things I learned. With the proliferation of eBooks and eBook readers, I questioned making a print version at all. But many people have asked when the print version will be available because they prefer reading from a physical book. So right now, I’m in the process of formatting the book for print and hope to have hardcover and paperback editions ready for publication by mid-April. As soon as they are, I’ll announce it on my blog, Facebook page, and author pages. I also welcome invitations to any groups that would like book readings and signing events. They can just leave me a message on any of my social media.
Q. Where can people get the book?
A. The eBook version is available for the Kindle now on Amazon.com. Just type in “Amanda’s Room” or my name, Chuck Miceli, and it should pop up.
For those who have other eReaders, the book is available in most other eBook formats from Smashwords.com. Once again, just type in “Amanda’s Room” to access the order information.
Q. What do you want people to take away from the book?
A. First of all, I want them to feel like they’ve had an enjoyable reading experience. If readers loose a little sleep because they can’t put the book down at times (or because it freaks them out a bit), so much the better. Next, I’d like them to fall in love with my characters, or at least think of them as friends.
Finally, I’d like them to become more fascinated with the weather. After all, it’s the most awesome force on the planet, one that sometimes causes us to cringe in fear, and at others, to stand in awe.
Q. Any advice for other aspiring authors.
A. Write for the love of writing and for the opportunity to satisfy your readers and yourself. And fall in love with words. Like the weather, they have the power to move mountains.