Friday 14 August 2015


Title: Automaton
Author: Amanda Clemmer
Release Date: 22nd May 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Last Thursday I awoke to learn that I died almost a month ago. I was rebuilt from a highly experimental process of clockwork and cloning, and I don’t know why. One man knows my secret—my creator, the lead of the Leona Scientific Laboratory. He says knowledge isn’t free. I say that unless I know why I’m here, he’s the one who’s going to pay.

My friend Jack Beasley has offered his help. He has inside knowledge about the laboratory and the man who runs it. I think he also knows something about me that he isn’t sharing. There’s no one I can trust now. Not even myself.

Amazon UK


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Amanda Clemmer; Seattle, Washington; and Maine—but I’m probably moving to New Hampshire over the summer. I’ve also lived in Quebec, the Democratic Republic of Congo, southern California, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Minnesota. I’ve averaged a move every two years through my life—that’s a lot of packing!

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Originally I wanted to be a cowgirl, and then an astronaut. When I realized that neither of those dreams would come true, and that even if they did they probably wouldn’t be as glamorous as I’d imagined, I decided to write my adventures instead.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I finished the first rough draft of my first novel when I was 12. It was horribly written, but a huge milestone for me.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Automaton got picked up by Jukepop within a few weeks of finishing it, so I guess no. On the other hand, I started showing my writing to publishers when I was 16. That’s almost ten years of waiting, rejections, and frustrating close calls!

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
My husband has been very generous with me. We’re both passionate writers, but since I’m the one who’s better at actually getting things written, we decided that he would work for both of us. I do some paid survey work on the side and manage a website (

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Automaton. Summary: She died. Then someone rebuilt her. Then she woke up.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Automaton was originally published as a JukePop serial, but after its initial release I took it back and did some major re-working to self publish it.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Not really. I write in several different genres and formats (short stories, micro-fiction, poetry and novels) and have submitted to many different publishers. It’s a different experience each time.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It’s taken from as little as two months to as long as, well, years. I got the initial idea for Automaton in high school almost ten years ago, but it didn’t release until just now!

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
If I can isolate a book around a simple idea or twist, it’s usually pretty easy for me to write. The most difficult books are the ones that keep shifting in my mind and that I can’t pin down. Automaton was an easier one.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m currently working on the sequel for Automaton, which at this point looks like it could very well turn into a full series. Most of my writing is in more traditional veins of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been working on a book of poetry and micro-fiction lately and some children’s books, as well as a fantasy saga co-written with my husband. I usually do best working on multiple projects.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
There were so many things that I had to cut out of Automaton while editing, and so many ideas I never even got to express, that the sequel needs to happen. The story is grossly incomplete as it is. Right now I’m ironing out the plot to the second book, and it’s looking like I might need even more to get everything in. It’s safe to assume that there will at least be another two or three books here!

What genre would you place your books into?
Most of my books are young adult, but otherwise I’ve written in many different genres. Automaton is Steampunk, but my family and friends know me better for science fiction and fantasy. I’ve also written some historical and literary fiction with limited success.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Originally, Automaton was going to be science fiction. As in, on a starship with aliens. I didn’t even think of Steampunk until my husband brought home a Steampunk themed board game—Spyrium—that we played and that I fell in love with. I like experimenting with writing and wondered what it would be like if this new novel were Steampunk instead of science fiction. The result was so much better I had no choice but to switch!

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
In Automaton, I have to say I think Mr. Steele is my favorite. There’s a giant backstory for him that never made it into the first book, but he’s basically a man who’s been trapped by his own genius. His light and dark sides are constantly at war, and the sequel will highlight a lot of that.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I think I’d be Ada. She’s bold, confident, and at the heart of the action.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing for almost 14 years now, most of my life! I started writing when my family was moving and I was a bored eleven-year-old. It was supposed to be a quick diversion, but I couldn’t stop!

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
I got the idea for Automaton after a weird dream I had about ten years ago. Inspirations range from Star Trek: Voyager to Neil Gaiman to Abney Park!

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Because of all the travelling I’ve done, I can’t usually commit to a set routine. I often like to drink some iced coffee or hot tea/hot chocolate when I write, and for Automaton I had a playlist of Abney Park going in the background for almost all of it.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
My husband and parents have all been great editors, and I’ve also reached out to some college friends and Scribophile. I think it’s important to get a bunch of different eyes on your books when you’re trying to fix them up!

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I do. It’s a new thing with Automaton, but on my site ( I have a form anyone can fill out for a review copy. I’ve gotten some great feedback so far!

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. It’s a little more terrifying than checking a professor’s feedback on an assignment, but I can’t keep myself from looking!

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I designed Automaton’s cover after several tries. The title also changed several times—for a while it was The Automaton of Miss Ada Stirling, which was a serious mouthful that I cut. I also considered Clockwork Soul or Death of The Machine, but those were more Goth than I wanted. Originally the cover was much more abstract and finely detailed, but I decided on a simple color-drained photograph after seeing thumbnail versions and looking at cover statistics.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I had a working title, but didn’t seriously decide on one until afterwards. I figured content was more important for the drafting stages!

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I changed both character and place names several times. Ada was originally Ada Garfield, and the Observatory was originally the Laboratory. Later I went to (gasp) a fantasy name generator and looked at some of the Steampunk options. Jack Beasley and the town of Leona are the only names that stayed the same!

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I have working names for everything, and sometimes they stick. Usually I change them around after the rough draft, though!

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I usually start with some personality ideas, but largely the characters develop themselves in the story. Mr. Steele changed dramatically several times, alternating between cold-hearted villain and potentially well-meaning but misunderstood hero. I settled on his being a secretive anti-hero in the end and later edited the novel to work better with that.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out?  
Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
It’s different with every story. With Automaton I had one basic idea and let the rest happen as I wrote it. The sequel is much more planned, however, building off of what I’ve already written and what I didn’t get to write.

How do you market/promote your books?
I have a Facebook page and website for Automaton. I’m also doing a book blog tour and have submitted to numerous reviewers. While I have spent a little money on promotion, I have a small budget and am heavily relying on word of mouth.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I hate writer’s block. Usually the best way I find to break through it is to force myself to write past it, even if I don’t know where I’m going. It helps to have a destination to work towards. Other times I’ll set a timer and use the pressure to write beyond it.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I play violin and a few other instruments for fun. My husband and I also have a giant board game collection, and I’ve been studying Japanese in my spare time.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I tend to stay away from my real life in my writing except on an emotional level. While I know many people who admire the “write what you know” philosophy, I prefer to write to explore and learn what I don’t know.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
My earlier books often had morals in them, but my more recent writing focuses more on the quality of the story. Any morals found are usually incidental and could just as well have actually happened.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
The two authors that come to mind for Automaton are Jules Verne and Neil Gaiman. I’m a huge fan of both, and together they’ve helped me create a unique setting and atmosphere for my writing.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I usually prefer hardback or paperback, but for travelling I find my Kindle much more efficient. So I guess each has its place!

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m reading The Saga of The Three Seas by R. Scott Bakker. I’m currently on the fifth and most recent book of this fantasy series, and I’m absolutely loving it. And I’m reading hardback versions now, though I started on ebooks.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No. While ebooks are very handy and will probably be around in some form for years to come, technology has a habit of getting out of date. Plus, there are many readers who prefer physical books or who learn better with them.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
The first word I ever read was the word “LIFT” printed on the buckle of an airplane seatbelt, and I’ve loved reading ever since. As I was home schooled, my mom had to tell me not to read ahead in my reading textbooks in school when I was little, and I devoured all kinds of books. Writing is newer to me, but I was also pretty young when I got started with that.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Not a single favorite, but I loved Dr. Seuss, Amelia Bedelia, Madeleine, and The Chronicles of Narnia. All those great books!

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Lately I’ve been reading paranormal and urban fantasy, but traditionally I’ve loved Victorian classics and fantasy. Variety is the spice of life!

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
I’m not sure how new he is, but R. Scott Bakker is an underrated genius that everyone should read. He gets exponentially better with every book, and I’m on the edge of my seat to know what his next will be like. As for new authors, I recently finished The Path of The Horseman by Amy Braun and loved it. She’s an Indie author, but I fell in love with her writing from the first page, and it was definitely worth picking up.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write, edit, submit. Repeat. Don’t stop learning and don’t stop writing.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
If my children’s series comes through, I’ll definitely use a pen name. I don’t know what it is yet, but I have a few in mind!

Where can readers follow you?

Blog: or
Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

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