When I think of a wildly successful self-published author, I usually think of YA author Amanda Hocking and the novels that made her the talk of the publishing world a year ago. Hocking's eBooks have now been successfully brought to print from a major publisher and she's following up the popular Trylle trilogy with a new series, Watersong, that combines contemporary teen life and underwater mythology. The first book, Wake, released this week and the addictive paranormal suspense novel has already received praise from customers and reviewers alike.
Hocking is our featured Summer Reading author this week and we've got an embarrassment of riches from her. In the exclusive essay below Hocking talks about getting trapped on a houseboat while writing Wake, plus her recommended summer reads (and why she loves them) and a video in which she answers fan questions. What's your favorite Amanda Hocking novel or series?
To get in the right mood to write Wake, I thought it would be fun to rent a houseboat to do some writing. For 10 days, my roommate, my dog, and I were scheduled to be on a houseboat on the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. The Boundary Waters is an incredibly beautiful area, and the landscape definitely played a part in the inspiration for the fictional town of Capri in the Watersong series.
It's about an eight hour drive from where we live, so after we got the boat, we drove for a little while, and then tied it off in a quiet little cove so we could take naps. This all seemed fine, until we woke up and the boat wouldn't start. And then our radio wouldn't work. And we had no cell phone reception. We were trapped.
For three days, we sat on the boat, trying to flag down other boats. Our boat was tied up against a grassy beach alongside a bluff, so we couldn't walk anywhere. The closest we were to civilization was a very small island with only one house on it, and we hadn't seen anyone on it. If we didn't get help soon, I planned on swimming across the lake into Canada to reach it.
Fortunately, a boat eventually did stop, and we were towed back to safety, and everything turned out fine.
But for three days, I just stared at the small island "“ the only beacon of hope. That island eventually found its way into the book, Wake, as Bernie's Island. Maybe it was my growing delirium, but something about that seemed almost magical. Overgrown with pines and a worn boathouse at the end, it seemed to hold a few secrets of its own
In Wake, sisters Gemma and Harper Fisher are aware of the pull of Bernie's Island, but they don't realize that they've only scratched the surface. Harper begins to delve deeper into the magic of Bernie's Island and the mysteries in Capri in Lullaby"“ the second book of the series coming 11/27/12. -- Amanda Hocking
Amanda Hocking's Summer Reading Recommendations:
- Foreverby Judy Blume "“ I read all of Judy Blume's books one summer when I was a kid, so her books always bring me back to that "“ carefree summer days, reading outside in the sun. I love all her books, but Forever and Freckle Juice are my favorites.
- Endlesslyby Kiersten White "“ I read and loved the first two books in the Paranormalcy series, and I am so psyched to see how everything wraps up for Evie.
- Salem's Lot by Stephen King "“ There is something so delicious about reading scary books late into the night during the summer. This one stands out as my favorite horror novel, and it has the creepiest vampires.
- Batman: Knightfall by Doug Moench and Chuck Dixon "“ It would be impossible for me to make a summer reading list that doesn't include Batman. Knightfall chronicles Batman's fateful and rather tragic meeting with supervillain Bane, and it ties in perfectly with the release of The Dark Knight Rises.
- Nightby Elie Wiesel "“ This book was required reading for me in school, and it's a brilliant, haunting true account of then-teenaged Wiesel's struggle to survive Nazi death camps. While it may seem a bit dark for summer reading, it really makes you appreciate the freedom of summer all that much more.