Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Highlight: Black Amaranth by Sasha Hibbs






Eighteen-year-old Ally Watson arrives home from high school graduation, more than a little annoyed that her Uncle Argyle--Ally's legal guardian and only surviving relative--didn't even bother showing up. But instead of berating him for his forgetfulness, Ally finds him in a life-or-death battle with a monster. Argyle manages to kill the creature, and gives Ally a parcel containing a destiny she never knew existed.

Ally, along with her best friends Michael, Jessica, and David, hurry to Georgia to uncover the truth of Uncle Argyle's secrets, and the meaning of the mysterious marks that Ally bears. Are the marks related to the blacksmith mythology of her ancestors? Who are these heavenly warriors who show up in the oddest of places? And will an ancient gypsy curse destroy the very things Ally fights to save?

Black Amaranth: a simple flower, a symbol with an ancient legacy, a conduit for prophecy while faith and hope are essential to the journey, Ally soon discovers that love is the most powerful force of all.


What inspired you to write Black Amaranth?

Thanks for having me, Kimberly! My husband is a blacksmith (among many other talents). Upon educating me on the history and mythology surrounding their origins, I felt there was a dark story somewhere in there waiting to be told.

Tell us about your main character. Who is Ally Watson?

Ally has abilities that set her apart from your average 18 year old. All she ever wanted was to lead a normal life, go to college, and see what was beyond the rural parts of North Carolina. Having harbored her "secret" her entire life, in a tragic turn of events, Ally's abilities are exposed the night of her high school graduation forcing her to forego any dreams she had. This is a coming of age story about Ally Watson, the struggles she's faced with and how she overcomes them. I would describe Ally as being thrust into some horrific situations where she bravely concludes that in life, it is not always what happens to you, but how you react to it.

Are any of your characters inspired by people in your life, past or present?

Sure. There are certain characteristics woven throughout Black Amaranth that I've picked up along the way in interacting with those both directly and indirectly in my life. In general, a conglomeration of people I've met and experiences that they and I have shared.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what music inspired Black Amaranth?

Absolutely! I never title my chapters. If forced to, I'd title them according to the song I listened to while writing. Here's a small summary of my favorite singers/bands that I listened to while writing Black Amaranth: Sparrow and The Workshop, Brasstaxx, Clutch, U2, Cat Power, Camera Obscura, Joshua James I could go on!

Describe your writing routine? What do you have to have nearby in order to get into the zone?

Writing usually takes place at night. The only thing I have to have nearby is a power outlet. Having small children makes writing interesting. While dreaming of the most beautiful writing desk/space, the reality is, I fight for enough space to place my laptop on the edge of my kitchen table while fending off my kids who sway dangerously close to my laptop holding cups full of chocolate milk J

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. When writing, I have a very clear beginning, middle, and end. It's the in between stuff that my characters make up along the way and the only time they get any input into what they want.

What's the hardest challenge you face as an author?

Publishing is an ever evolving industry. I think as a writer, it's important to adapt and evolve with it. When Borders shut its doors, I thought the world was ending as we knew it. Having survived the bookstore Apocalypse, I realize now that with every end is a new beginning. As an author, it's challenging to change and adapt to and with the business, but I've learned quickly it's essential to your longevity as an author.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I have two amazing little girls, a wonderful husband, and I'm a Registered Nurse providing supports and services to individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Life is pretty busy and always rewarding for me at work and home J For fun, I read, read, and read some more and occasionally I squeeze a novel of my own in there.

What's next for you as a writer?

Book 2 in The Vulcan Legacies Series, Black Abaddon, is currently on submission with my publisher, Evernight Teen. After taking a much needed break, (not really, I have a TBR pile that is sky high that I'm dying to delve into) I'll begin on the third novel, Black Apocalypse, in this series early 2014.

Do you have any advice for new writers just entering the shark infested waters?

In the words of mighty Joe Dirt: You have to keep on keepin' on! The road to publishing is a long arduous road filled with twists, turns, pot holes, flat tires, scorching sun, ups and downs But every road has an end. Getting there can be painful. Reflecting back, I have enough rejection letters to wallpaper my bedroom, but I also have the ONE letter that matters most in this industry: I have a beautiful letter of acceptance that is framed in the gaudiest sequins you can imagine. First, you truly have to embrace that publishing is subjective. Tastes differ. You have to have thick skin and keep your chin up. It's imperative to take constructive criticism for what it is: constructive. Secure beta-readers and keep them hens or roosters happy. After a while it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Fresh eyes can hone in on things we overlook, trust me! Polish and wax your manuscript until your eyeballs dry up and turn to dust, then do it again. And as far as writing, originality may be hard, pack a punch in a different way: Make your characters memorable so that long after the story is over, the characters stay with us.

This or That

Morning or Night?

Hands down-NIGHT!

PC or Mac?

PC but dream of one day owning a Mac J

Angels or Demons?


Cats or Dogs?

Dogs. I have 2 beautiful German Shepherd's.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee, always and forever!

Salty or Sweet?


Oceans or Mountains?

I live in the mountains but love the ocean.

Paper or ebook?


Thor or Loki?

Loki all the way!


By age 5, Sasha Hibbs' favorite movie was Gone With the Wind. By age 12, she completed her 7th grade book report on the sequel, Scarlett. By 18, she met and married her very own Mr. Rhett Butler and as it turns out, she never had to worry about going back to Tara to win the love of her life back. Fortunately, he stuck with her.

With a love of all things paranormal, the ambiance of the South with its gigantic antebellum mansions and canopies of Spanish moss, and a love for her husband's rich storytelling of blacksmiths and the mythology surrounding their origins, it wasn't long until the world of her debut novel, Black Amaranth, was born.

When not working her day job as a nurse, you can find Sasha dreaming of her next beach trip, reading the latest YA novel, and drinking more white chocolate mocha than she should.

Sasha lives in mountainous West Virginia with her husband, Tim, and their two daughters, Aeliza and Ava. She is currently hard at work on book two in The Vulcan Legacies series.
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