Author Spotlight: Lee and Amanda Breeze
One of the best things about being an author is meeting and making friends with other authors. I’ve talked many times here about how authors are great supporters of each other.
Most importantly knowing other authors means you’re never short of good stuff to read, and the work of Lee and Amanda Breeze is no exception.
I caught up recently with this awesome pair of speculative fiction authors, who also just happen to be married to each other.
Q: Lee and Amanda, can you tell me about your latest book?
Lee: Burn the Sky is a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi action-adventure about a 7-year-old girl who survives a nuclear war. It follows her adventures (and misadventures) growing up in a very different and dangerous world from what it once was while the survivors of this world try to piece it back together.
Q: How did you get the idea for this series?
Amanda: Lee was watching an episode of The Expanse and got thinking about what constitutes hard science fiction. He thought he’d try his hand writing some himself and so came up with the idea for a series based around a mysterious piece of alien technology. He first wrote the prologue, set 10 or so years prior, which became a prequel novella and eventually a full-length novel in its own right. And so Burn the Sky was born.
Q: Have you both always been writers?
Amanda: No, though I had thought about it but never got around to finishing any of the stories I started. One story I began when I was 16. It will never see the light of day.
Lee: I used to write short stories for my own entertainment when I was in school, but all those stories are long lost and forgotten.
Q: Did you always intend on writing together and what’s it like working as a husband/wife team?
Amanda: I wrote a blog post about this, called ‘Married with Characterisation’. In short, it explains that I basically got spooked by the term “author’s widow”: a wife who loses her husband to his writing’. I didn’t want that. I wanted to support him, plus after bouncing ideas off one another, I really got invested in the story and figured I could help by adding colour and depth to his ideas. It worked.
Q: How did you come to be published?
Amanda: Lee saw an ad for a new indie publisher in one of the QWC (Queensland Writers Centre) magazines. He investigated it, and after speaking to the publisher decided to hop on a plane (this was pre-COVID) and take his manuscript down to meet with the publisher in person. The publisher liked the concept and saw potential, so they signed us up.
Q: What are some of the things you do to promote yourselves and your book?
Lee: Covid has not helped with promoting our book with the cancellation of many planned events.
We started off with Facebook advertising and self-promoting within groups that would allow that, but recently, we have moved more into our own personal branding and focused on future works. This has allowed us to gain confidence interacting with broader social media groups (on Reddit, Twitter and Instagram) and contributing to emerging writer’s communities.
Now that things are opening back up, we plan to be more involved in face-to-face marketing events like symposiums, festivals, writing groups, book signings and markets.
Q: What’s something you’d wish you’d known before publishing?
Lee: Editing is hard. Much harder than we thought. All those punctuation marks you find out of place after the book is printed just glare at you as if to say, ‘ha ha, you missed me.’
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Amanda: This may sound obvious, but learn to write. I mean really learn how to write. Hone your craft. Find an author you enjoy reading and study their work. Pull it apart and understand what is it about their work that intrigues you. Understand the concepts of character arcs, world-building, story development and plot and enjoy the creative process. Remember, even famous authors had to start somewhere.
Lee: There are many elements in writing a good book, so read, write, edit, watch YouTube videos from published authors and editors, join a writing group like QWC and go to their workshops, learn how to edit…and edit.
Q: Can you tell me about your current project?
Lee: Burn the Sky was our first novel. The final part of the two-part duology is due out in August. Following that, we have another, as yet unnamed science-fiction series that follows on from Burn the Sky. Set in the same universe but some years later, it follows the story of a cocky young pilot named Ash who’s found himself captain of a dead ship. The mysterious technology aboard that ship seems to have attracted the attention of several hostile factions. And for good reason, because the organisation he’s working for isn’t what it seems. It has connections with an ancient and superior race who were once thought to have gone extinct. Now they threaten to return. If they do, nobody is safe.