Welcome to Amy DuBoff
Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in San Diego, but I moved to Vancouver, Washington when I was seven—I’d consider Vancouver my hometown. I now live in Portland, Oregon, just across the Columbia River. I love the green and mountains around here!
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write primarily in the science fiction genre. My main series is something of a science-fantasy space opera, rather than pure science fiction since it includes telekinesis and subspace travel that might not align with conventional notions of physics. I like to write grand, character-driven epics.
Where do you find inspiration? I have always seen inspiration in everything around me—from personal life experiences to the worlds crafted by others—and those things have all become a part of my own creation. After years of taking in little ideas here and there, I felt the world growing in my head was finally ready to be experienced by others. I write now to share that vision. It is the culmination of all that has inspired me throughout my life.
Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Wil, the central character of my Cadicle series, is my favorite. He’s driven by duty to serve the needs of his people, but he has a deep sense of morality. I find the struggle between doing what’s necessary and doing what’s right to be an interesting thing to write about.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? There are definitely some political commentary undertones in my book series. I think that’s a key differentiator between science fiction and some other genres.
At its root, my series takes a critical look at the path of humanity and questions the balance of power.
As the series progresses, I get into some deeper issues of the true nature of power—corporate influence on politics, and how information can be controlled. Though set in a fictional scenario, these issues echo the ongoing evolution of our own world.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
- Solid plot is most important to me. Regardless of how fun a ride is with characters and the world, if the story isn’t going anywhere, I’m going to be disappointed.
- Great characters are critical. Characters are how a reader connects with the story. Even if the plot is stellar, if the characters are boring or one-dimensional, the story is going to be lacklustre.
- Great world-building is what immerses the reader in the world. There should be internal consistency, and the reader should be able to understand what it would be like to live in that world.
- Technical perfection is ideal, but everyone has a different style. While the common goal is for a book to be typo-free, authors have different voices—a “technically perfect” sentence is somewhat subjective and will vary from author to author.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My series is currently only available as an ebook from Amazon. I originally went for wide ebook distribution, but I wasn’t seeing sales on other platforms. Since going Amazon-exclusive, but I’ve been getting a steady stream of borrows, so I’m very happy I went that route! I do intend to offer a paperback version through CreateSpace in the near future.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do most of my line-editing myself, since I work as a business writer by day and I’m used to looking at my own writing objectively. But, I always get multiple sets of other eyes, as well. I don’t think an author can really edit their own work unless a significant amount of time has passed. Even then, it’s easy to miss things. I think it’s more important to have multiple people (with good attention to detail) read it and comment, rather than it being necessary to hire a “professional.” Even professionals can miss things.
Do you read work by self-published authors? I do. I have been extremely impressed by some of it, and disheartened by others. I have read some self-published books that don’t even follow proper dialogue formatting. That’s not acceptable, and it gives all self-published authors a bad name. Readers deserve a top-notch experience, and I strive to give that as a self-published author. I welcome feedback and am always seeking to improve my craft.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I like to thank readers for writing a review. So few write one. Though commenting on everything isn’t realistic, I especially want to show my appreciation to the fans that read a book immediately after release and take the time to write a review.
Reviews are really important for self-published authors—mostly from a marketing and visibility perspective. For example, Amazon’s search algorithms are skewed toward books with a higher number of reviews (I’ve heard 50+); also, many marketing sites have a minimum number of reviews before a book can be signed up for a promotion. So, a note to readers: if you read a book by an indie author that you really like, please write a review!
What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? Authors tend to be more critical than pure readers. I think it’s great to read the work of other authors for ongoing learning and growth, but sometimes the reviews can be overly harsh. Readers don’t always want to know about—or care about—technical flaws in the book, which an author is more likely to point out. I’d encourage authors to approach reviews from a reader’s perspective rather than pick it apart in the way one would in a writing workshop.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book can get into the head of a character much more than something video-based. But, more importantly, a book allows the reader to envision their own version of the book’s reality. An author can give clues, but it’s ultimately up to the reader to picture the main characters and the setting. That’s invaluable.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
- Never assume your book is perfect: There are always opportunities to improve. Listen to feedback, even if it seems overly critical.
- Read: Study the pros and understand what makes a story and the way it’s written resonate with readers.
- Collaborate with others: Having a support network is critical as you go through the writing process. Establishing a group of trusted advisors can help you grow, and those people will also be advocates if you want to pursue publishing in the future.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
I love B-movies! I grew up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I adore the terrible made-for-TV SyFy Channel original movies. My favorite is Megapiranha.
Book links, website/blog and author links:
- Personal website: amyduboff.com
- Amazon Author page with books: http://www.amazon.com/Amy-DuBoff/e/B00TT9JK7C
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13532362.Amy_DuBoff
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authoramyduboff