From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Monday, November 29, 2010

If you like books and love jewelry…Meet Amanda!

Today we’re talking to Amada Leigh, I was 1st introduced to Amada by my tour coordinator Yolonda Spinks from BooksAnd… when she booked me to be interviewed by Amanda about The Darkness on her blog. The coolest thing about Amada’s blog is that not only does she interview and showcase authors, she host contest where you could win free books, she also brings to our attention artist of different genres and mediums and she is also…wait for it…a jeweler! So grab a cup of tea and let’s get to know a little more about Miss Amanda Leigh.

Notes From The Author: 1st of I would like to thank you so much one more time for taking the time to read the sneak peak of The Darkness and giving me such a good review, I can’t wait to hear what you have to say after you’ve read the entire book =D I also want to thank you for taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

The 1st thing I’d like to talk about the name that you have branded yourself with, Not Really a Southern Vamp Chick, what does that mean and how did you come up with that name?

Amanda Leigh: Thank you so much for having me here! Most people just assume my name has something to do with the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries, but that didn't even come into the picture when I was thinking of a name.

I live in Tennessee and have never really fit in much here. I have a lot of “northern” tendencies and ways that I talk. Plus I've never met any girls like me around here. Then throw in the fact that my family in Kentucky, for those that don't know US geography that state is the state above TN on the map, always talk about being more southern and country than me.

I always meant to bring a map with me when I visited, but figured that would hurt more than help so I never did. LOL! So, I'm a bit of a goth girl stuck in Tennessee who doesn't fit in and people are confused by, and vampires have just been a lifetime love of mine, and there you have it! ;)

NFTA: You have been blogging since 2009, when you 1st started your blog did you ever image that you would have such a huge following?

AL: Oh my goodness no! I wasn't even sure that I would do much with my blog at first. I started out with just a few followers who were people I knew from other sites. Next thing I knew I was addicted to my blog, and now Twitter, and am absolutely amazed by my wonderful readers!

NFTA: How did you attract so many fans & followers, did you advertise or was it a “write it and they will come” situation?

AL: I've advertised off and on by making accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. I know a lot of people join different groups and all too, but I'm horrible with keeping up with things like that, so I try to keep that at a minimum. When I first started my blog I think I advertised more. Now I use Twitter the most, and that's what has made a big difference I think. With that said, I've never wanted to have followers just to have the numbers. I want the people that follow my blog, facebook, etc., to want to read it.

NFTA: I know right? Speaking of reading, the foundation of your blog is reviewing books in the paranormal and urban fantasy genres, which I super appreciate btw, are you also a writer and if you where can we find your work?

AL: If you had asked me that question even a few months ago I probably would have just said no. I've always written poetry. It's been the easiest way for me to express myself my whole life. Recently though, after several people asking me this same question, I've been thinking about it more and more and finally started writing my first novel. Who knows when I'll finish it, or what genre it will end up being in, but so far it's borderline urban fantasy/horror.

NFTA: What do you think makes a good story?

AL: I think that is completely subjective which is why it's so great there are so many books in the world. To me though, anything that can pull me in to the world and get me lost in the characters and the story is good. I like a bit of variety so there's no mold it has to fit. As long as the writing is done well and I like the characters for the most part, I'm usually pretty happy. Do I love all stories? No, but I still rarely start a book I don't finish. Too many books start out a bit slow but end up so amazing.

NFTA: Where do you as a book reviewer draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?

AL: Lol! I'm one person that it is hard to shock or disturb. Even if something gives me pause for a moment, I can usually just think about it and find some reason to laugh about it and move on with the story. I've actually only read one book that disturbed me with it's gory descriptions, which still made me laugh because I was curious who in the world could read it if it bothered me. I wish I remember what it was. As far as erotic content, I read plenty of it and as long as there's still a story line going on then I'm happy. Once the story line seems to disappear... then I don't see the point in reading anymore.

NFTA: How do you decide which books to review?

AL: I read the synopsis for the book, try to find out when or if there's a deadline for the review. For ebooks I can only review a few at a time. I don't have an ereader and have to read them on my computer, which is a bit hard on the eyes. I'm usually pretty good about picking out books for review that I want to read. I don't want to waste my time, the author's or the publisher's. There wouldn't be much point in me reviewing it if I were to go in with the mindset that it wasn't something I wanted to read. Still though, my reviews are my honest opinions though I try not to be harsh.

NFTA: What are the biggest challenges you face when writing a review, and have you ever received negative feedback from an author whose review was less than glowing?

AL: My biggest challenge is probably deciding how much I want to tell. I want to give my readers enough to make them want to read it, but I don't want to spoil anything for them.

As for feedback from authors, I've been lucky and have mostly had great experiences with them. Here's where my opinion on reviews differ from some people's though. I will say if I don't enjoy a story, but I'll go into my reasons for that without attacking the author. Like some young adult novels just don't seem to be written in a way I can connect with them, they aren't bad books at all. There are great characters and cool worlds, but I can't connect to them or care about them like I do others. Does that mean the author did a horrible job and you should avoid that book? No. In fact some of the series I don't care for I still recommend to people because I think they will really enjoy them.

NFTA: Not only do you review books, you hold a contest called “Win on Wednesday”, a segment called “Feature a Design on Friday” that will soon be ending due to the start-up of your jewelry blog and a “Shop on Saturday” where you share with us the things you’ve found and bought online. What is a typical work day/schedule for you? How many projects do you juggle at once?

AL: Right now I'm lucky enough to make my own schedule for the most part. There's the book review blog of course which I think I could work on constantly and still find more to do, jewelry making, general crafting, writing, and I clean and run errands for my grandmother who has trouble getting around. Now I'm going to start trying to do craft fairs every few weeks hopefully! Oh and starting up a blog for my jewelry and crafts, because one isn't enough work lol!

NTFA: Ok, now let’s talk about my favorite subject…jewelry! When did you become interested in creating jewelry?

AL: I've always made some bits of jewelry here and there, but since I've had the book review blog and do my Shop on Saturday feature, I've gotten to know some great designers. There were also times I'd be wondering around Etsy and see something and be like “Well I could make that,” so I did. At first I just thought I'd fix a few broken pieces I had and maybe create something new out of them. The next thing I knew I was completely hooked and couldn't quit shopping for more supplies.

NTFA: The jewels on your Etsy page are very diverse & the materials you use are, for me, a temptation to the sense of touch. What is your medium of choice when it comes to creating jewels and why?

AL: I have to choose? Oh no. Lol! I guess it's obvious that I like chains. I have a blast working with them. I'm really looking forward to what I hope I'll get to start working with in January and that's velvet and maybe lace!

NTFA: Where do your ideas come from and how does your creative process from conception to final piece work?

AL: Some ideas stem from general things from books. I love all things Celtic, so I keep making lots of things with green and Celtic knots. Sometimes I'll be in a store and see something and it will give me an idea for something else. Now not all of my ideas work. I just make what comes to mind, and if it doesn't work I can take it apart and start over. I can't work on jewelry everyday. Some days I just don't have any creativity in me it seems. Other days I'll pull out a box of charms and right away picture 5 pairs of earrings I want to make and maybe necklaces to go with them.

NFTA: What is your favorite project to date and why?

AL: It is probably my Crosses Gothic Necklace, 5 chains and 5 crosses all connected to one toggle clasp. I'd always wanted a necklace like this one and was thrilled that I could make it. It was one of the first pieces I made and was a lot of work. I love it.

NTFA: It really it a gorgeous necklace. Do you still have the 1st piece of jewelry you created or did you sell it?

AL: Well as I said, I've made jewelry off and on, though most of that I gave away to friends. Since I started this year, let me think... The first piece I made I gave away to a contest winner on my blog.

She won a steampunk necklace another blogger had made for it and I made a pair of earrings that matched it just about perfectly so I just sent her those too.

NTFA: Ok Amanda I just have one more question for ya, if you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

AL: Since it's Christmas time, for those that celebrate Christmas, I LOVE Christmas carols, do you have a favorite Christmas carol? Mine is Carol of the Bells with Oh Holy Night being a close second.

NFTA: OMFG! Carol of the Bells is my all time favorite! I love the version by Nox Arcana and a capella version by Destiny's Child. I reviewed a movie called Whisper and the director used Carol of the Bell in the most sinister scene…it was perfect!

That was a pretty good question, I would have never thought of that =D Well that's wraps up our interview, thank you so much for your time today, don’t work too hard!

AL:Thank you so much for having me!!


  1. That's awesome that your favorite song is Carol of the Bells too! I swear half the time I have to sing the song for people when I say that's my favorite song because they have no idea what I'm talking about.
    I had so much fun with this interview! Thanks again for having me!! :)

    Oh, and I'm having a Cyber Monday Sale at my shop. Free Shipping for everyone, everywhere today.

  2. I love Carol of the Bells too! I never knew why you chose the name like you did, so it was good to read about that. I'd always assumed it was a Sookie reference heh.

  3. Hi Julie, Nice to meet you =D

    Amanda, I really enjoyed this interview as well. With the launch date of The Darkness just around the corner I have been interviewed by a lot of people and they all seem to be asking the same questions and lately I have been just phoning ‘em in.

    I think I’m getting this whole interviewing thing down I want them to be more personal, conversational and unique.

    I spend incredible amounts of money on books, shoes and jewelry and the 1st time I went to your blog I felt giddy and dizzy. I can’t thank you enough for your time. You rock!

  4. Yay! Another Carol of the Bells person! Hey Julie, lol yeah I knew that's what most people thought, which is why almost no one has asked me about the name. ;)

    You definitely did a great job with the interview Crystal! I can't wait to read The Darkness. Those five chapters were just enough to get me in to the story, then I had to stop. So sad. :(

    Lol, glad you liked my blog when you found it!

  5. Hi Crystal and Amanda *waves*. Great interview ladies! I love Amanda's Jewelry designs and of course NRSVamp Chick rocks!!!=) Your new header looks great btw:) Oh and Crystal I can't wait to read the rest of your book The Darkness.

    Oh yeah I almost forgot my fav Christmas song is Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby. That is just a fun Christmas song and it's also in one of my favorite Christmas movies, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation;)


  6. Hi Steph! Thanks for stopping by =D

    I know right, her new header is flipping awesome!

    All of you guys should be hearing from Yolonda in the next few weeks to confirm how many copies of The Darkness you all need. I know some of you are doing giveaways.

  7. I'm glad you both like the new header! It was an experiment,lol.
    Looking forward to hearing from Yolanda again and getting to read the rest!
    Oh, and good song choice Steph! :)
    This was so much fun!!

  8. That was a great interview!

    I have always wondered why Amanda chose that name. It seemed quite unique and distinctive and now I feel lame because the Sookie Stackhouse series didn't come to mind! lol
    Meh, I'm weird like that!

    I discovered Amanda's blog and the whole book blogging world during Blogfest in September and I immediately felt welcome. Her reviews were clear and fun and generally it was a pleasure to stick around! XD

    Wow, she has accomplished so much in just one year! I could have sworn she had been blogging for years! *g*
    And it's a good thing she doesn't get put off by books too gory or mature. I think I was shocked when I was reading one book too, but I can't remember what it was. I think it was a book I was reading in Greek. lol

    The jewelry looks great. I like the Celtic cross, it looks great, I was just showing it to my brother! :)
    She is definitely a girl of many talents! :)

    I have to agree with Steph. The new header looks great. Like a Wild Gothic Red Riding Hood! *g*

  9. Hi Kelly thanks for stopping by, OMG speaking of Wild Gothic Red Riding Hood have you seen this trailer?!

  10. Kelly! I'm so glad you liked the interview! All your feedback was awesome to hear & it means a lot. Love having you around me blog! :)

    Crystal! I just saw that trailer when I went to see the new Harry Potter movie!!!