The Big Idea: Amanda Carlson

Every author has a voice — and that voice expresses itself in ways that aren’t always considered conventional by those on the outside. This Amanda Carlson learned about her own writing voice, in the process of writing her urban fantasy novel, Full Blooded. Carlson gives voice to her revelation below.


It seems I’ve been on my path to My Big Idea for years. There have definitely been a lot of semi-large ideas, things that have worked for me over the years. I’ve written my share of non-fiction, romance, wine and food columns, and humor. But it wasn’t until I found my voice in urban fantasy that everything finally clicked to become: The Big Idea.

Now that I’m published, people often ask: Why do you write urban fantasy? I’d been writing mainstream for years, why this? Why now? (Often with a polite…Does it even count as a book?)

I’ve found, during these authorly discussions, people tend to get lost in the prose of literary fiction and forget that writers write what they love. And all of it counts. Of course it counts. Especially if it’s great writing in a genre you love to read. As a reader, isn’t that what you require above all else? Great writing paired with an exciting story?

Before I became an author, I shared my love of reading fantasy with other fellow genre supporters. Why didn’t I scream it to the world? I have no idea. It never really came up, or if it did it was passed over quickly, many times to chat about the newest literary jewel. (Yes, I do enjoy those too. Like a shortbread cookie with a spot of tea.)

But I can’t shake the question no matter how many times I’ve answered it. It continues to surface. People want to know. Why urban fantasy?

Well, this is The Big Idea why:

The opening scene in Full Blooded played out in my mind like a movie. It came fast and furious, fully alive and breathing. It rammed itself into my consciousness and wouldn’t let go. When I sat down to write the story, I found, after never having tried it before—writing fantasy was the best thing ever invented. Ever. For sure since Nutella, possibly even potato chips.

My creative muscles flexed, words began to flow, I had a smile on my face, I liked my computer again, there was a bounce in my step that hadn’t been there before, and I yelled at my children much less often.

I was in love.

I’d found my voice.

And it was in the pages of an urban fantasy novel.

The “urban” part is the big draw for me. I’m writing what could happen next door, as in: What are your neighbors doing right now? Are they vampires? Are they witches? How about your kid’s teacher? Is she a demon? I get to invent the rules and create something going on in the world right now that wasn’t there before. It’s powerfully fun and deliciously intoxicating.

So, in a nutshell, authors write what they love. What gives them passion. And it all counts.


Full Blooded: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s blog. Follow her on Twitter.

7 Comments on “The Big Idea: Amanda Carlson”

  1. Isn’t is funny how writing can lead one to yell at one’s kids less. I’ve found that when I get irritated by . . . a certain relative, the way she mispronounces words, or other equally insignificant habits, it’s always a sign that I need to write.

  2. Starting to see a pattern in the big ideas lately: covers with very attractive women looking menacing. Is this a selection bias or is there a message here?

  3. Riiiiiight … luck … riiiight … ;-)

    But seriously, you’ve highlighted some really interesting-sounding books. My wishlist keeps growing!

  4. Again we see someone making distinctions between “Genre” and “Literary” fiction. As far as I can tell the only difference is whether the Author has tickets on themselves or not. Why don’t we all agree that it’s all Fiction and leave it at that?

  5. This book looks fun. Also, check out that cover! The pose on the model makes her look tough without looking like a pained contortionist! A dude could totally work the same pose.
    I’m so glad to see this. :)