Say Hello to YA Author Amanda Havard

When Danielle asked me to guest post on her blog, I was not only sincerely flattered but sincerely panicked over what to say. As I write this, I am two weeks from the launch of my first book, THE SURVIVORS, and after a lovely conversation with the master of this corner of the blogosphere, we thought it might be of interest to share some thoughts on what the publishing experience looks like from someone at my stage in the game.

At the two-week mark, the anticipation of the world connecting to my vision is killing me. The excitement of even the prospect that the world will fall in love with those I’ve fallen in love with radiates in my bones. I am just eaten up with the idea that, by the end of this month, I will have achieved what has been a lifelong dream.

Or will I? In following the deluge of tweets from the SXSW conference this past weekend, I kept hearing bits and pieces about the future of media, of books, of publishing, of, I don’t know, humans. Whatever kind of future aside, we kept hearing about the future. How we will survive in this future publishing world. How we ought to prepare to even try to survive in this new publishing world. Etcetera. Etcetera. And a bit more etcetera. One quote that got retweeted about 647 million times was roughly this: “Publishing is the start gun. Marketing is the marathon.”

It fueled a line of thinking I’ve been tossing around my brain for a long time: My book release looks different than most. It looks [what I hope will be] good different. THE SURVIVORS is blitzing onto the scene (or so we imagine it will) without an eight-month pre-launch buzz. It’s coming from a publisher you’ve never heard of (my trusty heroes at Chafie Press), from an author you’ve never heard of (had you heard the name ‘Amanda Havard’ before this post?), and it’s about creatures you’ve never heard of (Survivors. Capital S.). But when we launch, as we will in two short weeks, I have a lot to show you. I have research I want to share with you covering the myths and history and mania that led me to this story.

We built a website that’s got interaction all over it: I’m live-streaming the ‘soundtrack’ of the first book. I’ve set up world maps of all the places my protagonist, Sadie, goes in book one. There’s a community where you can “Become a Survivor” and set up profiles, talk to me, talk to one another, and really get into the story. You can follow the real Twitter accounts of my characters that have been running for over two years, perfectly in sync with the story line. On my new blog, you’ll be able to read about the basics but also the parts of the story that don’t fit between the covers—style that inspired the characters, character interviews, mythology that shaped the storyline, the life experiences that crafted the settings, the music that practically wrote the story for me.

They seem like the little things, but they add up to tell a story about the story, an account of the writing process. And perhaps I’m most excited to announce that there will be original music for THE SURVIVORS series. The first song will be released the week the book is, and by the next week, you’ll be able to download the song and music video off the site and iTunes.

And trust me when I say this is only the beginning.

Do I mention all of this out of shameless self-promotion? Actually, no. I mention it to say what you could be doing. What you might think of doing. What I’m experimenting with doing and, well, we’ll all find out how it goes. I mention this because we all know there has to be a Goodreads page, Facebook pages for you and for your books, and Twitter accounts for both those things too. You know that you can blog tour or network or have a book blog yourself. (I don’t actually have a book blog. I’m weird.) But what else is going to push your story into the relatable place? The magical place where people take it into their lives and want to hold onto it? Want to be a part of it? Want to think about it and interact with after the last page is closed and, if a series, before the next first page opens?

For THE SURVIVORS, I hope it’s that I’ve crafted a world eerily similar to your own. So similar that you think you could be standing on West End in Nashville or in line at the London airport or on the edge of Swan Lake, Montana and see Sadie. I hope it’s the original music we’re in the studio recording or the music videos (starring faces and voices like this one) we’re producing. I hope it’s that you can pick up the J. Mendel dress Sadie wears in the first chapter of book one at Bergdorf’s, should you have the desire. I hope it’s that you can have grown up in Tupelo, Mississippi and recognize the Main Street described in the first five pages in the book as the real thing. I hope it’s in the details. I hope it’s in doing what’s worked. I hope it’s in trying what’s new.

Two weeks to launch, and I’m working around the clock to try to make sure everything is in place to run the marathon. Crouched at the starting line, waiting for the pull, I hope I’m ready to go.

And more than anything, I hope you’ll run with me.

Amanda Havard has been telling stories since before she could write. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, where her first book was published in her elementary school library at age 7. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Vanderbilt University. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her baby grand piano and more story ideas than she could tell in one lifetime.

Connect with Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaHavard
On Facebook or Goodreads
And on her blog at http://amandahavard.com



In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.
The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.

On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she’s sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all…How do you kill a Survivor?

The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie’s life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you’ll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.

And it is only the beginning...

THE SURVIVORS is available March 29th and in hardcover, paperback and e-book format. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have it online.

For more information on Amanda Havard and THE SURVIVORS, please visit her website at www.amandahavard.com. You can read the prologue and first chapter of THE SURVIVORS here.

Leave Amanda some love & welcome her to the YA community! Or, ask her questions and I shall force answers upon her. :)


  1. The Survivors sounds really cool...love it!

  2. Adding it to the to-read pile. I like the website a lot, too. Looks like things are really coming together! Can't wait to read it!


  3. First of all, this book, this series, sounds amazing. Second of all, you are quite ambitious...Twitter accounts for your characters??? I can barely keep up with my own. This all sounds really fun and I'm looking forward to interacting with your website, etc.

  4. Hi, Ive just finished reading this book :) and now looking forward to the sequel.
    Im a new follower


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