October Releases

Friday, August 17, 2012

Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway with Amanda McNeil

Welcome fellow Vagabonds! Today author Amanda McNeil is with us today. She is the author of her new zombie survival horror, Waiting For Daybreak. It recently released in June and she is here today to tell us more about herself and her amazing work. McNeil has also been kind enough to offer an ecopy Waiting For Daybreak to one lucky commenter. So join us and see how you can win this great horror story.

OBVB: Hello Amanda! Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond! To get the ball rolling, can you tell the fellow Vagabonds a bit about yourself?

AM: I grew up in Vermont and moved to Boston about 7 years ago. My interest in everything and anything naturally led me into librarianship, and a late-blooming passion for healthcare and science funneled me into medical librarianship. When I’m not working or writing, I’m working out, playing video games, cooking, or exploring Boston. Ok, ok, and snuggling my kitty.

OBVB: When did you realize you wanted to become an author?

AM: When I was very young, around four or five. As soon as I could write, I would write, draw, and “bind” books and force them upon my family. The first was about a grasshopper.

OBVB: Any authors that inspired you? Who are your favorites?

AM: I’m inspired by various authors for different reasons. Margaret Atwood showed me that scifi doesn’t always have to be so masculine and can address feminist issues while still being scientific.

Stephen King has shown me how loving your region can influence and enhance your writing. He’s also stayed connected to the blue collar world, which I myself care about since most of my family have blue collar jobs.

Finally, Chuck Palahniuk inspires me to get gritty, graphic, and uncomfortable when talking about things that have my generation pissed off.

OBVB: Now I know you are doing a TBR challenge (I am buried under my TBR pile), how far along are you and do you think you will complete the challenge?

AM: My Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge consists of attempting to read everything that made it onto my TBR pile before 2011 by the end of 2012.  (I know precisely which books these are, because I dutifully log them into LibraryThing as I acquire them).  48 books fit into that criteria.  I've read 12 of them.  Let's just say, it's not looking good that I'll actually manage to finish by the end of 2012, lol. But I'm still trying!

OBVB: You have written books about zombies and demons, do you have a favorite paranormal creature?

AM: It’s really a toss-up between zombies and Cthulhu. I don’t think I could pick just one. Art of both are on the walls of my apartment.

OBVB: Besides Horror and Paranormal Romance, is there a genre you would like to conquer?

AM: My next book is going to be dark urban fantasy, so definitely that! I would also like to do a work of historical fiction someday, but no stories from that genre have made themselves known to me yet.

OBVB: Where did the idea of Waiting for Daybreak come from? Can you tell us what it is about?

AM: I work as a medical librarian, and I had been reading about fMRI scans of people with Borderline Personality Disorder showing that their amygdalas are a different size from those of people without a mental illness. I was thinking about that while I was walking home from the bus stop (I take public transit). It happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, and Boston empties almost completely out as most of the population goes someplace else for the holiday. The empty streets combined with the fMRI studies made me think: what if there was a zombie virus to which the mentally ill were immune? It just flowed from there.

The story essentially is about Frieda, a 20-something woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who finds herself immune to a zombie virus that breaks out in Boston. Suddenly going from a minority among humans to a minority among zombies leads her to question what is normal and if it’s really so easy to define as she used to think. 

OBVB: Where did the idea of giving your main character, Frieda, Borderline Personality Disorder? Love that idea.

AM: Well, I knew the basic premise meant that the main character needed to have a psychiatric illness. I didn’t want to pick something that’s been overly done or is well-understood in the public, for instance anorexia or depression. I wanted to push the envelope a bit more than that. Personality disorders are among the most stigmatized and misunderstood mental illnesses. BPD afflicts women more than men, and is sometimes used as a way to silence women (calling the woman “crazy” seeks to invalidate her viewpoint). Additionally, characters with BPD are almost universally demonized in movies and books. For instance, the main character in Fatal Attraction is often cited in scare-mongering popular articles. I wanted to both fight the stigma and give people with BPD an entirely human, relatable character with their same illness.

OBVB: What was the most challenging thing you had to face when publishing this book?

AM: Probably designing the cover. I was completely broke so I couldn’t afford to hire anyone, and my artist friends are a bit too scattered now that we’re out of college. I knew I had some artistic abilities, but wasn’t sure they would be good enough for a book cover. But I also had a very precise idea in my head of what the cover should be, so I refused to go with stock art. I’m glad I bit the bullet and tried, because I’m pleased with it. I know it looks indie, but I don’t mind that, because my book *is* an indie book, after all. 

OBVB: If your story were to be made into a film, who could you see playing Frieda and Mike?

AM: This is such a fun question! Ok, looking at currently working actresses, for Frieda I would say Elizabeth Olsen. I saw her in Martha Marcy May Marlene in which she plays a mentally disturbed young woman, and I think she pulled it off beautifully. I could easily see her handling Frieda. Plus, she’s approximately the right age for it. She’s not exactly the right look, but hair, make-up, and wardrobe could take care of that.

Mike would ideally be played by Tom Felton. He’s got the skinny bad boy look down, but I think he can do charming douchebag who is also deep and wounded quite well. The man has acting chops! 

OBVB: Besides writing, is there anything else you enjoy doing?

AM: Oh gosh, tons! I’m a constantly busy person. I love cooking, working out (particularly strength training and zumba), going to everything a city has to offer from dive bars to museums, and recently I took back up counted cross-stitching after seeing punk cross-stitching online. It doesn’t have to be an old-fashioned craft! Of course, I also am constantly reading and writing up reviews for my book blog. 

OBVB: Last but not least, do you have any other projects you are planning or doing right now that you can tell us about?

AM: Yes! I am working on a dark fantasy in which the dark gods of Lovecraft fame have taken over Boston. I’ll be using that back-drop to examine sibling relationships. I’m very excited, because it is going to be my first book told from multiple perspectives.

OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond! Hope to have here again.


Amanda McNeil Bio:

Amanda is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes scifi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance. She has previously published short stories and a novella, Ecstatic Evil

Follow Amanda McNeil here:


Check here for my 4 star review:


Giveaway Time!!!

More info at Goodreads

One lucky commenter will win an ebook version of Waiting For Daybreak. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

*Must be a Follower to win
*Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
*Contest ends August 24th
*Open to All!
*Book provided by Amanda McNeil

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Due to the daily spam comments I have been getting lately and to avoid the annoying word verification, Anonymous comments are no more. I do not want bargains on bags, watches, jerseys, boots and other crap. Geez, they could at least spam me with book and movie stuff, I would be somewhat interested LOL! Thank you :D