A.M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror author, and a proud resident of Pittsburgh, PA. She has been writing professionally and creatively for over 10 years now. She has published two books in her sword and sorcery dark fantasy series and a horror short called “Hair”. Her work has been compared to Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and Stephen King.
Sell-sword Aeryn Ravane seeks to finish her late father’s quest to break the ancient curse on the Black Caverns. After breaking the curse, she has another goal in mind: find the sword once wielded by Cathell’s most legendary adventurer. It remains trapped somewhere in the twisted labyrinth.
Little does she know, someone else dreams of finding that sword. The young thief Theo intends to spoil Aeryn’s plans and take the sword for herself. It will be the bargaining chip she uses to exchange for her brother’s life, held in the balance.
Not long ago, Thystle Moran was fighting a fallen god alongside her friend Aeryn Ravane. When she returned home, she expected to slip back into her old life without any problems. Then, a note from an unknown sender shows up at her door, requesting a meeting in a part of town she rarely visits.
What happens next turns her world on its head. The mysterious sender gives her information about a friend’s death and says he knows who’s responsible. For a favor, the name is hers.
Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
I’ve always been a storyteller and an artist. I started going to art school out of high school, thinking I wanted to make that my career. That didn’t work out as I thought it would, and when I was trying to figure out what next, the idea for Into the Darkness came to me. Writing became more of a compulsion from that point forward. It took about 10 years from when I started writing it to when it was published. The rest is history.
What character from your book fills you with hope?
I guess that would be Theo. She’s about 10, and she hasn’t had a very good life when we meet her. Circumstances happen that take her away from that old life. Even though I don’t think her life will ever be precisely easy, she looks forward to each new day in a way only a child could.
What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?
The villain who shows up in book 4, and a very tiny bit in book 3. He’s an overall loathsome guy, and what resides in his head would make most people cringe. I sometimes feel like I need a shower after writing him.
Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?
If it’s Aeryn, she’s probably there to get information, and depending on her mood, someone might get smacked if they’re not being as forthcoming as she needs them to be. If it’s Thystle, she’s headed straight for that bar for a drink. It’s always drink first, work later for her.
When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
It depends. My work tends to be pretty dark and gritty. It takes reaching into some dark places, which aren’t that far from the surface some days.
How do you police your production? Do you have a word quota, or a page goal, maybe you work for a set amount of time? Do you place demands on yourself when you’re working? How do you meet those demands?
I try to hit about 1500 words a day, Monday through Friday. Some weeks, I’m more successful than others. This election cycle hasn’t been easy on my creative processes. I’m not the type to stare at a blinking cursor though. I know when writing isn’t working that day. If it’s not, I’ll walk away until later or the next day.
A publishing house gets ahold of you and wants you to take over writing an established character. For instance, DC Comics calls you and tells you they want you to take over writing Batman. What is the dream? What established character would you love to write?
Wolverine. I think he’s a much more complex character that some people give him credit for. I like working with those types.
Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds him or her back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
Emotional scenes. Good emotions or bad, they are not my natural place. I prefer a fight scene or even a war to someone telling another person they love them or being afraid their friend is going to die. It usually takes me a couple tries before I get it right. I know when it’s authentic and “there”. I just keep trying until I find it inside and can get it on the page.
How did you find the time to write this book with your busy life? What ideas do you have on how others can make time in their lives?
When I had a full-time job, I just squeezed writing in when I could, usually at night. More recently, I have a lot more freedom. For others, I think they just need to commit to writing, even if it’s just 30 minutes at a time. If that only happens once a week though, that’s ok.
Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
For Into the Darkness, I love how Theo ends up making Aeryn more human. For The Taming, I love that Thystle is forced to step outside her usual patterns and discovers that it’s not so bad to do that sometimes.
If we wanted a good story—book, show or movie—one that you didn’t write, where would you send us?
Stranger Things. That show is perfectly timed and perfectly written. It’s authentic from beginning to end.
Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
Keyboards are my #1 thing. For writing, the keys need to be soft to the touch and not too noisy. And I’m a Word purist. I’ve tried OpenOffice and Google Docs. Didn’t like them. I don’t see the point in Scrivener. Word all the way. I also like the brown Moleskine notebooks and Pilot Rolling Ball pens for notes.
If we read your work and crave more, can we find more that you have written? Will we ever see another book by you? If we fall in love with your work, how can we find you and everything you have done?
Well, if you read Into the Darkness, there’s The Taming. If you read both and you still want more, books 3 and 4 are trucking toward completion and should hit shelves early in 2017 and mid-year, respectively. I also have a horror short in an anthology called “Tales from Our Write Side”. If you want to keep up with my projects, you can join my mailing list at www.writinginadarkroom.com/subscribe. I’m also on Facebook a lot at www.facebook.com/amrycroftwriter.