Interview with Amanda Creiglow, Author of A Grimoire for Gamblers

08 Jun 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, A Grimoire for Gamblers?

This is the story of a plain, non-magical human getting tossed into the hidden supernatural world head-first. She’s not supposed to know anything about magic, and isn’t allowed to do any spells. She doesn’t let that stop her. It’s a little bit dark, but a whole lot of fun.

I enjoy that Elizabeth is a purposeful character who makes her own choices to stand up for humanity in a world where humans are (unknowingly) little more than cannon fodder and bargaining chips. There’s a power in refusing your designated role in the system—finding spaces between the lines and discovering what those spaces allow you to do that others can’t. This book begins Elizabeth’s journey of finding and harnessing that power.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I can’t remember a time before I wrote stories—it’s always just been something I’ve done. Over the years I’ve written a few novel-length things, but it never added up to something that I believed in enough to want to publish. I even ghostwrote Romance novels for a while. When I found Urban Fantasy, I realized quickly that this was the genre for me, and that I needed to build my own sandbox to play in so I didn’t get so sad when I ran out of books in a series I was reading.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I find “best” such an unhelpful word when discussing books. There are many that I read years ago that I loved and found incredibly impactful at the time, but that doesn’t mean I’d recommend them now. Picking five and calling them the best is impossible. Instead, here are some recent reads that I’ve enjoyed:

1. The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
2. Changes by Jim Butcher
3. The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
5. Aloha from Hell by Richard Kadrey

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Terry Pratchett. I think I’d ask him if there were anything he wanted to share about either his career or life with the benefit of hindsight, looking back at them both. I’d be much more interested in finding out what he thought was worth discussing as he looked back over his life than any specific question I might ask him.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love the way a story fills out while writing as if my magic. I outline extensively, but there are some details and themes that only link up and clarify when you’re elbows-deep in the process of getting the words on paper. I also love when I’m in the middle of writing a book and find myself coming up with scraps of dialogue when I’m away from the computer, doing other things. It’s great to feel like my mind is occupied building characters even when I’m not thinking about it consciously.

What is a typical day like for you?

Writing, working, making excuses for why I can’t take my dog for a walk right now and inevitably giving in and taking her anyway.

What scene from A Grimoire for Gamblers was your favorite to write?

There’s a scene toward the very end of the book where Elizabeth discovers that some of the assumptions she made about another character were incorrect. The character in question becomes a series regular, and is one of my favorites, so I enjoyed letting Elizabeth and the reader find out a little more about him at the same time.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

When you’re deciding what to do, pick the option that will make the most interesting story later.

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