Interview with Matt Lazar and Amanda Thomas, authors of Warrior Girl


Publisher: Boston Avenue Media

Publish Date: October 20, 2012

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: A beautiful young Korean girl, Sun Hi Kim, is beginning her first year at Oxford University. Thousands of miles away from home for the first time, she struggles to adjust to a different culture.

Sun Hi befriends two English boys. Miles is a handsome final year student who is also captain of the Oxford rowing team. Adam, a first year student who is also a hunk, hero-worships Miles, his rowing idol. Sun Hi knows that she's naive and has never had a boyfriend, let alone an English boyfriend. Her first forays into desire very nearly end in disaster.

Between rowing, her studies, boys, and an arrogant roommate, Sun Hi often feels overwhelmed. Playing World of Warcraft is the one thing she can do to escape her problems, at least for a little while.


Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

Matt Lazar: Warrior Girl is a love story about a Korean girl struggling to find her place at Oxford University. I wanted to write a fun story that was easy to read, that also tells readers a story they haven’t seen before. I love these kinds of stories!

WG is fun and a quick read, and also shows the reader how playing World of Warcraft can impact someone’s life. There aren’t any other novels (YA or otherwise) that have World of Warcraft as part of the plot, where the main character plays WOW.

Amanda Thomas: The premise of this book was the brainchild of my co-author while I was responsible for the characters and their twists and turns.  The story centers on a young Korean girl who is at Oxford University. She falls foul of one young man before she meets her soul mate although through him she becomes the cox of the Oxford rowing team.  But Sun Hi our heroine has enemies and crosses to bear not least in her spoilt flat mate Marina. The story has a lot of twists and turns and explores the best and the worst of human nature against the back drop of the one thing that keeps Sun Hi sane, playing World of Warcraft.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?

Amanda:  Recently I met an old school friend whom I had not seen for many years.  She reminded me that at our boarding school I would sit at the back of the class writing stories to order for my friends.  I also recall that I got 10/10 for one essay that I did when I was about 11 called Jealousy, and after that I think the course to my eventual career as a writer was pretty much set for me!

Matt: I studied oral history in grad school, and my first book was an oral history of the Cleveland Browns football team. I had a roommate in college who was from Korea and was a World of Warcraft player, and through him I became fascinated by how playing WOW can be as real and important as someone’s ‘real’ life. I thought a WOW player would be a great character in a novel. Good oral histories are similar to good novels in that both are character-driven, so it was natural for me to transition into writing fiction.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your current release?

Matt: It’s been great hearing reader responses and reading their reviews! I don’t think I’d change anything about the current release – a number of readers have asked when the WG sequel is coming out, so that is feedback I’ve taken to heart. I’m working on a WG sequel; likely involving Elder Scrolls Online and an expanded look at Kaito.

Amanda:  That’s a tough one for me. I read a recent review of the book by a critic, who, while he said he enjoyed the story said that Sun Hi was a bit too good to be true. I can be very naughty at times with my characters and I suppose given it to do over, I would like to put in a few little out of character bitchy things for Sun Hi to do!

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Matt: Sometimes it’s tough to edit out a passage or scene that I really like but that doesn’t really help the narrative or advance the plot.

Amanda: The beginning! There is nothing more daunting that that first blank page.  But even two to three pages in, that is gone and the anticipation of what is to come is uppermost. For me my stories are never planned, they just seem to unfold in my head.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?

Amanda: I listen to BBC radio 2 or classical music. People wonder how I can concentrate with the chat and banter of a radio station in the background but I used to work in a busy hospital accident and emergency department so I concentrate best in a noisy environment.

Matt: I don’t listen to music when I write, but sometimes working in a coffee shop and hearing the sounds there helps me write.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Matt: I really like working with a co-writer. I call it “pair-writing”. That’s a reference to pair-programming style software development.  There’s an amazing book called Agile Development by James Shore that’s about developing software on the surface but has applications for all kinds of work.

Amanda: I have a little solar powered owl whose head twists back and forth when his solar panel is exposed to the light.  When I am writing I turn him either full into the light or away from it depending on the pace of the scene I am writing!

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Amanda: Yes I think I have been inspired, again by recent reviews, to make separate stories for some of the characters in Warrior Girl, perhaps relating the same events from their point of view, or maybe exploring their worlds.

Matt: I’m developing a sequel to Warrior Girl.

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

Matt: I’m having a lot of fun meeting WG fans! If you happen to be in Tulsa on April 13, I’ll be at Wizards Asylum Comics and Games having a book signing.

Amanda: I have just been commissioned to write for a woman in Northern Ireland who wants her true-life story told. She has a son with intractable epilepsy with whom she has had an incredible journey including two years spent in the USA on a special program there for children suffering from this condition. The story will be made into a film and I am very excited about being part of that process.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Matt: If you check out Warrior Girl I’d love to hear what you think (good for bad!). If you have time to write a review, I’d love to read it on Amazon or Goodreads.

Amanda: It is always a great privilege that people will take the time to read anything that one has written and the fact that ‘Warrior Girl’ has been well received is an incredible boost. From the other work I do mainly in writing biographies I would say that anyone who thinks they would like to write their life story or just write anything at all, they should definitely have a go! 

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