Mighty Quill Books Press Room

In the spotlight: A.M. Rycroft

A.M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror writer, writing coach, submissions editor, blogger, and artist. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where she grew up, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a professional and creative writer for more than 10 years.

A.M. enjoys spending time in her dark fantasy world of Cathell, and focuses her writing on strong female characters, their inner struggles, and their journeys. She has written two books for her dark fantasy series (Into the Darkness, The Taming), several horror short stories, and is hard at work on books 3 and 4. Her writing has been compared to the works of David Eddings and Stephen King.

About The Taming

The Taming is a sword & sorcery, dark fantasy novella that follows vampyre Thystle Moran as sheseeks to avenge the death of her childhood friend. Thystle is not your typical bloodsucker and The Taming is not the typical story found in many mainstream vampire books. A.M. Rycroft strives to avoid the stereotypical path of vampire fiction as vehicle for erotica, instead focusing on Thystle's feelings of guilt for her involvement in the events leading up to her friend's death, her troubled past as a human, and her struggle to find a place where she finally feels like she belongs.

Author Q & A

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been a writer for over 10 years, both professionally and creatively, and I coach in writing and publishing too. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. I consider myself a diehard Pittsburgher, and I've only lived outside of this city once. I decided pretty quickly that wasn't for me. I love football and hockey, and I'm also a bit of an amusement park addict.

What made you want to be a writer?

I can't say for sure. I've been telling stories in one form or another since I was little, and I think it was partially a way for me to exact some control over my life. I had a very changeable life growing up, and writing gave me a way to make worlds be the way I wanted them to be, rather than how someone else wanted my world to be.

What made you want to write an entire book just about Thystle as the second book, rather than keeping with Aeryn and Theo as in the first book?

Thystle was a character I've lived with for a long time, and I was happy I could insert her into the first book as Aeryn's best friend, because she's a lot of fun to work with. She's also demanding when it comes to my time. After I wrote Into the Darkness, I decided it would be helpful for later books in the series if I spent the second book exploring Thystle's character in a more in-depth way and digging into her past, which she's very protective of. Even I don't know everything about her past. She tells me when she chooses. I do know that who Thystle is and where she comes from is important to books 4 and 5. That's jumping ahead a little in the series, but there you have it.

What makes Thystle different from other vampires found in vampire-focused literature?

Well, for one thing, in Cathell, it's "vampyres" with a "y". But, seriously, I am bothered by the direction some vampire literature takes in which it's really an excuse for erotica, versus a serious exploration of the character who also happens to be a vampire. Vampyre is not all that Thystle is. She prides herself in being a simple person - what you see is what you get - and yet there is nothing simple about her. She has complex motivations, many of which stem from a veiled past. Her decision to allow Wiat to turn her, for example, was one based partially on things that happened in her human past. The decision to be turned wasn't arrived at just so she could have super powers or live a long time (and, I'll note that vampyres in Cathell are not of the undead or immortal variety). Thystle wanted to shed her humanity as a way to try to escape her past altogether, but unfortunately, it didn't work.

What is your favorite part in the The Taming?

Honestly, there are so many fight scenes and exchanges between Thystle and Lilla that I love, but the one part that stands out to me as the author is when Thystle cracks up the villain of the story. It was completely organic when it happened, and I actually cracked up, too, because it came so far out of the blue as I was writing. Thystle has a habit of surprising me like that, and it's one of the reasons I love writing her character so much.

What is the one thing you want people to know about The Taming?

If you're looking for a typical "vampire" book, this is not it. This is a serious sword & sorcery, dark fantasy that anyone who loves fantasy will love.

What other pieces have you written?

I've written several horror short stories, one of which is going to be published in Our Write Side's anthology in November 2016.

Where can people follow you on social media?

I'm on Facebook (www.facebook.com/amrycroftwriter) and Twitter (@amrycroftwriter) a lot. I also have an active blog (www.writinginadarkroom.com) and a newsletter, which anyone can sign up for on my website.

Where can people get The Taming?

Just about anywhere books are sold - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks - and many independent bookstores and libraries as well.