Author Spotlight: Amy Cissell

USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Paranormal Women’s Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Contemporary Fantasy

Join us for a Q&A with the author of the new Ghosts of Valhalla series!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I was born and raised in South Dakota and grew up in a town of 100 people! After university, I moved to Los Angeles for the warmth and big city life. Now, I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband Chris, tweenage daughter, and two cats, Frank and Rupurrrrt Giles. I am rediscovering my running self, planning a lot of travel, and spend a decent amount of time and money at my local wine and coffee shops.

What led you to start writing fiction? And how did you end up choosing your genre(s)?

I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. My first couple books that I wrote in middle school were contemporary fiction, but reading fantasy was always my first love. I always planned to write secondary world fantasy (a la Mercedes Lackey), but in my twenties, I started reading urban fantasy and was hooked. I love nothing more than a good apocalypse, and destroying the world is kinda my jam now. Even my lighter paranormal romance series have a few apocalypses (apocalypsii?) in them.

Do you have a new book or series coming out? What’s it about?

My newest series, Ghosts of Valhalla, has its second book coming out on March 19. In it, the main character finds out she’s a Valkyrie and Ragnarök is looming. It’s up to her to gather the rest of the Valkyries, most of whom are also finding out about their magical roots now and must lead the charge against the Norse gods who are determined to bring about the end of the world.

The first book in the series came out in December 2023, and there is a short prequel novella featuring one of the secondary characters in the series that’s available through my newsletter.

What has been the most challenging part of being an indie author? How have you tackled that challenge?

Marketing and getting the word out for sure is the hardest, especially when asking people to read my books is hard for me. I would not be a good salesperson at all! I have a small author Facebook group that I try to keep up-to-date, a weekly-ish newsletter, and a Patreon (with a free subscription level) so I can share my updates about books, writing, cats, and life with people. I also have a business partner, fellow author C. Thomas Lafollette, who handles all our paid marketing.

What has been the most fun or fulfilling part of being an author?

I love telling stories! And getting great feedback/compliments/reviews is so gratifying. I had someone tell me once that Eleanor Morgan (the main character in my first series) was her inspiration to go out and do all the things that scared her, and that might have been the best compliment I’ve ever had!

Tell us a bit about your process. Do you write every day? Where do you like to write? What’s your routine?

I definitely do not write every day. In addition to having a kid, I also have a day job (insurance, amiright?) that keeps me pretty busy. I tend to focus my writing on Fridays and Saturdays (with the occasional Sunday thrown in if my daughter is at her dad’s). I like to hit up my local coffee shop and snag a table to write and caffeinate for two or three hours.

I have my little home office, complete with twinkle lights, where I also spend a lot of time, but lately I’ve been snuggling into my recliner, covered in a soft blanket, writing on my lap desk when I need more words than I got at the coffee shop.

On writing days, I typically write 4,000-5,000 words and am able to spend any other time on newsletters, social media, and reading.

Do you have any tips or advice for other authors working on their books?

Get those words down! Don’t spend too much time trying to make the first draft perfect, or you’ll never get it done. Hire professional editors, too. I’ve learned so much about my writing style and how to improve because I’ve had every one of my 30 books professionally edited and proofread.

Write what you want to write. Sure, it’s good to pay attention to market trends, but people can tell when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Make friends with other authors and cheer all their wins! It’s never a competition. And never be too hard on yourself! Most people just dream about writing, so getting those words out there is amazing.

What’s it like working with the team at Two Birds Author Services?

My first book in my current Ghosts of Valhalla series was my first go with Two Birds, and it was so amazing. I can honestly say it was the best copy edit I’ve ever had—and I’ve worked with a lot of different people!

Where can authors and readers connect with you, and find your books?

You can subscribe to my newsletter (go to and sign up at the pop-up) or follow me on social media. I’m @acissellwrites everywhere, but my Instagram and Patreon are where I spend most of my time. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to message me or shoot me an email (although I am slooooow to respond to email, so don’t expect to hear from me quickly that way).

Have questions about the editing process? We’d love to chat with you and help you figure out your next steps. Contact us to set up a free sample edit.

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