Amanda Worthington knows her books. A librarian in Kansas City, she has written several including her recent novella in verse, No Quarter. She has survived some dark times and moved from surviving to thriving. A believer in the power of community, she has organized the Missouri-Kansas Chapter for the Horror Writers Association. A talented poet with depth, expect great things from this poet’s pen. Find Amanda Worthington online at

Getting to Know Amanda Worthington

AYS: Can you tell us more about your writing process and how you balance the dark and whimsical elements in your work?

AW: I’m newer at taking my writing seriously and don’t really have a consistent process at this point, but I do make notes when ideas come to me. I’m not a linear thinker and tend to write out of order and assemble my work like a puzzle. I channel a lot of my own trauma and pain into my work, but I also love laughing and marveling at the beauty of our universe. Connecting those disparate elements feels important somehow. I don’t think anything really ever happens the way we plan it and it’s fun for me to think about connecting things that one does not usually associate. 

AYS: Your book, No Quarter, features a unique blend of verse and speculative fiction. What inspired you to write in this style?

AW: If English is my first language, verse is my second. I love writing poetry and I’ve discovered that it is how I most effectively tell a story to myself. There is also a certain seductive music to the whisperings of the dark cosmic force at the center of No Quarter. I think there are still so many people out there who see poetry as this refined vehicle for the delivery of ruminations on love and life. But what about the darker moments of self-doubt and addiction and grief? There’s a certain raw power in these universal experiences that is in itself beautiful. I don’t think verse has to be refined. It can be hungry and unhinged. I wanted to show that in these pages. 

AYS: The themes of power and femininity are prominent in your book. How do you explore these themes through the characters and their actions?

AW: Yes, this is a story about the power of the feminine, for sure! I once read that trees have elaborate root systems through which they communicate. There is even some indication of experiencing a kind of pain. They can’t speak to it in a language we understand though. In many ways, women are often no different. We’re screaming and it feels like no one hears us. But what if a slighted cosmic power with the ability to change everything began to whisper? What if a dark legacy was begun that could at long last give women real agency? But what if there was also a terrible price to pay? Amelia gieves for her mother, but she also grieves for a brother and a cousin and comes to befriend a barkeep with secrets all his own. She begins to question the imperative to keep the pain alive, plant the seed, give the dark power she calls Panoply a foothold in our world. She becomes addicted to knowledge, but also begins to resist the knowing. She becomes intent on finding her own power, but slowly begins to sense that maybe a part of Panoply is already within her. Maybe it is too late. It’s a complicated narrative that gets better explained in future planned works that take place in the same universe. 

AYS: The blurb for No Quarter hints at a cosmic and ancient force at work. Can you tell us more about the world-building and mythology in your book?

AW: One day I read about the manchineel, a tree whose bark is so toxic it causes skin burns on humans. The fruit of the tree can kill. I thought the name sounded like “Man should kneel” and was intrigued by the possible connection there. And then I thought about that first myth many of us hear growing up – Eve’s transgression in the Garden of Eden. I started wondering if maybe the snake wasn’t the thing that spoke at all. Maybe it was the tree. Maybe it has always been the trees. I imagined communication between women and trees and a dark legacy beginning. I imagined grief and the power it has over our hearts. If anything could compel us as women to want a little power, it is grief, which makes us feel so powerless. 

The word panoply just means a complete or impressive array of things. It also has an older meaning – a complete suit of armor. I do a lot with etymology and wordplay. My love of linguistics runs deep, and if you know to look for it, you’ll find it, I think. Amelia becomes addicted to the knowledge Panoply offers…the power….she begins to connect physically, like an addict. She is an addict in a very real sense. The interrelationship between the girl and her “tree” has an effect on spacetime though and that has some pretty dire consequences that are explored in future works. It is only when Panoply feeds on the flesh of the men Amelia brings her that Amelia feels present, whole, complete. She is herself in these moments. It’s a break from being the one “plugged in” and the world is full of terrible men that deserve to be punished. But that too has consequences. 

AYS: What do you hope readers take away from reading No Quarter and how do you want them to feel after finishing it?

AW: I hope readers are intrigued, enjoy the journey, gain a greater appreciation of trees and women both, and question the legacies they keep alive. I once heard that traditions are peer pressure from dead people, and honestly, that’s not wrong. Trauma can be generational and it can look like power. I really hope readers are just confused enough to want to read more within this extended universe. I have three more things in the works, one of which will be my first-ever novel. There’s also a book of short stories coming that will probably pique the interest of fans of The Last House on Needless Street. Walt is also getting his own little collection, told in parable form. Because he’s a conduit too. For something whose darkness rivals Panoply’s. 

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at

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