Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Join Me Today in Learning More About Author Amanda Flower






How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a humorous story about a trip with my brother and neighbor to a local amusement park. When I read the story to the class, I had them in stitches with my description of being stuck at the top the Ferris wheel. It was at the moment I knew this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to write stories that make people laugh. I do describe that moment as my calling to be an author. The certainty I felt about it was undeniable.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write mysteries for adults and children. My subgenre is cozy mystery. Typically, these are novels in which the violence takes place off page and the protagonist is an amateur sleuth. Many times, cozies are humorous, but they don’t have to be. However, Maid of Murder is definitely a funny cozy.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

I try to write at least an hour every day. I must emphasize the word try because I don’t always depending what’s going on in my life. When I do, I write in the evening after a full day of work. In addition to being an author, I am an academic librarian at a small college in Ohio. Most of the time, I just write for the hour and call it quits, but if I am on a roll, I can write well into the night. Caffeine is mandatory to make it through the next day at the library.

I don’t have a certain number of words I have to write every day, but I do set a weekly page goal. Most of the time this means, I’m writing like crazy on Saturday night, trying to reach that goal.

It took me three years to write Maid of Murder. It took so long because I was in college and graduate school while writing the original draft and all that pesky schoolwork got in the way of my writing. When I wrote the first draft of Maid of Murder’s sequel, it took me six months. However, I spent another six months revising it with the help of my wonderful first readers and critique partner before I was ready send it to my editor.

Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

In Maid of Murder, India Hayes, a college librarian and reluctant bridesmaid, is thrown into the role of amateur sleuth as she hunts down the person who murdered her childhood friend and framed her brother for the crime.

I’m sure different readers will receive different spiritual messages after reading the book, but for me the message is about loyalty. My main character, India Hayes, is loyal to her friends and to her family maybe even to a fault. I’ll let the readers decide whether it’s a fault or not.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?

Like any aspiring writer, I’ve certainly have had times when I was depressed about my writing. From the time I started writing my first novel to the time it was published, it was nine years. Almost an entire decade of my life was dedicated to this book. However, I never seriously considered stopping. Sure sometimes, I would ask myself why I put myself through it when I didn’t have to, but then a piece of dialogue or an image of a character would hit me. I had to write it down, or I would burst. Writing is so much a part of who I am I don’t know who I’d be if I weren’t a writer.

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

After my first literary agent and I decided to part ways, I decided to query some mystery publishers that didn’t require an agent. Five Star was the first one I queried. I’d known of them through a critique partner. The first time around they rejected me, but about a year later, they came back and asked me if I still had the manuscript. It was a wonderful surprise!

I learned very quickly that selling your first book doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. In fact, the opposite is true. I’m busier than ever as I write the sequels to Maid of Murder while trying to promote the novel itself. Plus, I recently got a great new idea for a new series I’d like to write and am wondering how I will fit that in. Of course for a writer, this is a good problem to have, and I’m so grateful for all of it!

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

Likes:

  • My family including the feline members.
  • Travel to just about anywhere.
  • Laughter, I just love to laugh!
Dislikes:

  • Clowns, mimes, people dressed up at cartoon characters. I just find them a little creepy.
  • Spiders… I saw Arachnophobia when I was child and NEVER got over it.
  • Cinnamon. I know this is weird, but I really don’t like the taste of it.
My number one hobby would be reading, of course. I also like to do arts and crafts like scrapbooking, making jewelry, and painting. I enjoy doing anything that is creative except music. Trust me, I have no musical talent whatsoever. Oh, and cooking. I can’t cook either!

I’ve been blessed to travel quite a lot and have been to seventeen countries and forty-eight U.S. states. The thing about travel is the more you go, the more you want to go. So there are many places I haven’t been to and want to visit. In fact, I have a list. Some top picks are New Zealand, Alaska, South Africa, India, and Spain.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
Maid of Murder is the first in a cozy mystery series, featuring librarian-sleuth, India Hayes.

When bride-to-be Olivia turns up dead in the Martin College fountain and the evidence points to India’s brother Mark, India must unmask the real culprit while juggling a furious Mother of the Bride, an annoying Maid of Honor, a set of hippie-generation parents, a police detective who is showing a marked liking for her, and a provost itching to fire someone, anyone—maybe even a smart-mouthed librarian.

Maid of Murder can be purchased online at
and through my publisher Five Star / Gale Cengage.
You can also order it through your favorite local bookstore.

Gale Cengage is a major book distributor to libraries, so suggest Maid of Murder to your local library to purchase. That way you will get to read it and so will others in your community!

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?



Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Flower/199666665449?v=wall&ref=mf


If you’d like to be added to my mailing list to receive postcards about my upcoming books and other announcements, send an email with your snail mail address to amanda@amandaflower.com and I will add you.

 
 
Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, Amanda.
 
Blessings

6 comments:

Jeanette Levellie said...

Wonderful interview, Caroline and Amanda! I love cozy mysteries, so I must look for your book. And anyone who considers felines part of the family is a lady after my heart!

Blessings,
Jen

Kathryn Page Camp said...

Sounds like Amanda knows her setting and her protagonist's job. It should be an interesting read.

Donna Alice said...

Sounds like a super cool mystery. I love cozy mysteries and will be looking for these great books.
Nice to 'meet' you Amanda!

Caroline said...

Welcome to my blog, Amanda. Lovely to have you here.

Mary Ellis said...

Hi Amanda! Five Star is a great company to work with. That was a wonderful story about them changing their (collective)mind. Definitely, their gain. And I'm with you about mimes & clowns, but don't tell my cousin. She's a volunteer clown at the hospital childrens' wing. Mary Ellis

Lisa Lickel said...

What a fun picture of you! Mysteries are awesome and series have the cleverest titles.

Lisa