Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books. Her first book, ‘Poppy Day’ is a contemporary novel following an army wife whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to set out to rescue him after he was taken hostage in Afghanistan. Originally self-published in October 2011, ‘Poppy Day’ quickly became a bestseller and Amanda joined the prestigious Head of Zeus publishing house. The second in the No Greater Love series, ‘What Have I Done?’ was an eBook sensation where women worldwide identified with the theme of domestic abuse in middle class households and it was subsequently voted a ‘Best Book of 2013′ by Amazon Kindle. Amanda followed this by joining the team of the ITV This Morning show as their resident author in 2013 when a series of her ‘Summer Shorts’ were featured on the ITV website. ‘Perfect Daughter’ is her latest book.
- Can you tell us what your new book ‘Perfect Daughter’ is about?
‘Perfect Daughter’ is Jackie Morgan’s story, set in Weston Super Mare, she struggles with the pressure cooker of life, caring for her kids, her ailing mum and in a marriage that has lost its sparkle. She is tired and often dips into her past as a way to get through the drudge of every day. As Jacks says herself, I live in a house where time, space and money are all in short supply. Jacks pins all her hopes on her daughter, wanting her to live the life she never could. And when her past comes back to haunt her, she learns a lot about herself, her family and what is important…
- To the readers of the website, tell us about yourself and how you got into writing.
I am a regular wife and mum and had always wanted to write, but didn’t really know how to get started or even if I could. I became sick and that life-changing event made me realise that this was my one time around the block and so I quit my job, sold the house and all my possessions and started to write! I had never been so skint or so happy. Being in control of my own destiny was scary but life affirming!
- What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
“First the colours. Then the humans. That’s usually how I see things”. – ‘The Book Thief.’ I was instantly intrigued/confused/fascinated – and remained like this throughout this brilliant, brilliant book.
- Your stories are often of complex and sensitive issues such as post natal depression. What has been the hardest book to write?
I think ‘Will You Remember Me?’ The story of a young mum struggling with cancer. When I was diagnosed my son was small and my biggest fear was that he wouldn’t remember me. I felt he was too little to have the right foundations and I wasn’t ready to leave him. When writing the story, it brought back a lot of memories that were quite hard to cope with, but also made me extremely thankful that I am still here to tell the tale.
- What’s been the highlight of your writing experience?
I think it has to be the first time I saw a stranger reading my book on the tube. I sat down and a lady opposite was reading my novel Poppy Day. I stared at her face, delighted that she was lost in the story! It was surreal and I felt very emotional. I shan’t ever forget it.
- What’s your favourite book of all time?
I hate picking one! But if I have to, it would have to be Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ or no, I have to change my mind, ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, actually no! ‘Under The Greenwood Tree’… you see, I just can’t do it!
- Who is your favourite literary hero/heroine?
That would have to be Sunny Baudelaire from Lemony Snickets ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ she is only 3 but does some of the funniest things I have ever read. Literally laugh out loud moments that really appealed to me!
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
WRITING! And I’m not being obvious or flippant but the more you write, the better you become at your craft and so do it, do it every day, whether it’s writing your story or a paragraph or jotting ideas, or a list! Whatever it is, keep practising and see how you evolve. I don’t know any writer that hasn’t looked at their early jottings and noted massive improvements.
- If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
Ooooh so many! Isabel Allende for her wisdom, Lee Child for his fast paced brilliant story structure, Thomas Hardy for his beautiful prose, Joanne Harris as she writes my favourite books, Heather Hill for humour and Oscar Wilde because I can’t imagine any event he attended would be anything less than brilliant fun!
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which 3 books would you bring with you to pass the time?
Please NOT JUST THREE don’t make me choose! What a terrifying thought. I guess it would have to be, ‘The Bible’, as I reckon that would take some reading and might help my thought process. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ as I love love love it and ‘The Practical Guide to Desert Island Survival’ (or similar!) as I would be rubbish and not have the first clue!
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
A very, very large mug of strong coffee!
- And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon that you would like to share with the readers of the website?
Ooh yes please, my new novel ‘Three And A Half Heartbeats’ is the story of Grace and Tom, a happily married couple who lose their beloved daughter to Sepsis. It’s the story of their marriage and how they try to rebuild their lives, not knowing if they can as they are so bent out of shape. Every penny from the book is going to www.sepsistrust.org to help save lives. Please buy it and help us fight this horrible disease that kills more people the UK than breast, bowel, prostate cancers, aids and road accidents COMBINED every year! 37,000 people, approx a hundred a day! …and I had never heard of it. Here’s the link http://bit.ly/SepsisNovel. From the bottom of my heart, thank you X