Today Amanda James tells us about her journey:
I first started writing when I was eight and never stopped. Well, I did have a rest now and then or my hand would have dropped off. J I mostly wrote short stories and then songs and poems particularly when I was a teenager. After that adult life got in the way but I never stopped writing. It wasn’t until around 2002 that I decided to try and write to get published, but even then it was a bit pie in the sky and haphazard. I was teaching full-time and it was a triumph to just have actually finished it.
I completed my first novel, Severe Weather Warning – now published as Dancing in the Rain and sent it off to agents expecting to get signed within the week! Yes, I was that naive and unprepared. Needless to say I was rejected many times and looking back at that first draft I can totally see why. It was awful. I wrote another and had the same response, but by now I was beginning to take the whole thing more seriously and thought perhaps short stories might be the way forward. In 2010 I had my first short story published in an anthology to raise awareness for the Born Free Foundation and read an extract to an audience of a thousand people on stage next to Virginia McKenna at the Hay Festival. I decided I could get used to that!
In terms of genre I hadn’t really thought of where I fitted in. My writing hero is Dean Koontz and Dancing in the Rain is a thriller/mystery/romance with supernatural elements as many of his are. My second novel, Nature’s Grace, still unpublished, followed this trend as did my third – Righteous Exposure. For this, I did have the help of a fantastic editor who told me about ‘show, don’t tell’ and something just clicked. I was over the moon when Crooked Cat Publishing took it on at the end of 2011.
My fourth novel was still a romance but a big departure from the others as it was time travel. I had the idea and then wrote it within six weeks – never wrote one as quickly before or since! I adored writing it as I could travel back in time with Sarah (a time travelling history teacher) to all my favourite bits of history. At the time I too was a history teacher so the whole thing was a bit surreal. A Stitch in Time was requested by four agents but then ultimately it wasn’t for them. I had also sent it to publishers and I was beside thrilled to bits when Choc Lit took it on in 2012. After that I went back to romantic suspense with Somewhere Beyond the Sea, but returned to time travel with my latest, Cross Stitch, the sequel to A Stitch in Time. Readers have already asked for a third! I have no plans to write one as yet, but you never know. Watch this space J
Amanda left her teaching job in Bristol to write full time and now lives in Cornwall with her husband and two cats.
When she's not writing, she enjoys singing in the local choir, spending time with her family and two lively grand-children, and walking along the windswept clifftops plotting new stories.
Thank you for joining us today, Amanda.
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Interesting to read about the writer behind the story and Cornwall can never fail to be inspiring!
Love your description of early writing experiences - very familiar to many of us I am sure.x
I loved Righteous Exposure - an exciting, yet thoughtful read.
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