Today in the Library I am delighted to host fellow Irish author, Amanda J Evans, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Amanda, please introduce yourself:
I am an author, freelance writer, and poet. I live in Co. Meath, Ireland, with my husband and two children. I am known locally by my married name, Donnelly, but I write under my maiden name. I had work published in several magazines and journals in 2016. I am also the author of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, published in 2012. When I’m not writing for work clients, I am usually reading the latest novels from some of the amazing indie authors out there, or sharing snippets from my latest manuscripts with my husband and children. I have just published my first fiction book titled Finding Forever and I am almost finished my second which will be published in the summer of 2017.
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I always read as a child and I continue to do so today. I like to read in a large number of genres, but if I’m honest, romance tends to feature in them all, be it paranormal, fantasy, or suspense. I do like to try new genres every so often though and find that they can be very interesting. Once genre I haven’t tried yet is horror. It frightens me just to think about it.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I am self-published.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I write romance because I love it, especially a happy ever after. I’m a big romantic at heart so it features very much in my writing. I write contemporary romance, paranormal, fantasy, and suspense.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
That’s a tough question, and I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head. As a child I devoured Roald Dahl and I loved Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as well as Anne of Green Gables. Anything I could get my hands on I read. In teen years I read Judy Blume and moved on to Mills and Boon and second chance romance novels. I also read a lot of Terry Pratchet and Terry Brooks. I don’t think any writer in particular has been a big influence though, I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I wrote my first book aged 8 and that was my ambition. Tragedy struck during my teens and writing took a back seat, albeit writing poetry. It is only in the past couple of years that I have found the confidence to put pen to paper again and follow my dreams.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
I don’t feel that it has, but I do enjoy writing fairy tales for children and my story The Curse of Johnny Murphy, written for a local storytelling even last year, was based on Leprechauns. I also entered the Imbas Mythology competition with a story about the Banshee. So I guess you could say being Irish has been part of my stories.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
The most difficult is the editing and marketing. I love the writing part and find that once I pick up my pen, it just flows. Editing on the other hand is a chore and I’m so glad that there are editors to help with this. Marketing the finished product is challenging. I do find it difficult when I’m writing a story and lots of other story ideas start to pop into my head. It’s hard to do everything, so I focus on one at a time and I’m very strict about this.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
I write in the morning while my children are getting ready for school. I usually have 30 minutes and during this time I write my morning pages and then grab my notebook to continue writing my novel. I usually get 3 to 5 pages done. I have the same routine during the weekend but tend to get more written because I’m not tied to school time. This routine works really well for me. Before this I would tell myself I’d write when I got all my work done, but that never happened. I set myself a challenge to write a page a day before I start work and it has been amazing. Since August last year, I’ve finished a novel and I’m almost 90% on my second.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
The best thing for me is actually doing what I love. I love putting words on paper and watching them fill the page. I love listening to my characters and telling their stories. I love the surprises that come with that too. I never plan and I never know what is going to happen next. I let the characters tell me their stories. I tried planning but it didn’t work out. My main character ended up being a male instead of female and characters I had planned as being secondary turned into leading roles. I gave up after that and I just write what comes.
The worst part of being an author is trying to get your name out there and learn all the marketing techniques.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
Social media is definitely essential for marketing and at times it can feel like a chore, but at the moment I am enjoying it. I prefer to use Facebook, but I have found that Instagram is very popular. I have accounts with all the top ones, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, but finding the time to devote to each can be very difficult.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
Even if I wasn’t an author, I would still be writing in some form or another. I write SEO website content for a large company in Canada and I love to blog. I really couldn’t imagine not writing something, even lists. I worked for the Health Board for 10 years before resigning and even during that time I scribbled something down. Writing is a part of me and I can’t not do it. I’ve tried but after two weeks I feel like I’m going mad. My mood is extremely irritable. Once I write something, even two sentences, it’s like calm washes over me.
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
Oh God, that really is a tough one. It would have to be something with a happy ending, something that would calm and soothe the soul, take me away from it all. The genre would probably be fantasy, something filled with magic and delight. I remember reading The Never Ending Story when I was younger and that was amazing. Maybe I’d read that again, out loud to my children.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
I’ve just published my first book, Finding Forever, a romantic suspense novella. I’m also finishing my second book, a paranormal romance titled Save Her Soul which I am hoping to have published in the summer of 2017.
When love refuses to give up
I look at his face, the face of the man who holds my heart, my forever, only his heart has stopped beating.
A woman desperately searching for her forever….
Liz Parker thought she’d found her forever the moment she said “I do”, but fate had other ideas. Waking up with a tattered wedding dress and her dead husband in her arms was not the way she planned her honeymoon. Distraught, she promised she would follow him. Death wasn’t taking forever away from her. Of course, she hadn’t planned on being rescued by pirates either, or the fact that Charles’ body would be left to rot on the beach.
Two lives collide…
When Liz meets John, he becomes her only hope, her chance to bring Charles’ body home, but there’s something more. Why does he look at her with such pity? Why does he agree to help her when no one else will? Why won’t anyone believe that Charles exists? Is Liz going mad?
Surviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind Buy Link for Amazon Worldwide
If you would like to know more about Amanda and her work please check out her social media links below: