A little bit about Amanda...
From the time that she was seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true. A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances. Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim, Christmas Roses was a CBA bestseller; and a number of her books have been finalists for national awards, including ACFW’s Carol award.
How to connect with Amanda...
Author Interview | Amanda Cabot
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I really cannot remember a time when I didn’t write – or at least want to write, and so I wrote sporadically until I was almost 29. Since then I have come to believe that authors have at least one thing in common with oysters, namely that we need irritation to produce our pearls … er… our books. For me, that irritation was moving to a new area and discovering that what had appeared to be an ideal job was truly awful. Of course, that happened at a time when jobs were hard to find, so I stuck with the one I had for over three years. But the irritation was enough that I decided it was time to become serious about writing.
...I’ve been writing since I was seven or eight, but it took that irritation to remind me that I had always had a goal of selling a book before I was thirty. I started what was to become my first published book just before my twenty-ninth birthday and sold it one week before my thirtieth. If this were a fairytale, I’d tell you that I became vastly wealthy and was able to quit my day job. The reality is, for many years (no, I won’t tell you how many) I wrote on nights and weekends, while I worked full time for Corporate America. Now I’m fortunate enough to be a full-time writer.
...I’m smiling at the “what has kept you writing?” question. The truth is, several years of rejections after my first sale made me question whether or not I ought to be writing, and I tried to quit. But each time I did, I realized that something important was missing in my life. That something was writing. A keynote speaker at a writers conference I attended soon after moving to Wyoming challenged us to answer the question: Is writing what you do or who you are? That was a light bulb moment for me as I realized that writing is who I am. It’s what God wants me to do, so no matter how hard it is – and there are days when it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done – I won’t stop.
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why did you write it?
.... With Autumn's Return is the third of the Wyoming Winds trilogy, the story of Elizabeth Harding, who comes to Cheyenne in the late 1880s, clutching her medical degree and convinced that she’ll be accepted by the territory’s residents. After all, Wyoming was the first to grant women the vote, and they were progressive enough to have a female judge and jurors. Surely a lady doctor would have no trouble. As you can imagine, reality turns out to be far different from Elizabeth’s expectations.
...One of the reasons I made Elizabeth a doctor is that I’ve always been fascinated by women who challenge the status quo and try to succeed in male-dominated professions. Then, too, medicine has changed dramatically since the 1880s, so it was fun to give readers a peek into the world of nineteenth century medicine. I for one am glad I didn’t live then.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
...One thing I’ve learned is that inspiration can come anywhere and at any time. A snippet of music, a phrase in a book, even the sight of a sunset can start my brain asking “what if?” Sometimes those “what ifs” lead to dead ends, but sometimes they plant seeds that turn into full-fledged stories. In the case of With Autumn's Return, I was intrigued by Wyoming’s nickname, The Equality State, and wanted to tell the story of a time when equality wasn’t as prevalent as it is now.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...My primary goal is to touch readers’ hearts and deepen their faith. Although I tell stories set in by-gone times, it is my hope that the characters’ struggles and the healing they find will resonate with readers and will remind them that God is with us no matter where (or when) we live.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what a publisher is buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice. Sorry!
What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...Yogurt. I like the flavor, the calcium and the probiotics. Those are the good things. The bad? I’d rather not talk about what happens when you spill it on a keyboard.
What is your favorite Christmas song?
...Oh, that’s a tough one. It’s a tie between “O Holy Night” and “Adeste Fideles.” Both make my heart sing with joy.
What is your favorite thing about the Christmas season?
...The way the spirit of the season and the reason for the season seem to bring out the best in people. I see more smiles in December than in the other months combined.
Emilie, thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your blog. I’ve enjoyed our time together. And to each of you reading this, I hope the season has brought a smile to your face and joy to your heart.
Thank YOU Amanda! What a treat to hear your heart on writing as well as a glimpse into your favorite Christmas things. I love how you are so encouraging to anyone pursing writing - the idea of never giving up is so true - I'm sure we all face it at one time or another but if it's some we "are" versus just something we "do" then it's worth it! Can't wait for your next book to come out! Thanks again :)