Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, Christmas Roses and the new Texas Crossroads trilogy. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.
How to connect with Amanda....
Purchase: In Firefly Valley: A Novel (Texas Crossroads)
Getting to know you again | 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 twenty-nine. 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 and get to work on meeting my 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.
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...For me at least, books are like children: each is special in its own way, so – short answer – no, I don’t have a favorite.
If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing has always been waiting. I’m not a naturally patient person, so the length of time involved in the traditional publishing cycle sometimes challenges my patience. The easiest part is coming up with new ideas. Unlike Blake, the hero of In Firefly Valley, I’ve never suffered from writer’s block.
Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why did you write it?
...Like many of my books, In Firefly Valley has the theme of healing. Although I don’t necessarily set out to write about healing, it seems that most of my characters are wounded in one way or another. Marisa, the heroine of In Firefly Valley, has two major things that need healing. The first is easy to identify: she’s been downsized. As someone who was once downsized, I had no trouble knowing how Marisa would react. The second is more difficult: her troubled relationship with her father. I’ve never been in Marisa’s situation, but I drew from the memories of a family friend who went through an experience similar to Marisa’s. Once I started asking “what if?” before I knew it, I had a book. As to why I wrote this particular book, it’s because I wanted to show how God’s love can and does heal even the worst of hurt.
Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Of course I love Marisa and Blake and the two characters who provide a secondary romance, but I have to admit that I smile whenever I think of Fiona, the little girl with the mismatched socks. If this were a movie, I’d be afraid she’d steal every scene she’s in, simply because she’s so adorable.
Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...While my characters are never based on real people (including myself), my heroes and heroines frequently embody my personal values. Because I believe in justice and happy endings, readers will find that my protagonists do, too. They’ll also find the recurring theme of the healing power of love, since that’s something I believe in. As for my villains, they tend to be the antithesis of the heroes and heroines, and I’d certainly like to think they’re not based on me.
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 a favorite memory you have of your mother?
...I was about four years old and living in a small town in Texas when a group of church ladies were scheduled to come to our home for a meeting one night. For the first time ever my mother allowed me to join them. That was exciting enough, but Mother made it even more special by not including my younger sister. It was going to be a big secret, and you know how kids love secrets. Since the meeting was past our bedtime, I had to go to bed and pretend to sleep. Then when my sister was asleep, I tiptoed out of the room we shared and into the kitchen where Mother and I had hidden my clothes in the oven. Yes, the oven. I don’t know why she chose that spot, other than that it was a place no one would think to look for clothes. Or maybe it was simply to make this more exciting for me. At any rate, I put on my fanciest dress and joined the ladies for their meeting, feeling very special and very grown-up. Even now, many years later, I smile at the memory.
If you had to choose one type of food, what kind would it be?
...Oh, my, just thinking about this is making me hungry. It’s a tough choice, but if I could choose only one kind of food, it would be French cuisine. Part of the reason is that I love the pastries, but the other part is that French food reminds me of an important time in my life. I majored in French in college and was fortunate enough to study in France, which is where I developed my love of French pastries. We won’t talk about eating horse (unaware of what it was, of course) or some of the stranger vegetables, but overall I love French food.
April showers bring May flowers – or so they say. Do you have a favorite flower? If so, why is it your favorite?
...Lilacs. Definitely lilacs. I love everything about them from the variety of colors the can have to their shapes to their sweet fragrance.
_____________________Thanks so much for coming back to the blog Amanda!I love your thoughts on writing and characters as well as the sweet story about your mother! How fun :) And your mentioning lilacs reminded me of a lilac bush we had back home - their sweet fragrance was the perfect indication of summer.
Readers, don't forget to hop on over to Amazon and grab a copy of In Firefly Valley!