Cozy and Amish Mystery Author Amanda Flower
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Today I welcome Amish Mystery Author Amanda Flower to my blog. Here a few questions I’ve been dying to ask her.
1. What happened to the first manuscript you ever wrote? Was it in the genre you are currently published?
I’m a mystery author. The first novel I ever wrote (after twenty-some revisions) turned into Maid of Murder, my debut novel published in 2010. The book did better than I could ever dream and was nominated for the Agatha Award for best first traditional mystery.
2. Would you please tell us about your writing schedule? With two three-book deals, it must be interesting to time-manage.
My writing schedule is jammed packed, but I’m so happy to have two series coming up. They are both Amish mystery series. The first if the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series published by B&H. The first novel is A Plain Death, which will be out in July 2012. The second series is the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries published by NAL/Penguin. The novel is Murder, Plain and Simple and will be released in September 2013. Typically, I try to write 1,000 words every weekday and 15,000 during the weekend. At least that’s my plan each week; I can’t say I always achieve it.
3. What made you decide to use a pen name? How did you choose it?
I’m using the pen name Isabella Alan for the NAL series at the publisher’s request. I wasn’t surprised that they asked me to use one. I have several friends who write for NAL and Berkley Prime Crime, Penguin’s other cozy mystery imprint, and many of them use pen names. In 2009, my father passed away and my niece was born. These events happened in weeks of each other. My niece was born before my dad died and he was able to hold her. The name is in honor of both of them. Isabella is my niece’s first name, and Alan is my father’s middle name.
4. Do you have a ritual or process you go through before starting a new book or finishing a book?
Usually when I finish a book, I go into a home improvement and cleaning craze because in the midst of writing my house is always in disarray. I just don’t have enough time to wash windows or vacuum with working full time and writing full time. The messier my house is the better the writing is going. Between my last two books I had two rooms in my house recarpeted and bought a new washer and dryer. The washer and dryer were not planned. They just decided to retire at the same time.
5. How did you find your agent and what was the first call (when she sold your novel) like?
We have the same agent, which is so much fun. Nicole is a dream agent. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my agency sisters. I’ve never had a large group of friends that really got the writing thing before. I have a few other writer friends but they aren’t friends with each other, so the dynamic is different. When Nicole signed me, it was the biggest moment of my career, even bigger than then my book contracts. The story is a blog post of its own. You can read about it on this post I wrote for Fresh Fiction.
As for the first call Nicole made telling me she sold the first of the three book deals, it was surreal and I didn’t really react on the phone. I was in shock. She actually called me back a few hours later to see if I was excited. By the second call, I was jumping around like a crazy person with happiness.
6. What conferences are you planning to attend?
So far this year, I’ve been to the Malice Domestic Convention in April. I typically go every year because it’s the place for cozy authors and fans. I will also be attending the American Christian Fiction Writer Conference and Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. The conference I am most excited about is the American Library Association Annual Conference in late June. B&H is sending me there to sign books at their booth. In addition to being an author, I’m a college librarian. It’s ironic that I will go to this major library conference for the first time as an author not as a librarian.
7. Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
Keep trying. Don’t give up. Giving up is so tempting. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve considered it in a fit of frustration or after reading a scathing rejection letter. Take those disappointments and revise your WIP into something better. Every revision makes a better book and you a better writer.
8. What is the title of the last book you read?
Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray. It was excellent!
9. Did you read your last book on an e-reader or as a paper novel?
Actually, I listened to Hidden on my iPod.
10. If you weren’t a published author, what else would you be?
I’d be a librarian just like I am.
Thanks, Amanda, for the amazing insight into your world!
Amanda’s giving away a SIGNED BOOK! Simply comment below to enter to win.