Thursday, August 30, 2012

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, and Christmas Roses, her first stand-alone story, was just released.

You have a new book about to release. Tell us the title and give a short blurb about it.

Christmas Roses is my first novella and my first hardcover book for Revell. As you might expect, I’m excited about it. Here’s a brief description:

Celia Anderson doesn’t need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn’t have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

Amanda Cabot invites readers to cozy up with a romantic, heartwarming tale of the greatest gift of all--love.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Almost anywhere. I’m now a fulltime writer, but until eight years ago, I wrote part-time and had a more-than-fulltime day job. One of the good/bad things about that day job was that I was a very frequent flyer. The good part was that I was able to visit a lot of different places, and some of them provided inspiration for books. For example, I was sitting in a restaurant in Phoenix, eating alone (one of the bad things about all the traveling), when the Muzak started playing “Stranger in Paradise.” “What a great title for a book,” I said to myself. (No, I haven’t gotten to the point where I talk out loud and cause strangers to stare.) That started the whole process of asking questions. “Where’s paradise?” Answer: Hawaii. “Why would someone be there and feel like a stranger?” The answers to that question turned into a book. Even though I changed the title, the story begins in Hawaii and the hero and heroine are definitely strangers there.

What are some of the spiritual themes that you write about in your books?

At first I didn’t realize that my books had common themes, but as I look back on them, I realize that I frequently write about the healing power of love. When I wrote for the secular market, that love was between a man and a woman. Now that I’m writing for the Christian market, I’ve been able to expand that to include the power of God’s love. There’s nothing that pleases me more than having a reader tell me that my characters’ stories helped her heal. Truly, that’s why I write.

What is the most enjoyable part of writing the book to you?

Besides getting letters from readers? Oh, you meant the writing process itself, didn’t you? For me second drafts are the most fun. I describe first drafts as skeletons, and like the ones you see at Halloween, they’re ugly. But you can’t have a body without a skeleton, and I can’t write a book without a first draft. I really, really, really dislike the first draft phase. But once it’s done, I have the foundation and am ready to add the flesh and blood that turn a skeleton into a body. For me, that’s fun. My husband claims it’s because I’m an editor at heart, and what I’m doing is editing that first draft. He may be right.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to someone else to read?

There’ve been so many good fiction books that I’d be hard-pressed to select just one, so I’m going to recommend a non-fiction book that I found truly inspiring. It’s Linda Evans Shepherd’s When You Don’t Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God About Anything. I believe this book has something to offer to everyone, even experienced prayer warriors.

What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?

I hope they’ll find their hearts filled with the joy of Christmas and that Celia, Mark and the other residents of Easton will feel like friends by the time they reach “The End.”

What are you working on now?

I’m not a last minute person, so I’ve already finished the two books that are due to my editor next January and am working on the first of a trilogy that takes place during World War One. That won’t be released until the fall of 2014. In the meantime, the second Westward Winds book, Waiting for Spring, is a January 2013 release, with the third one due out in early 2014. Also scheduled for early 2014 is Revell’s first novella collection. I’m very honored to be one of four authors whose stories will be included in that.

What advice would you give to writers who are still waiting to sell their first book?

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!


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