Monday, March 1, 2010

Introducing Joyce’s client, Amanda Cabot.

I’m pleased to introduce Amanda Cabot to you today. Her latest book Scattered Petals has just been released by Revell Publishing.

1. Tell us a about a little bit about yourself

From early childhood on, I had two dreams – to live in Europe and to write a book. Though I would never have expected it, the two wound up being related. I lived in Europe, first in France as a college student, then in Germany when my husband was stationed there with the U.S. Army. Those experiences provided the background for my first short contemporary romance, my first long historical, and my first book for the CBA market, Paper Roses.

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing – first short stories (seriously lacking in plot and characterization, but what do you expect from an eight-year old?), neighborhood newspapers (no competition for The New York Times) and plays for my grade-school classmates. (No, they didn’t make it to Broadway.) On the positive side, all that writing helped hone my skills, for I’ve sold more than twenty-five novels, four non-fiction books and what I describe as “enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city.”

For many years I worked in Information Technology and was a director of IT for a Fortune 50 company. Now I’m delighted to be a full-time writer and speaker living happily ever after in Cheyenne with my high school sweetheart who’s been my husband for more than thirty-five years.

2. What led you to the career choice of becoming an author?

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 (graduating from short stories and plays to novels). 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 city 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. After I sold my first book, I continued working full time but still managed to write at least one book a year.

3. What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on the first draft (sigh!) of Book One in the Wyoming Winds series. The reason for the sigh is that first drafts are my least favorite part of a book. I refer to them as the skeleton, and like the skeletons you see at Halloween, they’re ugly, but they form the foundation for the book. It’s not all drudgery, though. Since I live in Wyoming, I’m having a lot of fun, introducing readers to my new home state.

Wyoming Winds is the trilogy that will be published after the third of the Texas Dreams books.

4. How do you do the research for your historical books?

I spend a lot of time at libraries. (I suspect that I’m the queen of ILL (inter-library loan) in Cheyenne.) One piece of advice I was given (and which I give to other writers of historicals) is to start in the children’s section. The books there give enough detail to provide the framework for a story but don’t bog you down with thousands of pages. You can fill in details once you’ve outlined the story or – in my case, written the first draft. By then you’ll know exactly what information you need. That advice has saved me countless months of research.

I also travel to each of the locations I’m writing about. As wonderful as the Internet is for research, it can’t tell you what the air feels like or what colloquialisms people have. Even though most of the towns in my books are fictional, the details come from first-hand visits.

5. What has been the hardest part of writing your books?

First drafts are always the most difficult part for me. I typically get to the middle of the first draft and am convinced that I’ve just written the worst prose ever found in the English language. If I didn’t have a contract, I’d probably stop writing right then. But when I reach the end and start the second draft, I realize that my fears were unfounded. Sure, what I’d written wasn’t perfect, but it gave me the skeleton I needed before I could add the flesh and blood.

6. What do you hope people will take away from your books?

My most fervent prayer is that my books will touch readers’ hearts and deepen their faith.

7. What is the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?

The best was to write in multiple genres until I found my niche. The worst, to follow market trends. Some authors can do that successfully, but I can’t. I need to write from the heart, not necessarily for the market.

8. What new projects are you working on?

I have six more books to write for Revell, the three Wyoming Winds books and then three set in New Jersey during World War One. I’ve also just completed a proposal for a Christmas novella and am waiting for a decision on that.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

My advice to aspiring writers is to never give up.

Give us a short summary of your book that is being released currently, Scattered Petals, the second in the Texas Dream series.

Scattered Petals is a historical romance set in the Texas Hill Country beginning in late 1856. Although completely accurate, isn’t that a boring description? Who would read a book if that was all you knew about it? Let’s try again. Here’s the back cover blurb, which I hope intrigues you more than that plain vanilla first sentence.

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who’s haunted by memories of his mistakes.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals weaves a tale of drama, love and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself.

For more information about the book and to read an excerpt, please visit my web site:

Thanks, Amanda. It’s such a pleasure to work with you and I love your stories. I hope our readers will go find your books in their bookstores or online.
Thanks to our faithful readers for following our blog.

In His service,


Diana said...

You are a wonderful writer and I appreciate how you relate first drafts to halloween skeletons. They are ugly in this stage. Also a great piece of advice for those researching their novels. Go to the history section in the childrens' section of the library. Great idea. Thanks for sharing here today and I wish you continued success and joy!

Diana said...
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