Like many writers, Amanda Prowse started out doing something else entirely, but ultimately could not ignore the call of the pen. And it’s a good thing she didn’t! Now a bestselling author, she has published four novels and four short stories. The titles in her No Greater Love series all involve strong women “in extraordinary situations for love.” (She also gets extra points in my book for starting out self-published!)
After the interview, leave a comment for a chance to win one of FOUR SIGNED copies of A Little Love.
You worked as a management consultant for several years before deciding to take the plunge and try your hand at writing full-time. Was this something you always knew you wanted to do? If so, what gave you the push to finally take that leap and how did you make the transition?
I think if you really really want to do something it’s often because you have a sneaking suspicion that you might be quite good at it! I had always scribbled notes for short stories and gathered snippets about people I met who I thought might make great characters, but writing for a living was inconceivable to me. I come from a working class family and didn’t know anyone that wrote, it felt like another world that I wasn’t part of. Finally aged 40, after overcoming cancer, my sons were older and my soldier husband back from his thirteenth tour—I realised that this is my one time around the block and I had to live the life I dreamed of, so I picked up my pen and haven’t looked back!
Your first book, Poppy Day, began as a self-published novel. But it quickly became a bestseller, attracted the attention of Head of Zeus publishers, and triggered an entire series. This must have been an extremely emotional and rewarding process. What did that teach you about the industry and your writing?
Emotional, rewarding and like a fairytale! I still pinch myself when I look back at my journey so far. Self-publishing and my naivety about the book industry meant I didn’t see many of the boulders that were blocking my way, meaning I simply jumped over them. Now, looking from the inside out, I can see the enormous problem of actually getting your work read. Publishers and agents are inundated and I’m certain that many brilliant books slip through the net. This is the great thing about the digital world—you can put your work out there and if it’s good enough it will get noticed.
Your latest, A Little Love, is described as a tale of “love, loss and lies—and finding happiness before it’s too late.” What can you tell us about Pru Plum’s story?
Pru’s story is uplifting and life affirming. She is a woman who finds love for the first time aged 66. It carries a poignant message for all those women who have more years behind them than ahead, women who have been hurt, women who have mourned, women who have put everyone before themselves. I want to encourage them to ignore the bulge in their tums, the wobble to their bums, the lines on their face and their worries for the future. I want them to look in the mirror and ask ‘I wonder where my journey will take me today?’ Pru’s mantra is one we can all learn from and is certainly one I embrace ‘LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU LET IT!’
What do think people will love most about the book? What do you love about it?
I think people will love the fact that, unlike most novels/movies/music, the heroine is not a perfectly pert 24 year old! I sometimes feel it’s important to knock on the window of society and holler, ‘hello! We may be over 40 but we ain’t dead yet!’
Pru is a baker and I really enjoy the mix of love and baking—who in the world makes a cake without love? It’s the ultimate expression of giving, the heady scents, sweet reward and time taken, all to give someone something beautiful to eat. Bakers will get this!
Spreading the word is one of the most daunting aspects of publishing with a smaller press. How do you get your titles out there?
Embrace social media—don’t fear it! Get stuck in and be brave—Blog, invite people to like your work, send out samples, approach local book clubs and write pieces for local press. Do anything to get your titles in front of people’s eyes. It IS tough, but once it gains traction, you won’t look back. I think the writing community is a generous one; ask other writers/authors to spread the word. I do this all the time for any links anyone sends me, sharing the love!
There are many rough patches on the road to publication. How did you get through the bad days?
I have a sign on my kitchen wall that reads, ‘PERSEVERANCE, NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP’ and that about sums it up. There are days where you think, this will never happen for me, days where you feel like binning/deleting your manuscript. DON’T. Tomorrow is a new dawn and you never know when the break you are looking for might come. I am living proof of this. Deep breath, walk around the block and back to it. We are writers and what we do is write—so keep going!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that you can share with aspiring writers?
Take all the advice and feedback you are given, no matter how tough and bruising that might feel. It’s not easy to hear criticism on something you have toiled over, kind of like getting a big fat F on a piece of homework when you really really tried! BUT it is coming from people who know their craft and know what sells. By shaping your work, it will be better and when it’s better, you stand a good chance of making the breakthrough.
What can fans expect from you next?
My next novel is called Will You Remember Me? And is the tale of an ordinary Mom battling cancer. Despite its harrowing subject matter, it is a wonderful, positive story that will leave you punching the air in triumph! There is a free preview of it on www.amandaprowse.org
ENTER TO WIN!
Best of luck to you all!
FOR ALL THOSE TIMES MOM POKED FUN AT HER “PRINCE”
In honor of International Chick Lit Month and Mother’s Day, Desperately Ever After has been marked down once again, in both print and e-book formats. If your mother misses “Desperate Housewives” … if she could use a laugh … if she’s ever referred to her home as her “castle” or poked fun the notion of “damsels in distress” … give her an early beach read with Desperately Ever After 😉
Plus, she has print copies of her book for two lucky readers! Don’t miss it 😉
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