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
In addition to checking her website, be sure to keep up with Amanda on Twitter (@MrsAmandaProwse) and Facebook. Her books are available at both Amazon.com (US) and Amazon.co.uk (UK).
ENTER TO WIN!
Comment below to win a SIGNED copy of A Little Love. The giveaway (worldwide) will remain open until 11:59 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, May 6, at which point FOUR winners will be chosen at random.
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 😉
Click here for Amazon US or here for Amazon UK
Next Wednesday, May 7, Elizabeth Blackwell stops by to talk about her novel, While Beauty Slept, which puts a new spin on the fairy tale we all grew up with.
Plus, she has print copies of her book for two lucky readers! Don’t miss it 😉
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42 responses to “Q&A with bestselling author Amanda Prowse — and a BIG giveaway!”
Having entered middle age myself, I am quite ready for a heroine who isn’t so young:). I also like your story–of how you became a writer. You are an inspiration to us all.
Thanks for visiting, Cathy!
Agree Cathy – Amanda’s books talk to me like no other, I’m the wrong side of 50, but I read her books and it feels like the right side! 🙂
There’s no wrong side!
I first heard Amanda on Lbc 97.3fm some years ago when she was promoting ‘PoppyDay’ the fact that she was donating all proceeds to The Royal British Legion and the way she spoke immediately got my attention! She is a natural storyteller except when you read her books you truly feel the characters as if they lived near you….they become part of you. The moment in ‘What Have I done?’ When the wife’s last treasured memento is destroyed made me cry for hours . There are always moments within her novels where something resonates with your own life experience. I immediately bought Poppy Day as I listened to her talk and have bought every copy since? She has also inspired me to try and put pen to paper. Thanks Amanda x
Thanks for commenting, Karrie. Amanda really is an extremely generous person in addition to being a great writer. Best of luck with your writing as well!
Yes I love to read books where the heroine is near my age rather then in her twenties.
Thanks for stopping by, Rhonda.
Such a wonderfull cover! It is always very interesting to learn how the writers became writers! I’ve never read one of Amanda’s books but I am going to have to add them to my TBR pile!
Hi Alba, I’m so happy to hear that 😉
Very cool! Count me in!
Consider yourself counted 🙂
Thanks for commenting
Always interested in finding a great read from a lesser known author, to read , review and public ally cheer about!!
That’s part of my goal with this interview series. Thanks for supporting it!
Sounds like a great book! I will check out her other books too!
Hi Jessica. Sounds great!
I love the sound of this! I enjoy baking as well, so that part definitely grabbed my attention! I just turned 25, but I still agree we need more books about “middle aged” heroines! 🙂
Agreed. 31 here, but I still feel 12 at heart. I don’t know if that ever changes.
Refreshing to see an “older” heroine. Great idea and also like Amanda’s own story as well. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for supporting SM’s interview series 🙂
Thanks for the giveaway! Always love discovering new authors:)
Hi Sheena. Thanks for stopping by. May and June are filled with fabulous authors and giveaways so keep coming back 😉
Having read ‘A Little Love’ myself, I can confirm it is the most scrumptious read! A must! Amanda is firmly placed as one of my favourite authors.
Good to know. Thanks Heather!
Amanda is my favourite author, I can’t recommend her enough. You get lost in her books, you get love, laughter, tears and so much more. Xxxx
That’s the best way to get lost, for sure. Thanks for stopping by!
Amanda writes from her heart…directly to ours. Once I start one of her books I cannot put it down! Bravo!!!
What a fantastic compliment, Paula 🙂
I will be reading Amanda’s books from now on when I found out she donated via poppy day to the RBL that is a woman with a big heart my friends and I who work at Bennet House r her new fans and the armed service community who use our facility thank you Amanda
I’ve hosted many authors here, and I have to agree Amanda is one of the most generous–with her time as well as financially. Thanks for stopping by, Rosemary!
I LOVE the cover, it sure is gorgeous! Would definitely love to read it, already heard great comments about it. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.
Agreed. I love any cover with little flurries in the air 😉
I love Pru’s mantra! This sounds like a great book.
“Life begins when you let it.” Very true 🙂
I agree with everyone else. The heroine being a bit older does seem to be right up our alley. It does sound like a great premise. Thanks for coming up with such a great plot and I enjoyed the interview. I’d love to read this.
Thanks for stopping by, Suzan!
count me in I love reading books 😀
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Congratulations to Paula, Kimberly, Heather, and Rosemary! If you didn’t win, be sure to come back next week for a chance to win WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT, by Elizabeth Blackwell.
Once again, a great interview. Thanks for introducing me to another author!