Friday, April 26, 2013

Interview with Amanda James

Today we welcome Amanda James to the RNA Blog. Mandy was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing. 

Do tell us what made you want to write and how you got your first break?

I have always written short stories and poems as far back as I can remember. When I was eight, I pestered my parents to buy me a Petite typewriter for Christmas. I loved it and felt very grown up as I typed away writing the new bestsellers! I was very good at English and History at school, but apart from that I frittered my time away in other classes. A long and very winding road took me to college and then university. After that I went into teaching. But all through my life I never stopped writing

In 2002 I wrote my first novel and the next soon after. It was hard fitting it all in around lesson prep, marking etc, but I felt I just needed to write. I had my first short story published in 2010. I then went on to have eight short stories published in various other anthologies. My novel RIGHTEOUS EXPOSURE was published (e-book only) by Crooked Cat Publishing in February last year. And I am soon to have my first paperback A STITCH IN TIME published by Choc Lit in April.

You must be so excited. Tell us about this new title, and what inspired you to write it. 

A STITCH IN TIME is essentially about Sarah Yates, a time-travelling history teacher. (Yes, really!) It has more than a touch of romantic comedy, but serious issues are addressed also. I hadn't thought of it before the day I decided on a title! I was thinking of catchy phrases or sayings that would grab a person’s attention while browsing book shelves. Then once I had plumped for A Stitch in Time, the story just came into my head. I

Do you plan the story before you start or let it emerge as you write?

I just have the bare bones of an idea and the characters and jot them down in a few paragraphs. So yes, my ideas evolve as I go along. My characters have a mind of their own and don’t listen to a word I say. They just do their own thing and can be quite rude when I try to force them to do something. I love to be entertained and I can't wait to see what will happen next.

What do you do when the going gets tough?

If I get stuck I often step away for a while and try not to think about it. I find that if I am doing something like gardening or the housework (god forbid) an idea might come to me about how to solve a problem in my ms. I have on occasion left a novel for a few months, perhaps longer and then come back to them with fresh eyes. Normally though I am quite lucky and don't often get stuck.

How did you devise the hero? Did you base them upon a favourite of yours?

Mandy by the Bristol suspension bridge

That is a tricky one. I have lots of heroes but not particularly gorgeous ones like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and a guy called Korczac Ziolkowski who started the carving of Crazy Horse Mountain in South Dakota. All really strong, inspirational men who never gave up on their dreams. But if I had to pick a dishy one it would have to be Johnny Depp or Aidan Turner. My John from A Stitch in Time is somewhere between the two.

What next? Tell us something of your latest work in progress. 

My latest WiP is a sequel to A Stitch in Time as the people who have read the ebook have asked for one. I had already started it, luckily! I also have another coming out next year with my fantastic publisher, Choc Lit. Thank you so much for having me on the RNA Blog. It's been great fun.

We’re delighted you could spare the time to talk to us Mandy, and wish you every success for the future. 
Best wishes, Freda 

Find out more: 

Sarah Yates is disillusioned with her job and recently divorced. Her husband left her for her best friend and as a consequence she is very wary of committing to anyone else as she was broken apart by their betrayal. However, when mysterious and very lovely John Needler arrives on the scene and asks her to travel through time to save the lives of others, she is more than a little attracted to him. Sarah finds new purpose in trying to help people in the past find their happy endings. The big question is – will she ever be able to find hers? 

Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me:


Margaret James said...

Great interview, Mandy! I'm so pleased to hear you're writing a sequel to A Stitch in Time. I can't begin to imagine what will happen and am looking forward to finding out!

angela britnell said...

I loved reading more about you and your writing process, Mandy. How wonderful that readers want a sequel!

Liv Thomas said...

Looking forward to the sequel, Mandy. It could run and run! BBC next? So pleased it's doing well for you.

Mandy K James said...

Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I am enjoying writing the sequel! And thanks to Freda once more for hosting me, too :)x

Chris Stovell said...

I loved A Stitch in Time so I'm delighted there's a sequel on the way. My OH may be less thrilled since I kept him awake, shaking with laughter whilst trying to read A Stitch in Time quietly and with my feeble little Kindle light!