Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a full time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Amanda! Congratulations on your upcoming release, At Bluebonnet Lake. Can you tell us what first sparked the idea for this novel?
Amanda: Would you believe a leaky roof? My husband and I were scheduled to spend a week at what was supposed to be a very nice resort in New York State’s beautiful Adirondack Mountains. The reviews had all been glowing. Unfortunately, reality was somewhat different. When we arrived, we discovered that although the location was ideal, the resort was suffering from neglect. The electricity wasn’t dependable, and the roof leaked – right over the bed. As you can imagine, we were less than thrilled. But, in typical writer fashion, I started asking “what if?” One question led to another, and before I knew it, I had the germ of a story.
Savanna: You never know when and where inspiration is going to strike, huh? Sounds like a memorable place! 😉
You’ve written both historical fiction and contemporary. Is one genre easier to write than the other? If so, can you explain why?
Amanda: This is a great question, but there’s no easy answer, at least not for me. Writing is writing, and no matter how much I love it, it’s hard work whether I’m writing historical or contemporary fiction. Having said that, the challenges are different depending on the time period. When I’m writing historical fiction, my goal is to bring a specific year to life for my readers, so I do extensive research to learn what was happening in the world during that year, what books my characters might have been reading, what foods they would have eaten, and certainly what their clothing would look like. I’m very deliberately dating everything they say and do.
When I write a contemporary novel, my goal is to not date the story. Instead of choosing a specific year and including references to current events, pop culture, clothing trends and technology, I try to set it in what’s sometimes called “the timeless present.” Since I hope that my story will be just as relevant in five years as it is now, I need to avoid details that might seem outdated in a year or two. It’s a definite balancing act.
Savanna: I never thought about that concept before of setting a contemporary story in “the timeless present”, but it makes perfect sense.
Your website mentions you also do lots of speaking engagements. What has been one of your favorite workshops you’ve presented and why?
Amanda: This one’s easy. My favorite workshop is Glamour and Grit: The Life of a Writer. One of the things I’ve learned is that readers often have somewhat unrealistic impressions of what a writer’s life is like. They think we live glamorous lifestyles, when the reality is that there’s a lot of grit and hard work involved. We all have lots of laughs as I show them the reality.
Savanna: Sounds like a workshop I’d like to take! 😉
Out of all the places you’ve traveled to for researching your books, what’s been one of your favorite places to visit?
Amanda: This is another tough question, because I’ve visited so many beautiful and intriguing places. If I had to pick only one, though, it would be Fort Laramie. I’ve always admired the courage of the pioneers who headed west in their covered wagons, so being able to visit one of the most important stops on the Oregon Trail was a real thrill. And close by I was able to walk in the ruts left by the thousands of wagons that passed along the trail and see the inscriptions the pioneers left on Register Cliff. Truly inspiring!
Savanna: Wow! I bet! What do you love most about your home state of Wyoming?
Amanda: When people learn that I’m a transplant who used to live on the East Coast and that I chose to move to Wyoming, they often ask ‘why?’ The answer is simple: I love the wide open spaces, the clear blue sky, the rolling hills and the sagebrush prairies. There are things I miss about the East – in particular the beautiful flowering dogwoods and azaleas that used to make May so glorious – but for this season in my life, Wyoming is the perfect place for me.
Savanna: What was your favorite book as a child?
Amanda: Thanks for another easy question! My all time favorite book was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I read it so often that I had whole sections memorized, and no matter how many times I read it, I still cried every time I reached the chapter where Beth died.
Savanna: Describe your favorite place to write. What’s your ideal setting for inspiration?
Amanda: This will probably sound boring, but my favorite place to write is my office. I’ve written in airport lounges, planes and hotels, but like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I can tell you there’s no place like home. As for inspiration, it can crop up anywhere, but when it comes to the actual writing, you’ll find me at my desk.
Savanna: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Amanda: The rest of 2014 and all of 2015 are promising to be very busy for me. While Revell is hard at work designing the cover and planning the promotion for In Firefly Valley, the second of the Texas Crossroads trilogy, I’m halfway through writing the third of those books. Firefly will be released next May.
In the meantime, although the Texas Crossroads stories are contemporaries, I haven’t abandoned historical fiction. I have three novellas – all set in Wyoming in the nineteenth century – coming out between now and next summer. The first, The Christmas Star Bride, is part of The 12 Brides of Christmas series and will be released as an e-short on December 7.
Savanna: Thank you, Amanda, so much for chatting with us! I loved learning more about you and your books. Many blessings on your writing!
Amanda: Savanna, thank you for inviting me to be your guest today. I’ve enjoyed our time together.
Savanna: Readers, be sure to connect with Amanda by following these links:
In the COMMENTS below, tell us… What was YOUR favorite book as a child? Also, don’t forget to leave a “Hello” for Amanda. Any questions too. 😉