Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: Memoir books (Page 1 of 2)

Meet Author Madelyn Morgan

Hola! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat featuring author Madelyn Morgan

Madelyn Morgan is a music business marketing executive. After years of using her creative talent for the benefit of others, she decided to focus on her first love, writing. She also hosts a weekly radio segment (her second love), also called Mad About Men, which airs on WIYY, Baltimore. Morgan lives in New York City with her teenage kid (her true love), who is not allowed to read this book until she’s 18. Maybe 21. Maybe never.

Book sample:  MAD ABOUT MEN, a MenMoir

Genre: Humor, Memoir

Synopsis:  MAD ABOUT MEN IS:

  • A (mostly) true, laugh-out-loud account of a successful executive single mother’s search for love.
  • “Racy, raw, sometimes vulgar, always hilarious,” according to a guy in Chapter 32 who actually read it.
  • An account of dating and sex from a liberated, confident, unapologetic MILF in her 40s.
  • A warmly relatable story, even though it sounds like a sordid, lustful tale of promiscuity (which it also is, the author admits).

MAD ABOUT MEN IS NOT:

  • A self-help book about relationships.
  • About a woman who finds herself after some extreme, soul-searching, incredible journey.
  • A sticking-finger-in-throat sappy account of finding true love and living happily ever after.
  • Only for women to read.

Madelyn gains a new perspective on relationships after a series of major losses (some devastating, some not so much). Root for her as she entertains each potential suitor and laugh with her (or at her) as she tries to make sense of what she wants, what men want, and what to do next. Whether or not you’ve ever swiped right, Match’ed, or flirted with the flight attendant, you’ll relate to Madelyn’s search for love and (hot) sex—not necessarily in that order. Go ahead and judge her, she won’t mind.

Sample:  CHAPTER 1:  BANG!

My editor said I needed to start this book with a bang. So here goes…

One day, I had phenomenal sex with a particularly gorgeous personal trainer from my gym. He had the most stunningly perfect body, as those trainers tend to have. Caramel skin, abs like you read about in Six Pack magazine, thick, gorgeous, kissable lips, tricep cuts—one of my favorite parts of a fit man’s body—and the perfect-sized dick with a sweet little tattoo of unknown design in that sexy area just below his perfectly protruding hip bone.

We had been flirting hard for several months, until one Saturday afternoon at the gym we hugged each other “hello” so tightly that it was obvious something else was brewing.

After we had a spontaneous lunch together that same day, we went for a long walk along the Manhattan waterfront, held hands, and made out like high-schoolers. When he walked me back to my apartment there was very little discussion about what would be happening next.

I had been wanting to be properly laid for a long time. It’s not that I wasn’t having sex regularly with my then-boyfriend; it was just bad sex. One-way sex. I was in a rut and needed my world rocked, which it was on that day, multiple times.

I’m not sure if this is what my editor meant by start the book with a bang.

***

So, now let me back up and introduce myself. Wait. First, did you read Eat, Pray, Love? I know, I know, stop gagging. You may roll your eyes at that reference, or you can just admit that it was an excellent read and her journey was amazing and the book was brilliant, but it was just that disappointing movie that’s making you react negatively. Anyway, early in the book, Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t recount the details of her marriage’s end. She gave you just enough of the story so you could follow along on her journey. So, I think a nice bullet-point summary will bring you up to speed here.

  • I work in the music business.
  • I married a guy I met through work.
  • I had a miscarriage, then had a genius-perfect-child, then another miscarriage. One for three—that was enough of that pregnancy madness.
  • Four years after genius-perfect-daughter’s arrival, I had started a new job in which I was expected to deliver big results. This involves generally having your shit together. Upon my beginning said job, within a six-month period of time:
    • My husband left me.
    • My mother died.
    • My sister died.

That kind of shit seriously fucks with you. One or maybe two of those things happening in a year is bad enough. But I felt like the dump truck of hell had just backed up making that annoying beeping noise, positioned itself right over me, reared up, and unloaded a full bed of steaming, hellish contents on my head, stopped beeping, and then drove off.

What is the current book you are promoting? I am currently promoting my “men-moir,” MAD ABOUT MEN. It’s a memoir. It’s about men. Hence, menmoir. In the book’s disclaimer, I declared it a new genre; creative-memoir-non-fiction-biography-humor type thingy. Some of the stories, names, dialogues have been fictionalized, mainly so I don’t get sued for humor’s sake.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  I had been regularly emailing my best friend, Chloe, with the dating stories that are in the book, as they were happening. Many of our emails are actually featured in the book, and they help tell the story. She found them hilarious, and at one point, she threatened to “start a blog,” because she figured other people would also find my writing funny.

I thought, “Why should she start a blog with my stories?” and that sparked the idea to form my stories into something more cohesive. Originally, I thought I’d write them like short stories that could stand on their own, but also relate to each other, like a David Sedaris collection (he’s one of my faves). But then, as I got going, the stories started to interconnect, and I realized I actually had a book in me. So that’s when I decided to get serious about writing it.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  My favorite time to write is in the morning, with my coffee. I could spend hours without eating, or drinking (anything but my one cup of coffee), or peeing, while my creative juices flow. Unfortunately, I have a day job. I actually have several day jobs. I also have a kid. And, I like to work out first thing in the morning. So, those blissful, peaceful, productive mornings are very rare.

I also like to write while I’m on a plane. No matter how long or short, a flight is a nice stretch of time where no one bothers me, I don’t get distracted, and I’m basically strapped to my seat, forced to focus.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  Honestly, the hardest thing about writing my book was replying “APPROVED” after reviewing the final PDF proof from the publisher. Once I APPROVED it, there was no turning back.

It was difficult, but fun, and cathartic to write the book. It was encouraging to share it with my editor, and a few friends – people who already know me ­– because they all enjoyed it. It was exciting to talk about it “coming soon,” on my radio show.

But the point of no return, that moment of hitting SEND on the approval email, was the hardest thing. I instantly had second thoughts. The book is very personal, and it’s scary to think what people who don’t know the true me will think after reading it. I really just wanted a laugh, so hopefully that can happen, even at my expense. I have received some great reviews and positive feedback, so that’s very encouraging.

Which writers inspire you?  I enjoy writers who make me laugh. Tops on my list are David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs (who brought me to tears of laughter more than once), and Chelsea Handler. I also fell in love with Kate Mulgrew’s memoir, although it’s not at all funny, she is a brilliant writer and an incredible talent. After I read her memoir, I thought, “Oh, mine is crap. I can’t write my stupid book.”

I’ve read a zillion memoirs in the name of comparative research, and one that particularly stood out was Aziz Ansari’s. Also Taraji P. Henson’s personal story was very moving. Not that either have anything to do with inspiring my writing, I just wanted to give those a shout out.  Honorable mention to Jessi Klein and Jenny Lawson for their humor writing chops.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  Funny you should ask, because my book is currently being created into a television series. Everyone involved has their own idea of who should play me, but I can’t really see any of them. Maybe I’m too close to it, I don’t know. Maybe we should just have a casting call and hire a charming, funny, talented new-comer.

Where do you come up with your stories? As you know if you read MAD ABOUT MEN, my life is not very traditional nor simple. My stories come from my own experiences. Believe it or not, I have more than what’s in the book. And now, I am having few email exchanges with readers who reached out to share their own experiences. I am actually going to use some of those (with permission, of course), because at some point I’ll run out of my own. But it’s nice to know that I’m not alone, and that many women can relate, and have their own similar dating horror stories. I welcome any and all readers to share theirs with me!

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like?  Oh, so, other people do that? Yes, I did do that! I read my entire book from beginning to end in one sitting when the test print arrived. It was very gratifying. Until I found a typo. MF: OMG! I’m rolling here! That’s funny!

What book are you currently reading or just finished?  I just finished The List, by British comedy writer, Joanna Bolouri, and I’m on to her next one now called I Followed The Rules. This woman is hilarious. I even wrote her an email after I read The List, commending her on her bravery for tackling the subject of sex in great depth. Like a fan, I emailed her, and she emailed me back! Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I love getting emails from people who read my book and have something to say. Can you relate? Do you have a horror story to share? Have a question? I encourage you to reach out if you are so compelled. Madaboutmen98@gmail.com.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Madelyn! For more about Madelyn, her work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram

Meet Author Isana

Hola, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Isana

Writing under the pen name Isana, the author is now happily married and has found peace.  This memoir is her contribution to helping other women who have experienced childhood and adult trauma in the hope that her healing will send a message that forgiveness is possible and that bitterness is not the only outcome.  Isana finally feels whole and wants the same for those who have lived through similar experiences.

Book Sample:  Unfinished – A Personal Journey of Healing, Self-Discovery and Resilience

Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs

Born into a rigid fear-based Christian family to a mother with diagnosed post-par-tum depression, young “Frances” quickly learns her world is not a safe one.  Strappings are common for Frances, who suffers multiple forms of abuse at the hands of those closest to her throughout her childhood and adolescence.  To mask her fears and sensitivity, Frances develops a tough exterior and seeks means of distinction and success.  Desperate for love, she goes on to college to find herself involved with a young man whom she marries, convinced they are in love.  Later, in deeply different circumstances and a world away from where their relationship began, Frances confronts the fact that her marriage is not at all what it should be.  Through counseling, Frances confronts the traumas that have caused her so many difficulties.  As part of her renewal, she legally changes her name to “Isana” – meaning tenacious and strong-willed – and pursues meaning and justice in her career with unforeseen and devastating results.

Unfinished is a moving memoir that sees it’s gutsy protagonist triumph over remarkable odds to find herself and, ultimately, feel complete.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  When I decided to self-publish my memoir, I struggled with the choice to use my real name or a pen name.  Initially, I had decided to use my real name as I had spoken my truth and was ready to stand behind my words.  However, a friend expressed her concern of my safety since I was residing in the same city where I had called out people that I had worked with.  I evaluated the pros and cons: most of my life I had lived in fear, waiting for the attack, always uncertain of what would happen next.  That is when I realized that if I used my actual name, I would only be perpetuating the same.  By using a pen name, I honored myself by taking her out of the line of fire and protecting “her.”  “Isana” means strong-willed, tenacious: aspects that comprise my life as I have lived it. (hence, my choice)

When did you decide to become a writer?  I loved to read for as far back as I can remember.  I recall when I was 4 or 5 years old, I sat down and decided to start writing a book. I think subconsciously, that desire stayed with me but it wasn’t until many years later that my plan went into action.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  After I investigated my past and began to come to terms with my abuse and the many layers of dysfunction, I contemplated the possibility of writing my story.  Initially, a sibling and I tossed the idea around to do a joint venture but I realized that it had to be mine, my own life as I had experienced it.  Finally, after several years of saying “someday,” on October 25, 2011, I signed a contract with myself to begin – and I did.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The hardest part was going back to the beginning and re-hashing and re-living all the crap that I had endured, a very painful experience.  Some days, a paragraph was all I could handle.  So much I had locked away, unable to deal with the reality of it but I can’t say how healing and liberating it was to finally confront it all.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing?  Many years ago, I went to a card reader and she told me that I had a creative ability, not yet discovered.  I didn’t give it much thought but not long after, I came across a brochure to submit to see if I had the ability to write.  I thought, why not?  Needless to say, I ended up acquiring 2 diplomas through the Institute of Children’s Literature – the foundation of where I began.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  I don’t think I could go wrong in picking Jaimie Alexander from “Blindspot” to play Isana.

 If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  For each of us to look beyond all our differences and to simply treat others exactly as we ourselves want to be treated.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about?  Absolutely.  My dog Copper (from my book) became my writing buddy. Every time I went into my office to write, she was right there under the desk, her head resting on my feet.  As I struggled through the painful stuff, she was a huge source of emotional support, always knowing when it was time to put the pen down and take a break. MF: They always know; a true gift from God. Love the name Copper and such a beauty.

What do your readers mean to you?  My readers are everything – the sole purpose for my memoir.  It is for them, to give them hope that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome and rise above.  For everyone who chooses to read my story, I am grateful.

Many thanks Isana for sharing! For more about Isana and her work, follow the links below. To get your own copy of her work, click on the cover image below:

Website / Facebook / GoodReads / AmazonCA / AmazonUS

Meet Author Marian Armstrong Rogers

Hola, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Marian Armstrong Rogers

Marian Armstrong Roger’s work previously appeared in The Sun Magazine and Writer’s Journal. Studied at Pace University, and worked for Westchester County for many years, her last position being assistant to the crisis team at the Psychiatric Institute of Westchester County Medical Center, from which she is now retired.

Check this out: Astonishments: Stories as True as Memory, is a memoir in linked stories covering 6 decades: her marriage to a childhood sweetheart who 20 years later became psychotic; her timid entry into the world of work and college; an affair; and second marriage to a man who developed Alzheimer’s at the same time two daughters became increasingly ill.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it? I added my maiden name, “Armstrong,” in the middle, because I have, through writing about my life, reclaimed part of my self left behind long ago.

Why do you write? I need to write, now, as much as I need to eat.

When did you decide to become a writer? I’ve always written (only journaling and rather mediocre poems), but began writing seriously after my husband died.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? This one took about 4 years.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Grief.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Usually I write afternoons – 4 hours or so, because I sleep late. If I’m really into a story, I keep writing until the thread runs out (even if it’s 2, 3 AM)

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I write far better now than when I began at my first workshop.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? No. But old songs (CDs sometimes stir memories).

What have you written? Astonishments is my first book, recently revised and given a brighter cover, since in spite of a difficult life, I’m thankful for it, and am contented, and cheerful, so gray was inappropriate. (So I’m told.)

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I have a vague idea of what I want to write about, but sometimes have to let it go and move on.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I used the CreateSpace template, but needed help uploading a picture. Would have had someone else do a cover if I could have.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? No. I’m poor at social media sites. Readings (@ libraries, etc., were best at the beginning.

Any advice for aspiring authors? Oh yes! KEEP WRITING, even if you throw half of it away. Never give up.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? What I show in my book is how many bright memories, how much laughter there is, even during dark times. (At least I hope I accomplished that.)

Where do your ideas come from? Life        

What is the hardest thing about writing? After my book was published, and the flurry died down, I felt bereft for a time. (Now am writing stories again.)

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? I’ve not yet got the shape of it, of how the stories might connect.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? British shows on PBS, almost all of them.

Which writers inspire you? Alice Munro; Russo’s Elsewhere memoir; Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs; James Salter; Colin McCann; Alice McDermott; Jumpa Lahiri’s first 3 books. Dozens more.

What is the current book you are promoting? Astonishments: Stories as True as Memory.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Haven’t gotten there yet, but I think the title might be: Dizzy Lizzie

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school? No, only 4 workshops, two of which were excellent; at the 2nd I met seven people who “clicked”. We became a writing group that’s been meeting for almost 5 years. Excellent critiques, deep understanding and acceptance.

Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend? Yes. Recently stumbled when trying to write a story about my mother, who was kind, but (as all mother/daughter relationships), wanting in some ways, at least to me. A woman in my writer’s group recommended Louise DeSalvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing, and The Art of Slow Writing. Excellent books.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? Well, Meryl Streep as my older ‘back to the world’ person. For my child-marriage self, someone who could convey naivety (have I spelled that correctly?). For my second husband, George (oh, you know. Can’t think of his last name, but he’s gorgeous and aging beautifully, and I’d love him to play my second husband, though he’s not a look-alike (but then neither is Meryl Streep). MF: I’m going to take a guess at George Clooney 😉

What is your next project? Dizzy Lizzy

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? To create enlightenment: the realization that we’re all in this together, and that all lives have meaning.

Who inspires your writing? I’ve loved books and words and writing since I was a child.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? Once had a dog named Kip, who was my daughter’s “childerdog.” Didn’t think I’d love him, but I did.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? Only those from my writer’s group, and I already love them, having heard them come together.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? I wouldn’t have lived long enough to get an agent and traditional publisher. So I love self-publishing.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? It’s disappearing

What book are you currently reading or just finished? A memoir: Borrowed Finery, by Louise Fox, and Louise DeSalvo’s.

What do your readers mean to you? Everything, when you write.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? Mine, and the ones I listed above.

Tell us something unique about you. I’m ordinary. But contented with my whole life (except the loss of a daughter), is that unique? MF: Sure does.

There ya have it folks! For more about Marian, follow the links below:

Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author Lisa A. Baeringer

Halo my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Lisa A. Baeringer

Be sure to check out Lisa’s book: Bet You Didn’t Think MS Could Look This Good  Genre:  Memoir/Non-Fiction

Lisa A. Baeringer is a Philadelphia, PA native and continues to reside there with her husband and sons.  She’s a featured author of Cedar Loft Publishing and a contributing author of the collaborative work: “Something On Our Minds: Vol. 2”  Lisa’s the creator of the popular Facebook writer’s group: “The Writers’ Plot”  She’s has had blog posts and articles featured on various website and in magazines.

What is the current book you are promoting?  “Bet You Didn’t Think MS Could Look This Good” is a riveting memoir.  It follows the raw and emotional journey leading up to and even after mye-book-finalhr Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.  To keep it brutally honest it retains its original diary-like format.  Yet the sarcastic humor that’s peppered throughout this book is what gives it its unusual levity.

Give us an insight into your main character.  What does he/she do that is so special?  Well, with it being a memoir, the main character is me.  I used to wear my heart on my sleeve but considering that my house is dominated by testosterone I’ve become more reserved with my emotions.  I often cover them up with humor which also so happens to be my coping mechanism.  My journal was the one and only place I’d let my emotions and thoughts pour freely.  I’ve fallen down and gotten back up a lot in my life.  It’s made me tough, resilient, and adaptable.  The humor in this book will make you laugh but the emotional parts of it will make you cry.  I look to provide hope to anyone who’s battling something in their lives.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours?  And if you did, what was it like?  I’m totally guilty of not reading my book when it was published.  After reading it over and over again to correct things that my editor suggested, I was sick of my own story.  I’m hoping the time will come when I can sit down and actually read it but I’m not there yet.  I also think since it covers a very traumatic time in my life it dredged up some painful memories that I’ve learned to compartmentalize over the years.  I don’t know if I’m ready to open that door yet.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  Well, with this book, it wasn’t written from scratch so to speak.  I never planned on having it published.  It was literally my private journal that I wrote in for a few years.  Then it took about 2-3 more years to compile it, polish it up a bit (I had to omit names and quite a few curse words), and go through the actual publishing process.  I guess in all it took like 5 years but felt like 10.  It’s a process, maybe more so for me.  I definitely procrastinate sometimes because I love the feeling you get when inspiration strikes; it’s like a drug to me.  So, when it’s not there I tend to lag.  But you do need to take your time and really put the painstaking effort in to develop a good story that’s well written, keeps the reader’s attention, and leaves an impression.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?  That would be writing when you don’t feel like writing and editing.  Definitely editing.  It’s so damn tedious.  Then there are the distractions like social media, TV, text messages, etc.  When a story comes to me I get the beginning and the end with just snippets of the middle.  It’s difficult to fill a story when you already know how it’s going to end.  You don’t want to rush through it but also you don’t want it to lag either.  I guess I listed more than one thing didn’t I?

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  I write best late at night when I’m drunk with sleepiness.  That’s when the creative juices flow best for me.  The night definitely does belong to the poets and writers.

What do your fans mean to you?  They mean everything to me.  Without them I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing.  I love hearing their feedback even if it’s negative because it pushes me to try harder.  I’m very grounded even though I have this daydreamer like creativity.  My success, all writers’ success, only goes as far as the fans let it.  I appreciate and am humbled by each and every one of them.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about?  My house used to be a zoo a few years back but now I just have 3 cats and a dog.  Our black cat, Hunter (aka Monk), we had since a kitten and can be quite prissy.  He was basically raised by our dog, Hailey.  Hailey is lab-pit bull mix and is very lovey and was great with Monk and my boys when they were little.  She’s totally a momma dog but this also means she can be a tad overprotective.  She gets a little psycho with that but is extremely well-behaved.  Our grey and tiny little girl cat, Lunabelle (aka LuLu), is even more lovey than Hailey.  She also has this feisty and crazy spunk to her that only comes out at night, kind of like me.  Our big boy, Jinx (aka Pooh), is a momma’s boy.  He slept with me as a kitten by nuzzling himself right under my chin and I fed him kitten milk.  But he’s also super goofy and feisty.  He switches moods on a dime.  He doesn’t know how to meow or hiss.  His meows sound more like garbled roars and he spits when he hisses, kind of like that spitting dinosaur in Jurassic Park.  All of our pets are from shelters and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story.  How about a tease?  Well, I’m diving into the wonderful world of fiction where the possibilities are endless and you can take your story into any direction you’d like. facebook_1474473152682 It’s both terrifying and exciting.  I’m looking at it being completed as a full novel.  Right now, a little girl who’s orphaned near the end of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland is occupying my imagination.  She’s made herself quite at home in there.  While reading this story, you’ll see that some would say she experiences divine intercessions while others would say she’s emotionally disturbed and quite mad.  I want to weave some actual historical facts into it but I wouldn’t go as far to say it would classified as historical fiction.

Many thanks! For more about Lisa and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / LinkedIn

Meet Author Amanda Bucan

Hello darlings! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Amanda Bucan

Amanda was born in Northamptonshire England where she still resides today with her current partner. She has two grown up daughters and one granddaughter. Passionate about spending time outdoors she likes nothing better than sitting in the sunshine with a notepad and pen, cup of tea and bar of chocolate watching the birds squabble over their food, or the butterflies flit from shrub to shrub. Other interests include shopping, eating out, gardening, numerology, interior design and spiritual advancement. A true humanitarian at heart she believes that everyone should have a fair deal in life, and that kindness, thoughtfulness and honesty go a long way to making the world a better place.

Book sample: `From Stardust to Babylon` Memoir/Creative Non-fiction

Amanda grew up in an impoverished ex-steel town where she endured a lonely and ostracized childhood. Bullied at school she becomes a withdrawn teenager who at sixteen meets her `twin flame` while working in a humble social club. The two quickly embark upon a passionate affair though the relationship is ill-fated from the outset, and Amanda eventually marriesimage-2016-07-27 someone else. For nineteen years they live separate lives, until one harrowing day in 2001 Amanda learns via telepathic messages that Simon has died. This activates an astonishing onslaught of paranormal activity which will ultimately change the course of Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Biblical history. With the revelation of a monumental conspiracy, this story brings truth and hope to a troubled world through a universal language that transcends all faiths and all cultures. Journey the road together, awaken to life`s synchronicities and grow in wisdom.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  Bucan was my maiden name before I married. I reverted back to that for the book because it felt right somehow.

When did you decide to become a writer?  Only a couple of Months back actually. I never really thought of myself as a writer even though it`s taken me 14 years to re-write and fully complete `From Stardust to Babylon`. I was compelled to write that particular book for reasons that become apparent in the story, and I actually state at the beginning that I`m not a writer, just an ordinary person searching for the words to write an extraordinary story, however by the end of the book I realize that I`ve always been a  writer.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I think I`ve evolved enormously. When I first published FSTB back in 2004 I thought I`d done a pretty good job, but over the years I became more and more dissatisfied with what I`d produced, and so I began to work on improving the content and structure. At first you tend to embellish your work with more and more detail, and then one day you realize that actually `less is more` and it works better if you tone down the use of adjectives. It creates greater clarity and more impact.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  No never. I need complete peace and quiet to write. I don`t like to be disturbed especially by unnecessary noise. I don`t mind birds chirping or the odd lawn mower in the distance but that`s about it.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  I knew what I wanted for my cover design but I can`t draw to save my life so I knew that I`d have to get someone else to do that side of it. Luckily I have a friend who is an artist and he lives nearby, so he put it together using spray paints. His name is Jack Watto, he`s a lovely man and he does portraits mostly in the impressionist style. He doesn’t have a website at the moment but if anyone wants to contact him for more information then drop me a line via my email address amandabucan@yahoo.co.uk and I can pass the message on.

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Yes. Take your time and don`t rush. Think of your work like a rough diamond that needs to be polished over and over till it shines. You`ll be amazed at how much you can improve your work if you put it down and leave it for a few weeks or even a few months before reading it again.  There`s always room for improvement. And don`t ever give up. Keep pushing on to be the best you can be both in writing and how to market your product.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The hardest thing about writing my latest book was getting enough peace to do it. Invariably whenever I decided to sit down and crack on with it I`d be bombarded with barking dogs, screaming kids, pneumatic drills going off, motorbikes, ice-cream vans. You name it and suddenly it all came crashing around me like a great whirlwind of noise.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  I particularly like thrillers, period dramas or horrors. At the moment top of the list would have to be Poldark and the Queen Victoria dramatization. I was also a big fan of Downton Abbey. Bates Motel would have to be up there along with The Affair and The Fall, and I`m a huge fan of the old stuff too like Inspector Morse, Minder, On the Buses and the classic Carry On films. My all-time favourite though would have to be Dallas.  

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  No, I have no formal education in writing. I went to an ordinary school, (a particularly bad one I have to add.) Didn’t go to uni, so I would love to fly the flag for talented underdogs everywhere.

Truly talented individuals are born with their gift, it`s not something that can be learned, and yet those same people are prejudiced against for having no university education, no money and no friends in high places. There is so much undiscovered talent out there because of these prejudices which is a real shame. For that reason I wouldn`t consider trying to gain any qualifications at this stage in my life. I believe that you learn far more living life than you ever do while you`re at school.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  I would love the book to be made into a movie but no obvious persons come to mind for the lead characters, so I think unknown actors would be the way to go. I would instinctively know if I sat in on the auditions when the right people came along.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  My favourite fictional character would be Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights. I think because we have so much in common. To have loved at that level, and to go through your whole life only ever feeling like half a person is quite torturous. Life and loss had made him into a bitter tyrant and I can fully comprehend how that could come about because of the suffering that he endured. He was very attuned to spirit and again that`s something which we share in common.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  To abolish religion. It`s the only way forward for a better world. For people everywhere to understand that religion is about power and control. One person having control over another. Wear whatever clothes you choose, perform whatever rituals you want to perform and call God by whatever name you desire in the full knowledge that there is no Muslim God or Jewish God or Roman Catholic God or whatever, there is only the ONE. We all worship the same God but in different ways. Don`t tell others how they should worship or what they should or shouldn`t be doing. That is the biggest affront to God. When people realize that we are all merely interpreting the one God in different ways and that his laws of love are universal, then this planet will move on in leaps and bounds.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  Patience. That you can`t force things to happen before the timings are right, and that when you encounter delays or set-backs it`s not because you`re not good enough, it`s because you`ve overlooked something important. You need to take more time out to assess your work and make the necessary amendments.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  No. I love doing it because it puts me right back in that moment at that time with that person. I`m conscious of trying to write a scene well though, which is apparently one of the most challenging things for any author; to beimg_0814-11 able to write good sex without it being smutty or graphic, unless of course that`s the particular angle you`re going for. I would dearly love to be critically acclaimed as someone who could write a good love/sex scene.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I think there are lots of pros and cons for both. Any writer should carefully consider all the options available before diving in. At the end of the day you have to go with your gut instinct though.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Definitely. There are many sites/companies that won`t even entertain the idea of looking at your book let alone reviewing it if you are self-published There`s a great deal of snobbery in the publishing industry, but that`s just the way it is so we have to work with what we`ve got, or more accurately what we can get.

What do your fans mean to you?  Fans mean everything to me because I have a very important message to get out into the world and that message can make a huge difference to people`s lives. I am passionate about helping others, so if I can help anyone out there with their difficulties through my writing then mission accomplished.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?  Yes my own!

Many thanks Amanda for stopping by! For more about Amanda and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / BookTrailer / YouTube / Google

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