Hello! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Amanda E. Howard
Amanda E. Howard is the granddaughter of a Naturopathic doctor as well as a dancer, dance teacher, and former dance studio owner. At age 18, she opened her first dance studio, Praise Him with a Dance, where she taught ballet, pointe, and tap. In 2017, Amanda became a certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Health Specialist and has started up her most recent business, La Belle Vie Fitness. Amanda works with athletes and dancers who wish to maintain and build strong, healthy bodies on and off season. She specializes in teaching prevention methods for injuries and illness by instructing clients how to maintain strength and endurance.
Book sample: A Dancer’s Diary
Synopsis: A Dancer’s Diary has taken years to research as I wanted it to be very unique from all of the other health-related dance books that are for sale. Instead of focusing on just one topic, I have decided to use my experience as a dancer and dance teacher to write about everything a dancer needs to know. This includes prevention and care of injuries, maintaining a healthy weight without falling into an eating disorder, how to make their own “spa” products at home, fun recipes, stretches, and beautifully illustrated journal pages.
Each dancer deserves a chance to reach their highest goals and potential. Injury and illness can hinder performance, making it difficult to reach these goals. Prevention is the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. The first step is learning how to avoid injury and illness. Once you have established that, it will be much easier for you to achieve your goals and enjoy dancing. With this book, dancers will miss less classes throughout the dance year, leaving more time to excel and grow as a dancer. They will also have fun with the extra chapters on how to take care of your hair, feet, and skin, try their hand at homemade “spa” products, and learn easy ways to stay cool under pressure.
Why do you write? I write to inspire people and bring a little beauty into their lives. That is my ultimate goal; to show others the beautiful in the world.
When did you decide to become a writer? It was when I was 16 that writing really became a huge part of my life. That was also when I decided to take anatomy and physiology classes and that kind of sparked the interest to start writing health and fitness tips for girls my age, especially dancers. I’ve always love the research part of my writing. I also love the fact that I can write about what I already know instead of making something up as I go.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book? A Dancer’s Diary has taken about 4-5 years to complete and that is because I kept putting it off. I think if I had stuck to it, I could have had it done within a year. Other books that I am currently working on are taking a much shorter amount of time.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I saw that my fellow dance-classmates were getting sick constantly and were getting injuries from either dance or another sport they were in. Because of my background in health, I wanted to share everything I had learned instead of keeping all the information to myself. My passion is working with athletes; helping them prevent and repair injuries. This book was the perfect way to get that passion started.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? This whole experience has been eye opening because I never knew how much creativity had to go into a self-help/health book. I’ve had to really push myself outside of my comfort zone with marketing, designing, writing, and even photography.
Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? It depends on my mood. I like listening to movie scores, it really helps me focus. Sometimes I like to listen to classical and sometimes I like 70s, 80s, and 90s hits. Netflix is my downfall sometimes. I like to watch movies while I write, even though it’s probably not a great idea.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I work pretty erratically and that seems to work for me. I love seeing where my ideas will take me. When I was writing A Dancer’s Diary, I worked on whatever chapter suited me that day. Whenever I did research, I would write things down in a Word document, on sticky notes, and even collect magazine pages and keep them in a pile until I needed them.
Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? Currently I am giving my sister a chance to work on her designing/drawing skill by creating beautiful illustrations and the book cover. I am very excited about how it all looks so far!
What is the hardest thing about writing? The endless research and writing and being persistent and positive through it all. There were times that I felt that A Dancer’s Dairy would never get finished, or that there was too much information, or not enough. You just have to stay positive and be persistent and consistent with your work.
What is your next project? My next project is an injury prevention and recovery book. I am finding that there is a huge need for this type of book, so I figure I might as well go for it.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Only God can change the heart of a person. There is so much suffering and hurt in this world and it makes me sad. I believe that it is my job as a believer to share love and hope. My writing (both A Dancer’s Diary and my blog) and teaching is my way of sharing that love and inspiration. Changing the world comes one step at a time, this is my step.
Who inspires your writing? My mom and grandmother inspire me. I also feel that God has given me a great love of learning, so ultimately it is my Heavenly Father who inspires my work.
What are some of your favorite books and why? I love to read! Thus, I love many different books. I would say that my top 5 favorite books are Jane Eyre, Ben Hur, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anne of Green Gables, and The Three Musketeers. They are all adventurous novels in their own sense and some even have a little mystery. I’ve always loved historical books and books that were based in simpler times (Anne of Green Gables). They are just fun to read and they transport you to another time and another world.
What do your readers mean to you? I love every one of my readers! They mean the world to me. I look forward to my book signings and blog tour so I can meet some of these beautiful people.
Is there anything else you would like to add? A Dancer’s Diary is not just for dancers. I wrote it for anyone who wants to become more flexible, maintain/lose weight, stay strong throughout the year, conquer an eating disorder, build a strong immune system, and learn how to shop organically without breaking the bank. There are also fun chapters that make the book interesting and enjoyable, including the beautifully illustrated journal pages.
Thank you for reading!
Many thanks Amanda! For more about Amanda, her work, and to get your copy, follow the links below: