Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Q1: Thanks for participating in our Authors.com Spotlight Interview series Amanda! Please introduce yourself and your book to help our readers get to know you.
A: Thanks for having me! My name is Amanda L. V. Shalaby and my debut novel, Rhianna, will be published this year by Crimson Romance. It is a post-Regency historical romance with a strong mystery and not a few handsome lords in top hats and cravats.
Q2: Please explain how you came to be a writer, what inspired you to write your book(s) and how long it took.
A: Writing was always something I enjoyed, but I was very private about it. I wrote full-length novels in my teens and never told even my own parents until years later.
Rhianna was inspired by my grandmother, Catherine M. Fisher. When I was in my late teens, I asked her if there was anything she still wished to do during her lifetime that she had yet to accomplish. Her answer was simple: to write a book! Naturally, this seemed very doable to me, and I told her we should write one together.
As it turned out, my grandmother preferred to live vicariously through me and she never did do any of the writing, but I consulted her on plot ideas and character names. I read to her passages as they came together, and sent her home with others. My mom was also in on much of it, and I look back very fondly on our afternoons together - three generations of women – sharing a love of stories.
This particular novel took some time to put together because prior to my conversation with my grandmother, I had no knowledge of Georgian, Regency or Victorian England. There was quite a lot of research involved. Additionally, my grandmother passed away just as I met my future husband, so there were some years that I was distracted and my writing got pushed aside. Thankfully, after I picked it back up, I would say the actual writing of Rhianna took a little over a year.
Q3: What did you enjoy most about creating this book?
A. Certainly, as I mentioned, the time I had discussing it with my grandmother and my mother. It is a very special story for me because of its origins. Also, I really enjoyed researching the setting for this book. Once I started, I really came to have a love for the time period.
I think, too, for any writer, when you know you have a really amazing story to tell, you want so much to get it down on paper. You want that finished product in the hands of others who can enjoy it and love it. And with that goal in mind, the whole process of creating is immensely satisfying.
Q4: What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?
A. There are two that come to mind. My heroine has red hair, just like my grandmother had. My hero has my husband’s eye lashes – they’re so long and thick, it’s not even fair!
Q5. How did you get published?.
A. Like many new writers, once my novel was finished I submitted queries to agents and publishers for review. I consider myself very fortunate. Once I signed with Crimson Romance to add Rhianna to their historical romance line, needless to say, there was a lot of excitement!
Q6: Did you have any surprises or hiccups along the way during the book writing and/or publishing process?
A. After my grandmother passed away, it was difficult to return to writing the book. Happily, I am convinced I have written a better version now, at this stage of my life, than I ever would have been able to in my late teens/early twenties.
Q7: What one thing did you wish you'd known before you started this project?
A. Anything about post-regency England!
Q8: You're a fly on the wall when readers are discussing your book. What would you hope to hear them say about it?
A. I have a ‘favorites’ shelf for my special books that I’ve read over the years. It’s an eclectic collection. I would hope to hear my readers had a new addition to their ‘favorites’ shelf in Rhianna.
Q9: Tell us one thing about you that most people don't know or would surprise them.
A. I had no interest in reading Pride & Prejudice prior to starting this book! Now, it is one of my favorite books.
Q10: What single piece of advice would you give new authors?
A. Don’t stop writing.
Q11: Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?
A. It’s terrible, actually! My husband bought me this beautiful writing desk that is sitting in this beautiful study room– and I don’t use it at all. I sit on the floor in my living room with my dogs and prop my laptop up on the coffee table.
Q12: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us in closing such as your website, an imminent book launch or what you're working on presently?
A. You can find me on Wordpress, Facebook and Twitter:
Rhianna was released on July 16, 2012!
Authors.com profile: http://www.authors.com/profile/AmandaLVShalaby
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I agree, when you DO have a really amazing story to tell, you just want to get it out there! Thank you, Amanda, for stating that. More writers need that encouragement.