Friday, March 5, 2010

My Friend Amanda - Interview & Giveaway

Today we're welcoming Amanda Cabot to chat about her new release, Scattered Petals. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of the first book in her Texas Dreams Series and couldn't wait to get the sequel. At the moment I've taken it off the to-be-read pile and moved it to the Reading slot but haven't yet had the time to do more than put my bookmark in. (Sick kids this week.) So I'm gonna get this thing up quickly so I can get reading!

Amanda has graciously offered a signed copy of the book to one lucky reader with a U.S. mailing address, so leave your comments below with an email address!

~*~

About Amanda

Amanda Cabot has always been a dreamer, and so it’s no coincidence that her first books for the CBA market are called Texas Dreams. Set in the Hill Country beginning in 1856, these deeply emotional historical romances showcase God’s love as well as that between a man and a woman. The first in the trilogy, Paper Roses, is in its second printing, and Scattered Petals has just been released.

A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer living in Cheyenne, WY with her high school sweetheart/ husband of many years.

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About Scattered Petals

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who’s haunted by memories of his mistakes.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals weaves a tale of drama, love and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself.

~*~

What's your latest book?

Scattered Petals, the second of the Texas Dreams books, is a March 2010 release from Revell. Although I’ve designed it as a standalone book, because my pet peeves include books that have to be read in the order they were written, its hero was introduced in Paper Roses, and readers will have a chance to visit with many of the characters of Paper Roses. For me, writing books in a series is like returning to a favorite place. Somehow, it’s just as wonderful – maybe more so – the second time.

A philosophy I share! Is there a theme to this book?

All of my books seem to have an underlying theme of the healing power of love. I don’t always have that in mind when I begin the book, but since I believe in love (and justice, but that’s another story), there’s usually at least a hint of healing. Scattered Petals, however, was designed as a healing story. Priscilla, who’s been attacked by a bandit, needs to heal both physically and emotionally, while Zach’s healing is internal.

Ah, I can picture it already *happy sigh*. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

Romance, in both cases. I love happy endings, and so I gravitate toward books that promise me one. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching two apparently mismatched people surmount obstacles along the path to true love, and when you add a faith element … well, that’s the perfect story for me.

This fellow romance-lover agrees wholeheartedly. =) Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

Since I write (and read) historical novels, one thing I dread are anachronisms, words that are used “before their time.” I cringe when I read about water flowing off the medieval knight’s armor as if it were coated with Teflon (not likely, since Teflon was a twentieth century invention) or when a soldier wears camouflage in the American Civil War. (“Camouflage” came into use during the first World War.) Because mistakes like that turn perfectly good books into ones I have trouble finishing, I use a dictionary which lists the date of first common usage. It’s such a constant companion when I’m writing that the cover is starting to look a bit shabby. I guess it’s time to consider buying a new copy.

LOL on the knight's Teflon armor. I mean, seriously. I keep etymonline.com up on browser incessantly when writing a historical, because I share that dread of anachronisms! So what lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

I’m still amazed at how much work goes into turning a story into a finished book and how many people are involved in the process. It’s not simply a matter of editing a book and typesetting it! There are so many people at Revell who have vital roles in my own books’ publication process that I created a spreadsheet, listing employees’ names, email addresses and their roles in the process. Revell, for example, starts a year before the pub date with what they call a “positioning” meeting. That meeting, which includes people from Marketing, Sales, Publicity and Editorial, selects the title and, in some cases, what’s called the “sell line.” (That’s the one or two sentence teaser you see on the front cover.) Once that’s done, the Art department starts work on the cover. Each and every element you see on a cover is carefully chosen, designed to appeal to readers and to be true to the story (no blonde models if the heroine is a brunette). And the process continues, with careful attention at each stage. It’s wonderful, working with so many people who care so much about making each book the very best it can be.

So in depth! I'm still amazed by what goes into a finished book too. But let's turn back to the writing. What writing goal have you set for yourself that would be the hardest (or unlikeliest) but most rewarding to achieve?

My highest goal is to write a book that’s worthy of a Christy Award. The Christies are very special awards, since – unlike many contests where authors enter their own books – the entries come only from the publishers, and, since the entry fee is higher than most contests, publishers are very selective about which books they send for judging. It’s a huge honor to be a Christy finalist, and a winner … well, that would be the pinnacle of my career.

That's one of my ultimate goals too. We'll have to be sure not to be against each other in a given year. ;-) What are you writing right now?

As I mentioned before, in the publishing world, everything starts at least a year in advance, so even though there’s still another Texas Dreams book in the pipeline (Tomorrow’s Garden,which has a pub date of March 2011), I’ve finished that manuscript and am now working on the first of the three Wyoming Winds books that are under contract.

~*~

Thanks for visiting, Amanda! Readers, check out Amanda's website at www.amandacabot.com. You can order Scattered Petals at Amazon and CrossPurposes.

Contest ends 3/11/10. Void where prohibited. Winner will have two weeks to claim their book before another winner is selected.

16 comments:

  1. She sounds lovely, and you only have to look at her photo to know she's a lovely personality. I'm disappointed I don't live in the States as I'd really like to read this book- I'll have to see if I can order it later in the year for my birthday! Nudge to the Hub!

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  2. This sounds like a wonderful read and i would love to read it!

    lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

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  3. This sounds great!! I love a good romance with a happy ending too :) Thanks for the contest!!

    inthehammockblog (at) gmail (dot) com

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  4. I love the cover. Sounds like a good book too. Thanks for the interview.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  5. I have Amanda's first book and love this series. And what a beautiful cover! Thank you for an enjoyable interview and chance to win a copy.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouthy [dot] net

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  6. I love the book cover & would love to win a copy of Scattered Petals. Please enter me.

    God bless you,
    Cindy Woolard

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  7. I would love to read this! Please enter me in the contest for a copy :)

    ksmiley2[at]kent[dot]edu

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  8. This book sounds so wonderful! I would love to read it! And Amanda is just so kind I just love to hear her points of view on writing. She seem like the kind of person you could sit down with a cup of coffee in hand and talk to forever!:)
    Please enter me in the contest I would love to have a chance to win this book!:) Oh and Carman sent me!:)
    Lindsey
    lindseypa89(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. Please enter me into the drawing

    I follow you on google

    http://edna-myfavoritethings.blogspot.com/

    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

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  10. I really enjoyed this interview.

    This looks like a great read. I'd love to win!

    Thanks for the chance.
    tweezle at gmail dot com

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  11. i would love to read this book...thanks for the opportunity

    karenk
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)Com

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  12. Camo in the civil war, huh? Interesting!!:)
    Thanks for the interview. I love Revell's covers, and yours is beautiful.

    Kristen G. Johnson

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  13. Would love to win this book.
    Sounds great. Thanks for the great interview.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Blessings,
    Trinity Rose

    wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

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  14. It's such fun reading all the comments! Like you, I think Revell's covers are gorgeous. I didn't know how they'd top the one for PAPER ROSES, but I think the one for SCATTERED PETALS is even better. Now I can't wait to see what they come up with for TOMORROW'S GARDEN.

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  15. I would love this books.
    csdsksds{at}gmail{dot}com

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  16. Great interview. Scattered Petals sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

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