Welcome to our Author Spotlight, where we shine a light on writers, authors, and literary wonders worldwide.
1. First, tell us a little about your book/project?
My newest book, which will be number nine for me, will be released on April 1st of this year. It's called "Lost April" and chronicles my journey through the first three months of the pandemic as I learned of friends who were dying of cancer and not expected to survive. I sacrificed everything to keep my household together while also spending as much time as possible with those I loved during the lockdown. I'm a survivor of human trafficking and that human connection with someone I care about is very important to me. I know better than most what it's like to be alone and frightened, knowing there's a good chance you won't survive even a little longer.
I have previously written about my life in a "micro-biographies" series and a full autobiography called Custom Justice, but I also have a post-apocalyptic science fiction series in the works. The third book in that series will be released on September 1st of this year. I'm excited to be able to move on to the next series (already in the works) but by this time next year, I'll have my very first cookbook published, too!
2. What kind of research did you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
With the micro biographies and my autobiography, there wasn't much research required, but I did actually do some research anyway. I wanted to know the statistics. Did you know that an estimated 2% of all human trafficking victims actually survive? I didn't until then. For the science fiction series, there was considerably more research involved. My favorite part of that was going to the Army Surplus stores in my area and looking at survival gear, as well as picking up old 1960s military survival handbooks. They're truly fascinating!
3. If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?
It doesn't matter who does or doesn't believe in you, so long as you believe in yourself. There will be challenges and obstacles that you will be convinced you won't survive, but writing about them will eventually save your life.
4. Can you tell us a bit about your writing space? Is there something you need to have when writing a book?
I'm so excited about this! My writing space is actually an entire room in the house all to myself. As of tomorrow, I will finally have the floor-to-ceiling enclosed display shelves lining the entire wall behind my classic antique-style cherrywood desk. Those display units will house some of my books and most of my 1940s antique collection of hats, handbags, gloves, shoes, writing utensils, books, a 1947 typewriter, jewelry, and more. I've collected this stuff since I used to be a museum guide at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where I specialized in the holocaust exhibit. I wasn't just a guide. I was a part of the exhibit, always wearing my antiques each day I went there. It seemed to have a more profound effect on museum visitors that way. My writing space encompasses a little bit of every creative aspect of my life, including one of my own paintings, previously written about in the Chicago Tribune.
5. If you could be a character from any book for 24 hours, who would you be?
I would have to choose Sherlock Holmes. What a power it would be to have such keen observation skills and incredible intelligence, but what a burden it would be to carry that weight within one's head for a prolonged period of time. Plus, it wouldn't hurt to also have a greater understanding of the power within one's own silence when all the knowledge necessary to complete a task is at the tip of one's tongue.
You can also listen to Amanda's podcast here.