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An Interview with Amanda Flower

Amanda, you’ve enjoyed wonderful success in your writing career thus far as a cozy and Amish mystery writer, but when and how did your serious writing career begin?
I have wanted to be a writer since the moment I was in sixth grade and read a story to my class about being stuck at the top of a broken Ferris wheel. My classmates laughed at my humorous tale, and I knew I wanted to write stories that bring laughter. However, my father was an electrical engineer and said I needed a steady income too. My dad was a wise man. I always took his advice, so I decided to be a librarian as well as a writer. I became serious about my writing after grad school when I moved to Ohio’s Amish Country to take a library job. There were few distractions there, and I had the unique opportunity to dedicate myself fully to my dream.

I can visualize your reading that story to your classmates, Amanda! You have been on a journey, but who are you besides a writer? Your family? Your librarian job? From your blog, I know you’re a lover of nature-right? I love nature also.
In addition to being an author, I’m an academic librarian for a small college in Cleveland. I spend my days helping college students and faculty navigate the information highway and spend my nights writing murder mysteries.

I am a lover of nature and am happiest when I am outside. I tried to talk my coworkers into moving the library’s reference desk outdoors, but sadly, the idea didn’t take off. My greatest joy is spending time with my three-year-old niece and one-year-old nephew. I take my job as Aunt Mandy extremely seriously and spoil them rotten.

Cleveland, huh? My husband was raised there and we’ve been many times. Multicultural place. Your life sounds full and fun. You have several books contracted, don’t you? What are they and, Amanda, what kind of schedule do you have to be so prolific?
I have the Appleseed Creek Mystery Series coming from B&H. The first novel, A Plain Death, releases the first week of July. It is followed by A Plain Scandal in February 2013 and A Plain Disappearance in fall 2013. In addition to that Amish mystery series, I am writing the Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series for New America Library/Penguin under the pen name Isabella Alan. The first novel in that series is Murder, Plain & Simple and will release fall 2013.

Since I have a fulltime job, I spend most nights after work writing until midnight or later and do the majority of my writing on my days off from the library. It can be exhausting, but I’m so grateful to have my dream come true that I push through it.

Understand. You had to dream for it to come true and what excitement you’ve had. Your new Appleseed Creek Mystery Series, including your July release of A Plain Death is an Amish novel. I loved all the information regarding the Amish you have on your blog, but what in particular made you write on this subject?
I was already writing the India Hayes Mystery Series, and I wanted to start a second series. While my agent and I were discussing series ideas, I mentioned to her that I lived in Ohio’s Amish Country when I was in my twenties. She said I should write about that experience with a mystery twist. The series was sold to B&H Publishing on a fifty page proposal. It went incredibly fast.

So encouraging. The timing was perfect and as was the interest in Amish Fiction! What is your biggest achievement in your writing career? In your life? Know this is hard to put in a few words!
My biggest achievement in my writing career and in my life was being a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First traditional mystery for my novel Maid of Murder. That nomination was the catalyst for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had since.

Excellent. Amanda, from the following, pick one you either like or don’t like about being an author and tell why: Book signings, Deadlines, or Edits.
This may sound strange, but I like getting edits back from my agent and editors. Revising is my very favorite part of the writing process. My first draft is always a disaster because I am a very fast writer, and I don’t stop until I get to the end. I don’t go back and re-read. I am in a race against myself. Think of it as Word Wars on high octane espresso. However, revision is the time I can go back and make the story flow and add humor. I may think I did that to the best of my ability, but it can always be better. The edits from my agent and editors show me that every time, and with every book, I learn something new. Julie Carobini, who is an author too, is my line editor for the B&H series. She has taught me so much about how to fine tune a manuscript and has made me a better writer because of it.

I’ll remember ‘Word Wars on high octane espresso.’ Fitting. I know one particular author who loves, loves, loves edits! If you could offer me one piece of advice as a serious writer, what would it be?

My advice would be to have patience. The publishing industry hurries for no man or woman. In my twenties, I wasted a lot of time and energy fearing I would never be published. Looking back, I can see why God kept telling me wait over and over and over again. God’s timing is perfect, and when it’s your time to get that contract you’ve been dreaming of, you will.

Wise words to us all. Who is your agent and how did you find this person? Your publisher?
Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency is my agent, and she just so happens to be a finalist for ACFW’s Agent of the Year. Anyone who knows her is not the least bit surprised by this nomination. She is a consummate professional and champion for her authors. She’s also a wonderful person to be around. I came to be Nicole’s client through a referral from an author friend. I still pinch myself that she picked me. Nicole sold my Appleseed Creek Mystery Series to B&H within six months after I signed with her. I could not be happier with B&H Publishing. They’ve done more for me than I ever expected or would request.

A big congratulations to Nicole, too! Where can readers find you and your books? I know your event schedule is on your blog.
Readers can find my books at all the mainstream and Christian booksellers. To promote A Plain Death’s release, I will be going on a weekend book tour this summer across the state of Ohio. I’m so excited to get this book into readers’ hands! There are more details about my tour dates on my website at Also I love social media, and readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Sounds good. Thanks much, Amanda, for the interview! The best to you.

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray endorses A PLAIN DEATH!

"Amanda Flower's novel, A Plain Death, has everything any fan of Amish fiction enjoys-an endearing heroine, a wonderful cast of Amish and English characters, and an intriguing mystery to solve. Amanda's smooth writing style and clever touches of humor instantly caught my attention. I read the book in one sitting, and am already anxious to read the next Appleseed Creek Mystery." ~USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author, Shelley Shepard Gray

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