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Interview with Amanda Cox

How did Twitter contribute to debut author Amanda Cox’s path to publication? What major change did her story undergo prior to publication? And what does she plan to do to celebrate the launch of her first book? Read on for answers to all these questions and more in this week’s featured author interview.

Welcome, Amanda. You're a debut author! Congratulations! Tell us a little bit about your journey to this point: How long have you been writing? What steps led to the publication of this book? And, how are you feeling as your book launches into the world?
I’ve been a lover of story for as long as I can remember. When I was seven I wrote, illustrated, and submitted my very first story for publication. The publishing company sent me a very gracious rejection letter in response to my attempt. Though I continued to write for fun, I put those dreams of publishing away and put all my energy in reading every book I could get my hands on. About ten years ago, I decided to make my first attempt at writing a full-length novel. It was a therapeutic activity for me to wind down and relax after a long days of navigating new motherhood. When I was finished, I decided to see if this story was meant for more than myself and explored publication once again. While I submitted that novel, I began writing The Edge of Belonging. I submitted, wrote, rewrote (many times), and resubmitted for a couple of years to agents and editors alike. (I am so thankful for all the connections, encouragement, and, growth opportunities I gained through ACFW.) Though I’d felt from the beginning that The Edge of Belonging would be my first published novel, I started to think it was time to shelve this story like I had my first novel and focus on something new. On a whim, I decided to participate in a Twitter pitch party called #faithpitch. My contract on The Edge of Belonging was a result of this event. It is so exciting to finally be able to share this book with the rest of the world!

The Edge of Belonging is a dual-time novel. What factored into choosing that genre/style of novel? What do you enjoy about that style?
The Edge of Belonging was originally a single timeline story! After getting some feedback from a few sources that the story didn’t quite feel complete, I decided to experiment with making it into a dual timeline story. It was a daunting process, taking apart a story I loved, making huge cuts, writing a new timeline and weaving them together. In the end, it was exactly what this particular story needed. Through the process, I’ve found that I absolutely love writing multi-timeline stories. It is a bit like working a puzzle which is like catnip for my analytical self.

Who do you read when you aren't writing?
I enjoy multi-timeline stories with a literary feel. Stories that help me see the world from a new perspective. I like to mix that up with reading rom-com. Sometimes I need to contemplate the complexities of the universe and sometimes I need to lighten up with a good laugh. But honestly, no matter what the genre, if you give me a cast of intriguing, well-developed characters, I’ll be hooked.

You have a background in counseling. How does that impact your writing?
When I’m writing I spend a lot of time considering character development and what it will take for each character to make authentic, lasting change. I definitely tap into my training as a counselor when making these story decisions.

What has surprised you about the publishing process?
One thing that surprised me is how much I’ve loved the editorial process. I always loved self-editing my work, but it was daunting, thinking about turning all my carefully crafted words over to an editor. I learned that I love having editors partnering with me even more than I enjoy working through them on my own. (Although that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve had some awesome editors!)

How will you celebrate launch day?
I laugh a little when I think about launch day. Tuesdays are the busiest days of my week—the type of day in which my feet hit the ground running the moment I wake up. Because of this, I’ve decided that my launch week will be celebrated with some mini celebrations through the week with friends and family. Perhaps a family trip to one of my favorite chocolate shops, The Hot Chocolatier! One thing I’m really glad I did was take a trip with a close friend of mine earlier this summer to celebrate turning in my final edits. It was a good time to pause and reflect over that completed goal before all the busyness of launch time.

What are you working on next?
I am working on a yet-to-be-titled multi-timeline story about three generations of women whose lives are tangled in the workings of a rural family grocery. Lots of secrets and layers to explore with this one!


Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family and the unexpected turns of life at

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