Author Interview with Amanda M. Thrasher

greenlee_cover_smallIntroducing Amanda…

Amanda was born in England, then moved to Fort Worth Texas as a teen and resides there still. Author of The Mischief Series: Mischief in the Mushroom Patch and A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch, the third installment of this series is underway, and The Ghost of Whispering Willow. 

Next release:  The Greenlee Project, a YA novel, and Sadie’s Fairy Tea Party, a picture book.

Wrote a graphic novel for the Texas Municipal Education Center, about teen driving safety which is part of the DRSR (Driving on the Right Side of the Road), titled – What If… A Story of Shattered Lives. This was adapted into a Reader’s Theater and the script, about the consequences of drinking alcohol and driving, and offers middle school students an opportunity to perform and use their voices to depict characters in this tragedy. 

Co-Founder of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC an innovative publisher founded by authors. We believe that authors have a choice in all aspects regarding their work.  Our mission is to succeed through innovative cross-promotion, creative marketing, and original content.  For more info, visit her site here

Quirky Questions

What one word describes you?

The one word that best describes me is determined.

What do you do when you see a spider in your house?

If it’s a garden variety I have one of my kids remove it, if it’s poisonous, I step on it. Spiders make me squirm.

Do you bake or buy?

Both, I admit it.

Do you believe in UFOs?

I definitely think there’s more out there than meets the eye, as to what extent, now that I don’t know. Too many unexplained things happen around us and have been documented as such. Does that mean an actual little aliens; I don’t think that, just unexplained events and things.

What kitchen utensil would you be?

I actually asked a friend what utensil they thought I would be in the kitchen, because I thought the question was so unusual, their response made me laugh because it made sense. A pressure cooker… is that even a utensil? Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. 

If you were to attend a costume party tonight, who would you be?

Cleopatra. Why? Because she knew exactly what she wanted. 

What is your concession stand must-have at the movies?

Popcorn and coke zero.

Which is worse, being in a place that is too loud or too quiet?

For me being in a place that’s too loud; I like to hear the people I’m conversing with, and I can’t think if it’s too loud.

What is one quality that you really appreciate in a person?

Directness.

What is the most distinguishing landmark in your city?

Not necessarily one landmark but definitely cow-town, Fort Worth, TX, we’re known for cow town due to our cowboys and western history.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

My earliest memory is being in a ‘push chair’ (stroller), and petting horses through a fence with my mom and sister. I was about two years old.

What food item would you remove from the market altogether?

Chips. My downfall in regards to food, definitely potato chips. I love them, but if they were removed from the shelves completely, I wouldn’t be tempted to purchase them.  

What would you rather have: a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, or a chauffeur?

Definitely a housekeeper, because keeping up is difficult, and a housekeeper is a gift. 

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator or stuck in traffic?

Traffic. At least stuck in traffic you can roll down a window; not as frustrating when air is circulating. 

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Writing Questions

What inspired you to write your first book?

My very first book is not in print. I love to write and the thought of writing the manuscript, bringing it to completion, was more of a challenge than an inspiration.  It is over 54 thousands words; a complete storyline, beginning, middle, end, characters, but is incredibly boring. Writing it was a great learning experience, and reading it, realizing it was flat, was growth as a writer. My first published book was inspired by mother’s love of fairies. I wrote her a fairy book. She never saw it in print.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have been told that my writing style is considered a whimsical poetic style. I did not know that for a very long time, since it was simply the way I’ve always done it. My editor, friend, mentor and Barnes & Noble, CRM, told me that. People that reviewed my work stated the same thing. It’s nice to have a style associated with your voice.

What do you think you do best in your writing? Bragging is encouraged.

I believe one of the best things, as a writer, that I offer is the ability to describe scenes to my readers in a vivid way that allows my readers to see what I see. Meaning in my minds eye. For example:  my readers feel as if they’re in the mushroom patch with Lilly, Boris and Jack, because of the way I describe each scene, incorporate the dialog that they use and describe the characteristics of my fairies so vividly.

What books have most influenced your life?

As a child I loved The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the whole series really. As an adult, to this day, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and of course Emma.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Um. Great question. I love Grisham’s works, his story telling and character building ability. I think he’s a magnificent writer.

What book are you reading now?

NYPD Red by James Patterson

Name one entity that supported your writing journey outside of family members.

Anne Dunigan, CRM, Editor, turned mentor, and friend. She took an interest in my work when and didn’t have a single thing to gain. Sharing and advising me along the way, but speaking a language that to me, made complete sense. The greatest advice that I’ve ever received came from Anne.  “Narrate the story; be the tour guide, show the reader the way…” Anne Dunigan.  As writers we sometimes lose sight of narration, but it’s so important. Her words, at the moment she said them, became my ‘light bulb’ moment.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

My latest release is The Ghost of Whispering Willow. My favorite character is Margaret Rose, a little ghost girl, whose love of life is so huge that it overshadows the fact that she’s gone. If I had to do it over again, I would write her into additional scenes. She’s that neat to me, childlike though she’s gone, sweet, loving and full of life. She’s clearly a ghost, so these qualities make her neat and unique.

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

My writing career came about by accident. Though always a writer, I’d never set out to be an author. My mother was ill and I wrote her a story, at her request I promised to submit my work. She never saw it in print. Once it was released, the rest became a full time job. Writing, marketing, signing, school presentations, writing workshops, conferences etc.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing? What comes easily?

The biggest challenge for me is a time issue. To put my mind in the creative mode that it needs to be, to produce the quality of work that’s interesting and believable, takes a meditation type process. It’s very different than merely producing a set word count for a day. I can write thousands of words a day, but if they’re irrelevant, flat and boring, it doesn’t matter. Quality words count, and it takes a while to put your mind back into the scenes and chapters for the novel that you are writing. The time required to visualize and predict what your characters would say or wouldn’t say, do or not do, what the scene would look like and why, so that your readers can see what you see, is a process. It’s impossible to simply sit down and write without spending quality quiet time in your head, at least for me. On the days I conduct business, (Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LL), I don’t even dream of writing. It’s two different hats and wouldn’t be productive anyway. The days that I’m at my desk writing, it’s mandatory that there are no disturbances. I personally must have dead silence in order to hear myself think. I truly believe that just pounding the keys and producing words is a terrible waste of time. Quality words make all of the difference. What comes easy for me, usually, is placement of dialog and predicting what my characters would likely do. Knowing when it’s time to incorporate dialog is critical for entertainment value of the piece being written and prediction helps mold the character.

Who’s your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

John Grisham is one of my all time favorites; this is due to his story telling ability, I wished that his endings didn’t drop off as quickly as some of them do, but I love the way he writes. Classic writer, Jane Austen, she was so witty especially for her era. Loved her ability to ‘observe’ while she wrote. It comes through her characters, and I find that so neat.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Don’t be afraid to produce a terrible manuscript, you should. You shouldn’t print it; but you should write it, it’s the only way to learn. This is different from pounding a word count; this is a finished flat manuscript that just isn’t very good. Once you finished multiple manuscripts your strengths, voice, style, start to reveal them selves and that’s how you learn. I would also say don’t be afraid of the industry, it’s changing and that’s a good thing. Due to the wave of change we see, it’s a great time to be a writer. Challenges and opportunities exist, but how we handle them are completely up to us.  

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