ABOUT AUTHOR: With both parents’ avid readers, it's no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction, which included a play for her fifth grade class entitled "All About Thermometers," were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she's sold more than thirty novels under a variety of pseudonyms. When she's not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and - of course - reading

 How did you come up with the idea for IN FIREFLY VALLEY?

The stories that appeal to me the most are the ones where characters have to heal, because I love showing how God’s love can and does heal even the worst of hurts.  For In Firefly Valley, what are those hurts?  In Marisa’s case, there are two.  The first was easy to identify: she’s been downsized.  As someone who was once downsized, I had no trouble knowing how Marisa would react.  The second was more difficult: her troubled relationship with her father.  I've never been in Marisa’s situation, but I drew from the memories of a family friend who went through an experience similar to Marisa’s.  Once I started asking “what if?” before I knew it, I had a book.
Nora: Grin!
Amanda says:What do you think this lorikeet is saying?  There were dozens of them waiting for the catamaran taking us to Brampton Island.

How did you come up with Rainbow’s End? What kind of place we’re you looking to set your Texas Crossroads series?

I’ve already admitted that I like to tell stories of healing.  Normally it’s the characters who heal, but in this case, the resort also needed to be fixed.  Anyone who’s read At Bluebonnet Lake knows that Rainbow’s End was in sad shape when Kate and Greg first saw it.  What they also know, if they read my author’s letter at the back of the book, is that Rainbow’s End was inspired by a real resort in the Adirondack Mountains where my husband and I spent a memorable week, complete with leaky roofs and boats, frequent power outages and less than stellar meals.  The location was gorgeous, and the place had so much potential that I wanted to fix it.  I couldn’t do that in real life, but one of the great things about being an author is that I could create Rainbow’s End and transform it into the kind of resort it was meant to be. 

How different is your approach to writing this series as opposed to the others that were historicals?

The biggest difference for me has been in the approach to details.  When I write historicals, one of my goals is to make a particular time period come to life for readers.  To do that, even though I’m writing fiction, I include information about actual events that occurred at the time the book takes place.  I ensure that my characters’ clothing is authentic to the time, and I season the story with as many tidbits of life in that era as I can without making it read like a text book.

Nora: I like that about your stories!

Writing a contemporary is very different.  
Amanda says:It’s easy to see why Australia’s Great Ocean Road is considered one of the most scenic highways in the world. 

I've heard editors say that contemporary novels should be set in the “timeless present.”  By that, they mean that if someone picks up the book ten years from now, the story should still feel current.  From an author’s view, that means including no references to current events and limiting references to technology, all to avoid dating the book.  I don’t want readers in 2025 to be jarred by reading about an iPhone 6 or a character wearing a brand of shoes that no longer exists. 

Nora: Interesting! Didn't think about that! Fun!

Why write Christian Fiction? What’s the draw for you?

I love being able to show readers how God can – and will – change our lives, if only we ask Him.  I've tackled some painful subjects in my historicals, and Marisa (the heroine of In Firefly Valley) has her share of problems. Although the research for some of these books has been heartbreaking, when I receive letters from readers telling me that my fictional characters’ struggles helped them deal with the problems in their own lives and brought them closer to God, I know I’m doing what He has planned for me. 

Nora: I like that about your books!

What has surprised you most about being an author?
Amanda says: Not only is Scotland’s island of Skye beautiful, but driving on Skye is an adventure.  When two cars approach on a single track road like this, one of them has to use the small pull-off area.  The question is, which one.
Don’t laugh, but the biggest surprise was discovering that many readers think authors are a foreign species.  I remember being at a book signing with six other authors.  Readers walked by us, giving us curious looks as if we were animals in a zoo.  Though we tried to engage them in conversation, it didn't work.  They were there to see the strange species, Authors Americanos.  Fortunately, social media has brought us all closer, so I suspect there are fewer readers who still harbor the thought that authors are “different.”  At least I hope that’s the case.

Nora: LOL!

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

I've just finished the first edits for On Lone Star Trail, the third of the Texas Crossroads books.  Like the first two, it takes place at Rainbow’s End and features characters who are at crossroads in their lives.  Famous pianist Gillian Hodge’s career is destroyed when her hand is crushed in a motorcycle accident, so if there’s one thing she never wants to see again, it’s a man on a motorcycle.  You can guess what happens.  She’s on her way to Rainbow’s End when a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to hydroplane and crash in front of her.  On Lone Star Trail will be available in February 2016.

Nora: Sounds like fun! 

When you sit down to relax and read, what genre do you turn to? Do you prefer hardback, paperback or digital when you read? Why?
Brampton Island Australia's Barrier Reef - What can I say this is Amanda's idea of a tropical paradise - I agree with her 
I’m a rather eclectic reader and read everything from cozy mysteries and romantic suspense to both contemporary and historical romances.  As you might guess from that list, my preference is for books with either a happy ending or at least one where justice prevails.  Although hardbacks used to be my preference, I now read almost exclusively on my e-reader.  I like the fact that it weighs less than a hardback, is easier to carry, and has adjustable font sizes for different lighting conditions.

Nora: I like happy endings too. I also like books that give an ending and I don't have to imagine how things end up! 

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play? 

I suspect I’d be the leader.  Perhaps it’s because I’m the oldest of four children, but leading people is something I've done for most of my whole life.  I was the one who organized grammar school plays and neighborhood talent shows, and when I became an adult, my day job was directing computer programmers.  Now I lead a group of Christian fiction writers in northern Colorado.  As a side note, it’s been deeply gratifying to see so many of those writers become published, thanks to things they learned and contacts they made through the group.

Nora: I think you'd be good at it!

What was your favorite show on T.V. when you were growing up? Why is it your favorite? If you didn't watch TV what were your favorite books?

I didn't watch a lot of TV growing up, but books … Ah, that’s a different story.  I used to make regular trips to the library, coming home with as many books as I could carry.  My favorites include the Anne of Green Gables series (which won't surprise anyone who’s read In Firefly Valley) and Little Women.  And, no, it’s not a coincidence that both of them feature heroines who want to be authors.
Amanda says: Don’t you wonder how this highland cattle sees?  It was another of the fascinating sights in Scotland.
If money weren't an issue where would you like to go and do?

I’d learn to sail, buy a yacht and travel around the world.  Although I had the privilege of living in both France and Germany briefly and have visited many beautiful places, some of which you can see from the pictures I've included, there are still many countries I haven’t seen.  I’d love to tour the whole Mediterranean, and sailing along some of the world’s famous rivers would be wonderful.  Then there are the Scandinavian fjords, the beauties of the south Pacific, Antarctica, and …  I’m smiling as I think about all the possibilities.

Nora: Sounds like fun!

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

Watching the evening news is the most difficult time of the day for me and one that definitely requires prayer.  Who wouldn't be upset by the horrific violence that’s occurring and the destruction so many people are enduring because of natural disasters? 

Nora: Yes, events and daily life keeps us on our knees!

What movies do you try to see in the theater if your schedule allows? What do you enjoy most about seeing movies in the theater?

You’re probably not going to believe this, but it’s been years – more years than I care to count – since I've seen a movie in a theater.  I love movies, though, and am a huge fan of Netflix.  The things I like about seeing movies at home are that I can pause the film and talk about it without disturbing anyone else.  I can also rewind to see a particular scene again.  And, then there are the special features.  I've learned so much – so many inside details that made the movies come alive in a new way – through the special features.

Nora: I'm a fan of Netflix too! I love how if you missed a series you can catch up quickly! I've been spoiled! I like the aspect of stopping the show and talking about a situation! Yes, GREAT Feature!

Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of TBCN. I've enjoyed our time together and am looking forward to seeing readers’ answers to my questions.

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN started the 20th of APRIL at .

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN starting the 20th of MAY at . Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows.


Nora :o)

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network Blog
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  1. Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you stopped by The Book Club Network and answered one of Amanda's questions. She is there interacting with readers!!

    2. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you stopped by The Book Club Network and answered one of Amanda's questions. She is there interacting with readers!!