Sunday, November 2, 2014

Author interview: Amanda Cabot

Today, I will introduce you to a notable author who has published more than 30 books! She is an avid reader, admirer of the color blue, and good at writing fictional romance stories based on her real, firsthand experience with the love of her life. Amanda Cabot is her name and she has wonderful words to share with you! 

So without further ado, here's my author interview with Amanda Cabot (questions by Alexis in bold, answers from Amanda not in bold)...

Alexis: Congratulations on receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly! What were your first thoughts when you learned of this news?

Amanda: I was speechless, which doesn’t happen very often, and I had tears of joy in my eyes. I’d hoped for a PW review, and of course I hoped they wouldn’t hate the story, but receiving a starred review was more than I’d dreamt of.

When did you know you were meant to be an author? Share your story of how your dreams became a reality.

I’ve always wanted to write. From the time I was seven, when reading was my favorite pastime, I thought the most wonderful thing in the world would be to be a writer. It took a while before I actually submitted a manuscript to an editor, but once I did, there was no turning back. And, no, that first story didn’t sell to the first editor, but I was fortunate enough to sell it to the second one.

Why do you write historical romances?

There are a couple reasons. Let’s start with the historical part. I enjoy research, particularly when it means that I get to immerse myself in a different time period. It’s such fun to see how people lived in “olden days.” And, once I’ve done all that research, I love sharing tidbits with my readers. As for romance, I’ve always been drawn to stories of characters who have to surmount seemingly impossible obstacles to find their happily-ever-after.

How many books have you written? I see you’ve written a few book series. How exciting! Tell me about it. Are your only series Texas Dreams and Westward Winds? Please share the concept for each book series.

At this point, I’ve published over 30 novels and half a dozen novellas. My earlier books were written for the secular market under a variety of pseudonyms. But for the past seven years, all of my writing has been for the Christian market. It’s been a wonderful change for me in many respects, not the least being the knowledge that this is what God wants me to be doing.

I’m going to answer the rest of your questions from the perspective of my Christian books:

The Texas Dreams and Westward Winds trilogies were my first series for the Christian market. Although they’re very different stories, in both cases, they were inspired by places I particularly like: the Texas Hill Country for Texas Dreams and Wyoming for Westward Winds. Each series was both fun and a challenge to write. The challenges in Texas Dreams related to the heroines’ backstories or, in the case of Priscilla (Scattered Petals), the events of the first chapter. Each of my heroines had to overcome a difficult past, and that made certain aspects of each story painful to write. Still, readers’ reactions to those books reaffirmed my decision to focus on the healing power of love.

The challenge to the Wyoming books was different. I set them in real places – Fort Laramie and Cheyenne – and had to do extensive research to ensure that all the details were accurate. Believe me, I agonized over that and wondered more than once why I’d decided to use real places rather than a fictional location like Ladreville, the setting for the Texas Dreams books. Fortunately, all of my research paid off when the U.S. Park Service cited the authentic details as one of the reasons they chose Summer of Promise for the Fort Laramie bookstore.

Both of those series are complete at this point. But since so many readers have told me that they want to know more about the residents of Ladreville, I’m considering a second trilogy to follow Texas Dreams. Right now, though, my focus is on the Texas Crossroads trilogy, of which At Bluebonnet Lake is the first book.

Tell us about your first contemporary book At Bluebonnet Lake. What inspired you to write it?

Would you believe the inspiration was a leaky roof at what should have been a four-star resort? The reality of a resort on its last legs was far different from the glossy brochure, but as is often the case with unpleasant experiences it gave me the seed of an idea that led to the whole Texas Crossroads trilogy.

Your book The Christmas Star Bride will be available for purchase on Dec. 8. Would this be your next novella? Why should my readers buy it?

Yes, The Christmas Star Bride is my next novella. One of the exciting things about it is that it’s part of The 12 Brides of Christmas collection, a series of twelve stories featuring – you guessed it – Christmastime romances. Each of these will be released in e-book format one each Monday starting September 23. As you might expect with twelve different authors involved, the stories are all quite different.

You worked as a computer programmer. Are you retired now? How did you find time to write all of these wonderful books while keeping a full-time job in another career?

My husband and I were fortunate to be able to take early retirement and fulfill our lifelong dream of moving to the West a few years ago. Prior to that, I wrote two books a year by writing whenever I could find a spare minute. I won’t claim that it was easy, and I’ll freely admit to many years of sleep deprivation, but writing has always been an important part of my life, and when something’s important, you make time for it.

You’ve said that writing is who you are and what you are meant to be. Why do you believe that to be God’s plan for your life?

He told me. Oh, not in so many words, but He answered my prayers. He brought me the agent I wanted at exactly the right time; He gave me not one but two publishers interested in my book; and He’s sent me readers who have told me that my stories have deepened their faith and helped restore their belief in God’s love.

Describe your writing space.

I’ve written everywhere from airports and planes to hotel rooms and friends’ guest rooms, and for many years my office doubled as a guest room. Now that I’m retired and living in Cheyenne, I’m fortunate to have a dedicated office.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what publishers are buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice. Sorry!

Tell me about your family. Are you married? Do you have kids? Share the lovely details.

One of the reasons I write romance is that I have firsthand experience with true love and happily-ever-after. I met the man who became my husband when I was a junior in high school and knew from the beginning that he was the one for me. We’ve been married for more years than I can admit if I want to continue the myth of being twenty-nine, have no children and share a love for travel, particularly by car.

What is your favorite color (explain why)?

Blue. It comes in so many wonderful shades and reminds me of the beauty of an autumn sky or the sparkling waters of a glacial lake.

Complete this sentence: During my writing journey, the most valuable lesson I have learned is _________________because _____________________.

During my writing journey, the most valuable lesson I have learned is patience, because God’s answers may take longer than you expect, but His timing is always perfect.

Alexis: Thank you for the interview Amanda! Is there a question you’d like to ask my readers? 

Amanda: Thanks so much for the opportunity! I’m curious about your readers’ reading habits, so here’s my question: Do you prefer contemporary or historical novels and why? 

Author bio:
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Buy Amanda's latest book, At Bluebonnet Lake:


  1. Alexis, I enjoyed this interview on many levels. Thanks for hosting Amanda.

    Amanda, I enjoy reading and writing contemporary fiction, however, lately, I'm pulled into fiction from the World War 11 era, though I'm finding it difficult to think of that as historical fiction. LOL. These days publishers are billing the '60s as ancient days. I have read a few historical novels that I just loved, so to be fair, I enjoy a good book set in any time period if the author just wows me with her writing. And so I'm off to check out your website… :)

  2. Dear Elaine,

    I am happy you enjoyed my interview with Amanda on more than one level! :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please continue to visit.

  3. I loved Amanda's books of Wyoming. And she is the greatest author I know. Very special person to me!

  4. Not only is Amanda a fine writer, but she's also an excellent cheer leader for the rest of the 12 Brides of Christmas writers! A Christmas Star tells a decidedly different story than your usual romance in Wyoming. Who thinks of artists and bakeries when you mention Wyoming?


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