Interview with Amanda Reynolds
Today I had the pleasure of talking to Amanda Reynolds about her debut book CLOSE TO ME. She talks about her favorite books and genre – to read and write. She then reveals her writing habits, and some heartfelt advice to new authors! Read along to know more about this lovely person, and more details about her book at the end of the page. I’ve just read Close To Me, and it’s a must-read! Click here for my Full review of the book.
Amanda Reynolds has taught creative writing for the last four years in Gloucestershire as a tutor for Cotswold Creating Writing, and is a member of the National Association of Writers in Education.
Amanda’s debut novel CLOSE TO ME will be published in April 2017 by Wildfire Books (Headline) as their very first fiction title. It will be published in the United States by Quercus in Fall 2017, as well as being translated into multiple languages. She currently lives in the Cotswolds with her husband, two children, and two very furry retrievers.
She holds a beautiful website that can be reached here.
Syllables Of Swathi: Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Amanda Reynolds: I have written two psychological dramas, and my third book is in progress. CLOSE TO ME, my debut, was published in hardback last year in the US, and the paperback is out in November.
SOS: Where were you raised? Where do you live now? Do you have any pets?
AR: I was raised in London and then my family moved to Reading, half an hour by train from the capital, then when I was twenty-five I settled a hundred miles away near Cheltenham, where I’ve remained. I live in a tiny Cotswold village where I have views of the hills, and fields to walk my dogs; a retriever called Alfie and my daughter’s Cavapoo called Marley.
SOS: Your Book “Close To Me” tackles Partial Amnesia, a self-help drop-in Center and a dysfunctional family. What inspired you to such a theme?
AR: I don’t know that any of those specific ideas were in my head when I started writing about Jo and her family, but I knew I wanted to explore empty nest syndrome, and the role of a woman post hands-on motherhood. The amnesia heightened the stakes for Jo, making her situation extraordinary. The drop-in center is her touchstone, the place where she looks for new purpose.
SOS: Tell us a bit about the character Jo Harding from ‘Close To Me’. What is the story behind her?
AR: Jo is a beautiful woman in her mid-fifties. She’s always been a trophy wife to her husband Rob who places her on a pedestal, a perfect image it’s almost impossible for her to maintain, although she tries. She’s financially privileged but lacks meaning in her life, particularly now her children have grown up and left home. She ignored her needs for decades, prioritising her family, and now she’s adrift and therefore vulnerable to her own desires and those of others who might take advantage of her.
SOS: What are your words of wisdom to Dysfunctional families, and Women empowerment?
AR: I don’t think I’m qualified to offer advice, other than to look for something meaningful in your life; something for you. My solace has been my writing; a place I can be creative.
SOS: What are you currently working on? When can we expect your next book?
AR: My second book, Lying To You has just published in the UK and I’m working on my third book, out next year. It’s called The Hidden Wife and I’m very excited about it, the story of a missing wife of a celebrity author.
SOS: Tell us about your writing process. What is your favourite place to write/read?
AR: I used to write at my desk in the den, a room where my dogs sleep and I have all my books, but now I write anywhere I can: on trains, planes, in hotel rooms…life is busy! I try to write every day and to a word count, so it takes me about four months to get a rough first draft, then the work begins to edit and polish and get it in the best possible shape before I send it to my agent and editor.
SOS: Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
AR: I love reading crime novels, particularly psychological suspense. Authors like Fiona Cummins, Jenny Quintana, Laura Marshall and Louise Doughty. I also love Kate Atkinson, and classics too, authors like Evelyn Waugh, F Scott Fitzgerald and Daphne Du Maurier. If I’m reading out of genre I like Kate Riordan for historical fiction, and autobiographies are often wonderful insights into extraordinary lives, like Ruth Fitzmaurice’s I Found My Tribe.
SOS: Do you have any advice for new authors?
AR: Read lots and write as often as you can. Don’t worry about finding a unique voice, you already have that, but do study aspects of books you’ve enjoyed to see how they are structured and what makes them work. How is the dialogue written, what’s the ratio of description to action? And edit everything ten times at least before you show it to a publisher or agent. Writing groups are a great place to get feedback, learning to accept critique is a vital part of the process.
Close To Me:
She can’t remember the last year. Her husband wants to keep it that way. When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia – she’s lost a whole year of memories. A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life? She can’t remember what she did – or what happened the night she fell. But she’s beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.Amazon
Lying To You:
The lies we tell ourselves are the worst kind, for we have all the time in the world to convince ourselves they are true. When Jess Tidy was Mark Winter’s student, she made a shocking accusation. Mark maintained his innocence, but the damage was done. Karen Winter stood by her husband through everything, determined to protect her family. Now, ten years later, Jess is back. And the truth about that night is finally going to come out. You’d know if you were lying to yourself, wouldn’t you?