Finally Saturday has come! With it is the final installment of author interviews and the final first post over at Twisted Writers.
Last, but not least, I bring to you, Amanda S. Green.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
It’s a cliché, I know, but I started writing stories in elementary school. To me, it was a natural expansion to the stories I’d been telling myself for as long as I could remember. But that was for me. Writing and actually putting it out there for others to read? That came later, when I was in college.
Who or what inspired you to start writing?
Writing sort of runs in the family. My great-grandfather was editor of a newspaper in Colorado. My grandmother’s older brother was, at the time, the youngest linotype operator in the country. Her other brother wrote plays. When my cousin Clarice, the younger brother’s daughter, found out I was writing for fun, she encouraged me all she could. She knew how important it could be because of her father.
Which writer do you admire most and why?
Do I have to limit it to one? Terry Pratchett for simply being PTerry. He could combine humor with serious topics and never lose the reader. David Weber for giving us a strong female main character in science fiction. Dave Freer for being the closest thing we have, in my opinion, to PTerry now. Finally, Sarah A. Hoyt for paying it forward and helping so many fledgling writers, myself included.
What is your primary writing goal and what are you doing to achieve it?
My primary goal is to entertain and the best way to do that is to simply sit my butt down in my chair and work. If I am bored with what I’m doing, it’s a pretty good bet the reader will be as well.
Do you have any strange/ unique writing habits?
When I get stuck, I have to put away the computer or tablet and pull out the old pen and paper. A few pages of handwritten work usually helps me break through. Of course, that’s probably self-preservation. My handwriting is so bad, the thought of having to transcribe more than a page or two is terrifying.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Lived long, lived well and told tall tales.
What literary character is most like you?
Shhhh. That’s a secret. 😉
If you had any super power, what would it be?
The ability to type faster.
Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
I’m a plotting pantser, or maybe a plodding pantser.
Give us an interesting fun fact about the book you are working on?
Well, the one I just finished wasn’t supposed to be written. The only reason it has seen the light of day is it was louder and more demanding than all the other voices in my head.
Where is one place you want to visit that you have not been before?
Would you like to give a snippet or synopsis of your current work in process?
How about the opening of Skeletons in the Closet, one of my current WiPs?
All my life, my mama’s tried to raise me to be a proper lady. No, that’s not quite right. She’s tried to raise me to be a proper SOUTHERN lady, full of refinement and grace, dressed in lace and delicate pastels. To hear her talk, it’s been a futile effort that’s caused her more than her fair share of gray hair. And, where the lace and pastels are concerned, she’s right. Still, she’s managed to get me to say, “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir”. For the most part, I’m respectful of my elders, even when they don’t deserve it. I even wear clean underwear whenever I leave the house – usually without any extraneous holes in it – because Mama is convinced some rampaging bus will find me and strike me down, necessitating a trip to the emergency room.
I swear, I think it’s her life’s dream that it will actually happen. You see, in her world, a trip to the ER has only one ending. The handsome, rich and oh-so-conveniently single doctor who saves my life will fall madly in love with me. What she seems to forget is that in a bus vs. me battle, the bus will always win. So, unless the doctor is also a re-animator, he’d be falling for a corpse and, well, ewwwwww!
Besides, having somehow managed to survive a close encounter of the nearly fatal kind, the last thing I’d be interested in is finding a man to settle down and raise a passel of kids with. Not that it would deter Mama one little bit. Hell, she’d probably arrive at the ER with her minister firmly in tow, a marriage license burning a hole in her hand bag, all ready to fill in the blanks and make me a married woman.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my mama rarely lets reality interfere with her plans.
Don’t get me wrong. I can deal with Mama’s plans and manipulations. I’ve spent a lifetime figuring out how. All I have to do is make sure I look both ways before crossing the street. Of course, the odds of a bus hitting me here in Misty Creek are about as good as the odds of Hell freezing over. So I figure I’m safe – at least for the time being.
Knock on wood.
Because sure as my name’s Lexie Smithson, the minute I get married and move out, Mama will be packing her bags to join me. It won’t matter if I want her to or not. All she’d care about is finally being able to get away from Papa and the rest of the family. It wouldn’t even matter that I’m the least favorite of her kids. Like I said, reality rarely interferes with my mama’s plans.
Of course, I am an ungrateful and unobliging child. I’ve no more found a bus to hit me than I’ve been able to keep the family skeletons in the closet. The former I have no control over and the latter, well, I swear I don’t mean to let them out. At least not usually. It’s just that they make so much noise, what with all their moaning and the rattling of their bones. Sometimes I just can’t help it.
It doesn’t help that it always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Like when Mama’s women’s group was meeting in our parlor last Sunday after church. Mama had just served the iced tea and lemon pound cake. She’d even managed to make the house smell more like a garden than a funeral parlor. Everything had been as close to perfect as was ever possible in our place.
Then Aunt Minnie decided she just had to join in on the fun.
Now I ask you, was it my fault she wanted to be a part of the meeting? She’d been a member of that women’s group since the very first meeting more than twenty years ago. Everyone there knew her. Just as Mama knew she was there – how could you forget? Besides, all Aunt Minnie had wanted was to find out what the no-account scoundrel of an ex-husband of her had been doing with the new church secretary. Really.
I swear, those women sure did over-react when Aunt Minnie rattled in and sat on the settee next to Miss Pearl. You’d have thought Miss Pearl had seen a ghost the way she shrieked and then fainted dead away. Okay, maybe Aunt Minnie smelled a bit. But we’d buried her in her best Sunday-go-to-meeting dress and it was just as pretty that afternoon as it had been at her funeral six months ago. Mr. Perez, the local undertaker, had even been by just the day before to give Aunt Minnie one of her treatments. So she looked pretty much like she had before she passed. Sure, her skin sagged a bit more than it used to and she had a slightly yellow tinge, but that was all. Really.
Besides, old Missus McIntyre was wearing enough lilac scent to cover the smell.
I’m here to tell you, those ladies scattered like dandelion parachutes in a strong wind. It took me more than an hour to calm poor Aunt Minnie and coax her back into her closet. I don’t know if she’ll ever come out again and that’s a darned shame. She always was the best at gossiping and, honestly, there’s not much else to do in this backwater town on a cold Sunday afternoon – or just about any other time, come to think of it.
Now Mama, well, she was beside herself with frustration, indignation and mortification. Even as she swept up the last of the lemon pound cake from the carpet where Mary Beth Tully dropped it on her mad dash for freedom, she blamed me. Mama swears I do things like this solely to embarrass her. I’m the ungrateful child, you see, not perfect like my sister Patty and certainly not important like my brother Brett, also known as Bubba – which he just happens to be.
No, I’m too much like my granny, the bane of my mama’s existence even now, ten years after she drew her last breath. Mind you, Granny might have passed but, like Aunt Minnie, she didn’t pass on.
Maybe I ought to explain. My family’s never been what you might call “normal”. We’ve had more than our fair share of oddballs and loners and crazy cat ladies. Most families in Misty Creek do. But things took a decidedly sharp turn to the left of weird the day Perfect Patty came home complaining about how Old Lady Serena had given her the evil eye.
Nothing’s been the same since.
Thank you Amanda for taking the time to do the interview for me.
You can catch Amanda at Twisted Writers every Saturday.
Well, as Porky Pig always said… I guess that’s all folks. I do hope you enjoyed this crazy week and will continue to check us out as we write along each day. Sundays are reserved for snippets and links to whatever we find fit so please still check us out tomorrow and see what we have in store for you.