Today I welcome Amanda Mariel, author of several titles including Scandalous Endeavors and her more recent Scandalous Intentions, both from the Ladies and Scoundrels series.
IDI – Welcome Amanda. First I want to mention the cover for Scandalous Intentions. It was illustrated by Magali Frechette and it’s gorgeous. Moving on, it’s been said that we all draw from within and I believe there is an element of ‘us’ in everything we write. How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
AM – I pour my heart and soul into every book I write. Scandalous Endeavors is very close to me for three reasons. It was my first word baby, the opening chapter is based on my real life emotions after a loss, and the heroine is based closely on my little sisters’ personality and actions up until the last third of the book. In the final bit the heroine behaves and grows as I wish my sister would. The book is a window into my life and hopes. Scandalous Intentions brings us Lady Sarah who is modeled in many ways after me. Her story is nothing like my real life one, but her character traits defiantly mirror the way I see myself. Ariston in Once A Lady is modeled after my older brother. Each of my books has a character that draws in some way from my life and the people who are around me.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?
AM – I’m working on three projects at the moment and plan to have them all released by March 2016. Scandalous Redemption, Enchanted by the Earl, and Once A Lady. They also fall into three different genres. Scandalous Redemption is a Victorian era romance, and is book three in my Ladies and Scoundrels series. Enchanted by the Earl is a Regency romance novella that will be included in a box set. Once A Lady is set during the Medieval period. Here is an excerpt from Scandalous Redemption:
“You should watch where you are going.” She peered at him through narrowed green eyes. “Unhand me at once.”
Henry dropped his hands to his sides. She radiated the sweet fruity scent of champagne. “You’re foxed.”
Her ear bobs danced and sparkled as she leaned in close to him. “It is not your concern.” She pivoted and took a step. Her jewel-toned blue gown snapped with the sudden movement.
He reached out and wrapped his hand around her arm, halting her. “You cannot stay here in your condition. You will cause a scandal for yourself and our hosts.”
“What concern is it of yours?” She rounded on him, her emerald eyes flashing.
His heart beat faster. He had to prevent her from causing a scene. “Allow me to escort you outside. We can stroll through the garden.” Part of him worried for their guests, but if he were being honest he would have admit he wished to know more about this beauty. Something about her captivated him. Mayhap her unusual green eyes, or the misery he saw in her gaze.
A slow smile spread across her full lips. “Very well.”
She swayed and clung to his arm as he led her out into the open country air. What would compel a lady to become foxed in the middle of the day? And who was she? Surly they had never met before.
He turned her down a path lined with various flowers and green foliage. The details did not signify. She was clearly in distress and he intended to help if he could.
“Might we sit, Lord…what is your name?” Her giggle floated through the empty space.
He’d never heard a sweeter sound. It tugged at his heart, endearing the strange woman to him. “Lord Shillington. And yours?” He stopped in front of a cast iron bench. He could not take his eyes off of her as she lowered herself onto the seat in a flutter of skirts and auburn curls. Her gaze reflected sorrow but her lips held a breathtaking smile. His heart rate increased.
“Do sit with me, Lord Shillington.” She patted the bench next to her.
He positioned himself near her, but not too close. Being out here with an un-chaperoned lady was scandalous enough. He had no desire to compromise her, or himself. Given her state, he’d no choice but to remove her from the gathering. But he had a responsibility to control the propriety of his behavior.
A cool breeze ruffled her elegant skirts, drawing his gaze over her form. Heat climbed into his cheeks as he studied her. Tall and lean, yet she possessed curves in all the places a man liked to see them. He trailed his gaze back to hers, then grinned. “Your name, my lady?”
She looked at him through hooded lashes, her green eyes sparkling. “Lady Claudia Akford.”
His heart skipped a beat and his throat tightened. The notorious Lady Claudia who’d caused trouble for Lady Sara and Lord Luvington. He should not be anywhere near her, least of all attempting to aid her. The scandalous lady brought on her own troubles.
IDI – Very nice. Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
AM – I think it is a tie-certainly a tie! My daughter is a huge cheerleader for my writing and takes every opportunity to promote my books. My son and parents are also huge supporters. My son took a stack of my book marks to school and gave them to his teachers last year. He is twelve and thinks that mommy is very cool now that she is famous… Lol. I am so not famous—yet. When my dad was in the hospital he pitched my book to every nurse and doctor that came to his room. I got several sales due to his bragging. Dad does not know it, but mom often helps me pay for promotional materials and ads. I somehow don’t think he would mind a bit. My family is fantastic and I am very grateful for their support and encouragement.
IDI – Wow, it seems you have a whole cheering section. That’s great! What do you do when you’re not writing?
AM – I edit and teach, but most importantly I spend time with my children and husband. I love to crochet which my daughter does with me though she can only make chains. She is eight. I also love to read and often get both my son and daughter to read with me. Cooking is also a family affair and something we all enjoy. History has always captured my imagination so when we travel we often go to places that have a historical draw. I also enjoy animals so things like horseback riding and zoo’s appeal to me.
IDI – I believe having a wide array of interests helps to fuel the imagination. As a writer, what is the one thing you would most like people to know about you?
AM – I care immensely about the quality of the stories I tell and love each and every person who picks up my books. I know that without fans my books would never leave the shelves. It is a huge honor that out of all the books available readers choose
mine. I take time each and every day to communicate with fans and read reviews. Nothing makes me smile more than communicating with people who have read my work.
IDI – That is so true. Without the fans, we’d have no job. How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
AM – Too much! Lol. Reaching and communication with fans both current and future is very important to me. I spend at least an hour every morning answering PM’s and messages from fans and readers as well as posting to social media and interacting. Most days can find me checking in on Facebook throughout to correspond with friends and readers. I then follow-up with an hour of promoting in the evening.
IDI – This is what some have said to be a controversial question. What are your thoughts on Amazon and the reviewing process they use. How much trust do you put into the reviews posted for any given book?
AM – Before I became an author I viewed reviews as untrustworthy. I always said they could not be trusted because you have no idea who wrote them and why. Generally I would look to the mediocre reviews, middle of the field, and focus on them. My thinking was that by doing so I was eliminating paid reviews, reviews by family and friends, and troll reviews. Now I have more faith in reviews. I believe that at least the majority of the reviews left for my books are the honest opinion of the readers leaving them. I feel confident in saying so because my family is small and my friends who read pool is even smaller. Out of the 56 reviews left for Scandalous Endeavors three of them came from friends/family. I have heard people complain about Amazon and it’s review procedures but have not had any reason to join in.
IDI – Have you ever or do you plan on working collaboratively with other authors?
AM – I am currently working with a fantastic group of very talented authors on a box set. It is a Regency set and Christi Caldwell, Samantha Grace, Meara Platt, Allison Merritt, Lynn Baron, Tammy Anderson, and Dawn Brower along with myself will each have a story in it. Enchanted by the Earl is my story for the collaboration. I don’t want to give away too much right now but we are planning a February release. I can share a small excerpt from my story. In this scene the villain and heroine are interacting, the fancy lord mentioned is the hero.
Dahlia peered at Mr. Radwolf as he ambled up her walkway. What was he doing here again? She shuddered over the answer to her pondering. He would not give up until she married him, and that was something she would never do.
“Do not look so put off my lovely petal.” He smirked as he came to a stop in front of her.
She drew in a deep breath, her pulse increasing.
“Your fancy lord attempted to purchase the cottage this afternoon, but have no fear I sent him packing.”
Fancy lord? Her heart soared as realization struck her. Lord Aubry, but why would he be interested in her home. The corners of her mouth tugged down. “You should have sold. I will never marry you.” She stared at him, her hands on her hips.
Mr. Radwolf reached out and feathered his fingertips across her cheek. “Never say never, darling.”
A shudder of revulsion ran through her as bile rose in her throat, she pulled away. “Pray keep your hands to yourself, Mr. Radwolf.”
His eyes glinted becoming dark and threatening. “That is no way to speak to your betrothed.” He leaned toward her. “And make no mistake we will be wed.”
IDI – Everyone has visions of where they see themselves in the future, be it a year or five. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?
AM – Can I answer this backward? Five years ago I saw myself having a successful career and getting my name out there in a forever sort of way. I did achieve both but not at the same time. I landed a job working for Baker College that I thought was going to be my career. Unfortunately, my department was eliminated and thus went my career. It took me a couple of years to reinvent the wheel. It was during that time I started giving serious thought to chasing my dream of becoming an author. I became an editor instead-at first. When the first book I edited came out and I saw my name inside of it, I thought wow, I did it. My name was out there forever! Then I thought, but wouldn’t it be even better to see my name on the cover? Of course it would be-so I pushed back the fear of becoming a failure and started writing. It was a challenging and often discouraging five years but I made it. When I look ahead five years from now, I see my books hitting the best seller’s lists and my back list being much bigger than it currently is. I plan to write and write and share my stories with the world. Ambitious? Yes, but I know I can do it.
IDI – One last thing, would you like to tell the readers where they can find you signing in the upcoming weeks?
AM – I would love to. I will be participating in a reading at the Saginaw Michigan B&N on July 18th. Several authors will be there and we are each taking a 30 minute turn reading aloud to customers from To Kill A Mockingbird. July 25th I will return to the Saginaw B&N to sign books and chat with fans from 3pm-5pm. I am also planning signings for the Midland, Rochester Hills, and Port Huron B&N’s but do not yet have dates. The first ever Rust City Book Convention is being held in Troy Michigan from August 12-14th in 2016. I will be attending and signing books. Doing these events and signings makes me so happy because I get to meet and interact with fantastic people, both readers and other authors alike.
IDI – It sounds like you’ve got a busy month ahead. I wish you the very best of luck with your appearances and all of your future writings. Thank you for appearing with me today, Amanda.
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