Thursday, March 31, 2011

Q&A with Amanda Bretz!



1. Tell us about your newest release.

Finding Justus is about Justus, a woman who found her fiance cheating on her a month before her wedding. She calls off her marriage, but decides to go on her honeymoon and takes her best friend with her. It's on her honeymoon cruise that Justus meets a handsome Latin dance instructor, Miguel, and the two quickly realize they have great chemistry on the dance floor, and off of it.

2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?

A lot of the story revolves around dancing, but I feel the climax of the book is when Justus and Miguel dance together on the last night of the cruise. It's bittersweet because Justus realizes it's the last time she'll dance with Miguel, so she pours her heart and soul into the dance. I've always felt the scene has a rhythm and beat all its own. The dance is loaded with showmanship, passion and energy that comes across to the reader. When I was writing it, I could hear the music and feel each step that Miguel and Justus took. I could see the hem of her red dress flutter in the air with each of her steps and every one of Miguel's proud movements and hand gestures as he led her in their sensuous dance.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I realized it way back when I was 10 years old. I was looking through the Sears Christmas Catalog and I remember seeing the typewriters and immediately falling in love with them. I carried the catalog around for weeks, and the pages that had the typewriters on it were eventually dog-eared. I remember thinking they were the coolest things ever and drooled over cutting-edge features like auto-erase. I begged my parents for a typewriter for Christmas, and told them I was going to use it to write a book. I really didn't start getting serious about writing stories until I was in college. I took a creative writing class that I loved and that's also when I started working on my first book, Finding Justus.

4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?

For me, inspiration for a story can strike at seemingly random moments and times. While people watching at the mall, as I'm drifting off to sleep, when I'm taking a walk outside.

When I need information for stories, I usually go to the Web to find what I’m looking for. Sites like Wikipedia are great if I need to verify facts or historical information.

5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I used to be a journalist and I got used to writing in a noisy newsroom. A quiet room is too distracting. When I write, I like to listen to music or sit in a crowded, noisy space, like Barnes and Noble, Panera Bread or Starbucks.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That you can never edit enough. If there is one piece of advice I could pass to other writers, especially those who are going the self-publishing route, it would be edit, edit, edit and edit some more. Then have trusted friends or family read your manuscript. You can never have too many sets of eyes on your book.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

As far as authors go, I am a big fan of Sandra Brown's older romance novels. She influenced me as a writer and her success is both enviable and awe-inspiring.

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

My family members have encouraged me to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Other than my husband, my sister Tawnya and cousin Jeremy have been my biggest supporters. The three of them read the first rough drafts of Finding Justus and offered invaluable feedback, suggestions and words of encouragement. I'm very blessed to have such a supportive family.

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I love cooking. It can be a creative art form and for me, a way to relax after a long day. I like to prepare big meals for friends and family.

I also am a bit of a movie buff. I'm the type of person that will pepper my everyday conversation with family and friends with lines from my favorite movies.

10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

I'm working on my second book, a romance with the working title of Love in Greener Pastures.

It's set in a small rural town in Illinois . It's got a completely different feel from Finding Justus, but the story still centers around two people meeting and falling in love.

I'm hoping to have it completed and for sale on my website and in the Kindle store by late spring or early summer.

11. How can readers connect with you online?

My website is http://www.amandabretz.com/ . I also write a personal blog at http://vidadeverde.blogspot.com/ . Readers can also like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/vidadeverde .

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