Today is my stop on the Heriess PI Blog Tour-woo hoo! I'm very lucky to have fabulous author Amanda Mahan on the blog today answering my probing questions. Before I hand over to her, can we just drool over the gorgeous glossy cover for a moment?
Ok, ladies and gentlemen, I give you.... Amanda Mahan!
1. First question-bit of a cliche-how did you get into writing?
I love storytelling but I’m too shy to perform. Writing is the perfect way to tell stories while still wearing pajamas.
2. Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?
I don’t write full-time because I have a job, husband and two small kids – I don’t do anything full time! ;)
3. Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?
Because of my time spent in Hollywood writing TV scripts I am very focused on dialogue – so I love contemporary fiction. I enjoy listening to how people speak, the language they use and their inflections. It tells so much about a person. Dialogue is always at the center of all my writing.
4. How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?
Some of the incidents that Lucy goes through in Heiress, P.I. (sex tape, wardrobe malfunction, etc.) are real and happened to real people. But not real people I know. I usually develop the characters by figuring out what they really want or care about and then building from there. In the case of Lucy, she is passionate about the environment. What type of person cares that much about the environment and why? I think Lucy cares about the earth but I also think she’s a bit ashamed by the conspicuous consumption of being so rich – and she wants to mitigate it in some way. That’s how the development of her character started.
5. What was the inspiration behind Heiress P.I. ?
Tabloids and Paris Hilton! I read a story about how Paris helped the police solve a crime and was incredulous. Really? Paris? She’s the last person you’d expect to provide any useful information. Then I thought, it would be funny if her whole dumb celebutante act was actually that, an act. That’s where it began.
6. What is your writing process-do you map it out first? Write a bit at a time?
I outline the main beats of the story –that’s how I was trained in writing television scripts. You always know where the story is going so you don’t write yourself into a corner. Then once I have it mapped out, I just write scene by scene until I’m done with the first draft. Then I usually hate everything about it, put it aside for a while, then reread it later and decide it’s not as awful as I originally thought. Then I edit the heck out of it.
7. How much of you is reflected in your novels?
Various amounts, depending on the characters. With Lucy, for example, her passion for the environment definitely comes from me. I used to write a blog called Green Mommy (which won a People’s Choice award) and it was all about my attempts to become more green while raising a plastic-toy loving child. I learned so much writing that blog and all of that is infused into Lucy.
8. What kind of research do you do before/during writing your novels?
I did a lot of research about the art world for Heiress, P.I. since that plays a big part in the story. I minored in art history in college so that wasn’t too painful for me – I love art historyand this was a chance to delve back in for a while. I also read tons of tabloids to get my head into the celebrity world. Boy, was that tough. I really suffered. ;)
Yes, Heiress, P.I. is a series and I’m working on the sequel right now.
10. How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?
A little bit – to see if there’s any constructive criticism in there. But I don’t let the good ones go to my head. At first I was so nervous I made my husband read them and give me a summary first. But now I can handle it.
11. Are friends and family supportive of your writing?
Writing is so solitary that most people didn’t even know. It’s just not the kind of thing you really talk about because it sounds so trite… “How was your weekend?” “Good, I wrote two pages but wish I did more.” Boring! They were SHOCKED when I announced I published Heiress, P.I.
12. How do you feel leading up to your publication day?
I would describe it as “panicked nausea.” I was so nervous to let anyone in on my private world. But friends and family have been incredibly kind and supportive. Not sure why I anticipated anything less – but I was scared to death!
13. Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?
I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to well, everything. I like all kinds of writing, all genres. I especially love discovering someone new. The last book that really stuck with me is “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple. She has such insight into being an artist and a mother. I’ve recommended it so much you’d think I was her agent.
14. Finally...what are you working on right now?
The sequel to Heiress, P.I. and editing an adult mystery novel called Unclad set in the world of Hollywood masseuses.
Thank you for having me!
Thank you so much for answering my questions, it was a pleasure to have you and soooooo exciting to hear there's a sequel!