Once again it’s the wonderful Book Connectors on Facebook that has brought me into contact with a new to me author, Amanda James. Even better, her latest book, Summer in Tintagel was published yesterday 14th July 2016 by one of my favourite publishers Urbane Publications and you have the chance to win an e-copy of Summer in Tintagel at the bottom of this blog post. Summer in Tintagel is available from Urbane and Amazon.
To celebrate the publication of Summer in Tintagel, I’m interviewing Amanda all about her latest book.
Summer in Tintagel
We all have secrets……
Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn’s dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret – in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn’t seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory’s arms.
Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why.
Rosa is reluctant – she has a job in London, a deadline that won’t wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go. Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.
Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?
An Interview with Amanda James
Hi Amanda. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing and Summer in Tintagel.
Thank you so much for inviting me, Linda. It’s great to be here.
Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?
I used to be a teacher but left the profession in 2012 after 15 years. I had always wanted to be a writer and decided that it was a now or never moment. So glad I did. I have four novels published already, Summer in Tintagel is my fifth.
When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?
I think when I had my first short story published in 2010. This gave me the confidence to really believe I could do it after years of thinking about it.
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
It depends on the book, I think. But in general it’s the research and plotting that’s most difficult. I find the writing relatively easy and love to get lost in the story and my own world. The characters always surprise me too as they rarely end up doing what I’d planned for them!
To what extent do you think your experience as a teacher has helped or hindered your own writing?
It helped tremendously, especially in the time travel books, A Stitch in Time and Cross Stitch. My main character Sarah Yates/ Needler is a history teacher who travels through time to save lives. As I used to be one – a history teacher, not a time travelling one sadly – I could draw on my experience. I used the time periods that Sarah goes back to that I most enjoyed teaching too. I did include some incidents in the book based loosely on my relationships with staff and students; I won’t say which ones though! I don’t think it hindered at all.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
I have a pretty eclectic taste. I do love Dean Koontz, and I enjoy thrillers and suspense in general. I do like a good family drama with a twist too. At the moment I have finally got round to reading, I know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. It is so moving and beautifully written.
If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead as a creative outlet?
I love singing and am in the local choir. I used to paint a little and need to find the time to dabble again!
How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?
I use the internet mostly and ask specific questions on social media if I need to. There are always lots of lovely people who know the answers!
Do you have other interests that give you ideas for writing?
I love walking along the cliff paths near my home in Cornwall. I take inspiration from the ocean and rugged coastline. When I’m there, the ideas just flow.
Summer in Tintagel opens at a cracking pace. How did that opening evolve? Was it easy to produce or did you have to work hard to create such an incredible atmosphere?
Thank you, glad you like it. I changed the beginning after about six months. I felt it needed more oomph and a stronger hook to draw the reader in. I used a scene to open that becomes significant in the story much later on. Hopefully this will intrigue the reader.
Summer in Tintagel has a very atmospheric cover. How did that image come about and what were you hoping to convey (without spoiling the plot please!)?
The cover is wonderful thanks to my publisher – Matthew at Urbane Publications. We have a female figure looking out across the sea and dramatic coastline. Is she lost in thought perhaps? Is she wondering what to do, how to solve a problem that’s happened in her life? Is she waiting for someone or something? I wanted to convey mystery and intrigue and I think the cover does that.
(It certainly does!)
If you could choose to be a character from Summer in Tintagel, who would you be and why?
I’d be Rosa, because she’s a strong character with extraordinary abilities. I’ll say no more than that!
If Summer in Tintagel became a film, who would you like to play Rosa?
Probably someone like Kelly Reilly. Though she is a little older than Rosa, she does look very similar.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Summer in Tintagel should be their next read, what would you say?
Lose yourself in beautiful Tintagel where you’ll find, love mystery and a long lost secret.
Thank you so much, Amanda, for your time in answering my questions and good luck with Summer in Tintagel.
You’re very welcome, Linda. Thanks for having me, I have really enjoyed it!
About Amanda James
Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.
Amanda has written many short stories and has four novels currently published. A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 by ChocLit and has met with great success.
Also with Choc Lit are Somewhere Beyond the Sea and Dancing in the Rain (March 2014), Cross Stitch (December 2014)
Click here to enter to win an e-copy of Summer in Tintagel. Open internationally until 23rd July 2016.