11 Jul 2015

Interview with author Amanda L.V. Shalaby

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about? 
Yes! Dreams gave me my writing start! When I was fourteen years old, I wrote my very first book (a YA fantasy) based on a dream. I often have very detailed and vivid dreams and I always remember them. My last dream, however, was not terribly involved - it consisted of sneaking my little dog on vacation with me!

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published? 
 I loved writing short stories in school, and I kept a fairly regular diary from a young age. My first book was the aforementioned fantasy that I wrote when I was fourteen. I was first published in 2012.

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? 
I do love a variety of genres, but sometimes you just want something fun and smart and designed for you as a woman! I'm partial to historical fiction, as well as mysteries - of all kinds. I just started reading Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book? 

Bleddyn Hall mainly a mystery, but with romantic elements. My heroine, Lady Isabel, is quickly engaged to the handsome Lord Tresham Bleddyn, Earl of Dancy. His mother is Egyptian so he has lovely dark features... When his father passes away suddenly their marriage is delayed and the family returns to their Yorkshire home, Bleddyn Hall. Tresham's sisters invite Isabel along. Once she is there, Tresham becomes an entirely different man than the one she knew - and murders, mysteries and family secrets make Isabel question her future - even her very survival at Bleddyn Hall.

What inspired you to write it? 
I had an epiphany in my home office one day - the entire main story line just came to me in an hour and a half. And I knew it wasn't going to do anyone any good if it simply stayed in my head!

What were the last two books you read? 
I read An Unconventional Courtship by Becky Lower and Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Name one female author you think deserves to be better known. 
Hands down, Becky Lower. She writes American historical romances and her Cotillion Series about the Fitzpatrick family is just absolutely a can't-miss!

Where do you write? 
On my laptop surrounded by my pets. Two Shih Tzu dogs, a boy and a girl, and a white Persian cat named Sebby. They are my furry kids!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I just split an entire pizza pie with my co-worker.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live. 
I live in a fabulous old Victorian with lots of little rooms and cubbyholes. Its great for me as an author of English historicals!

What are your (writing) plans for the future? 
My newest project involves vigilante Victorians bringing to justice those who because of wealth or position would otherwise get away with their crimes. It has a great hero and heroine, and I'm toying with the idea of turning it into a series. I just can't get enough of them!

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list. 
I have the most boring bucket list in the world. I just would love to visit England again, and finish the next book.

Name one of your all time favourite songs. 
Stand By Me is my favorite song, movie and novella (aka The Body). Likely, not at all what anyone would expect from someone who writes what I write!

What do you listen to whilst writing? 
Classical music or the soft, gentle snoring of sleeping dogs. lol

Who (or what) did you want to be when you were a kid? 
An actress! But I think writing is much better suited to me :-)

Amanda L. V. Shalaby’s passion for all things Jane Austen was inspired by her mother and grandmother. She now writes her own historical romantic mysteries. Amanda’s previously published works, Rhianna andAudra, both were nominated for the prestigious InD’Tale Magazine RONE Award. Her latest novel, Bleddyn Hall, was recently released by Soul Mate Publishing.
When Amanda is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, her Shih Tzu dogs, Isabella Jane and Huntley Rochester (yes, they were named after the characters from Jane Eyre), and her Persian cat, Sebastian.

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