Monday, 29 June 2015

'Perfect Daughter' Blog Tour Stop and Book Launch with the Author Amanda Prowse



Amanda Prowse is a bestselling novelist with an incredible 155k followers on Twitter!! On Remembrance Day 2012 Amanda Prowse made headlines with her debut novel ‘Poppy Day’. She received widespread military support, celebrity endorsements and appeared in newspapers and on TV sofas everywhere. Amanda donated all her author royalties to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. This was followed by 4 more novels ‘ Clover’s Child’, ‘What Have I Done’, ‘A Little Love’ and ‘Will You Remember Me?’.  As well as writing she was Writer in Residence on ITV’s This Morning in 2013.

Amanda now has seven novels and a number of short stories under her belt, including the No. 1 bestselling ‘What Have I Done’?  Most recently, Amanda penned the critically acclaimed ‘A Mother’s Story’, which dealt with the issue of post-natal depression.

Amanda is an ambassador of The Sepsis Trust. Sepsis kills more people in the UK than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined - over 37,000 people with a cost to the NHS of £2.5 billion a year. Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. In September this year, Amanda will release a book called 'Three and a Half Heartbeats' and all profits from the novel will go directly to the Sepsis Trust.

Amanda is married with two children. They live near Bristol.

A very warm welcome to you Amanda, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
It is my absolute pleasure. Talking and writing are two of my very favourite things so this is a good opportunity to practice both!


For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
I am currently living in the beautiful West Country in the United Kingdom. The nearest big city is Bristol, which has a wealth of stunning architecture, from cobbled alleyways to Georgian crescents and everything in between. We are half an hour from the seaside and I wake each day to the green rolling hills and big sky. My husband is a Bristolian and this is where most of our family now reside which means riotous Sunday lunches and lots of visitors, perfect!

Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
Any I could get my hands on! I had a passion for classics such as ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’, but equally could also get lost in ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. I couldn’t believe that there were these whole other worlds that I could escape inside, and consider being taught to read the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.


Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I am sure they have. I like a good rounded story, with a discernible beginning, middle and end. I like things to be sewn up, cut and dried, problems to be resolved and I think that’s quite typical of children’s stories. I also try to write strong characters that stay with you, this too I think I got from reading books like ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Little Women’.


Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
I wish I did! My life is rather hard to plan. I travel a lot and so have had to get used to writing wherever and whenever I can. That might mean jotting a few notes while in a queue, or tip tapping away on my laptop on a plane that travels through the night. All my writing is done around looking after my family. That comes first, whether I’m cooking supper, giving a lift or just chatting to the kids, writing comes second!


Where do you do your writing best?
If I had complete control over my time, I would wake naturally every day, put on clean pyjamas and sit on the sofa in my study with a mug of never ending tea and my laptop poised. This is where I do my best writing, with the French doors thrown open and fresh air keeping me sharp. I think this still, quiet environment helps me think.


What actually helped you to decide to become a writer?
I had always, always wanted to write stories. I remember reading ‘The Thorn Birds’ as a teenager and thinking that if I could make people feel how Colleen McCullough made me feel, then that would be the best thing in the whole wide world. I think what prompted me to actually start writing was the realisation that this is my one time around the block, what did I want to do with this life? I got sick in my thirties and it was a HUGE wake up call! So I quit my job, we sold the house and I took the plunge!

When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are writing about?

Whatever I am writing, I put myself in the environment and ‘live’ it in my head! So any accents that my characters have, that is the sound that I hear as I write. I picture the world, the clothes, the buildings, the music and this particularly helps when in a different time period. My novel ‘Clover’s Child’ is set in the sixties, I had my mum on speed dial, asking her questions like, ‘what shampoo did you use?’ and ‘how much was a cup of coffee?’ Think it drove her nuts.


How do you go about imagining, developing and giving real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your books?

I am very lucky in that when a new story pops into my head, the characters and their traits, voices, etc are already fully formed, so its like being introduced to them rather than having to invent them! I then just write what as I see as I observe them.


Did you encounter any difficulties in getting you books accepted and published?
YES! I had a million rejections. I could wallpaper my house with the many letters that started ‘Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to see you work... blah… blah… blah’ each one sent me reeling into the corner, feeling dejected and wondering whether I would ever make a break through. In the end, I self published my first novel and when that was a success, was picked up that way. I was very, very lucky.

Do you have to undertake any research for your novels?

I do. Many of my novels are issue based, looking at things like mixed raced relationships, domestic control within marriage, postnatal depression and others. It is therefore vital that I do my research to make the characters experience authentic. I am constantly amazed and in awe of the brave women who share their stories with me. 

Can you tell us a little about your latest novel ‘Perfect Daughter’?
‘Perfect Daughter’ is the story of an ordinary woman who lives in a little house in Weston-Super-Mare. She is a mum to two kids, a wife to her childhood sweetheart and daughter to her mum who lives with them and has dementia. It’s a look at what happens when the pressures of trying to be all things to all people becomes too much and how Jacks, my heroine, copes when she looks in the mirror one day and realises that she will never achieve all the things she thought she might. Jacks, like all of us, has dreams; a fantasy life that she dips into to brighten her day. We watch as one by one her dreams are shattered and when her past catches up with her, how she copes as the light at the end of the tunnel is blocked off. It details life in the pressure cooker of modern living, where time, space and money are all in short supply and it’s about learning to look for the good in the small things and appreciating what you have!

What is your favourite book and why?
TOO MANY! But if I have to choose one, then I will go for ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’. I can read it over and over and even though I know the story by heart, each re-read is like taking a new route to a familiar destination, always something new to see!

Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?

I am currently reading ‘The Worst Journey In The World’ by Apsley Cherry-Garrard about Scotts expedition to the South Pole. It’s a book about courage, hope, discovery and friendship, not always an easy read, but constantly gripping!

Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?

I am so boring! If I’m not writing then I am reading! I always have my face two inches from a book or a screen. I have been known to bake and when time allows I might whip up a creation for the family to mock. I also watch my favourite movie ‘Papadopoulos and Sons’ over and over as I love it! I can now say most of the lines with the characters but still get so much joy from watching it.


Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I have just finished a book that comes out in September about a family who lose a child to the devastating disease of Sepsis, called ‘Three and a Half Heartbeats’, which is how often someone in the world dies of Sepsis, all proceeds are going to the Sepsis Trust to help educate about this horrible disease. Can I give the website? www.sepsistrust.org thank you xx

Amanda, to conclude our interview can I ask if there is another question that I should have asked you within this interview and what would be your answer?

Oh gosh! Let me think… my greatest achievement? My kids. My favourite place on the planet? Tutukaka in New Zealand. My top beauty tip? Smile! The one thing I wish I was better at? Spontaneously thinking of questions about myself…


Amanda, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

It has as ever, been my absolute pleasure. I am so very thankful every day that people read and love my stories and so the chance to connect with readers is always brilliant!



'Perfect Daughter' is published in hardback on 2nd July 2015






If you would like to find out more about Amanda Prowse and her writing, the link to her website is given below:

Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse