Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interview + GIVEAWAY: Amanda Cabot


I love sharing about books that I enjoy and am therefore honored to welcome Amanda Cabot to The Power of Words today. While many of you probably associate Amanda with historical romance, she has written a delightful contemporary series that I am greatly enjoying and wanted to spotlight.

The beauty of the Texas Hill Country is vividly conveyed in Amanda's Texas Crossroads series, and she has done a wonderful job creating realistic, endearing characters in a family-like setting - while at the same time, dealing with some serious life issues that add much depth. Quality writers craft characters that we want to revisit, and that is what Amanda has beautifully achieved in these stories.

Book #2 in this series has just been released, In Firefly Valley (click on title to see my review), and Amanda will tell us about this book today. She is also graciously offering one of our readers a copy of book #1, At Bluebonnet Lake. Details are at the end of this post.


Q:  Please share briefly about your writing, Amanda . . . For instance, do you write full time? What genres do you write in?

        From the time I was seven, I wanted to be a writer, and though the road has had its share of twists and turns and has included both fiction and non-fiction, I’m happy to say that I’ve been a published author for quite a few years.
        Fulltime or part-time?  You’d think that would be an easy answer, wouldn’t you?  I guess you could say that I’m a fulltime writer, because I’ve retired from my day job, but reality is that I write only about three hours a day.  So, does that make me a part-timer?  You decide.
        As for what I write now, that’s easy: Christian romance.  My first two series were historical romances, one set in Texas in the 1850s, the other in Wyoming in the 1880s, but now I’m writing full-length contemporary romances and historical novellas.


Q:  Just a few fun short answer questions, Amanda . . .

Introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between . . .
In-between

One of my favorite research trips was . . .
To the Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY.  I wanted to get “up close and personal” with cameras that were used during World War One.  When the curator took me into the vault, I got much more than I’d expected, including the opportunity to see Ansel Adams’s camera and the one that took the first pictures on the moon.  That was a definite goose-bump moment.

You may not know this about me, but I . . .
Enjoy sewing and make most of my clothes.

A recently-read book that I would recommend is . . .
Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson

I love to _______ in my spare time.
Read. (How predictable is that?)

Small town or city girl?
City, although it might be more accurate to say suburban/city, since most of my life was spent in suburbs.  Now I live in a small city.



Q:  Please tell us about your newest novel, In Firefly Valley, and how it fits into the Texas Crossroads series.

I’m always challenged to tell a story in just a couple paragraphs, so why don’t I simply share the back cover copy with you?

        She’s lost her dream job—but has she found the man of her dreams?
        Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa’s dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake’s real identity?
        This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.


Q:  Through the character of Blake, you bring up the possibility of unintended or negative effects of an author's writing. Is this something to which you can relate as an author yourself?

Thankfully, not so far, or at least not that I’m aware of.  Although readers might think I based Blake’s challenges on some I’ve experienced, that isn’t the case.  Unlike Blake, I’ve never had writer’s block, nor have I had readers react as negatively as Marisa does to his books.  Of course, I also haven’t had my books turned into movies, nor have I gained vast wealth from royalties.  Blake’s story is fiction – pure fiction.


Q:  I love the depth you achieved with In Firefly Valley by dealing with some serious life issues. Is there a particular theme or spiritual message that spoke to you, Amanda?

I’ve always believed in the healing power of love.  Since I write romance, I focus on the love between a man and a woman, but since this is Christian romance, a more important focus is God’s love for us.  What I hoped to do in In Firefly Valley was to show how the characters – particularly Marisa – need to ask for God’s help if they want to experience that healing.


Q:  Of the Texas Crossroads heroes so far - Greg, Blake and Drew - which one would you favor as a son-in-law? Why?

That’s a difficult question, because each of them has his strengths … and his weaknesses.  But if I had to choose only one, it would be Blake, primarily because of his strong relationship with his father.  That would bode well for his relationship with my husband and me and our daughter, if we had one.


Q:  What stories can readers expect from you in the months ahead, Amanda?

        I’ve just finished the final edits for On Lone Star Trail, the third of the Texas Crossroads contemporary series.  As you might guess, it continues the story of Rainbow’s End and the people who are turning it from a rundown to a remarkable resort.  That’ll be released in February 2016.
        In the meantime, for those who prefer historical novellas, “The Fourth of July Bride” is part of the 12 Brides of Summer series and will be released in e-book format on July 1.  It’s also available in print right now as part of Prairie Summer Brides, which is available in select Walmart stores.  This fall, my “Christmas Star Bride” novella, which was released in e-book format last December, will be included in a deluxe print edition with the other eleven 12 Brides of Christmas stories.


Q:  How can we support and/or pray for you?

I would ask you to pray that my books continue to touch readers’ hearts and deepen their faith.  That’s my prayer each day.


Carole:  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, Amanda - and I loved getting to know more about you through the short-answer questions. From the next book in this series to your upcoming historical novellas, we certainly have a lot to look forward to. And please know that you are welcome here anytime.


____________________

GIVEAWAY


Amanda, thank you for sharing a copy of book #1, At Bluebonnet Lake, with one of our readers. To enter the drawing . . .

1) If you're on Facebook, please go to this Facebook post and share about the giveaway.

2) Answer the following question that I asked Amanda:

Are you a small-town or big-city type of gal? Why?

"Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are also greatly appreciated. BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, June 29. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: US residents



64 comments:

  1. I am definitely a small town girl! I always have been. The cover of In Firefly Valley makes me feel like I am drifting down a river in that little boat! Love it!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. The cover gives me such a peaceful feeling, Beth! And although I live in the suburbs, I'm a country girl at heart. Best wishes in the drawing, Beth!

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    2. I'm so glad you like the cover. As Carole knows, the characters' lives aren't always peaceful, but the lake provides a much-needed respite.

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  2. I prefer small town gal but when we retired we moved to a town of 10.000 which is plenty big :) This book looks so good!
    dkstevensne AToutlookDoTC OM

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Deanna. Maybe I'm guilty of romanticizing small towns, but that's what I prefer also. 10,000 does seem like a nice size, though - not too overwhelming. This series is character driven, my favorite type of story. Good luck in the drawing, Deanna.

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    2. I spent my early childhood in a town of less than 10,000 and have never forgotten how friendly it was. That's part of what inspired me to create my fictional town of Dupree.

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  3. I am and have always been a small town gal. Never have I lived in the city. Thank you for a great interview and giveaway. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Melanie, I've always lived in the suburbs, but my heritage is from the mountains of North Ga, an area I loved visiting as a child - with the exception of my great uncle's outhouse! Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing, Melanie.

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    2. There's something very appealing about small towns, isn't there?

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  4. I am both :) I like the (mostly) friendliness of small towns and the ease of getting around but I get a little thrill whenever I see a big city skyline. And I love all the neat things to do in big cities!! carriemschmidt (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Exactly, Carrie! Both have their pros and cons. Shopping trips and eating out in the city are fun, but I'm always glad to get back to the relative quiet of home. Thanks for entering the drawing for Amanda's book.

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    2. I have to admit that I enjoy some aspects of big cities very much, especially the museums and theaters, but I don't like what I call the "human gridlock" of Manhattan on a December weekend when everyone's in a hurry to get shopping done.

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    1. Hi, Miss Karen! I'm definitely drawn to small- town life. There's a reason these settings are so popular in fiction! Best wishes in the drawing, Karen.

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    2. You seem to be in the majority here. I'm actually a little surprised that no one has a strong preference for large cities, but the fact that so many people have talked about their love of small towns makes me even happier I set this series in one.

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  6. I love small town Texas. Even brought bluebonnet seeds back home with me from my last trip. Would love to read this book!

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    1. I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy not only this book, but the whole series, Miss Sonja. I would love to see your Texas bluebonnets! Thanks for dropping by and good luck in the drawing, Sonja.

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    2. I hadn't thought about bringing back seeds. Did yours grow? I suspect Cheyenne's climate is too harsh for them to live, but maybe I should try them indoors. What do you think, Sonja?

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    3. I saw yes, they are so pretty!

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  7. I am definitely a small town gal! But I don't like the downside of that.....the lack of shopping choices (grocery, retail, restaurants)! I also don't miss the traffic, noise and smell of a big city. Here logging is a big industry and every time I drive through a certain city, I can smell the paper mills....yuck!! Or go far enough in the country and smell the cows...double yuck!! So I'd say there is pros and cons about both types of cities. I also love our small town where you can walk into a store and run into at least one person you know. I love the middle of the aisle conversations & catching up with each other! Small town equals big heart to me :-)

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    1. Trixi, I know what you mean about a small town's lack of amenities, but I love your phrase that "Small town equals big heart." I wonder why that is . . . Maybe that there's a spirit of community where people are quick to help out when needed? My daughter leads a campus ministry in Germany and lives in the "city center," yet there's still a small-town feel about it with its street cafes, open-air markets, etc. - and they walk or ride bicycles everywhere. Like you said, pros and cons to both.

      Thanks for sharing, Trixi, and good luck in the drawing.

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    2. Trixi -- I had to laugh when I read about the smells. I suspect that city dwellers get used to the car exhaust and other smells, but I'll never forget going into Manhattan during a garbage collectors strike. Of course it was during the summer heat. I needed a clothespin for my nose.

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  8. I forgot my email address again (no big surprise here...haha!)
    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

    I also shared this giveaway on FB and like the FB page too!

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    1. Got it, Trixi. And thank you so much for sharing and liking my FB page. That really helps.

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  9. Overall, I'm a small town lady but I did enjoy NYC for a few years! :)
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. Merry, I visited NYC a few years ago when my church sent me to a music conference at The Brooklyn Tabernacle and still remember my daughter's opinion that it was "a very intense city." We both loved it, even getting quite comfortable on the subway, but I don't believe I would care to live there. Did you do much driving while there?

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    2. Merry -- Did you live in the city itself? I spent many years in northern New Jersey with Manhattan just a short (all things being relative) commute away but never lived there.

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  10. I am a small town girl, always have been. Love reading books with small towns than big cities. I really like the cover of this book.

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    1. Pamela -- Isn't the cover beautiful? I thought the lake was Photoshopped in, but it wasn't. The models were actually in that boat on the lake.

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    2. You and I think alike, Pamela! And Amanda, thanks for sharing about the cover. In an age when so much can be done to pictures digitally, I'm glad to know they were really in the boat. The picture just radiates a sense of peace.

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  11. I now live in a large town near Houston, Texas, but i prefer smaller towns. My husband is now gone and my children are here tho. But I have lived in more small towns and don't drive in heavy traffic so limits my going. The 4 and 5 lane highways stress me to the point of being dangerous. I shared this giveaway to my FB page. I would love to win Amanda's book. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Maxie -- I've driven California freeways and the New Jersey turnpike, but nothing seemed as bad as the highways around Houston. I can understand why they stress you!

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    2. I'm with you on Interstate driving, Maxie! I've never been crazy about driving on them, but they are a fact of life around Atlanta, especially in the years when my husband worked on the opposite side from where we lived. Now I let younger family members drive when Interstate is involved.

      Maxie, you're always so good to share on FB, so thank you again. Best wishes in the drawing.

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    1. Me too, Joan. I live in the suburbs, but love to read books with small-town settings. Do you live in a small town?

      Thanks so much for sharing on FB, Joan.

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    2. I'm curious about what your favorite aspect of small town life is. There are so many good things to choose from!

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  13. I am a small town gal, sonflower277 at gmail dot com

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    1. Do you live in a small town, Karen? Or just wish you did, like me? Lol Thanks for visiting today.

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    2. Small towns are definitely winning. I can definitely understand why.

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  14. Small town girl. I like the sense of community. I hate the traffic, congestion, and crime of a big town! Yuck.

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    1. Very good reasons, Sandy. Along those same lines, I think that for me, it's the seemingly slower pace of life, a place where you can see the stars at night, and sometimes there's just silence. I tend to be an introvert, so naturally those things would appeal! Lol

      Thanks for visiting, Sandy, and don't forget to leave your email for the drawing.

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    2. It's interesting that you mentioned lack of crime. I'm currently writing a book set in a small town and am including a variety of crimes. Now I wonder how realistic that is. Of course, it is fiction!

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    3. Amanda, the best cozy murder mysteries always take place in small towns! I've always thought it funny how, in a long-running series, a peaceful, idyllic town is the setting for one murder after the other. But like you said, it's fiction!

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  15. Lorraine AlexanderJune 21, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    I'm a small town girl....don't like all the traffic & noise of the big city!

    lorrainealx(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Most of us are in total agreement with you, Lorraine! We appreciate your interest in Amanda's writing. Thanks for visiting today.

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    2. Noise is certainly an issue in a city, isn't it? I can't imagine anyone being able to sleep with their windows open in a major city.

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  16. I am a small town girl. I guess I've always been. I love how you know everyone. Yes, that can also be a draw back, but it can also be such a blessing. People can be so helpful and caring.
    Wonderful review and interview. Thank you for sharing.
    eppersonkatrina(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Katrina, we've all seen how what seems like a negative can be turned into a positive, which I suspect you have experienced many times. So good to see you here and I appreciate you sharing also. Keep taking care of little Pip!

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  17. How wonderful that you were able to interview an author that you like so much!!

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    1. Thanks, Pellerini! One of the best things about blogging is getting to meet talented authors like Amanda.

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  18. After growing up in a small town and thinking I needed bigger and better, I have come full circle and now live in a small town again. I wouldn't have it any other way. My husband and I love that our kids have a bit more freedom to play without the concerns of city life. tlhcoupon(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for sharing, trosado. Isn't it just human nature to strive for something different, only to eventually discover that we had what we really wanted all along? I'm glad you and your family have made it back to a small town.

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  19. Shared on FB! I'm a small town gal. I still live in the same town I grew up in. A larger city is about 30 minutes away, and that's good enough for me.

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    1. So good to see you here, Danielle. I live about 30 minutes away from downtown Atlanta, and that's close enough for me also. Shopping trips with my mom when I was little were so much fun, but I avoid the city as much as possible now. Don't even like to drive through it on the Interstate!

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  20. I consider myself a small town gal. Although I grew up in a city of about 45,000 , I have lived in small towns or in the country since then. I enjoy the quieter atmosphere. Only thing I don't like is having to drive to town to go to the grocery or get gas.

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    1. Ellen, I think there's pros & cons to both places, but I enjoy smaller, quiet settings also. Thanks for sharing - and please leave your e-mail address if you want to enter the drawing.

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  21. I am a small town girl. Give me peace and quiet any day.
    grace_soo_amazing (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. I second your sentiments, Tonya! Thanks for visiting today and best wishes in the drawing.

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  22. I'm a small town girl. Living in the town I grew up in. I wouldn't change it for the world.

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  23. I am a small town girl because I have lived in small towns or in the middle of nowhere for my entire life and would get lost in a big town.

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  24. Hmmm I'm somewhere in the middle... I don't like the craziness of a super big city, but the complete stillness of the country life isn't me either.... I'm just barely into the suburbs-kind-of-girl sorry to make it difficult!

    Thanks for sharing this great interview and giveaway with the Cozy Reading Spot!

    Marissa

    Reading List

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  25. Growing up we traveled every where due my dad being in the service i very much prefer the smaller town liked fb page under Amy Tolley

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  26. I grew up in a small town, live in a city ... but prefer small town life!

    glindathegood@bellsouth.net

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  27. I just love the covers of these books! So beautiful! Thanks for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week.
    Tina

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