Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel,Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author sixteen novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world.
Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments.
Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio, but her first love is and will always be writing.
You can find her online at www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter at @MrsAmandaProwse and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove.
Hi Amanda and thank you so much for taking part in my Ask the Author series. As you know I am a huge fan of you and your books.
To those readers who haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading any of your books, can you please give us a brief summary of your stories and which book they should read first?
Oooh where to start? I write books about the everyday, ordinary experiences of families, things that so many of us go through that to us feel extraordinary. I think until you experience illness, loss or whatever it might be, it is easy to assume that these tragedies only affect other people. I write about these events and my main aim is to create characters that my readers would like to be friends with, reading the stories as if they too have a seat at the kitchen table. To new readers – I would say, start with What Have I Done? – If you can get lost in this, then you will probably like my other books too.
All of your books have an underlying subject which is emotional and often upsetting (anorexia, domestic abuse, alcoholism, sepsis, postnatal depression) these must be extremely hard to research and write about, how do you “switch off” after and are there any subjects you want to cover but feel they might be too emotional or perhaps too risky as an author to write?
This is a good question. There are subjects I won’t write about, things that are too distressing or dark. My books are never graphic or gory, they tend to always be hopeful too and with a dollop of humour, as I believe finding the funny in any situation can help you get through it! My research can be upsetting but is often heartwarming and inspiring. I tend not to switch off, ever and was once wandering around Tesco when suddenly a question popped into my head. I pulled out my phone and left myself a voice message “How much booze can you drink before you pass out or die from alcoholic poisoning? And if you are that drunk, is it considered an extenuating circumstance if you kill someone?” I then calmly put my phone away and asked the fishmonger for three salmon fillets. He served me very quickly with a shaking hand!
You are an incredibly committed and dedicated author, publishing at least 3 books a year, you are often on TV and being featured in magazines, you are always on social media (in fact I can’t actually escape you!) what’s your secret and how do you do it? Are you Superwoman? Do you ever rest and relax?
No. I hardly ever rest or relax, but because I am so in love with what I do, it doesn’t feel like work! I consider my role to be an absolute privilege and every day I count my lucky stars. I work hard. That’s it. No magic formula. I put the hours in, every single day. But I am just that kind of person. Whatever job I have had, whether cleaning or working in an office, I always worked hard, wanting to be the best at my job that I could be.
We’ve met a couple of times and you really are the most bubbly and lovely person in real life – I want to know what makes you ANGRY – what flicks your switch and makes you want to scream?
I have a phrase that I live by “let kindness be your currency” and I try to be kind every single day. I am happy and feel blessed to still be alive and so it’s easy to be bubbly and positive. BUT if anyone does or says anything to upset my kids it is as if someone else jumps into my body! I literally see red and feel anger bubbling inside me like a dark thing! I am the ultimate protective Mumma and I can’t help it. My sons are big, beer drinking, rugby playing monsters, but even now if they tell me someone did or said something that bothered them, I have to go outside and cool down to calm my blood pressure! I think I will always be that way…
What advice would you give to new authors and what’s the best and worst advice you have been given?
To all new authors I would say, practise your craft. Write as often as you can. The more you write the better you get and the more you grow as an author. It can be hard to stay motivated, but it’s that dedication that pays off. The best advice I was ever given was, “find your own author voice and stick to it. Don’t try to be the next Bronte – be the first you!” The worst advice I was given? “If at first you don’t succeed, give up.” I believe the opposite – never give up. NEVER GIVE UP! Every rejection you get is just one step closer to getting the yes that could change your life!
Most people now know that your BFF is Carol Vorderman and you flew out to Australia to support her on I’m A Celebrity earlier this year – personally I loved the photographs of your camouflage outfit with the Versace couch (photo below), what were your highlights of your trip and would you ever do any of the trials?
Highlight of the trip were the wonderful people I met who have now become firm friends, I still see many of the jungle gang and that’s lovely. Would I do any of the trials? Not on your nelly.
Your lastest book THE IDEA OF YOU was published 21st March – can you tell us about it please?
“The Idea of You” tells the story of Lucy who is trying to have a baby a little later in life. It is not the easy journey she thought it would be and this has massive repercussions for her and her husband, Jonah. The book explores the idea that you don’t have to give birth to ‘mother’ and shines a little light on how we as a society look at women who do and do not have children.
What are your plans for 2017 and is there a new book coming out?
Oooh 2017 – lot’s going on! So much in fact it makes my head hurt if I think about it all! – Lots of travel, lots of telly, some exciting new projects that I can’t talk about (but I can say they involve my stories making it to screens both big and small!) And YES new books – “The Art of Hiding” is out in July and another coming out in December.
Who’s your favourite Disney character and why?
I LOVE The Emperor’s New Groove and the main character Emperor Kuzco – my son and I used to howl laughing at his horrible cocky nature and his complete disregard for anyone but himself – we love how he gets his just desserts. He is my favourite.
And finally, I have compiled a few quick fire questions which I hope you can answer truthfully:
Would you rather your only mode of transportation be a donkey or a giraffe?
DONKEY. (Who in their right mind would pick Giraffe?!?!)
Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day?
FLY. (Invisible would scare me)
Would you rather be able to teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?
TELEPORT. (This would be awesome, Paris for breakfast, Marrakech for lunch, Tutukaka for supper)
Would you rather have unlimited sushi for life or unlimited pizza for life?
SUSHI – ON A PIZZA, obvs.
Would you rather give up bathing for a month or give up the internet for a month?
INTERNET. (Even the thought of not bathing has made my head itch!)
Would you rather have to read aloud every word you read or sing everything you say out loud?
SING. (I have the voice of an angel – if angels sing like shit) x