The Romance Reader Interviews Amanda Berry

  The Interviews
New Faces 216
Amanda Berry
by Cathy Sova

Welcome to our New Faces column, where you can meet new romance authors ad discover their books! This time we’re visiting with Amanda Berry, whose first release is L.A. Cinderella from Silhouette Special Edition (June, 2010).

Amanda, welcome to TRR! Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in a small town, Kewanee, IL. I left after high school to get my degree in accounting. I met my husband at college. We've been married almost 12 years and have two children.

Are you coming to romance writing from another job?

I stopped working as a CPA when my husband got transferred to England for a year. I took the time to rediscover my first love, writing. With me at home, we are a lot less hectic with schedules. My husband and I are happier and the kids seem to be happier.

What led you to write romance?

7th grade. I was on a trip with my family and was proclaiming boredom, so my mom handed me a romance book. I used to turn my nose up at them, but since I didn't have anything better to do at the time... I fell in love with the stories and haven't stopped reading them since. I adore a happily ever after. Maybe I was a romantic before I read romance or the books made me a romantic, either way I'm very happy writing romance.

Tell us about your road to publication.

I've been attempting to write since I was in the 4th grade, but even before that I wanted to be a writer. The woman who lived next door was a writer and I admired her as a child. Marjabelle Young Stewart. She wrote manners books and taught me manners along side her granddaughter. My freshman year of college when I discovered that archaeology wasn't really the major for me, I thought about writing again, but my mom convinced me to get a degree in something that might pay off the student loans. Ergo, accounting.

I didn't finish my first book until we were in England and no, it will never be published. Then I finished my second book and entered a contest that I finaled in, so it gave me hope. I wrote L.A. Cinderella for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2008. The idea came to me while taking a class from Katherine Garbera titled "Writing the Selling Silhouette Desire." I entered my manuscript in the Marlene Contest and won first place and a full request from the judging editor, Patience Smith. With the help of so many critique partners (I love each and every one of them), I cleaned it up and sent it out. Special thanks to Jennifer Lewis and Jeannie Lin for helping me fine tune the entire manuscript. I got the call September 2009 from Patience who wanted to publish it as a Silhouette Special Edition. I then poked the agents who had partials of another manuscript and I accepted representation from Becca Stumpf from the Prospect Agency.

What kind of research was involved for your first book?

My first book was a long time ago. I read a lot of craft books before finishing that first book. The Write Great Fiction series from Writer's Digest helped me in so many ways. For L.A. Cinderella, I had to research restaurants (some of which I made up) and areas of L.A. I watch a lot of E! News to get ideas for my Hollywood-based books. For the manuscript I just finished, I read a autobiography of a tabloid reporter. I couldn't make up half of what she experienced as a tabloid reporter.

Tell us about your debut book.

Career-driven accountant Natalie Collins wasn’t the type to wish for a Hollywood hero to rescue her. She preferred life away from celebrity glitz. Too bad the man who drove her wild was an A-list actor. With her understated beauty and brains, Natalie was the one person Chase Booker could trust. He could see the strong, sexy woman beneath her shy exterior, and she stirred a blinding passion in him that made it easy to forget that they were from different worlds. But when she was in his arms, their worlds were dangerously close to colliding....

Who are your influences as a writer?

I've read so many Desires and Special Editions over the years. When I was younger, I read a lot of historicals by Joanna Lindsey, Jude Devereaux and Amanda Quick. I love paranormal romance and adore Karen Marie Moning and Sherrilyn Kenyon. But I think all authors, new and experienced, have something to offer with their books and I'm always willing to read a romance.

What does your family think of having a published romance author in their midst?

Everyone has been enthusiastic about it and supportive. My dad is selling my book to all his female coworkers. I gave him a stack of pink and purple bookmarks to hand out. My husband is very supportive which makes the journey a lot easier. Tell us about plans for future books.

Hopefully I'll be contracted for more. My editor currently has my next completed manuscript. And I do have plans for a follow up book or two for L.A. Cinderella.

How can readers get in touch with you?

Through my website: I'd love to hear what my readers think of Chase and Natalie.

Amanda, thanks for visiting with us, and best of luck with your future books! Readers, we have a review of L.A. Cinderella here at TRR. September 2, 2010

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