Chatting with the lovely Amanda Cabot today about Scrabble, Christmas cookies, and the working title of her latest historical romance. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of A Stolen Heart.
Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)
I’m so glad you suggested I ask friends, because as it turns out, their adjectives are different from what I might have answered. The answers they gave were organized, insightful, and loyal. I would have chosen “organized,” too, but the others surprised me.
What’s your favourite season, and why?
Without a doubt, it’s spring. I love the flowers, the fresh green of the new leaves, and the sense of rebirth.
What is the best part of your day?
Evening. My husband and I relax over dinner, and once the dishes are done (yes, he helps), we play a game of Scrabble. Even though I’m the author in the family, he often makes better words than I do on the Scrabble board.
What do you miss most about your childhood?
Baking Christmas cookies with my sister. For weeks before the actual day, she and I would make close to a dozen different kinds of cookies, many of which we had only at that time of the year. They were all delicious, and – of course – we had to sample some while we were baking them.
Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?
I’m afraid I can’t answer this question. You see, I rarely watch TV – no time! – and when I do, it’s not talk shows, so I don’t know which host would be the best for an interview. Sorry … Maybe some of the people reading this blog can give me some suggestions.
You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?
Figs, if I can find them. That’s another childhood memory, this time from my very early childhood when I lived in Texas and a friend had a fig tree in her backyard. I remember sitting under the tree and reaching for the ripest figs we could find. A sweet memory!
What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?
Christyby Catherine Marshall. At the time, I didn’t realize it was classified as Christian fiction. I simply knew it was a wonderful story.
What is one author and/or book you always recommend?
Irene Hannon. Whether she’s writing romantic suspense, women’s fiction, or romance, she never disappoints.
What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?
Marie Carrington from The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson. Her plight hooked me from the first page, and I kept thinking about her, the decisions she’d made, and the future she might have long after I turned the last page.
From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners–like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé. But when she discovers he has disappeared–and that he left behind a pregnant wife–Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites readers back into Texas’s storied past to experience love and adventure against a backdrop of tension and mystery in this first book in a brand-new series.
What was the working title?
Describe your book in 5 adjectives
Romantic (What else would you expect from a romance?), heartfelt, hopeful, intriguing, elegant. The last one is the way my publisher describes it, and I have to admit that I’m delighted with that assessment.
Which character took you by surprise?
Aunt Bertha. I knew I’d like her, but she proved to be even more fun to bring to life than I’d expected. Her long, rambling sentences made me smile when I was writing them.
What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?
Since I’m a morning person, I do most of my writing before noon, but when I find myself facing a plot problem, I pray about it before I go to sleep. That often results in my waking up in the middle of the night with the right answer, so it’s safe to say that the earliest I’ve worked on this book was 2 AM.
Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?
I struggled with the hero’s name. He started being named “Aaron,” but while I like that name and the fact that it’s Biblical, somehow it didn’t feel right. Perhaps it was because when I checked the meaning in my baby name book, it turned out to be “lofty or exalted.” Though he’s the hero, he’s not lofty or exalted. I can’t recall when “Travis” popped into my mind, but I liked it the second it did. A quick look at the baby name book revealed that “Travis” means “from the crossroads.” Perfect! Travis is indeed at a crossroads in his life. And so Travis Whitfield became the hero of A Stolen Heart.
What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy?
Because of the way I write (remember that description of me as “organized” from the first part of this interview), I rarely have deletions. In the case of this book, though, one thing had to be added: an explanation of the title. Titling occurred after I’d submitted the manuscript to my editor, and the change from Shattered Promises to A Stolen Heart was a significant one, at least from my perspective. As a reader, I always want to see the connection between the title and the story, so as an author, I try to make sure that there’s no question in readers’ minds about why the book has that particular title. I hope readers like the way I inserted an explanation into this story and that they agree with me that A Stolen Heart turned out to be the right title for this book.