I'd like to welcome Amanda Flower to the blog today. September is a super busy month for this author-she has 3 different mysteries being released this month! Amanda writes two cozy mysteries, the Appleseed Creek Mysteries and the Quilt Shop Mysteries as well as a mystery series for children!
Kathy: You write the Appleseed Creek Mysteries as Amanda Flower and the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan. How did you come to write 2 different Amish mysteries under 2 different names?
AF: When my Amish mystery proposal was circulating to publishers, I got two offers very quickly, and I wanted to and felt I could do both. For both publishers to agree, I had to change my name for one of them. Thankfully, my contracts say I can tell people that I am both Amanda and Isabella. ;)
Kathy: What sparked your interest in the Amish?
AF: I grew up in Ohio, so I’ve always seen and known about Amish people. My first interest in them was as a child when my family visited Amish Country every year the Saturday before Easter. It was a favorite tradition and one that holds great memories of my dad, who passed away when I was in my twenties. He loved it there and would be so excited that I’m writing about it now.
Kathy: What made you decide to write mysteries about the Amish?
AF: In addition to being an author, I am a college librarian. The first job I took after grad school was for a small college in the middle of Ohio’s Amish country. Years later after I moved back to the city, I thought it would be a good setting for a cozy mystery series.
Kathy: Do you have any Amish friends? If so, what do they think of these mysteries?
AF: I have many Amish acquaintances but no close Amish friends. However, I think most of them think it is funny, especially since I write murder mysteries. I do have a conservative Mennonite friend, which is one step away from Amish. She dresses like the Amish, but she can use electricity in her home and drive a car. She runs Swiss Village Quilts in Sugarcreek, Ohio. She is super excited about the books. She was a HUGE help to me while I was working on the Amish Quilt Shop Series. The quilt I am giving away this month is from her shop.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
AF: Cozies have been my favorite books since I was in middle school. I always knew I was going to write those.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AF: I also write middle grade mysteries for children. My first middle grade, ANDI UNEXPECTED, releases on September 24th. It’s the first of the three books series. I’m thrilled to be writing mystery for children and adults.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AF: The Appleseed Creek Mystery Series
An unlikely friendship between a high-tech woman and a runaway Amish girl leads to murder.
The Amish Quilt Shop Series
A recently dumped Texan inherits her Amish aunt’s quilt shop in Ohio and stumbles into murder.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AF: From Appleseed Creek, my favorite character is Grandfather Zook. I like him because he’s funny, level-headed, and takes life’s challenges in stride. Chief Rose comes in at a close second because she super sarcastic.
From the Amish Quilt Shop Series my favorite character is Oliver, the French bulldog. He’s cute, and I’ve always wanted to have my Frenchie. Now, I have a fictional one.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AF: For both of my Amish series, my main inspiration has been my own experience in Amish Country.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AF: I’ve always wanted to be a published author since I was a little girl. It’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t have that dream.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AF: Jane Austen, E.B. White, Elizabeth Peters, and Mary Ellis
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AF: Mayhem on the Orient Express by Kylie Logan. It is excellent!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AF: I love arts and crafts. When I was a child I wanted to be a fine art painter when I grew up. I still dabble in painting some, but my favorite forms of art now is jewelry making and knitting on a loom. I wish I had more time to do more.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AF: French bread pizza, Kraft American cheese, Iced Tea, and Spaghetti O’s
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
AF: The Amish Quilt Shop Series will have at least two more novels. Murder, Simply Stitched, book two, releases in June 2014. It takes place at an Amish auction. There’s an awesome goat character in that book, and it’s great fun!
The Appleseed Creek Series will live on as well. I don’t have a firm date for the next book in that series though, but it is called A Plain Malice.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AF: Connect with readers online and meeting them in person. I have the world’s best fans!
It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.
Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click here to Enter!
Follow Amanda’s alter ego Isabella on Facebook