Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Interview with Amanda Flower aka Isabella Alan


By Pamela James

MM: Amanda, let's begin with your back story on how you began writing mystery series?

Mysteries the novels that I loved to read when I was middle school. I was a huge fan of Sue Grafton when I was thirteen. Around the same time, I decided I wanted to be an author. It was a perfect fit. I still love mysteries best of all.

MM: Today if there were two of you what would the other you be working on?

I would love to write a third novel in the India Hayes Mystery Series. Readers ask for one all the time too. I just haven't been able to find the time to do it, so I would give my clone that assignment.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?

I write best at home. I have a laptop, so I move all over the house and seem to go through phases as to my exact favorite spot. Right now, it is on the bed in my office. Yes, I have a bed in my office. Napping is an important part of the writing process.

MM: Share with us your writing schedule?

In 2015 my writing schedule has been tight. I'm under contract to write five novels this year. Thankfully, I have turned in all but one.... I have started the last one yet, but that's a minor detail. Because of this, I write wherever and whenever I can. Even if I only have fifteen minutes, I write. Because I also work full time as a college librarian, I have been known to write for eighteen hours on my days off from the library sometimes throwing down as many as 9,000 words. It's a blessing to have so many contracts, but I'm looking forward to a quieter 2016.

MM: Plain and simple what has writing a series taught you?

How to fall in love with characters. The best part of writing a series is the fact that I get to know everyone in my books as well as I know my real life friends. The characters and I grow together. When any of my series end, I always miss the characters I left behind even the not so nice ones.

MM: Dead or alive what five authors would you like to sit down and have  conversation with? What would you want to know and would food be involved?

I think I would like to have a tea party with scones, little sandwiches, and tea. My guests would be Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie, and Meg Cabot. Kind of an interesting crowd I know, but I love them all for their work. The tea party would be epic!

MM: Tell us bout your latest works of mystery?

In October I have three books releasing:
Murder, Plainly Read (which I write as Isabella Alan)
Andi Unstoppable ( the third novel in my middle grade mystery series)
Amish Christmas at North Star (a four book novella collection, I wrote one of the novellas)

MM: What are you looking forward to in 2016?

2016 will be an amazing year! I so excited about the debut of my Magical Bookshop Mystery Series. My protagonist solves murders using clues from classic works of American literature. The first novel in the series, Crime and Poetry, releases April 5th. The clues from that novel come from Emily Dickinson's work. I'm writing the second novel now and the clues for that story are from Edgar Alan Poe's works. So you can see why I would want to have tea with the two of them in the previous question.
Here's the blurb for Crime and Poetry:
From Amanda Flower —who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan —comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good...

MM: Are some nominations and awards you would like to tell us about?

I've been nominated for the Agatha Award three times, once for Best First Novel and twice for Best Children's/YA. Each time has been an incredible honor.

MM: What would you like to say to your readers?

Thank you a million times over! I could never write as many books as I do without someone to read them. I've been incredibly blessed by a dedicated readership and I could never thank them enough.
MM: Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, song, television series to binge watch, and favorite place to vacation?

Meal: vegetarian lasagna
Dessert: cupcake and ice cream (can I have two?)
Song: It changes it a lot, but right now.... "I'll Wait" by Sara Groves
TV series: Downton Abbey
Vacation: an island off the Atlantic coast of Florida

MM: Be our tour guide and tell us about where you live and write?

I live in a small town outside of Cleveland. It picturesque with a big white church on the town central circle. I love it.

MM: At the end of a long writing and promotion day. What do you like to do to unwind?

In the last year, I've start coloring using all those fancy adult coloring books you can buy now. I absolutely love it, so I usually color while watching TV, preferably Downton Abbey.

MM: Is there a teacher, friend, mentor, writing group or village you would like to thank for helping make this dream come true?

Sisters in Crime gave me the confidence to try and the boost I needed as a young author. I love my local chapter, Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime. I'm so grateful to that group. And I have to thank my agent. She's a rock star!

MM: Lastly leave us with a character quote or two that will pretty much sum up what you want to convey to your readers?

"There it was--the empty white bakery box. Just a light dusting of powdered sugar surrounded it on the blond wood kitchen table in my new home in Holmes County, Ohio. A streak of red jelly ran along its side with my fingerprint perfectly preserved in raspberry red. It was a crime scene."  --Angie Braddock, Murder, Plain and Simple

Browsing customers in brightly colored T-shirts and shorts stared at me open-mouthed. I knew I must have looked a fright. I had driven from Chicago to Cascade Springs, New York, the small town nestled on the banks of the Niagara River just minutes from the world famous Niagara Falls. I made the drive in seven hours, stopping only twice for gas and potty breaks. My fingernails were bitten to the quick, dark circles hovered beneath my bloodshot blue eyes, and my wavy strawberry-blond hair was in a knot on top of my head. Last time I caught sight of it in the rearview mirror it had resembled a pom-pom that had been caught in a dryer’s lint trap. I stopped looking in the rearview after that." --Violet Waverly, Crime and Poetry, release April 2016

Thanks so much for the great interview!


  1. Amanda - it was great meeting you at The Agatha dinner! How tiem flies....

    I hope you enjoyed Downton starting again and look forward to more great books from you

    1. I loved the character quote. Like you I also color in the adult coloring books to relax. I has blood pressure problems and this helps to relax me.

  2. Thanks for letting me stop by! This was fun!

  3. Thanks for letting me stop by! This was fun!


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