Wordy Wednesday's author interview with Amanda Jennings (again)

Back in August 2015 I interviewed my friend Amanda Jennings for Wordy Wednesday. Back then she was a newish author - now she's world famous (I can say this with conviction as my blog is read all over the world, and her fame is totally down to me *cough cough*)

Then she had published two books and now she's published 3 , has an agent and even has audio versions of her books available (this always impresses me - I'm not sure why!)

in her wake by amanda jennings

So I thought it would be fun to do a catch up post and see if anything had changed in a year...

Amanda, Now that you have written several books do you think your writing is changing or have you settled into a style that is 'you'? I think writing, like most things in life, is something that you are constantly learning about, honing, and changing. As you grow older and have more experiences, your writing can't help but change. That said, when it comes to the business of writing I certainly have more of a set idea about how I do things, about research, structure, plotting etc. I think creatively you have to push yourself each time you start a new project to stave off boredom and staleness. You don't want a reader to open your book and think: 'But this is what she wrote last time' but at the same time you owe it to a loyal reader to keep certain elements of your style, voice and tone similar so they don't feel let down. It's a bit of a balance, I think.

Do you have a favourite of your books? (I still love Sworn Secret the best, although I also found it the most disturbing)
My most recent one, In Her Wake, is probably my favourite in so far as it was actually the book that got me my wonderful agent. Back then we couldn't find a publishing house for it, so I put it under the bed to get dusty and wrote Sworn Secret, which ended up being my debut. But I went back to In Her Wake, which was then called The Mermaid and I, and reworked it, using things I had learnt from the other two books. But there are things in this book - Cornwall, mermaids, the relationship between the sisters - that are very close to my heart, so there is a fondness there for me.

Do you have a favourite character (in your books) and would you like to meet them in real life?
I like Phil the coffee shop guy from In Her Wake and Frank the wine shop guy from The Judas Scar. They are both minor characters designed to bring some light relief and comfort to the reader. The are the type of people I like in really life - warm, generous, kind and trustworthy - and, yes, I'd like to meet them. Frank loves a good natter over a cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit, so I think we'd get on.

Are there goodies and baddies in real life? Do there need to be clear villains in stories?
This is something that I am very keen to address in my books. I just don't believe in black and white goodies or baddies. There are always 'whys' when it comes to human behaviour and it's the 'whys' that interest me. As soon as you say 'that person did a bad thing but this goes might explain why' you are forced to see the act in a different light. People are multi-faceted. For a book to work for me, I want to see these facets. It's what makes a person, and a character, interesting.

Would you rather write a nice or a nasty character?
I'm drawn to the 'nastier' characters, but, as we've just talked about, only because I want to peel back the layers and expose their vulnerabilities and the reasons, the whys, for their behaviour. But certainly I am attracted to the darker side of life when it comes to stories. I tried to write romance once but knew it was doomed when I killed off the heroine on page 8. Darker characters and tales interest me more.

Place is important in your most recent novel, In Her Wake, how does the setting of a book affect both your writing and the characters? And do you travel to write?
Place is vital when it comes to In Her Wake. Cornwall is as much of a character as the people in my book. The weather, cliffs, sea, the taste of salt in the air, the cry of the gulls in the sky, every bit of Cornwall is important. The story is a story of identity, a woman, Bella, searching for the truth behind who she is, feeling lost and abandoned, unsure about herself, and struggling to work out exactly what makes her who she is. What's so wonderful about Cornwall is that it has such a strong identity and therefore it was an interesting place in which to root Bella's search. I am proudly half-Cornish and it is my favourite place in the world. I light up when I go there. It's an incredibly inspirational place to spend time. I always write when I'm away, but I don't travel specifically to write. I have a family, so it would be too hard to find the time to get away. Maybe when they've left home I can do that a bit more.

Check out all about Amanda's latest books on her website, follow her on Twitter and Goodreads

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