Amanda Leigh graduated with a BA in English and Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. During college, she worked on the literary magazine and loved every minute of it. She adores cats and has one named Sawyer – named after one of her favorite characters in Lost. Amanda enjoys reading, writing avidly in a journal, writing
poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking, listening to music,
singing, swimming and art – particularly photography. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her.
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What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you? 
The first one that
I read on my own that comes to mind is On My Honor by Marion Bauer. I was in
fifth grade. I know that I’d read books on my own before that but this is the
first one I really remember. I think because it was about a pretty intense and
serious situation. I remember talking to my teacher about it. From then on, the
more intense books were the ones that I often gravitated toward. Maybe that’s
why I remember it. Because it helped influence the books that I like to read
the most.
How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
My surroundings
don’t really come up in my books a lot. (Unless you consider having books
present in both my life and my books my surroundings.) As for how much of me is
in my books, that varies. With My Heart is Yours Sam is a character that I do
consider to be a lot like me. It wasn’t necessarily intentional (although I
think that it may have been subconsciously) but when I noticed it while writing
I just ran with it. In the book that I’m working on now I did not at all set
out to make any of the characters like me. They just came to life in my head.
But reading through the books now I do see similarities to myself in each of
them. I don’t think that it’s anything that anybody else would notice, though.
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why! 
Memoir. I don’t
know if you meant exclusively fiction but I’m going with memoir/autobiography.
The closest that I’ve come to writing straight out about my life is my poetry.
I just don’t relish the idea of sitting down to write openly about the events
in my life. I explore those things through fiction. There really isn’t a genre
of fiction that intimidates me. Whatever story comes to my mind, I’ll write it.
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have? 
That would
definitely have to be characters for me. Plot is important but for me characters
are the most important. I’m a very character driven reader. Sometimes, even if
I don’t like the plot, if I love a certain character I’ll keep reading. Whether
it’s a stand-alone or a series.
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question? 
Honestly, I haven’t
been interviews that many times yet so this is really difficult. This might be
unreasonable but “What inspires you to write?” Honestly, I have no idea, I just
have to write. I can’t NOT write.
You know,
surprisingly, I haven’t been asked if music plays a part in my writing process
and I would love to be asked that. The answer is yes, it plays a huge part in
my writing process. I always listen yo music when I write or edit or am
brainstorming/outlining. For the trilogy that I’m working on now I made a
playlist for the series that I listen to while working on it. I still end up
adding songs to it. It helps get me in the right frame of mind. I have certain
songs for certain scenes that I’ll play over and over again whole writing them.
I can even remember what song I was listening to while writing a certain scene
if for some reason it really sticks out in my mind. A scene that I deem pivotal
to the story.
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors.  
This might be the
most difficult question on here. Having things that are 100% different from
every author out there is hard but I’ll list a few things I find important
about my writing.
I write with tense
emotions to connect my characters with my readers.
I do my best not to
shy away from the darker stuff in my writing.
I don’t want to
condescend my readers with staying away from more serious issues which sort of
goes along with not shying away from darker things.
Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own? 
A character that
very few people have met yet. His name is Trent. He popped into my head pretty
much fully formed and entirely took on a life of his own. When I sit down to
write these people his words just come out of my fingers to the screen without
nearly as much thought as the other characters.
But if you want one
from My Heart is Yours, I think that that would have to be John, Sam’s older
brother. He took on a life of his own. I love him way more than I initially
expected to and would love to write more about him.
What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview?
First off, thank
you so much for taking the time to read this interview!! I hope that my answers
were interesting. If you take the time to buy and read My Heart is Yours thank
you so, so much!! I’m working with someone on a non-fiction anthology of mini
memoirs from people with the same rare condition that I have so keep an eye
out. I’m also hard at work on a YA Paranormal Romance Trilogy that is
definitely darker and much different than My Heart is Yours. I love it so much.
I hope to be able to share it with you soon.


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