Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
From a young age, Amanda Dauvin dreamed of becoming an author and soon discovered that with a simple pen and paper her ideas could spread their wings, taking flight for others to enjoy. Now a mother, teacher, public speaker, advocate and author, Amanda is living her childhood dream and knows there is a special place in every heart reserved for a good book.
How often do you base your characters on real people?
My characters aren’t usually based on a single person, but rather a culmination of countless people across a myriad of situations. But in every case, they are based on real people. Even the wildest of characters are based on someone I’ve met. There are a lot of beautifully wild people out there who deserve a place on paper!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
More than I can count. Every few days I stumble across a half-finished story or story idea and end up daydreaming about those characters for a week or two.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It can be both, sometimes in the same day. Coming up with story ideas and watching the characters and plot unfold can be incredibly energizing. Writing for too long, forcing a story, or rewriting things ad nauseam be exhausting.
How often you read?
I have read every single day of my life since I can remember. There were lazy summer days where I could finish two novels in a day, but life has changed since I’ve had children and now much of my reading is done with them, which is something I enjoy immensely.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write with my heart and edit with my head. Engaging both means I’m more likely to create something authentic that will resonate with readers, as well.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure. Not all genres have to evoke emotions in the writer or audience. An informational text on the evolutionary ecology of marsupial pouches, for example, can be both informative and useful without dipping into an emotional well.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hiring an editor and marketing consultant. Next up, a comfortable writing station.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes. I like to know what others are saying. And seeing.
What are your favorite books?
Bryce Courtenay’s Power of One and Tandia.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Anything Calvin & Hobbes. I don’t think anything will ever make me laugh as hard as when I first read Attack of the Snow Goons.
Who and what ultimately inspired you to become a writer?
My childhood was synonymous with instability and upheaval and throughout this tumultuous time writing served as a survival mechanism, helping me work through each problem, one word at a time. One day, when I was staying at a women’s shelter with my mom, I had a fantastic story idea. There was very little for a child my age to do there at the time, so I sat in their dining room from sunup until sundown writing my story, even missing dinner. Once finished, I put it in the hands of anyone who would give it a read – the staff, the other women staying there, and they all agreed I should pursue writing when I was older. I’m sure they were just being kind at the time, but I tucked their words away like little seeds of possibility, waiting for the chance of Spring. Fast forward to a few years ago, when I was in an unusual, but serious car accident. After taking a wrong turn and ending up on the freeway, a dog suddenly appeared out of nowhere, darting into traffic. While the dog came out unscathed, myself and a few other drivers were not as lucky. During recovery I was forced to take a step back and re-evaluate my life goals, and it dawned on me that while I had been writing for years, it might be time to take it to the next step and consider publishing.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Enroll in writing courses for fun, experience and constructive feedback.
Is writer’s block real?
Writer’s block is real and often a product of trying too hard. When I’ve lost my spark, I spend some time in nature or watching a busy street and before long, I’m back on track.
Were your parents interested in literature? Did they read a lot? What books did you have in the house?
When I was young, we didn’t have a lot of money so there were a lot of things we had to do without, but there were always books in our home. Both of my parents enjoyed reading fiction and weekly visits to the public library meant new books every week.
How do you begin a book?
Always with the end. Otherwise, I’ll never finish it.
If asked, what would your friends and family say about you?
They would describe me as hard-working, determined, honest and a daydreamer through and though. Some would say I ask too many questions, but I would disagree such a thing exists.
What is your greatest failure? What did you learn from that failure?
The only failures I’ve experienced are surrounding things I didn’t do. I’d call those regrets and they were often the result of either not believing in myself or not being resourceful enough. So now I look at the big picture and seek out creative solutions to my problems. I also outsource when possible since there’s nothing wrong with inviting people in who are more experienced or better suited in an area. When I need a little boost, I look at my track record and find strength in my past accomplishments, and if all else fails, I cut myself a bit of slack – nobody’s perfect.
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