Amanda Richardson writes from her chaotic dining room table in Yorkshire, England, often distracted by her husband and two adorable sons. When she’s not writing contemporary and dark, twisted romance, she enjoys coffee (a little too much) and collecting house plants like they’re going out of style.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could be transformed into one animal, which one would you choose?
A whale, because I’d want to retain my brainpower but also see the ocean!
Q2. What time do you usually go to bed at night?
Usually around midnight. I’m a night owl.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Q4. Who is your favorite Disney character?
Belle from Beauty and the Beast… I think we have a lot in common, haha!
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
The past. I’d love to see Tudor England!
Q6. What is your last Google search?
“Undiscovered Pleasure Dom” – for my next book, haha.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
I actually don’t misplace anything, ever. I’m way too anxious for that!
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
Watch my kids without asking.
Q9. Learn by watching or learn by doing?
Q10. Expensive presents or homemade presents?
Homemade all the way.
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
I don’t know. This is hard because I believe everything happens for a reason.
Q12. What is not a big deal to most people but is torture to you?
Waking up early.
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Amanda.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Amanda. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
I was a travel writer for a year before I dove into writing romance. Not a lot of people know that. I liked the traveling aspect, but I didn’t enjoy the assignments. I preferred to write my own stories, and figured out by trial and error that I didn’t like writing nonfiction.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what books did you grow up reading?
I read everything I could get my hands on. Horror, fantasy, science fiction… anything. The Scholastic Book Fairs were the introduction to my love of reading. My parents were big readers, and I started going to the library at a young age and begging for book money for my birthdays. Some of my best memories are perusing the library and bookstore for new books.
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
Being able to evoke emotions out of the reader. I don’t think you need flowery writing to do this. Simple writing can be just as powerful. It’s just a matter of how well the author can utilize certain words and descriptors.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Most of my books have Taylor Swift or Harry Potter easter eggs. Now you know, haha.
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
They used to really affect me. I’m a highly sensitive person and I’m very empathetic, so I learned a long time ago to stay away from bad reviews. If I feel good about a story, and most of my readers feel good about the story, I have nothing to worry about. I don’t read the bad reviews now.
Q. What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
The plot. But really, they both sort of come to me at the same time. I usually have a better sense of the plot, and the characters show me who they are as I write.
Q. How do you develop your plot and characters?
I don’t, really. I have plotted before. And it worked for that book. But 95% of my books are just pulled from my mind, with no rhyme or reason. I don’t usually respond well to my book being plotted out, because when I go to write, the characters go off script.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
Nowadays, I don’t think there is a definition of success because it’s different for everyone. For me, it used to be one person reading and enjoying my books. Then it grew to making a living. Once that happened, I wanted to expand—international rights and translations, audio, and writing a book for a traditional publisher to see my book at a bookstore one day. The dream of success grows bigger every year.
Q. Let’s talk about your book. Tell us about it. No major spoilers.
The book I’m currently writing is called Ward Willing. I’m very immersed in their world right now. It’s sort of taboo (age gap, guardian/ward) so navigating that has been interesting as well. As with anything, there’s a lot of research that goes into it, but also a lot of angst (in the case of this book, at least). It releases in January.
Q. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
The hardest part of any book for me is starting it. I usually have a really good idea of the middle and ending, but getting to that point is always hard for me!
Q. Would you and your main character get along?
I think so. She’s very academic, and I was not, so I think we’d balance each other out. I don’t usually write female characters that I wouldn’t be friends with in real life. They’re all genuine, real, and relatable.
Q. What are the essential characteristics of a hero you can root for?
They have to be redeemable. So even if you have a flawed character, they need to do something to make the reader want to root for them. It’s why I love writing villains, because I love writing the redemption arc.
Q. Let’s talk about the process of writing. When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?
I’m a massive mood writer. So if it’s an angsty scene, for example, I have angsty music on, maybe a candle, and I sort of get into a very melancholy mood. If it’s a sad scene, the same thing. I have to channel those emotions, and a lot of my descriptions come from how I personally feel or have felt in the past.
Q. What was your hardest scene to write?
Probably the depression scene in Marry Lies. Estelle, the main female character, is very bubbly and outgoing, but deep down, she suffers from depression. And when those depressive episodes happen, it completely changes her. I pulled most of that from my own personal experience, unfortunately. By representing mental health struggles in romance books, I hope that one day, it removes the stigma.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
The biggest and most important thing, in my opinion, is just to write. Keep writing. Write one book, and then set it aside. My first book was not great, but my second book was better. I hit my stride around my fourth book, and really felt like I could tell a decent story by that point. Practice makes perfect!