E. I. Can you share with us some of the toughest experiences you had to go through to get published?
Amanda Stevens: My experience is probably a little different than most writers. I actually got published fairly quickly...I sold the first book I ever wrote. That was back in the eighties when genre fiction, especially romantic suspense, was exploding. Editors needed a lot of books quickly, and my manuscript was actually picked from a slush pile. I didn’t have an agent, had absolutely no contacts in the business and didn’t belong to any professional organizations. I just decided one day to write a book. I sold my second one almost as easily as the first, and then bam! I hit a brick wall. Proposal after proposal kept getting turned down and I quickly amassed a very thick rejection folder. It took me four years to sell another book, and I’d say for the next four or five years, my publishing success was pretty spotty. Then I sold a manuscript to Harlequin Intrigue, and everything just took off. I think I’ve published around forty books with them. When my agent started shopping around The Dollmaker, we quickly learned that I’d been pigeon-holed in romantic suspense. I was a romantic-suspense writer and that’s what editors wanted from me. However, when the book sold to MIRA, my editor made it clear from the start that I was to write the story the way I wanted to write it. I believe her exact words were, “Don’t be afraid to go dark.” Music to my ears! Now the challenge is to get readers to accept me as a thriller writer. I’m hoping The Dollmaker will convince them.
E. I. Do your characters come from people that you know?
Amanda Stevens: Not really. Real-life situations can be inspirational, but I don’t like basing characters on real people because I tend to see that person in my head rather than the character. I won’t even use the names of people I know really well for the same reason.
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