Name Amanda McIntyre
Age: Age doesn’t matter unless you’re wine or cheese! J
Where are you from: Midwest, U.S.A.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was born and raised in the Midwest United States. (Oklahoma, Missouri, & Iowa) I’ve always loved art, poetry and at one time felt painting or design would be my life’s work. As it turned out, I married my high school sweetheart, raised four great kids here in the Midwest, and found myself a champion, by way of a weekly newspaper column of the importance of Fine Arts in our educational system. An avid reader we’ve always encouraged reading in our house and I began to research new possibilities for my writing on the Internet. I took a few online classes, met some amazing mentors, and participated in online romance fiction writing groups. I began to read again and stepped into doing book reviews for small publications—learning the entire time, what interested me and what didn’t, how to be objective, how to determine an author’s “voice.” At one point, I realized that storytelling was much like painting a picture. And that’s when I began painting stories with words.
My first published novel was in 2001 and I today I call myself a multi-genre, hybrid author with books published by traditional and small press and most recently, I’ve started self-publishing and re-releasing my backlist books on my own.
My most cherished reactions to my work is when a reader says they “feel “ like they are in my stories, or that they could be friends with one of my characters.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Most recently I have received rights back to the first two books of my Kinnison Legacy trilogy and released them along with the third book in the set. It’s a contemporary western romance set–Rugged Hearts,(featuresWyatt) Rustler’s Heart(features Rein) and Renegade Hearts (features Dalton)—three unlikely brothers left to fulfill the Kinnison Legacy.
I am thrilled with how readers have taken to these brothers and the small town of End of the Line, Montana , where the stories take place. They’ve remained in the top ten best western romance at Amazon.com since they released and I am grateful and inspired by readers response. So much so that I am planning a spin off novella that I hope to have out by the Christmas holidays.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Good question, because I am still evolving as a writer—even over a decade later. I live by the old saying that “I am always learning.” Fern Michaels, a great author/storyteller said once she much preferred to be called a storyteller, rather than a writer or an author—I still find that my preference as well.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Oddly, it was a very heart-wrenching and difficult experience in my life that left me disillusioned on so many levels. It was cathartic for me to write, to dispel the demons, to find joy, faith and to believe in myself again. Truly, in retrospect, I felt that I had been like a caterpillar, cocooned from the outside world. I never really truly found who I was, how resilient I am, until I had to face and overcome the obstacles placed before me. That is now my passion, to write about ordinary people placed in extraordinary situations—how they rise above the difficulties and become the heroes and heroines of their own stories.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
As archaic as it may sounds, my writing flows so much easier and faster when I write, rather than type a story. So, my first drafts are almost always done in pen. (Black Bic classic, btw!) I create a visual inspiration board for each story-settings, buildings, towns, people–and often use music to inspire “scenes” in my book. I prefer large blocks of uninterrupted time—but that is rare, so I have to be very organized and a little selfish with my time on occasion. I think maybe it’s an artist thing—instead of holding a brush, I’m holding a pen.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
In general, my titles may come from a song lyric, or a line in the story itself as its being written.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I would say if I had to pinpoint a common theme, it’s the idea of taking ordinary people and placing them in extraordinary situations. Finding your strength, just how resilient you are, that love will always find a way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
My books are works of fiction and not only that, romantic fiction, so some of the emotions are the fantasies readers may dabble with—the emotional , mental escape from reality. That said—I probably make my characters suffer a bit more with what makes them tick. I’m twisted that way;) The more a hero or heroine must overcome, the greater the challenge and the more interesting the read. Now,. If you’re asking about the intimate scenes and whether those are “realistic”—I’d say for the most part they are. I’m of an age where I believe that real romance means better sex. (thanks to author, Mari Carr for borrowing her tag line) You won’t find a Fifty Shades mentality (though many love it) in my writing. Not my cuppa.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There may be elements woven in of real people, places in some of my stories. I also love to research history and find odd bits, then squish around the possibilities like play-dough and see what I come with. RUGGED HEARTS, Book I of the Kinnison Legacy was inspired by a short story I’d written one holiday for my newspaper article. It was called a “Cowboy’s Christmas.” I ended up using it within the book as part of the story Wyatt’s step-dad used to read the children at the holidays.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
There are so many of both—early mentors, Lori Soard and the women I first met through From the Heart , an online romance writing chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America.) Since then, I’ve met so many readers, authors, graphic artists, and others in the writing/publishing industry that have influenced me—far too many to name individually, I’m afraid, but each has left their mark on my heart.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished a Stef Ann Holm contemporary called, “Girls Night”. Just a great summer read! I’m as eclectic in my reading tastes as I am my music. I’m a “mood” reader–everything from Stephen King to Donna Kauffman, Johns Jakes to Barbara Freethy, and so many others.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Absolutely! Every day I am discovering new authors! I recently picked up a book by an author with whom I am honored to be in a boxed contemporary romance set with—her book, “Batter Up” by Robyn Neeley is just loaded with delightful characters! Beth Ciotta, Ciana Stone, Sahara Kelly, Becky McGraw, Katy Evans, Charity Piniero, Barbara Freethy, Sally Mackenzie, C.H. Admirand, and many others!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on two projects, both related to the holidays. One is a new story featuring characters from my Kinnison Legacy set—it’s an End of the Line, Montana Christmas novella called, “It Must Have Been the Mistletoe” and the other is a new contemporary romance western, set at New Year’s Eve. My story (untitled at present) is about first love and second chances. Both have been delightful to write. After that, I’m slated to work on a historical spin-off of my historical thriller, The Dark Seduction of Miss Jane.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There are two, actually, the readers who write and inspire me by how my stories have touched them in some way and the many, many authors I’ve met on this journey and continue to meet. Their support, sharing stories, humor, and encouragement—is priceless.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. I have a regimented office time, however, unless on deadline and I am most grateful and lucky to have a husband who cooks and a family who cheers me on.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. And here’s why—the third book in the Kinnison Legacy was a difficult book to write because it was placed on the backburner as I was occupied entirely with my mother’s rapidly declining health. I was emotionally drained, unable to write, even after her passing, I wasn’t sure if this book would ever get written. But my readers had been waiting, my friends and family gently nudged me, and I was able to finish the book. I know that there was a lot of “me” spilling over the pages. I could feel it as I wrote the scenes—some scenes brought tears to my eyes. So no, tapping into all that emotion was what made this book special to me and it seems to have resonated with readers as well.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure. Here is a passage from RENEGADE HEARTS, BOOK III of the Kinnison Legacy. (*set-up: Dalton has gone to the family’s hunting cabin to escape the community BBQ hosted by his brothers at the new renovated ranch. Angelique seeks him out to try to resolve tensions between them.)
Dalton reminded himself that he did have peanut butter tucked away in the cabinet at the cabin. He’d spent the greater part of the day in a folding chair after digging a hole for his fishing rod in the dark, rich dirt. Between doxing and listening for woodland friends that might meander by, he found himself daydreaming of the recent kiss he’d shared with Angelique and the firestorm it raised inside him.
“Doesn’t look like the fish are being cooperative today.”
Jarred alert by the voice, his chair tipped sideways, his boot kicking the rod. At that moment, the line went taut. Sprawled on the ground, he army crawled, reaching for the pole as he watched the expensive rod skitter across the ground and disappear with his catch into the fast-moving river. With a sigh, he glanced over his shoulder, his eyes landing on a pair of slender legs encased in worn denim. A tease of tan skin peeked through a hole in one knee. He let his gaze travel upward and he saw a picnic basket. He caught a whiff of apple pie and his stomach growled plaintively. He’d not eaten lunch in anticipation of a healthy all-you-can-eat fish fry.
“Sorry about the rod. Didn’t mean to startle you.”
He pushed to his knees, righted his chair, with a definitive thud and, with another sigh, stood to face his current frustration—in more ways than one. “What are you doing here?” he muttered, not in the mood for company, least of all this woman.
“Saving you from starvation, it appears.”
Not favoring the jab with a response, he folded his chair, grabbed his cooler and tackle box, and started back to the cabin. “You came all this way to bring me supper?” He wasn’t being gracious. Wasn’t in the mood. She’d just cost him a brand new rod and reel, not to mention a week of sleepless nights. But he wasn’t about to let her know that. He swung around to face her, glad when she stopped in her tracks–those dark eyes waiting, watching him. She’d come from the BBQ, dressed in old jeans and a plaid snap-front plaid shirt. Her long, dark hair was pulled over one shoulder in a freeform braid. Her mouth-watering gaze held his in challenge and he battled between kissing her senseless or turning her over his knee for interrupting his solitude. Either way, he grew hard, adding to his frustration. He let the cooler hide his body’s reaction. Shaking his head, he turned on his heel, making a beeline for the cabin, hoping she’d climb back in her truck and leave before things got complicated. He heard the crunch of pine needles as she followed him, right up the steps of the front porch. Without preamble, he faced her and plucked the basket from her hands. “Tell Rebecca thank you, as I suspect she’s the one who put this together.”
“And me? I brought the damn thing to you.” She planted her fists on her hips.
He studied her. “Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. If you leave now, you’ll just about make it back to town before dark. That road gets dicey after the sun goes down.”
She didn’t budge. Dammit.
“I figured it was time we hash out this thing between us.”
“Thing? What thing?” He dropped the basket by the screen door and folded his arms over his chest in an attempt to look intimidating. Though he doubted it would work, at least it kept him from touching her.
One brow dropped as she eyed him. “You mean to stand there and tell me that you haven’t given one second of thought to what happened behind the barn?”
Oh, hell yeah, he’d given it plenty of thought, reliving it only about a million times, his brain (and other parts) taking the fantasy to the next step. “It was just a kiss. We’ve been down that road. And if memory serves, you made it clear that it wouldn’t happen again.”
She licked her lips and looked away. He should have, too, but his eyes were caught on her mouth. She angled him a look. “We need to find a way to diffuse the tension between us. It appears to be causing a ruckus at the ranch.” She rolled her eyes in disbelief. “My family feels it’s creating bad karma, and honestly, can you blame them with all that’s happened?”
He had a good idea of what would help ease tensions, but he was pretty sure she’d not agree to the suggestion. A deep roll of thunder caused him to look up in the dusky shadows of the afternoon, realizing that the storm threat grew nigh. “Looks like you’re cooking dinner, then.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding uninterrupted “time.”
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m asked that question a lot and I always answer the same way—there are many authors I read (very eclectic reading taste) but I have many authors who are my favorite—not because of their writing necessarily, but because of their character and integrity.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have traveled in the name of researching a story, yes, but not for every book. The Internet can take you about anywhere, and history books, maps, guides, can take you to about any era in time. Tapping into the senses of taste, touch and smell gets a little trickier and that requires networking with people who live or work in a certain are or field to grasp a better understanding.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Many of my covers have been done in collaboration with Sahara Kelly at P and N Graphics. I’ve also used Killion Publishing Group Inc. and OriginalSyn.com
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Pushing everything else out of the way (mentally) and getting started.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn from each story. Whether it’s something about the characters that surprises or endears them to me, or the feedback from a reader and how a story touched them. Sometimes, I come away with a profound sense of realizing that writing is no easy task and to complete a book—One of my fav quotes, “Success is a finished book. A stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.” (Tom Clancy 1947-2013)
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do not write to think you will attain instant fame or riches. Write because you want to share a story, because you have something to say, because what you write means something to you. And paste the above Clancy quote where you can see it daily.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books—YOU are my inspiration.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I can remember the first romance book I read. It was called Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn.(originally published in 1966) I was in junior high, if memory serves and it had such a profound effect on me.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Good humor makes me laugh, ( I have an abiding love for good British humor) humor at the expense of others in a mean or hurtful way, I abhor. Injustice and how utterly senseless and evil humans can be to others at times makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Not really. Probably seems odd, but I’d rather have the chance to speak to those I’ve known, who are no longer around, just to be able to speak with them again.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Hum, there’s one I haven’t spent a lot of time on, LOL. Devoted wife, mother, friend, and most excellent storyteller.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
While I don’t consider my writing a hobby, I do enjoy art, travel, gardening, reading, music, Broadway musicals, line-dancing, bonfires, lake retreats, sunsets, lighthouses, shipwreck history, trying new drinks and food, hanging out with close friends, watching good movies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Current favs include, AMC’s HELL ON WHEELS, also binge-watched Battlestar Galactica recently. NCIS, and NCIS: New Orleans, Chicago Fire, BBC series, Copper, Ripper Street. Fav movies, too many to name, in the top ten; The Shining (Jack Nicholson version) Meet Me in St Louis, The Long, Hot Summer (Paul Newman) All the Sherlock Holms movies, Captain America, Super 8, Steel Magnolias, Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, and Somewhere in Time are a few.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Music—Broadway, Country, Classical piano, violin, cello, Seventies rock, Celtic Women, New Orleans Jazz/Blues, movie soundtracks, are a few. Colors: I am a 64-color box of crayon kind of girl. <g>
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Interior design, Illustrator, photography, or canvas painting.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.mcintyre.author
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002C1KH2Q
Amanda McIntyre’s passion is telling character-driven stories with a penchant for placing ordinary people placed in extraordinary situations. A bestselling author, her work is published internationally in print, E-book, and audio. She writes sizzling contemporary and erotic historical romance and believes no matter what, love will find a way. Learn more at : http://www.amandamcintyresbooks.com and Amanda’s Amazon Author Page.
RUGGED HEARTS, BOOK I (Available in eBook /paperback)
RUSTLER’S HEART, BOOK II (Available in eBook/paperback)
RENEGADE HEARTS, BOOK III (Available in eBook/paperback)
Current Collection Links:
HOT WESTERN NIGHTS~collection of first-in-a series books (features Rugged Hearts, Book I)
A HOT HOMETOWN HUNKS collection~
Coming December 28/2015
RING IN A COWBOY~Ring in the New Year with Nine Sexy Cowboys from some of today’s Bestselling Authors!
Thank you so much for the lovely interview, Fiona! Blessings & cowboy dreams~