Congratulations to the winner of the Author Spotlight giveaway of A Sweet MisfortuneSUSAN HOM. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome Amanda Cabot, author of On Lone Star Trail, to Author Spotlight! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release.

Cabot_AmandaIntroduce us to you as an author: When did you get bit with the writing bug? How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve been writing since I was seven or eight and had the goal of selling a book before I was thirty. But, even though that was my goal, I wrote only sporadically until I was almost 29. I started what was to become my first published book just before my twenty-ninth birthday and sold it one week before my thirtieth. What made the difference? Irritation. I’ve come to believe that authors have at least one thing in common with oysters, namely that we need irritation to produce our pearls … er… our books. For me, that irritation was moving to a new area and discovering that what had appeared to be an ideal job was truly awful. Of course, that happened at a time when jobs were hard to find, so I stuck with the one I had for over three years. But the irritation was enough that I decided it was time to become serious about writing.

[Tweet “Authors are like oysters, they need irritation to produce pearls! @AmandaJoyCabot”]

If this were a fairytale, I’d tell you that I became vastly wealthy from that book and was able to quit my day job. The reality is, for many years (no, I won’t tell you how many) I wrote on nights and weekends, while I worked full time for Corporate America. Now I’m fortunate enough to be a full-time writer.

Tell us about your new release:

On Lone Star Trail is the third book in the Texas Crossroads trilogy. Although it’s part of a series, I want to reassure readers that the books can be read in any sequence. One of my pet peeves is books that need to be read in a specific order to make sense, and so I try my best to ensure that I don’t do that.

Since I’m always challenged to describe my books in less than the 100,000 words it takes to write them, rather than try to summarize the story, let me share the back cover copy with you.

If there’s one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it’s a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. Unsure about the next phase in her life, she heads to Rainbow’s End Resort for some R&R when a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash right in front of her.

When TJ Benjamin’s wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He has spent the past year wandering the country on his motorcycle, trying not to think about the future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor.

As these broken people collide, they find that a bright future is still ahead—it just might not be the one they imagined for themselves.

How can readers connect with you online?

One of my greatest pleasures is hearing from readers, and so I hope they’ll take the time to tell me what they like (and even what they don’t like) about my stories. They can find me on Facebook and Twitter as AmandaJoyCabot, and of course there’s my web site: www.amandacabot.com. I’ve included email links on several of the web pages to make it easier for readers to connect with me.

Anything new for you on the book horizon?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on what will be the first story in an historical trilogy. Yes, I’m heading back to the nineteenth century for the next few books. These stories take place in the Texas Hill Country, but since the timeframe is 1880 rather than 2016, the challenges the characters face differ. Here’s a peek into the plot for the first one.

Her heart brimming with happiness, Lydia Crawford arrives in the Texas Hill Country to meet her fiancé, only to discover that he’s disappeared. As if that weren’t bad enough, he’s married, and his wife is expecting a child. What happened to all those promises he made? They were as false as the ones her father gave her mother, proof that men cannot be trusted … not even the handsome sheriff who steals into Lydia’s thoughts far too often.

The last thing Sheriff Travis Whitfield needs in his life is a woman, especially a Northerner. Dealing with a missing man, a possible murder and his cantankerous father is enough for any one man. But though his head tells him Lydia’s not the woman for him, Travis’s heart is sending a different message.

Do you prefer reading physical books or e-readers?

CABOT_TC3_OnLoneStarTrail.inddWhat a tough question! The truth is, I enjoy both. When I’m doing research, physical books are my preference. I tend to skip around when I’m researching, and that seems easier on a physical book. I also often have multiple books open at the same time – again, easier with physical books. But when I’m reading for pleasure or critiquing other writers’ stories, e-readers win. I like being able to change the font size depending on the lighting conditions, and highlighting areas that I want to discuss in a manuscript I’m critiquing seems easier on an e-reader. At this point, I can’t imagine life without both book formats.

Why do you write?

Because it’s part of who I am. I had years of constant rejection when I tried to stop writing, but every time I did, I realized there was an empty spot deep inside me that could only be filled by writing.

What book have you reread the most?

Little Women. I fell in love with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy as soon as I opened the book and read, “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents.” One read was not enough. Not even close! But since each time I wanted to reread it meant another trip to the library, my father gave me a copy for Christmas that year. It’s been many, many years, and the book is now a bit dog-eared, but I still get as much pleasure from reading it as I did that first time.

Best author moment? Worst author moment?

It’s a tie for best moment: my first sale and the starred review Publishers Weekly gave At Bluebonnet Lake. Both left me speechless, which isn’t a common occurrence for me. The worst moment was actually more than one moment: it was the years when I collected enough rejection notices to paper a good-sized room.

Ever had a bad review? How did you handle it?

A bad review? Oh, yes! Unfortunately, there’s been more than one. The first time I received a really bad review, even though it was from a review site that was known for its “slash and burn” techniques, I cringed and reached for a box of chocolates. (In case you didn’t know, chocolate is a wonderful way to cope with rejections and bad reviews.) There’s no doubt that bad reviews hurt, but I’ve learned to accept them, even without eating a pound of chocolate. I keep reminding myself that they’re only one person’s opinion and that since I don’t love every book I’ve ever read, I can’t expect every reviewer to love my books. I will say, though, that my reaction to unfavorable reviews has taught me to be kind when reviewing other people’s books. I’ve made it my policy not to review anything that I can’t give at least four stars.

What advice would you give to new writers?

I have three pieces of advice. The first is to read extensively in the genre you want to write. That’s the best way to learn what a publisher is buying. Secondly, join a writer’s group. ACFW is wonderful for writers in the Christian marketplace, and Romance Writers of America is excellent for anyone interested in writing romance. A writer’s group provides support, networking and so many other resources to the aspiring writer that I can’t over emphasize the importance of joining one. And lastly, never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won’t sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you’ll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself. Oh … that was four pieces of advice. Sorry!

[Tweet “Writing advice from @AmandaJoyCabot: Learn what the publisher is buying!”]

What was your biggest break?

Seeing a TV commercial for Harlequin romances. Don’t laugh. It’s true. Prior to that day, I’d been trying to write romantic suspense à la Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. (We’re talking ancient history here.) I’d never read a Harlequin, so I picked up copies of two new releases (again, ancient history – there were only two lines back then), enjoyed both of them and decided to try my hand at romance, thinking I’d add the suspense elements later. That commercial, added to the irritation I mentioned earlier, led to my first sale.

Describe yourself in one word:


If I could go anywhere, it would be…

On a Mediterranean cruise. Although I’ve been fortunate to have lived in both France and Germany and to have traveled throughout the US and to a number of other countries, I’ve never been to Greece. A cruise on a small luxurious yacht sounds like the perfect way to explore the Greek islands.


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