image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spotlight - Amanda Flower and Maid of Murder

Don't forget the rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!


AMANDA FLOWER, a native of Akron, Ohio, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Like her main character India Hayes, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. When she is not at the library or writing her next mystery, she is an avid traveler who has been to seventeen countries, forty-eight U.S. states, and counting. Maid of Murder is her debut novel and the first in a series featuring amateur sleuth India Hayes. Amanda is also currently seeking a publisher for her middle-grade children’s mystery, The Mystery of the First Andora. She lives and writes near Akron.

by Amanda Flower
Published by Five Star Publishing


India Hayes, a college librarian and reluctant bridesmaid, is thrown into the role of amateur sleuth as she hunts down the person who murdered her childhood friend and framed her brother for the crime. When bride-to-be Olivia turns up dead in the Martin College fountain and the evidence points to India’s brother Mark, India must unmask the real culprit while juggling a furious Mother of the Bride, an annoying Maid of Honor, a set of hippie-generation parents, a police detective who is showing a marked liking for her, and a provost itching to fire someone, anyone—maybe even a smart-mouthed librarian.

Readers, buy your copy of Maid of Murder today!


1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The main character, India Hayes, inspired me to write her story. Several years ago, I was sitting in a Blockbuster parking lot on the Fourth of July, and India’s mildly sarcastic voice popped into my head. Although it’s been revised many times since, the first paragraph is what India said to me that day. From her remarks a novel and series was born.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Admittedly, my main character India and I have a lot in common. She’s a college librarian and so am I. Consequently, many of the library situations that happen to her I’ve either experienced in a library or witnessed. However, India and I have very different temperaments. She’s more phlegmatic than I am and takes tough frightening situations in stride. I’m more of a scaredy cat.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Now, this is question India would like because she loves ice cream just like I do. I think she would be Buckeye because she’s an Ohio girl. If you’re not from Ohio, you might not be aware of buckeye ice cream, which is peanut butter ice cream with buckeye candies (chocolate-covered peanut butter balls formed to look like buckeyes) mixed in. India is like this flavor because she’s sweet with a little of a salty edge.

4. Are there any themes in Maid of Murder that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

When I write, I don’t develop my novels around a particular theme. Since I write mysteries, I develop my novels around an event in this case murder or in the case of my children’s books a lesser crime. However, it’s amazing to see the themes that appear in one of my novels through the writing process. A large portion of this mystery deals with how the close-knit Hayes family interacts with each other, so family is an important theme. Another important theme is loyalty. The novel puts those how are loyal in juxtaposition against those who are not.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

For me, the most difficult part to write is the middle of the novel. When I start out, I usually know how the novel will start and how it will end. It’s in the murky middle where I get stuck.

I love to write dialogue because the way a person speaks shows a lot about him or her. Some of my favorite parts in the book occur when India is speaking with another character, and they are shooting witticisms back and forth at each other. In particular, I love writing dialogue for Ina Carroll, India’s land lady, and Bobby McNally, India’s best friend. They are both quirky characters, who show a lot about themselves when they speak.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book will be the sequel. I don’t have a release date yet, but I would guess sometime in 2012. In India’s second adventure, she is volunteering as a face painter at her town’s Founders’ Day Festival. She’s not happy about it, but her sister is the chair of the committee and twisted India’s arm into volunteering. Things go from bad to worse for India when she stumbles upon a body on the festival grounds.

Question: I don’t just write mysteries, I love to read them too. I’m always on the lookout for a new mystery author. Who is your favorite mystery author, and what do you like about his or her books?

* * * * *

Thank you, Amanda, for being in the spotlight with us.

NEW!! Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a $10 Gift Card to Borders. If you don't answer the question, you won't be entered.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Esther Miriam Lopez said...

I haven't read any CF mysteries yet.

Hope I can still be entered in the drawing.


Anonymous said...

You're still entered in the drawing. :) Are there any mainstream mystery authors you enjoy?

runner10 said...

My fav mystery author is James Patterson. He is so fast paced. It is hard to put his books down.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:

runner10: csdsksds (Denise)

Congratulations! I have sent your information to Amanda so she can mail out your book.

Thank you to everyone for your support.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Whoops! Make that your GIFT CARD, Denise, not a book. My apologies.