Friday, September 6, 2013

Author Interview - Amanda Holden

Hi there! I just got out of a very important business meeting with the Penguin, and guess what he shared with me? We get to interview another wonderful (and quickly rising) author today! Very exciting stuff, and it's something a little different for the greatest readers EVER. Let's meet this rising star, Amanda Holden!

But first, the book...

Azyea (Oz-zay-yah) is determined to create a Mother's Day gift for her mom. When she attempts to create something spectacular, everything turns into a big mess. Disappointed that her gifts were not good enough, Azyea finds out what her mom really thinks about her not so perfect gifts.

This book is geared toward children ages 3 and up.

And now...the interview!!

DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!  

Amanda: Greetings! Thank you for hosting me! My name is Amanda Holden and I hail from the island of Guam. Yes, a tiny island located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Guam is where I was born and raised and when I got married in 2009, I moved to a small town of Columbus, TX. 

I am very much into art, music, and writing. I like to draw and paint when ever I am inspired. I like to play guitar and sing. I make YouTube videos of my music and dabble in home recording on my computer. Lastly, I write children’s books and I simply love reading them too! 

I am a firm believer in Jesus. My favorite color is red. I love sushi and I am a filthy junk food addict. I have tried to cut back, but the temptation is too evil to quit. My favorite T.V. show is Downton Abbey and I can’t wait for the next season to come!

DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book? 

Amanda: I actually self-published my book in May 2013 for Mother’s Day. It is called Azyea’s Gifts which I wrote and illustrated. I was inspired to write the story because I wanted to show others what my mom means to me and to show the love of a mother. Another reason was to finish what I started as an aspiring author. I wanted to prove to myself that I can reach my dreams with hard work. Since then, I am very confident that I can accomplish more than a published book. I am very excited to see what happens with my upcoming stories.

DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc

Amanda: I am one who requires silence when I write. Music is too much of a distraction than it is a motivator.

DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing? 

Amanda: First of all, my house has to be cleaned before I can even begin writing. I do not use an outline, I just start writing and work on the details later. The main goal is to get the ideas down on paper. 

DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser? 

Amanda: I have several, but the book that will be coming out soon is called, Captain Sam Sails Across the Sky. It is to be published through Tiger Dynasty Publishing and the illustrations are underway. Here is a teaser!
“Can you tell me another pirate story?” Sam asked. “Okay Sam, but this story is unlike any other story. Instead of pirates sailing the seven open seas; tonight I will tell you about pirates who sailed the open skies who were on their way to a place called Cloud One Hundred.” His dad said. “But first, I have something for you.”

Another title that I foresee being published in the future is the Prodigal Princess.

DSP: What has been the biggest high since becoming a published author?

Amanda: Knowing that my book is out for the world to see. I am more confident and I love helping others who are trying to reach their dreams.

DSP: What is your greatest fear about being an author? 

Amanda: My fear would be how I present myself to the world.  Now, that I am an author , I feel like I am not as well rounded in the writing industry, but I am trying to gain more knowledge to where I can stand confident. If I was ever to be questioned on the spot, I want to answer promptly and coherently without hesitation.

And now, for something completely different…some slightly off-the-wall and possibly irrelevant questions just for fun!

DSP: What is your favorite song?

Amanda: I Dreamed a Dream

DSP: What’s your favorite candy? Ice cream?

Amanda: My favorite candy would be sour pouch. My favorite ice cream would be mint chocolate chip.

DSP: Imagine you’re the sole survivor of a plane crash at sea, and you awake stranded on a deserted and uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody knows you’re there, and you have nothing but the clothes on your back. You’re all alone, and there’s terrifying sounds coming from deep within the jungle. Late that night as you’re starving, a large suitcase washes up on the shore. You open it up. What’s in the suitcase?

Amanda: A gun. A blow up raft. A sandwich. That should take care of my stranded situation, the beast in the jungle, and my hunger. I am sorry, was I suppose to choose one thing? 

Haha, you answered perfectly! I love seeing the varying answers to that last one, it's always so fun finding out what each person would prefer to help them survive. 

Here's a little about Amanda and her books!

Amanda R. Holden (Punzalan) (1989) was born on the island of Guam to Frank Punzalan and Mary Lujan and is the youngest of six. She now resides in Columbus, Texas with her husband Ethan Holden.

Amanda started writing at a young age and is now the author and illustrator of her first children's picture book, Azyea's Gifts.

She currently works a full time job as a dental receptionist and helps out from time to time at her local church. In her spare time, she also provides guitar lessons for children and adults while she continues to work at her craft as a writer. 

She is quite dedicated to reaching goals that seem far beyond her reach and is always willing to help other authors in need of support and advise regarding their projects.

Amanda is also musically inclined and loves to sing and play guitar. Karaoke won't get her too far, but she hopes to use her music abilities for something big. 

"Follow your dreams, because your dreams won't follow you..." -Amanda Holden

Stalk Amanda-er, I mean, stay up-to-date with all things Amanda here:

Such a great interview, and many thanks to Amanda. Make sure you keep up-to-date with all of Amanda's works and snag your own copy of her book. Be on the lookout for not only this upcoming book, Captain Sam Sails Across the Sky, but for the plethora of great books that are sure to follow! Congrats to you on recently joining with Tiger Dynasty Publishing, we can't wait to see you rise to phenomenal heights in your upcoming successes.

Thanks again, Amanda, and best of luck!!

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