In the run-up to our in-person event, we wanted to spotlight the publishing industry, focusing on the people who make the industry what it is. We interviewed Amanda Prowse to get to know her story as part of this.
Amanda Prowse is one of the UK’s most prolific storytellers. Born in the east end of London, she is now based on a farm in the West Country. The author of 30 novels, 7 novellas and a couple of memoirs with books sold in 22 countries and translated into over a dozen languages – no mean feat when you consider her first novel was published in 2012!
She has been a passionate reader since the age of 6, when a visit to the local library changed her life. Armed with her precious library ticket – she spent hours reading Anna Sewell, Judi Blume and Nina Bawden while scribbling short stories of her own. As a teen, she progressed to authors like Mary Wesley, Colleen McCullough and Maeve Binchy, whose gritty, emotional novels would inform her writing.
Her mantra is: “I want to write the kind of stories I love to read – rich slices of family life packed with characters who are relatable and who, like the rest of us, wade through the sticky pond of life, offering hope and wisdom as they do so and praying they can get to the other side without losing a flip flop.”
What do you love about your career?
What I love most is that I do something that I love, and I appreciate what a privilege that is. I never take it for granted.
Where do you go, or what do you do to find inspiration for your writing?
Inspiration strikes me at the oddest of times! I might hear a line from a song or spy something from the top of a bus, glimpsing snippets of life through people’s windows. I recently was inspired by something I heard in the chip shop! So literally, I never know when something will chime and spark an idea.
You’re releasing a new book this year; can you give us more details about it?
Women Like Us is my life story so far! It’s a raw, but I hope, inspiring account of my life lived as someone who always felt like they didn’t quite fit. I had so many ideas but felt hemmed in by class, lack of opportunity and my low self-esteem. I didn’t ever see how I could get out of the blocks. I hope that anyone who has ever felt this way will take hope from the message that I made a success of my life, and they can too…
You’ve also recently released a book, To Love and Be Loved; what’s the synopsis for this novel?
To Love and Be Loved is a tale of love, loss and betrayal, all set on the glorious wild Cornish coast. Heartbreak might be in the middle of it, but it is, in essence, a story about the healing power of community and how your bones always long to be home…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write as often as you can. The more you write, the more you learn your craft. I’m still learning mine! And don’t think about becoming the next JK or Le Carré – be the first YOU! Find your authentic author voice and write what you want to read.
Of all your achievements, of which are you most proud?
My sons. They are my greatest achievement by far, and on the day I die, I will think of them and all they have overcome and what glorious humans they are!
In life, what guides you?
My guiding principle is that if I can do good and help, I should. I also practise the art of contentment. In my youth, I craved “stuff” I thought might make me happy! Life has taught me that people are the real treasure and being grateful for the small things, which are the big things!
What’s the one thing you started doing that improved your life/career?
Quieting my negative interior monologue and practising self-kindness. This, in turn, boosted my self-belief and enabled me to have the confidence to write.
Are you reading any books at the moment, and what authors do you like to read?
I read across a variety of genres and love any good story! At the moment, I’m reading Impossible To Forget by Imogen Clark, and it is! And next on my Kindle is Barbara O’Neale’s When We Believed in Mermaids.
And lastly, how would you like to be remembered?
As someone who laughed a lot and made a world-class roast potato.