KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
My name is Amanda Berry. I write contemporary series romance for Harlequin Special Edition. I currently live near Charleston, South Carolina, but grew up in the Midwest. I have a dog and two cats that mostly get along. My hobby is knitting which I got back into a few years ago after a long hiatus.
1. How did you get started writing?
When I was little, our next door neighbor was a writer. I dabbled in writing throughout my childhood and even took some courses during college, but ended up a CPA instead. When my husband got the opportunity to take an overseas assignment, I quit my job and wrote full-time while living in Sheffield, England. Occasionally I still dabble in accounting.
2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write contemporary series for Harlequin, but I also write paranormal and long contemporary romance. Harlequin’s line is very home and family oriented. My Ward Brothers series really helped me go deeper with my writing. My long contemporaries are more light with the feel of a romantic comedy. My paranormal romances go from dark to light depending on the story. Though I haven’t published either the long contemporaries or paranormal romances, I look forward to in the future.
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
Drafting and plotting. The initial creative energy that comes to life when you are fresh into the story is amazing and exhilarating.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
Editing and revising. It’s very hard for me to change once I have the story set. It usually takes a day of crying and going through the grief cycle before I finally admit that it needs to change and just go ahead and do it.
5. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
All over the place. From TV shows to news to movies to going into my own background as a small town girl. Most of the stories come from the characters themselves though. I may have a plan when I begin to create them but once they are developed they tend to run their own story.
6. What is it that makes your writing different from all the others in your genre?
Wow that’s a stunner of a question. 🙂 Every author has their own voice and own background that they bring to a story. I think every author is unique in their own way. I think it’s hard to know what makes myself unique though.
7. Are you an avid reader? When you do read someone else’s writing, what is your favorite genre?
I love reading. Historical romance, hands down, is my favorite genre. My latest favorite that is an autobuy is Sarah MacLean. I especially love reading it because I know I don’t have the patience to do the research to write it.
8. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
His Small-town Sweetheart is out in paperback today and out in digital February 1st. Reunited childhood friends come together in a love story that proves you can go home again. This is the final book in the Ward Brothers series (previous books are Father by Choice and One Night with the Best Man). Sam’s story develops through the other two, but you can read His Small-town Sweetheart on its own. Sam is one of my favorite heroes and my favorite book so far. Nicole is the perfect woman to pull Sam out of his shell.
HIS SMALL-TOWN SWEETHEART
BY AMANDA BERRY
Silhouette Special Edition
Twenty years ago, Nicole Baxter left the only home she knew—and the boy who shared all her secrets. Now, with nowhere else to go, she’s back in Tawnee Valley to figure out her next move—and cry on her old friend Sam Ward’s shoulder. Except the gentle dreamer has become a brooding loner who’s gearing up to sell the place he loves most.
When Nikki moved away, Sam lost the best friend he ever had. The beautiful, elegant woman who comes home is a world away from the tomboy with pigtails and skinned knees. And he’s no longer the dreamy kid who believes in happy endings. Until Nikki starts to convince him they share the same dream: a future together right here in their own backyard…
HIS SMALL-TOWN SWEETHEART
BY AMANDA BERRY
Silhouette Special Edition
At one point they’d known each other’s secrets and fears, but now they were little more than strangers. All Sam knew about her life now was what she’d told him. It was more of an outline than the complete picture. How much would she expect him to share? How much was he willing to share?
“Did you find a new best friend after I left?” Nicole took a drink of her beer and stared up into the canopy of leaves. The stars twinkled beyond the leaves. The moon didn’t overpower the stars, the way streetlights did.
“No.” There was no secret in that, just a fact. “I had a group of friends in high school but never got close to any of them.” Not like he’d been close to her. Because he lived out on the farm, it made it hard to connect with his friends, and with his chores, he didn’t always have time.
“Do you still see any of them?” Her voice was soft in the darkness, not quite a whisper, like they were sharing secrets and not just talking about what happened between then and now.
“Every once in a while, someone comes to town to visit their folks or something.” The truth was, everyone moved away after graduation. It was rare to find anyone in Tawnee Valley between the ages of twenty and thirty who wasn’t married with kids.
“I tried my hardest to fit in at my new school,” Nicole said. “Mom insisted I start dressing like a girl since I wasn’t living on a farm anymore. I made a few friends, but I couldn’t tell them any secrets without someone spreading it around school. I certainly couldn’t make blood pacts or belch in front of them.” Nicole bumped his shoulder with hers.
“You were the one who wanted to do the blood thing.” He took a swig of beer. It had been a while since he’d drunk alcohol, probably since Brady’s wedding.
“Only because I saw it in a movie.” They sat quietly for a moment. “Do you think we would have stayed friends if I hadn’t moved?”
Sam took a deep breath and followed a shooting star across the sky. “Honestly? I don’t know. It wasn’t too long after you left that I started looking at girls differently.”
“Like they grew horns and tails?”
He smiled slightly. “You know what I mean.”
“Of course, but it’s much more fun to tease you.” She leaned her head on his shoulder. “Who knows what might have happened between us if I’d stayed?”
Between walking her Jack Russell-beagle mix, petting her two cats and driving her two kids all over creation, Amanda Berry writes contemporary romance novels (thanks to a supportive husband). A Midwest girl stuck in the wetlands of South Carolina, she finds inspiration in her small-town upbringing. A list of her current releases and backlist can be found at amanda-berry.com.
Links to Amanda’s website, blog, books, etc.
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Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your story with us!