Amanda Reynolds teaches Creative Writing in Cheltenham, where she lives with her family. Her past jobs have included selling clothes online and writing murder mystery games.
Close To Me is her debut novel.
Follow Amanda on Twitter: @amandareynoldsj
As part of the spotlight feature Amanda has written 5 things about herself to enable us to get to know her better 😉
- I think every writer should have a dog. I have two, sometimes three as I also look after my daughter’s Cavapoo a couple of times a week. If I’m honest, three is probably a bit too much, and the pup is a constant gorgeous distraction, but when it’s just me in the house, sitting at my desk typing away, I need at least one dog at my feet. Writing can be solitary, often intense, immensely rewarding, but it’s just you and the page. If you can reach down and find a furry head to pat, it definitely helps. They never interrupt, or ask you how it’s going, they’re just there with unconditional affection. They also need regular walks, which is often when a knotty bit of plot will unravel in my head; something about being under the sky, breathing in the fresh country air.
- I am addicted to Twitter. I love it. I could spend all day on it. I mainly follow other writers, bloggers, and people I know from the publishing world. My Twitter feed is very much about me as a writer, although I do post a lot of dog photos too! I love seeing other writers’ posts, book bloggers’ reviews, cover reveals. I get excited by the images of book post, and love seeing the supportive threads of conversation which crop up. I’ve found the book world to be a very generous community and for me Twitter embodies that. I know there’s an unpleasant side to Twitter, but I keep away from anything like that and find it a social place to hang out.
- I regularly see three writer friends who I met at a Creative Writing class back in 2010. We used to meet up to discuss our writing, but now it’s more of a social thing and Prosecco is often involved. When we first met we all hoped to be published authors and now all four of us have literary agents and either books published, or on submission to publishers. I think given the odds of that happening, it’s quite amazing. It’s not easy finding an agent via the slush pile, but we are proof that it can be done.
- I’ve had some strange jobs in the past: Outdoor Swimming Pool Attendant, Goat Milker, Late Night Bar Tender, Second Hand Clothes Seller, Murder Mystery Games Author. (I also worked in a factory where my job was to put the pen on the front of a stationery set, I lasted a day!) I did work for many years as a Sales Trainer, then a Teaching Assistant after that, but I’m most happy where I am now, writing novels and teaching Creative Writing, although I’m on a sabbatical from teaching this year whilst I write my next book.
- I wish I was one of those people who glide elegantly in and out of rooms and can wear white without wrapping a napkin around their chest, ‘just in case’, but I’m not. I trip up, drop food down myself, and regularly spill drinks over my keyboard. I fell over right outside my publishers’ recently, dramatically so, my phone and bag thrown in different directions and returned to me by kind strangers. I’m hoping it’s a good omen, and I suppose it’s fitting that my main character in Close To Me falls down the stairs. I did that once too and have a scar in one of eyebrows to prove it!
When Jo Harding falls down the stairs at home, she wakes up in hospital with partial amnesia - she's lost a whole year of memories.
A lot can happen in a year. Was Jo having an affair? Lying to her family? Starting a new life?
She can't remember what she did - or what happened the night she fell.
But she's beginning to realise she might not be as good a wife and mother as she thought.