Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother’s death and handle the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.
In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years. Grace’s investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.
Shame on Who? (Short Prequel to Throwing Light)
In 1979, fifteen-year-old Jane Smith announced to her parents that she was expecting a baby. Thirty-five years later, the repercussions of the decision made by her father on that day come home to roost in the romantic thriller ‘Throwing Light.’ ‘Shame on Who?’ is a short prequel to the book and provides insight into the dramatic events that changed Jane’s life.
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1. Hi, welcome to Amanda Writes. Please tell readers a little about yourself.
I’ve always been creative. After gaining an adv. diploma in fashion design in my twenties, I worked in the fashion and applied arts industries, including owning my own fashion and jewellery labels. I then took up tutoring and passed on the many skills I learnt over the years including pattern making, sewing, Art Clay Silver and screen printing.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and what inspired your first book?
I’d enjoyed creative writing at school, but put it on the back burner as other pursuits took my time and energy. About two and a half years ago, I had an idea for one scene from a story so I sat down and started writing. The rest of the plot of my first novel, Peak Hill, curled around that scene.
3. Plotter or panster?
The first book, Peak Hill was completely pantsed, but then I studied applied writing and came to realize that plotting was a much better way to write. If I don’t plot, I tend to get lost or write myself into a corner.
4. Your latest novel is titled Throwing Light. What influenced you to write this story and what can readers expect? Is it connected to other books? If yes, please enlighten readers about the connecting books.
Throwing Light was influenced by the British TV show Long Lost Families. The many stories of people who had given up their children for adoption interested and inspired me.
It’s a thriller/mystery with a romantic sub-plot. So readers can expect twists and turns, that will hopefully keep them guessing until the end. It’s a standalone novel, but there are two short story prequels Missing the Obvious and Shame on Who? which I wrote to tie in with the main novel. Each of the prequels only takes about ten minutes to read, but give insight into the two main characters.
5. Tell us a little about your hero and heroine in this story.
Throwing Light tells two stories. The first one is of Grace, who is in 2014. She is 35, has just lost her mother and is unsure where to go next with her life when Tom, her ex-boyfriend, turns up on her doorstep and tries to rekindle their relationship. She finds out by accident that she is adopted and is compelled to find her birth parents. Grace is headstrong and determined, but also has a strong sense of family and responsibility.
Jane is in 1989/90. She is Grace’s birth mother. The story follows her as she tries to move on from her chequered past and start a new life in a small town. But things don’t go as planned. Jane is also headstrong, but has had such a terrible life that she is unsure if she deserves to be happy.
6. Do you have any favorite line/s in the book?
I enjoy writing scenes where there is tension between the characters resulting in sarcastic banter. In this exchange Tom has just arrived at Grace’s house and she’s not happy about it. They’re talking about the mystery birth certificate Grace found in the attic and Tom is trying to wheedle his way back into her life:
“Grace scowled as she lowered herself onto an armchair. ‘Don’t be a twat. Mum never even got a parking ticket. I can’t imagine her stealing someone’s baby.’
He shrugged. ‘Even oldies are allowed their dirty little secrets.’ He paused, eyeing her. ‘So, to more important matters, is there any chance I could crash here for a few days?’
Grace’s head snapped up, her eyes narrowing. ‘What on God’s green earth would make you think that I’d let you stay with me?’”
7. What message do you anticipate readers to draw from this story?
I’d like readers to grasp the importance of accepting and caring for the people you love no matter what. The theme that kept coming up when I watched Long Lost Families was that many people made decisions based on ‘saving face’ rather than giving unconditional love and support to those most important to them. The book is also about forgiveness and moving forward.
8. What’s the most fascinating thing a reader has said to you regarding your books?
I’m not sure about fascinating, but I’ve been told many times by readers that my novels grabbed them, drew them in and they found it hard to put them down. One reader even told me that her kids were late for school because she started reading in the morning and couldn’t stop because she had to find out what was going to happen.
9. What book is on top of your TBR pile?
I’m currently completing the final year of an advanced diploma in creative writing so I have a pile of books to get through that are relevant to my new manuscript which is historical. At the top of the pile and next on the list is Atonement by Ian McEwen.
10. What are you currently working on and what other projects can readers expect from you in the near future?
I’m writing a manuscript under supervision for my Adv. Dip. It’s a story of three generations of women from one family who have become estranged and are trying to reconnect. Like Throwing Light, it’s set in two time periods. It’s a bit different from my first two novels, but I like to see it as a natural progression. But don’t worry, there is a love story in there too.
11. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Study and write. Take as many courses as you can to improve your craft and write daily. As a crafter and a teacher, I’ve learnt the importance of mastering the technical skills behind every creative endeavor. If you don’t have the technical skills, you can never fully realize your creative vision and that’s a very frustrating place to be.
Also, gather great people around you. Get an awesome editor and amazing beta and proof-readers. You can’t do it alone.
After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewelry labels, Kathy decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction. Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.
K A Servian on the web: