Presenting…….. Amanda Ashby

amanda-ashby.jpgI am so thrilled to be interviewing my very good friend and crit partner Amanda Ashby. I watched her story evolve from being just an idea to a real live book. Let me tell you, I couldn’t be more excited if it was my own. And as for the cover and the title… both are absolute strokes of genius.


Please will you tell us about your latest book.

halo-cover.jpgMy debut novel, You Had Me at Halo (NAL August 2007) is about a young dead girl who gets sent down from heaven to sort out her earthly issues. Unfortunately, to do this she has to share a body with a computer geek, who isn’t too happy about her presence. A book of love, death and body sharing. What’s there not to like?


How long have you been writing and what made you start?

I had been writing for about six years before I sold (yes, I know, the words ‘slow learner’ do spring to mind!!!). I truly don’t know what made me start. I literally woke up one morning and decided to try writing a book. It was aimed at Mills and Boon and while it was probably the most dreadful thing ever written, I had the most amazing time writing it and from then I was hooked.

Many people spend a long time finding an agent, can you tell us about your agent hunt?

While I was living in the UK I tried to get an English agent and though I came close a couple of times it wasn’t until my Very Very Clever cp, Sara Hantz gently suggested (aka nagged and nagged and nagged) that I try US agents. At the time I thought this was crazy, but the minute I started sending things out the response was amazing. Where as in the UK I might’ve had one request for each project, suddenly I was getting loads.

When I wrote Halo the requests came immediately and Jenny Bent from Trident Media was very keen on it right from the beginning. After a week she emailed to say she loved it but thought it needed some work. She also told me not to rush it because it was July and it was a slow time in publishing. So I did the revisions and added about a 10,000 words all in three days. However, with Jenny’s advice not to rush it, in my mind, I managed to actually sit on it for two more days before sending it to her!!!! In the meantime another agent who had requested the full (from a form letter mind you) suddenly emailed to say that the whole agency loved my book and wanted to offer representation.

I spoke to the agent and she was lovely and very confident. Also, she didn’t want any revisions. However, the revisions Jenny had asked me to do resonated so strongly with me that I really felt like she was the one who could help lift my writing. Of course it didn’t hurt that she is an uber agent with a sterling reputation, but I can honestly say that it was her revision suggestions that made me say yes when she ended up offering for me as well!!

Everyone loves a good call story, what was yours?

Hehehe – unlike my agent story, my call story is short and sweet. Jenny sent my book out and two and half weeks later we got an offer from NAL. I was living in the UK at the time so there was no phone call, just an email (a very good email I might add!!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Gawd, I’ve made so many blunders over the years that I’m not sure where to begin on this one!!! I think the most important thing is to remember that one book is not the sum of you. If your manuscript isn’t getting the response you want, then start on the next one because nothing is wasted. You’re honing your writing skills and you’re exploring what sorts of stories YOU want to write. Oh, and my other piece of advice is that chocolate IS medicinal and therefore allowed at any time of night and day.


Can you tell us about what you’re working on now and what books are coming out in the future?

I’ve just sold my first young adult novel called Zombie Queen of Newbury High and it truly was so much fun to write that I’m fairly sure it should be illegal!!! I’ve got a few other projects that I’m working on now, but for fear of sounding like an insane person, I’m not going to say what they’re about!!


Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and studied English and Journalism at Queensland University. Since graduation she has divided her time between England and New Zealand and when she’s not moving country she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to watch television, eat chocolate and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that between ourselves, shall we?).



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16 thoughts on “Presenting…….. Amanda Ashby

  1. Fabulous interview, Amanda and Sara! So looking forward to reading ‘Halo’. Glad to hear chocolate is medicinal – I’m on two packs a day.

  2. Patwitch Says:

    Great interview Sara and Amanda!
    It won’t be too long now before I’m holding a real live copy of You Had Me At Halo in my eager hands – then I can smile proudly and say: “I know the author, like, I REALLY know her.”

    And before we know it, Zombie will be out, too.
    Here’s to many more Amanda Ashby books, but ‘Halo’ will always be special.

    Counting the days…


  3. Dear Sally/Sara,

    how are you both? Thanks for stopping by my blog:) No i didn’t know Stephen King had 80 rejections! Must have very thick skin.

    I really enjoy reading your interviews with other authors – very inspiring! Whose next…Stephen King?

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