Thursday, August 09, 2007

Zombies, Halos and an Interview with debut author Amanda Ashby

Amanda’s a fellow member of RWNZ so I always planned to read her debut book. Then I heard the title and I knew I had to read the book as soon as it came out – that is one of the most romantic lines in any movie ever (“You had me at hello” is from Jerry Maguire, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie. Go rent it! It’s romantic in the best way.)

The book revolves around Holly Evans. Not only is she dead, but everyone thinks she committed suicide, which she so did NOT do. And now, she’s been kicked out of heaven. She’s got two days to sort her out her issues or face the consequences. Trouble is, she’s got to do the sorting while in the body of a guy. He’s supposed to have vacated the premises, except that Vince didn’t get the memo and he’s still inside the body, too.

Fun premise, no? It’s a fun book, too, and more than that, it’s got a charm that I dare you to resist. I admit, at the beginning, Holly sometimes made me crazy but this book wouldn’t have worked if she was perfect to start out with. The cool thing about
Halo, was seeing Holly develop. By the end, I was thinking that she’d be a funny, sweet friend to have.

As for Vince – he goes into the hot hero category. I fell in love with him just as Holly did. Seriously, he’s a keeper and the book is a wonderful debut.

And now, onto the really tough interview questions! (Amanda's giving away a copy of Halo, so just leave a comment to be in to win. Winner announced tomorrow).

1. Who is Amanda Ashby? Tell us all your deep, dark secrets.

Hmmmm, well obviously I can't tell you about the spying stuff because otherwise I'd have to kill you and ditto with the superpowers thing, so I guess that just leaves my unhealthy addiction to chocolate and David Boreanaz - oh, and I bet you get loads of blog hits because I've mentioned them both in the same sentence!

Actually, the truth is that I'm pretty regular. Two kids, one husband and an overactive imagination.

2. Your first book just came out - how's that feel?

It rocks!!!! Seriously though, it does feel a bit weird - like it's happening to someone else - but so far I've been loving every minute of this otherperson's journey!!!

3. The subject matter of your book is just a wee bit quirky - what made you decide to write about the whole life after death thing?

I wrote this book just after my dad died and while the original idea came from an imaginary conversation I had with him at the funeral (hey, I'm a writer - I already know I'm crazy!), the rest of the book came about because I just kept thinking how annoying it must be to die with loose ends (or without knowing the end of the Harry Potter books). As for the body sharing, well that was purely because as soon as I realized my heroine needed to get back to earth, the whole metaphysical thing hit me and I knew that she would have to hijack someone else's body.

4. What's been the most fun part of the publishing journey for you?

Everytime I get an email from my agent or my editors I just feel like the luckiest girl alive!!!!

5. What's next for Amanda Ashby?

Zombies. I've just sold a young adult book about a girl who accidentally turns her entire school into zombies (seriously, it could've happened to anyone) and now she has to find a cure before she ends up being first course on the zombie menu. Apart from that I'm working on another young adult book and another women's fiction novel as well.

Here's Amandas Website: - go forth and read an excerpt. Also, don't forget to leave a comment and enter to win a copy of Halo from Amanda.


tetewa said...

I have heard alot of good stuff about this book and I'm always looking for new authors to read. Count me in!

catslady said...

Oh sounds good to me too. Love the title lol.

Kerry said...

The book sounds lovely. Best of luck with it, Amanda.

And I love the idea of accidently turning your school into zombies. I'll be looking out for that one too.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and intriguing ... a great combination!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Amanda!

I've been reading good reviews about this book.

Would love to win a copy of this book!


Terri W.

Sara Hantz said...

I agree with Nalini about this book. It seriously rocks.... a definite 'must buy' for everyone!!

Anonymous said...

I really like this concept. Sounds fascinating. :)

I always find it so interesting how writers get their ideas. Mine usually come when I'm either in the shower or just drifting off to sleep. In fact, the beginning of my story popped into my head just as I fell to sleep last night. Peeved me something fierce! :)

So, here's my question. How did you go about getting published? And how many drafts did you go through before you felt the book was ready to go out? :)

Amanda Ashby said...

Oh, thanks Tetewa, Catslady, Kerry, Jennifer K, Terri W, Sara and Kaitlin - I really appreciate your kind comments.

Kerry - glad you like the zombie idea as well - I had so much fun writing that book (who knew there were so many bad brainsucker jokes out there!)

Kaitlin, this book was a total shower one. I literally got out and went and started typing it while still dripping wet! Also, because I'm an impatient Aries, I actually started querying it when I'd finished 3 chapters, thinking that if anyone was interested they'd only want 3 chapters. Wrong. I started getting full requests straight away and so I wrote like crazy and the whole thing was finished 3 weeks after I first jumped out of the shower. Also, I pretty much sent out my first draft, though before my agent signed me, she wanted revisions and then I did a load for my editor after we sold, so it ended up having about 3 full drafts (and a few tear my hair out moments, but it all got sorted in the end!!)

Ashley said...

The book sounds really good, and I love the zombie idea. I'm nuts about zombies lol As soon as I hear that word, I am totally there.

Christina Phillips said...

lol I agree with Nalini - Vince is a definite keeper! Huge congrats Amanda, you deserve all the fabulous reviews!

Shannon said...

This sounds like such a fun book! I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Amanda! The book sounds great and right up my alley, so I'll definitely check it out.

danetteb said...

Hi Amanda,
I swear I'm not stalking you,Nalini said she had a special guest and it good to see you around the't wait to read YHAH *g*
Hugs, Danette

Amanda said...

The book sounds interesting. Can't wait to read it.

Amanda F

Barbarita V said...

Congrats on your published book.

Amanda Ashby said...

Thanks Ashley - I'm with you on the zombie thing - it's just one of those words that makes me laugh, and you have no idea how many bad brain sucker jokes there are!!!!

Thanks, Christina, Shannon and Karen W, Amanda F and Barbara V- you guys are so nice.

Hehehe - Dannette - you big stalker you! Of course it's probably just that we're addicted to the same writers and blogs, but I must say I like the stalker thing better!!!

danetteb said...


Unknown said...

Sounds great! Love the title!

Alyssa said...

The story sounds great, and the cover is terrific! Congrats on your debut.

Lis said...

I've been looking forward to reading this one since I first saw it mentioned on one of the loops! Looks like a great story :)