Q&A with Author Amanda Ward

This week’s Q&A spotlights Austin’s very own Amanda Ward, author of Forgive Me, How to be Lost, Sleep Toward Heaven, and Love Stories in This Town. Her new novel, Close Your Eyes, will be published by Random House in July, 2011. Enjoy!

What book are you reading right now?

Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn.

When you’re not reading or writing, what do you like to do with your time?

Play poker with my little boys.

What’s your favorite opening line of a book?

“Joey felt that his romance with Daisy might ruin his life, but that didn’t stop him.”

–Mary Gaitskill, Bad Behavior

What life lesson did your last book or project teach you?

The best laid plans go awry.

What word do you love? What word do you detest?

Love: vivacious, LaGuardia (as in airport)

Hate: moist

What is a little known fact about yourself?

I failed math and gym in 9th grade.

How do you deal with ups and downs of the publishing business?

Focus on what I can control: time to read, the joy of a beautiful sentence, staring at my books on the shelves at BookPeople.

How do you balance writing with work and family?

Precariously.

What is your writing routine and where do you write?

These days, I write 3 days a week, when my youngest son goes to preschool.  I have a beautiful office, but sometimes I write in my car (in the gym parking lot) after dropping my son at preschool but before a Pilates class I like.  No distractions, good heating, John Aielly on the car stereo.

Do you outline or just start writing?

Just start writing.  I think technically about outline one day out of ten, about.

Do you have trusted readers you turn to as you write, and if so, who and what stage?

Yes.  I meet with Austin writers Sarah Bird, Dalia Azim, and Mary Helen Specht.  We talk over book ideas.  Then I send book at later stages to trusted readers/writers Kelly Braffett, Jami Attenberg, Adrew Sean Greer, Vendela Vida, and Owen Egerton.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I was a bookworm and if I could just read and get paid for it, I probably would.  I college, I saw a class on fiction writing and thought, “You can DO that?”

Cyndi’s Fast Five

1. What are three things in your office/writing space that would surprise someone who popped in?

Tiki statue from my friend Laurie Duncan

SpyNet Video Watch manual

Trash can full of bad pages

Soccer shin guards

One walkie talkie

2. What book first influenced you as a child?

Nancy Drew

3. What time of day do you write?

Whenever I can

4. If you could have a beer or coffee with a writer living or dead, who would it be and why?

Paul Bowles—I am in awe of his work.

5. Beer or coffee?

He’d probably prefer tea and opium.

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