I’m so happy to welcome multiple award winner Amanda Uhl to Aurora B’s Book Blog where she’s graciously agreed to answer some questions and share her newest release Charmed by Charlie. Thank you Amanda for swinging by!
Amanda Uhl Bio
Cleveland/North Royalton author Amanda Uhl began her writing career more than twenty years ago when she accepted a position as a communications writer for a local Cleveland company. Since then, she has held various positions in corporate communications and marketing and owned her own freelance writing company. She currently manages communications and training in the Cyber Security department for a major Fortune 500 company.
In April 2015, Amanda turned her attention to writing fiction, joining the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America (NEORWA), where she pitched an editor with The Wild Rose Press. Eleven months later, she signed with the same editor for her first novel, MIND WAVES, which released worldwide on Oct. 7, 2016. She is currently working on the second book in the series, CROSS WAVES.
In September, Amanda signed a new humorous contemporary romance, CHARMED BY CHARLIE, with Boroughs Publishing. This book placed third in the Contemporary Long category of the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Writers contest and is expected to release Spring 2017.
You can read excerpts of all her novels on her website: www.amandauhl.com.
Bronze medal in the Paranormal Category of the 2015 Rudy Contest.
Second place in the 2015 Central Ohio Fiction Writers Ignite the Flame Contest in the category of Paranormal/Fantasy/Time Travel/Futuristic.
Runner up in the 2015 Music City Romance Writer’s Pitch Contest.
AB: What would you say is a typical day in the life of Amanda Uhl?
Amanda: Hectic. I work a corporate job managing communications and training in a cyber security department at a major Fortune 500 company. During the day, I’m generally hunched over a computer writing about security issues, updating websites, planning events, managing projects, and so on. I also have three teenaged children, so my husband and I attend their events and activities in the evenings. Which means, my writing time usually starts around 9 p.m. and concludes in the wee hours of the morning.
AB: I love how you describe yourself and experiences on the About Author page of your website. You reference THE DAY when you said enough with the excuses you kept giving yourself not to write. Were you doing anything in particular that day that prompted your determination to overcome your fears, ultimately leading to your first published work, Mind Waves?
Amanda: Several events came together in my consciousness at the same time to bring me to the moment I published my first book.
1.) My age — I was 46 years old and realized that my life was slipping away while I was busy making excuses. Time had run out. If I were really going to do this “thing” I’d held close to my heart and long dreamed of doing, then today was THE DAY. There was no time left for excuses.
2.) Exercise – I was listening to a tape on anxiety—not that I suffered from the condition (although I’ve dealt with my share since I’ve become a published author:)—but for a family member who was suffering. As I listened to the tape, the author said something that got my attention. She mentioned that she didn’t like to write books and wasn’t sure she could finish one. But then she had a thought: What if she treated writing like exercise? Do a little bit every day? That simple idea was like an alarm system sending clanging bells through my brain. I didn’t like to write or exercise—both are hard work. But as I aged, I found that exercise helped me control my weight and eliminate stress. The more I did it, the better I felt about myself and the easier it became. I applied this concept to my writing and it worked. I have now written two full books and am a third of the way through a third manuscript. Writing books has become a bit like exercise for me—addicting, and I don’t feel right unless I do it daily.
3.) Not telling anyone I was writing – I’m a perfectionist, which is strong fertilizer for fear. What if my friends and family laughed at me for writing romance? What if I failed miserably? By not telling anyone what I was doing, I gave myself permission to try and fail. After all, no one would ever have to see the finished product if it wasn’t any good, right?
AB: How did publishing your first book change your life and/or process of writing?
Amanda: Publishing is not for wimps. Creativity takes courage. Finding a way to conquer my fears and write my first manuscript strengthened me for the long haul. I now know I can reach the finish line if I do a little bit of writing every day. My writing continues to improve with every book I write. And I’m working on conquering other fears—like putting myself out there on social media and at speaking events.
AB: Who or what are your biggest influences?
Amanda: I’ve read many authors over the years, but I’d have to say the two that had the biggest influence on me were Georgette Heyer and Jayne Ann Krentz. I first read Heyer when I was about thirteen. I devoured every one of her books. It’s the first time I remember liking romance. I read Jayne Ann Krentz in high school and college. She writes under three pen names, each corresponding to a different genre. They’re all great, but I found myself intrigued with her futuristic paranormals, written under the name Jayne Castle. All of the characters in these books have unique psychic talents and matches are meant to last forever. What a fantastic world. I also love the “dust bunnies” as pets. So creative and fun.
AB: What types of scenes do you find the most difficult to write and why?
Amanda: It’s quite difficult for me to write sex scenes. I’m getting better at it, but I only include them in my books when necessary to the plot. I’ve found you can create a lot of steamy sexual tension without actually having sex or describing it in depth.
AB: Can you tell us more about your award winning upcoming release Charmed by Charlie?
Amanda: Charmed By Charlie was born out of frustration. I’d been shopping my first book, Mind Waves, around to various publishers and dealing with rejection. I wondered: What could I write that might grab people’s attention? I was watching Gilmore Girl reruns with my daughter at the time. “I bet I could write a story like this,’ I thought. “One that’s full of witty banter between characters and humorous.” I grabbed my iPad and began typing, completing the first chapter that evening. Then The Wild Rose Press offered a contract for Mind Waves. When Boroughs Publishing Group also wanted to offer a contract, I had to tell them the book was no longer available. They asked, “What else do you have?” I shared the first three chapters of Charmed By Charlie, they offered a contract, and the rest, as they say, is history.
AB: Were the main characters, Val and Charlie, in Charmed by Charlie inspired by people you’ve worked with during your career?
Amanda: Charlie is not based on anyone in particular. Val, however, is loosely based on myself. I tend to place myself in the situation of the heroine and describe how I might react to situations. My heroines also have to conquer their fears and have the courage to find love, which is something I’ve experienced in my own relationships. Reynolds Paint Company is based on a real company—a roof-coating and caulking manufacturer that used to be in Cleveland but declared bankruptcy and folded many years ago.
AB: Are there other genres you’re interested in writing in?
Amanda: My books cross genres of paranormal, contemporary and romantic suspense. I plan to continue to write in all three of these genres. I can’t see myself writing an historical…but you never know.
AB: Overall, what does literary success look like to you?
Amanda: Before I wrote a book, success meant reaching the end of the manuscript. Later it became finding a publisher. Now it’s about finding an agent and selling to a larger publisher.
AB: What question do you wish someone would ask about you or your book? (then answer it 🙂 )
Amanda: I wish someone would ask me what makes Charmed By Charlie special? Charmed By Charlie is character-driven, which means I dreamed up the characters first, determined their goals, motivation and conflict, and then put them together in certain scenes and let them reveal the plot. I wrote the story in first person and from only the heroine’s point of view because I felt this built tension. The reader must wonder along with Val: Is Charlie a good guy? Or is he a weak and lying cheat? The characters are so real to me, I’ve read the book numerous times myself and never get bored. I’m excited to learn what readers think of the book.
Charmed By Charlie
Releases April 18, 2017
Everybody loves marketing whiz Charlie Solanger—except the woman he really wants.
Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.
Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.