Writer Of The Week: Amanda Smith

Our Writer Of The Week is author Amanda Smith. Amanda’s story, “Bags Of Time”, is in the June 15 issue, on sale this week.

You won the romance category in our recent Writing Bursary Competition. How surprised were you to be nominated as the winning writer?

I was so surprised! I entered the competition as a way of motivating myself to finish a whole story. My daughter was six months old at the time, so I was finding time to write a bit of a challenge. But the deadline really helped me to focus. I was so happy to find out I’d won my category. Mainly because it meant people had read and enjoyed my story, which is all you can ask for really.

Fate plays an important part in your story. Do you think there is such a thing as destiny, and why do you think the concept works well in fiction?

I’m not sure I believe in fate exactly, but I find it fascinating to look back and identify those “sliding doors” moments that have led people to different places. Whether someone’s car won’t start and they meet their future partner on the bus, or someone strikes up a conversation with a stranger in a café who ends up offering them a job.

If you look for it, we all have lots of these seemingly small moments that have moved our lives in a completely different direction. We don’t always spot them when they happen to us, but I think they work really well in fiction because you get to follow that thread all the way to its conclusion.

What’s your dream writing job?

I would love to write a novel one day. I have a few ideas and would love to give myself the time and space to get fully immersed in those stories and characters. But I think travel writing would be the dream job. Being paid to travel to a far-flung beach and drink cocktails? Yes, please!

Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?

I use a notebook for scribbling, but it’s usually just snippets of dialogue or plot points as they pop into my head. Then I use a laptop to actually write. I also lean towards a blank wall; sadly, I can get a bit distracted by an inspiring view.

What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?

It’s a cliché but I would say just start writing, and then do it as regularly as you can. If you’re time poor (which I can relate to), try to maintain non-negotiable writing time in your diary. Even if it’s just half an hour at a time. It might not seem like much, but I find it so much easier once I actually have something on the page.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.