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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Amanda Burns

Back to the Beginning

How does a novel get its start? Pretty much anything can be the spark around which a story line develops: a chance observation, a thread of a memory, an unusual local event, a trip to some new destination.

Nadja’s Literary Cappuccino was birthed on a consulting trip I took a few years ago to Ukraine. I was deeply moved by the country and its history, under the thumb of Russia and then the Soviet Union for so long. They are a strong and independent people who preserved their language and even their religion through all those decades when it was outlawed. Those were characters I wanted to write!

But I’m not writing Ukrainian fiction - I’m American, so I brought a Ukrainian immigrant to small town Iowa and turned her into an entrepreneur. The coffee shop itself is actually an amalgam of two local independent specialty coffee shops. One has shelves of books and hosts occasional literary readings, the other offers live music several nights a week.

And the suspense plot? I don’t want to give too much away here, so I’ll just say it’s based very loosely on some regional events having nothing to do with coffee shops but very much to do with how communities manage their own destiny.

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