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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Amanda Burns

Daring to Dream

I never dreamed I’d be a romance writer. Actually that’s not quite true - I started writing my first book when I was thirteen, and got as far as two chapters. But in my later teens I got more interested in what makes people tick. I’ve had a long and satisfying career in a range of human service specialties and I still have a day job, currently working in drug rehab. Perhaps because of my great grandparents, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the disenfranchised, wounded and downtrodden all my life, and I want to tell those stories and offer hope.

My first contracted romantic suspense, Willow Smoke, was about a (fictional) Chicago street kid who didn’t even know who her father was. After her grandmother died, she wound her way through the foster care system and landed in a group home - where the heroine of the first romance I ever wrote happened to work as a social worker. Enter hope, big time. I gave Daisy a happy ending, and after spending two years pitching that book to New York agents and publishers I finally started researching e-publishers, submitted to Awe-Struck, and was quickly offered an e-book contract, with first refusal rights on the other three books in the series. A dream come true.

As fiction writers, we may think we are the ones who create and inspire our characters, but often it is the other way around. Daisy’s hero, Nicholas Underwood, challenged Daisy (and me!) not to settle for puny half-hearted dreams: "Listen kid, if you hang around me much you'll have to get used to expanding your dreams. I don't dream small. It doesn't take any more time to dream big than small."

Keep on dreaming!

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