Google+ Bookslingers Blog: Bookslingers Interview and Giveaway: Amanda Flower

Bookslingers Interview and Giveaway: Amanda Flower

As a library aficionado/professional and a full-time bibliophile, I love it when these two worlds collide. So I was extra thrilled about the chance to interview Agatha Award nominee, Amanda Flower. Not only is she an academic librarian by day but by evening/weekends she is also a cozy mystery author with several sleuths on the go.

It's kind of like interviewing Batman and Agatha Christie at the same time (Although, come to think of it, did we ever see Batman and Agatha Christie in the same room at the same time?).

Amanda kindly answered a few questions for us about her Appleseed Creek Mystery series:

So pleased to see another librarian turned writer! What drew you towards writing mysteries?

I’ve always wanted to be an author and mysteries were my first choice. My mother is an avid mystery fan, and we always had stack of mysteries from the library sitting around the house. I loved the whodunit aspect. My favorite mysteries are those that I feel like I have it all figured out and find out at the end I was completely wrong. I love a surprise ending.

Do you have a personal connection to the Amish community? Why did you decide to set the Appleseed Creek Mystery series in an Amish community? 

I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life, so I can’t even tell you when I saw my first Amish person. It’s always been normal to me to have Amish living nearby. However, I grew up in the city, so I didn’t see them on a daily basis. That changed when I finished my master’s in library science. After I graduated, I applied for librarian jobs all over the country. The only offer I received was to be a librarian at a small college in the middle of Ohio’s Amish Country. I lived near the Amish for three years. I was twenty-four at the time, which is the same age of Chloe, my protagonist. She moved to a small town in Ohio’s Amish Country to take a job at a small college too. That’s one piece of the story taken from my own life. When I lived in Amish Country, it was common to shop with Amish at the local grocery store or to pass an Amish buggy on the road. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It wasn’t until I moved back to the city that I realized what a unique experience I’d had and how that could be made into a mystery.

Vampire Amish Werewolf Romance. Mind. Blown.
 It seems like there's been an explosion of books about or featuring the Amish - there's even an Amish vampire romance. What do you think has caused the sudden increase in interest in the Amish? 

I think Amish fiction exploded because in a crazy busy world, we tend to wish for a simpler life. A lot of Amish fiction portrays that beautifully. I include that in my series, but I show the uncomfortable parts of Amish life too, such as why someone may to choose to leave Amish life to live as an English, non-Amish, person. Two of my central characters, Timothy Troyer and his sister Becky Troyer, have left their Amish communities to live as Englischers. An overarching theme of the series is how they deal with their Amish family and friends. Many times the relationships are strained.

Do you think you'd ever be involved in a spot of amateur detecting if the opportunity crossed your path? 

I am inquisitive, so I tend to question something someone tells me. I think that may be more related to being a librarian than to a potential amateur sleuth. I always want to know the source of someone’s information before I believe it. If you can provide me a citation, all the better.

Would I get involved with a police investigation? Probably not, unless someone I loved dearly was at risk. The need to protect the ones we love is universal. That’s one reason cozies are so popular. Typically when the series begins, the protagonist gets involved because someone he or she cares about is either the victim or the suspect. That’s a reason why we, the readers, would meddle with the police. We can understand the need to protect those closest to us.

Who are your five favorite detectives?

My five favorite detectives? That’s a tough one! Here they are in no particular order and this list changes constantly because there are so many great mysteries authors in the market right now.
Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone
Earlene Fowler’s Beni Harper
Heather Webber’s Lucy Valentine
Elizabeth Peters’s Vicky Bliss
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum

Many thanks to Amanda for the interview! If you want to connect with Amanda, you can reach her on her Twitter, Facebook, website and blog.

We have two copies of the newest book in the Appleseed Creek Mystery series to give away from Amanda's publicists! You can enter to win one of two copies of A Plain Scandal and a handmade beeswax candle:

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