Interview with Alexandra Amor

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Many things influenced me to become an indie author. I love that as an indie author I have control over the types of stories I write and the way the books are presented (design of the covers, etc.). I love that writing has become like painting or dancing in that the artist can present her work to the world without gatekeepers who might reject it. I have a strong entrepreneurial streak, so I love it that my art and my business are one and the same - I get to think of new marketing ideas and make my website as effective as it can be etc. I love that, succeed or fail, it is all up to me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
So much joy!! I love the writing itself, when I am in the zone and my fingers are flying and the story is pouring out. I love when I make myself laugh or cry with my writing. I feel a tremendous amount of joy when I give a story to a reader and they say that they enjoyed it and connected with the characters. I feel lots of joy when a project is completed, but I also feel joy when I'm beginning a new project. There is joy-potential in a story that is just beginning and I love that.
What is your writing process?
My writing process has changed quite a bit over the years. I used to be a 'pantser', i.e., I'd have an idea and begin writing without any idea of where the story is going. Now I tend to outline very thoroughly and then write each book quite quickly. I use Scrivener writing software (which is the best thing ever) and put my outline in the notes field on the right hand side of the screen. When I'm in writing mode (i.e., not revising or outlining) I set a word count every day that I must achieve. These days it's 5,000 words a day. With this practice in place, the book comes into being very quickly once the outline is done.

Recently I began using Dragon Dictate to 'speak' my first draft, rather than type it. This has increased my daily word count, and has also relieved a bit of RSI I was experiencing.

I love working this way during a first draft (i.e., fast) because it gets me out of my head. Writing quickly encourages me to ignore the critic in my head. I feel that my creativity has actually blossomed using this practice. I'm not nearly as critical of myself or my writing as I used to be. The stories seem to be flowing well and I am loving my work more than ever!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My most recent book (Horse With No Name) is an historical mystery set in 1890 in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. I have long been fascinated by what might be called the 'frontier' period of Canada's history - the mid-to-late 1800s and early 1900s when the western part of our large country was just opening up to settlers. The last spike of the Canadian railroad that joined the country end-to-end was driven in 1885 and Canada's western-most province changed inexorably after that.

I love writing about strong female characters. Julia Thom, the schoolteacher and amateur sleuth in the Town Called Horse mysteries is such a character. I find it endlessly fascinating to wonder about and then explore what life would have been like for a single woman with intelligence and a desire to remain independent at this time in Canadian history.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a few places; I was born in Toronto and spent many summers in the cottage country near Gravenhurst. I spent my teen years on a small acerage outside Cochrane, Alberta. And now I live on the west coast of Canada, in Vancouver. I think my growing up years fostered in me a love of nature and animals, which shows up in everything I write. The country setting of my teen years has influenced my series of western mysteries. My love of horses and dogs shows up everywhere, especially in the main character of my first series of books, who is a dog named Sugar.
When did you first start writing?
I dabbled in writing stories from a young age. Maybe my tweens or teens. I got more serious about it as I got older, but it wasn't until my mid-40s that I determined that I wanted to make a career of writing. I can't not write and that drive has been with me for as long as I can remember.
Describe your desk.
My desk is a flat rectangular table with a keyboard tray. I'm not a big fan of clutter so I tend to keep things like desks really simple. It has a few treasures on one corner (a ceramic frog that symbolizes my first book, a ceramic bird, which symbolizes my Sugar and Clive book series for middle grade readers, and a tiny crystal ball, which symbolizes my belief in the magic of the universe). The desk houses my Mac Book Pro, a few piles of paper, and a green cube which holds my pens and pencils. The desk is never cluttered but it is usually dusty!
What do you read for pleasure?
I mostly read mystery novels (by people like Lawrence Block, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Giles Blunt, and Craig Johnson) and memoirs.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use an Apple iPad mini, with apps for iBooks, Kobo, and Kindle. Love my iPad mini! Can't go anywhere without it these days. I am one of those people who can't go anywhere without taking 2 or 3 books with me (in case I finish one or in case I don't feel in the mood to read one, so I need an alternative). Now I can do that with one slim device. It's fantastic!
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean the world to me! My fans mean everything to me and I hope that they can feel that when they read my stories. I write so that readers feel loved, and I get that love back when someone reads my books.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing I am often editing or revising a previous project. I also spend time interviewing other authors, connecting with authors via my blog and generally running my writing business, trying to keep on top of all the tasks associated with that. When I am not working on or in my writing business you will often find me walking in nature, or reading, or sharing a laugh with a friend.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is awesome. Without Smashwords I couldn't put my books in as many ebookstores around the web. Mark Coker's belief in indie authors and his voice as a champion of indie authors has been hugely inspiring, and I appreciate the whole team at Smashwords so much.
Published 2016-08-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Town Called Horse Short Historical Mysteries
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,500. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
4 character-driven short mysteries set in frontier Canada and steeped in whimsy, from award-winning author Alexandra Amor. Over 350 pages of quirky charm and old-fashioned values, with some modern themes for good measure, the Town Called Horse short mystery collection is the love child of Miss Marple and Little House on the Prairie.
The Horse You Rode In On
Series: A Town Called Horse Short Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,490. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
There are the families we’re born into. And the families we create. Both contain secrets and lies. November 1890. A young woman in a questionable profession has been attacked, but she has no recollection of the events leading up to the attack. Julia Thom risks her job and her personal reputation to help Constable Jack Merrick find the culprit.
Water Horse
Series: A Town Called Horse Short Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,460. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Arson or accident? The Town Called Horse is reeling when its connection to the outside world is cut off. Arthur ‘Sully’ Sullivan’s passenger and freight ship has burned in the night. There are no witnesses, no clues, and any evidence that might have existed has been swallowed by the lake.
The Outside of a Horse
Series: A Town Called Horse Short Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,500. Language: English. Published: January 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
June 1889. When Pastor Thoreson’s sister-in-law arrives in the town called Horse she immediately becomes the victim of a crime. With Constable Jack Merrick deep in the early stages of grief over losing his wife, his good friend Walt is pressed into service to try to solve the mystery.
A One Horse Open Sleigh
Series: A Town Called Horse Short Mysteries. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,910. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
When a toddler goes missing, Constable Jack Merrick answers the call for help. Tagging along Julia Thom, schoolteacher and part-time sleuth finds herself pressed into service to help solve the mystery of the missing boy.
Horse With No Name
Series: A Town Called Horse Mysteries. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 66,610. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
(5.00 from 1 review)
Would you risk your life simply to be yourself? When reclusive watchmaker James Hunter is beaten, but has no memory of the event, schoolteacher Julia Thom vows to find the culprits. Even if Hunter hadn’t saved Julia herself from being assaulted, she would still be on the case; meddling helps keep her focus off her own complicated life.
Love and Death at the Inn
Series: Juliet Island Romantic Mysteries. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 77,950. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
Born and raised on Juliet Island, Maggie Archer’s whole life is dedicated to the rustic inn her parents built. When a guest is found dead, the inn’s already precarious financial situation teeters on the brink. Maggie begins to wonder if the growing number of accidents at the inn are really just that, or if something more sinister is at play.
Sugar & Clive and the Movie Star
Series: Dogwood Island Animal Adventures. Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 37,580. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
When Sugar, a medium-sized dog with a large-sized heart, is offered role in a film, she and her best friend Clive the barn swallow, discover that acting is much harder than it seems. And while they soon make fast friends with Willa, the canine star, not everything is as perfect as it looks on the movie set.
Larry at the Wedding
Series: Dogwood Island Animal Adventures. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,140. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
When Larry the seagull, the world’s craftiest flying garbage disposal, spots the towering perfection of a gorgeously decorated wedding cake through a kitchen window, he knows that he and that cake are a perfect match. They are meant to be together forever. Or at the very least, until Larry can devour the dee-lish-ous confection. Preferably in one giant bite.
Sugar & Clive and the Bank Robbery (Book 2 in the Dogwood Island Animal Adventure Series)
Series: Dogwood Island Animal Adventures. Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 27,280. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
The Dogwood Island bank has been robbed and it looks like an inside job! Once again, Sugar – a medium-sized dog with a large-sized heart – and her best friend, Clive the barn swallow, find themselves embroiled in an adventure that may have disastrous consequences. An ideal middle grade read, and a book for parents (and grandparents) and children to enjoy together. (Rated G. Age 9+)
Sugar & Clive and the Circus Bear (Book 1 in the Dogwood Island Animal Adventure Series)
Series: Dogwood Island Animal Adventures. Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 33,910. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
Best friends Sugar (a medium sized dog with a big heart) and Clive (a barn swallow as kind as he is dignified) are in a race against time to save Sebastian the circus bear. From award-winning author Alexandra Amor comes a story that animal lovers of all ages will adore, about friendship, courage and what it means to be free. An ideal middle grade read. (Rated G. Age 9+)
Cult, A Love Story: Ten Years Inside a Canadian Cult and the Subsequent Long Road of Recovery
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 86,930. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Religious cults, Nonfiction » New Age » Meditation
Cult, A Love Story is an award-winning memoir, which intimately and powerfully chronicles one woman’s journey from falling under the spell of a manipulative spiritual guru to the hard-won and triumphant break with, and recovery from, thought reform.