Amanda Martin was born in Hertfordshire, England. After graduating with first class honours from Leeds University she wandered around the world trying to find her place in it. She tried various roles, in England and New Zealand, including Bar Manager, Marketing Manager, Consultant and Artist before deciding that WriterMummy summed her up best. She lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, two children and labradoodle Kara. She can mostly be found at http://writermummy.wordpress.com
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Baby Blues and Wedding Shoes, was written in the year after the birth of my second child. I suffered from postnatal depression and struggled with having two children under the age of two. There were so many elements of being a parent I found hard, and I discovered that many people around me wouldn't talk about them. It was as if there was this need to show the world a brave face, to be the 'perfect' parent, with shiny happy pictures on social media and never a cross word to or about the children. I couldn't relate to that experience.
Since writing BBWS I have discovered an amazing online network of support, with honest mothers admitting that it is hard, and there are bad days, but that we can all pull through with love and support. Finding that support net has made a vast difference to my experience of being a parent. Writing BBWS was my way to offer similar support to new mothers, while also offering romantic escapism.
So, while BBWS is a lighthearted romance, with a lovely happy ending, the core theme is about parenting, sleep deprivation, postnatal depression, and the impact these things can have on a relationship.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Although I was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, I grew up on the south coast of England, about five miles from the sea. My father moved the family there pretty much without consulting my mother because he had a dream to live in Sussex. The rolling hills, the huge trees, the sea, were all in his soul: and they came to be in mine too. I often write about the sea and the countryside. We ran fairly wild as children, exploring the fields, climbing trees, building dens. That element of my childhood can definitely be felt in parts of Dragon Wraiths, when Leah is hiding out in the forest.
When I was eight we moved to the place I live now (I still live a couple of miles from my mother, although I have been away and come back many times). The land around here is gentle and soothing and I do much of my writing while I am walking the dog around the fields.
I have also lived in Leeds, Manchester and in New Zealand: these are all places that crop in my writing. After all, the easiest piece of advice to writers is 'Write what you know'!
Two-Hundred Steps Home was written during 2013 in daily instalments on Amanda Martin’s blog. 285,000 words and 365 posts later, Claire’s journey reached the end. This volume contains all 365 instalments exactly as they appeared on the blog.
Follow Claire's adventures as she tries to find a job she enjoys, a man to love and friends she can trust. More importantly as she tries to find her way home.
Claire is approaching the end of a long and eventful journey that has included many heartaches and many mugs of coffee. Now she needs to decide where to call home. Will it be Dorset, working for Conor, or somewhere new? Claire must come to terms with her feelings for her boss, and her need for freedom. New opportunities arise, but will Claire be strong enough to seize them?
Claire's horror at her boss's advances are soon superseded by new troubles, when her brother Robert calls to ask her to look after her nephews for two weeks. Reluctantly, Claire agrees, with no idea what she will do with two adolescent boys.
She survives the ups and downs and discovers great affection for her nephews Alex and Jack. But how does she really feel about her boss, Conor?
Claire makes it back to the UK, but life doesn't become any easier. Her best friend is in a dark place and her new boss is making demands. Claire finds herself torn between friendship and the need to make a living. Her travels pick up again in Devon as she fights to get her life on track. Will she find her way to a new future or will Kim and Conor disrupt her plans?
The south island of New Zealand is beautiful, dramatic and full of adventure, but has travelling lost its appeal for Claire? Stuck on the tour bus, taking part in activities like a sheep following the flock, Claire wonders if this life is any better than the one she left behind.
When that former life catches up with her, Claire has to make tough choices and face dark days. And fight to get home.
After her showdown with Kim, Claire wants nothing more than to escape. She begins her adventures in New Zealand, but traveling by bus is a different experience to relying on her trusty Skoda.
Will Claire succumb to the lures thrown out by the enigmatic Neal? Will she learn to embrace the Country of the Verb? And will she give in to the ultimate temptation? Time will tell.
Life begins to unravel for Claire. Her friendship with Kim seems irrevocably broken, she has left Michael behind, and is searching for a new future. Can she continue travelling round the UK, staying in hostels, when life has lost its purpose? Or will she be tempted by new opportunities, either at home or abroad?
Claire spends time in the west, visiting castles in Wales and hiking in Border country. Travelling life clashes with everyday reality as she gets involved in Kim's plans. Michael muscles back in on her life, but does he push Claire too far? And will Claire's friendship with Kim survive the different paths their lives are taking?
Claire's journey around the hostels of England is overshadowed by her sister's illness and her friend Kim's surprising news. Claire must negotiate family secrets and evolving friendships whilst still undertaking sufficient adrenalin activities to keep her boss at bay.
Claire finds herself travelling through East Anglia with her six-year-old niece in tow. For someone who has no experience with children - and no desire to learn - travelling with the highly-strung Sky is a new and not entirely pleasant experience. Claire has never had to take care of another human being before: how will she cope?
Claire is in the Dales trying to deal with Josh's revelations and her past with Michael. The snow is relentless and all Claire wants to do is curl up with a good book and a Starbucks. Carl and his PA Julia have other ideas, as they set out to find challenges to test Claire's resolve. Her biggest challenge is yet to come. 'Volume 3 contains March's installments from Amanda's writermummy blog'
Claire has reached the Lakes and is strongly in need of a Starbucks. Her boss has told her to up the adrenalin, so Claire finds herself climbing trees and dangling over waterfalls all in search of 'Blog Fodder'.
The mysterious Josh is tagging along too: is he looking for company or a place to hide?
'Two-Hundred Steps Home Vol 2' contains February's instalments from the daily blog by WriterMummy
Claire's life revolves around Starbucks, stilettos and her career. Until her boss decrees she must visit every British YHA hostel as part of a marketing campaign. More used to five-star spa resorts than 'flea-infested hostels' Claire only takes the assignment to fund a much-needed vacation to the Maldives.
'Two-Hundred Steps Home Vol 1' contains 31 instalments of the daily blog by WriterMummy