It is a great pleasure to welcome Amanda Summerbell on board The Whimsical Herald!
Amanda is the Amazon #1 Bestselling author of ‘Family Sins,’ the compelling story of sixteen-year-old Kat Menninger. Having lost her mother at the age of seven, she has managed to endure the abuse of an alcoholic father and living below the poverty level in a shack in Longview, West Virginia. When she is busted for shoplifting she is given a choice: do hard time or enter a program for troubled youth that involves assisting the elderly. The connection she forms with arthritic former showgirl, Delilah Grand, gives her a sense of security. But then the unthinkable happens and she is accused of a crime that threatens to turn her world upside down and plunge her into despair again.
Amanda do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first received the inspiration to write this poignant coming of age novel?
The idea for Family Sins literally came to me at 5:00 a.m., November 1, 2014. November is National Novel Writing Month, and I got up early and put pen to paper, having no idea where the story was going. By the end of the first day, I had 10,000 words and felt very accomplished!
Why did you choose West Virginia for the setting for this novel?
I am originally from Fairfax, VA, but have lived in West Virginia with my family for the past ten years and truly love this state and its people. I felt it was important to the story to capture the small town appeal that is so prevalent here.
You are the parent of four girls. How did your experience influence your portrayal of the main character, Kat Menninger?
Middle to high school is such a difficult age for finding oneself, and I had plenty of material for Kat’s experiences since, at the time I wrote Family Sins, I had two daughters in middle school.
Kat discovers she has a younger sister. Do you think having four daughters influenced your decision to include this brief but significant character role in the novel?
In a way, yes, as I have watched my own daughters develop into friends. I felt that it was important for Kat to have someone she could have a continuing relationship with, especially one that was close to her age since she had such an issue connecting with teens her own age. This way, the reader gets the sense that Kat will continue to grow and succeed.
What provided the inspiration for your memorable character, Delilah Grand?
There was no one in particular that inspired Delilah’s character. In my thinking, Kat needed guidance from a no-nonsense lady who had seen a few things in her time, and the idea of a former Vegas showgirl not only made sense, but also brought a little life to the story, and to Kat’s otherwise bleak world.
Who are your own personal heroes?
Danny Thomas is one of my all-time favorites. I never tire of hearing the story of how he started St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital as an answer to a prayer, and marvel at how much good it has done. But I have to say, too, that I have seen and heard about so many people facing struggles, such as parents whose children are diagnosed with a terrible disease like cancer, and do so with a dignity and strength that I could only hope to have. They are all heroes to me.
What would you like the readers to feel at the conclusion of ‘FAMILY SINS’?
I would especially like readers who feel they are facing insurmountable odds to perhaps find inspiration in the ending that helps them realize their own potential.
Are you planning a sequel?
I currently feel that ‘Family Sins’ is a stand-alone work, but would not be opposed to churning out a sequel to the book if it generated enough interest.
What new projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a mystery (tentatively titled “Voices in the Night”), in which my main character, twenty-four year old Tara Redding, has come back to her childhood town in Virginia where her father is serving time for her mother’s murder.
The Whimsical Herald crew would like to thank Amanda Summerbell for sailing with us and giving us the inside scoop on her new release, "Family Sins"!
The premise for her work in progress, "Voices in the Night" sounds just as intriguing!
Shiver me timbers! It's fair weather and full speed ahead for exciting new author Amanda Summerbell!
Mistress of Madness, Patricia Mattern
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)