Like the rest of my web site, this page is for you. I've answered the questions I'm asked most often, but if you there's something else you'd like to know, send me an email with "FAQ" in the subject line. If it's a question I think might interest others, I'll post the answer.
And, now a question for you. Are you curious about why I'm holding a koala? Scroll down a bit to find the answer.
How do you pronounce your name?
Although I thought Cabot was about as easy to pronounce as Smith, I've been proven wrong, so I thought I'd tell you that it's not French (some people call me Amanda Cabeau), and the accent is not on the second syllable. Yes, it's just plain vanilla CAB-ut.
Why do you write what you do?
I write romances because I love happy endings and Christian romances because I believe in the power of God's love to change our lives. In today's world with all the economic uncertainty and political divisions, I think it's more important than ever to tell stories that affirm positive values, and what could be more positive than love and the promise of eternal life?
You used to write for the secular market. Why did you switch to writing Christian novels?
I never considered myself a slow learner, but even though readers had been telling me for a number of years that they thought I ought to write for the Christian market, it took the death of a very dear friend to show me that they were right. Sharing my friend's last months on Earth and witnessing the strength that her faith gave her changed many aspects of my life and convinced me that it was time for me to write about God's love as well as that between a man and a woman. That was the most important and the best change I've made in my writing career.
Your Texas Crossroads books are contemporaries. Does this mean you've stopped writing historical romances?
Short answer: no. I love writing about historical times, but I also found that I had a number of stories begging to be told that just wouldn't fit into the nineteenth century. It was a serious problem, because the characters wouldn't let me sleep until I told their stories. Fortunately, my editor loved the characters as much as I did and agreed that it made sense for me to write a contemporary trilogy, so I'm now able to sleep again. But I promise you there will be more historicals, including at least one Christmas novella.
What is your workday like?
Mornings are my writing time, and I try to keep that time uninterrupted. Caller ID makes screening phone calls easy, and friends know not to visit in the morning. For me the hardest temptation to overcome is email. As you know, I love hearing from readers, but I try very hard not to check email until I've completed at least three hours of writing. I reserve afternoons for research, email and other promotion-related activities.
Do you set goals for the number of pages to write each day?
I don't have specific page goals for each day, but I do follow a two-chapters-a-week schedule. If I'm lucky, those chapters are finished by Friday morning. If not, you'll find me writing Friday afternoon and on Saturday.
How important is research for your books?
Very. I try my best to ensure that readers feel as if they've been transported to the era of my books and that the details I've included are accurate. As a result, I spend a lot of time at libraries. One piece of advice I was given (and which I give to other writers of historicals) is to start in the children's section. The books there have enough detail to provide the framework for a story but don't bog you down with thousands of pages. You can fill in details once you've outlined the story or - in my case - written the first draft. By then you'll know exactly what information you need. That advice has saved me countless hours of research.
I also travel to each of the locations I'm writing about. As wonderful as libraries and the Internet are for research, they can't tell you what the air feels like or what colloquialisms people have. Even though most of the towns in my books are fictional, the details come from first-hand visits.
So, why are you holding a koala?
One of my life-long dreams was to visit Australia. That dream came true when my husband and I spent two weeks there for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. In addition to seeing kangaroos in the wild (and having them try to eat from our picnic basket in one of the national parks), I was able to hold Olga at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane.
It was amazing that Olga's eyes were open, since koalas sleep most of the day, but the biggest surprise was that her fur wasn't as soft as I'd expected.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
I could talk all day about this, but my most important advice is to never give up. Rejection is a fact of life. I won't sugarcoat it: rejection hurts. But if you let it defeat you, if you stop sending out your manuscript just because it was rejected, you'll never be published. Believe in your book and in yourself.