We’re happy to welcome Amanda Kyle Williams to the Ball today! Amanda’s debut novel, The Stranger You Seek will officially be released this Tuesday, but we’re giving you a sneak preview right now! Read on, because Amanda has quite a story to tell – about herself and the book!
An electrifying thriller debut, The Stranger You Seek introduces a brash, flawed, and unforgettable heroine in a complex, twisting novel that takes readers deep into a sultry Southern summer, a city in the grips of chaos, and a harrowing cat-and-mouse game no reader will ever forget. Amanda’s giving away a copy to one lucky commenter, so don’t forget to say hello!
Amanda Kyle Williams has contributed to numerous short story collections and worked as a freelance writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In order to lend authenticity to her Keye Street series, she studied criminal profiling under Brent Turvey, a nationally known criminologist and profiler, took courses geared to law enforcement in serial homicide investigation, worked with a PI firm in her hometown of Atlanta on surveillance operations, became a court appointed process server, and consulted with professionals in bond and law enforcement.
Amanda Kyle Williams Takes the Deb Interview!
What is the best perk of your job?
It’s been a little over a year now that I’ve been working as a full time writer. It’s such a great job it’s almost hard to zero in on the one perk that out rocks the others. First of all, it was my dream. I was a writer for a couple of decades before I was a writer with a contract. That’s another off-the-charts amazing gift—a contract. I can write this series and still make my car payment. Go figure! Now my office is in my home. I guess that’s the greatest perk. Coffee at my desk, a window that shows me pine trees and big water oaks and jasmine climbing the backyard arbor. My dogs hang out with me. Three of them. They’re completely rotten now. I’m the doorman. I really don’t know how they made it when I had normal hours. That’s the other thing; my hours. I can make the schedule that works for me and write when I’m most creative. Of course, I’m doing stuff like emailing people in the middle of the night on a weekend because I have no idea what day it is. I’m living in some kind of weird writer’s bubble.
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
I’ve been impacted in a million ways, large and small, by many books. But I guess the first book I read cover-to-cover was the most significant. It was a kind of mile-marker. I was 23 years old. I had been diagnosed with dyslexia the year before and I’d worked for that year on developing recognition skills so I could deal with things like long text and sequenced numbers. My reading skills had improved so much in that year. A librarian recommended Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This book rocked my world. Not only because Austen brought to life all this tension around love, family, and class so brilliantly, but also because I understood for the first time why people read for pleasure. I fell hard for words and language. That book was like a door being flung open.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I once learned how to pilot an ultralight aircraft called The Hawk and spent a summer traveling to air shows with an old guy who built and sold them. Pretty funny considering I don’t like flying commercial airlines. My palms get sweaty. I try not to visualize the plane spiraling down. I’m a big believer in visualizations. Somehow learning to fly an ultralight, which is much more dangerous in reality, didn’t scare me as bad. Probably because I was in charge of the ultralight. And that’s another issue entirely.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Well, it’s been on-the-job training for me and I’m still pretty new at it, but I’d say; don’t wait for the big idea or for the clouds to part or whatever to get started. The real magic happens after you push through an hour or two of clunky, hard, brick-by-brick foundation building. Getting something down whether you’re having a good writing day or not is huge. Because the next day, it’s a heck of a lot easier to go back and fix something, build on it, give it life, than it is to get new work on paper. And for me, the ideas really start to flow when I’m revising. Disconnect from the Internet for a few hours each day when you’re working. Treat it like a job. Tie yourself to the chair if you have to. Once you actually start, moving forward it isn’t that bad. But you have to start. You have to make yourself sit down. And know that when you do, the mind and flesh will rise up against you. There will be a spot on the window that has to be cleaned. You’ll get hungry, thirsty, headachy, sleepy. Did the mail come? Wouldn’t a cup of coffee be great? Don’t listen! Fight your way through it and just be still. Just get the next scene out.
The Stranger You Seek hits stores on August 30th! I can’t even see past that. It feels like I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time.
And we’re thrilled for you, Amanda! Congratulations, and enjoy every second of it!
“My name is Keye Street. In life, I am a dry alcoholic, a passionate believer in Krystal cheeseburgers and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and a former behavioral analysis for the FBI How I ended up here in the South, where I have the distinction of looking like what they call a damn foreigner in most parts of Georgia and sounding like a hick everywhere else in the world, is a mystery Emily and Howard Street have never fully unraveled for me.” So begins THE STANGER YOU SEEK as Street—ex-FBI profiler, ex-drunk, ex-wife—dodges flying bottles while trying to apprehend the latest criminal who has jumped bail and who she needs to recover. While not the most glamorous job, it pays the bills—until her friend Aaron Rauser gives opens up one last shot in the Atlanta Police Department. A terrifying serial killer is on the loose and the department is desperate for her expertise as a profiler. Keye signs on—and even though she has seen the dark corners of the human heart and mind more times than she can count, nothing can prepare her for what the Wishbone murders will lead her into, both professionally and personally.
Hey, we’ve heard a little rumor that there’s a link to the first two chapters of The Stranger You Seek over on Amanda’s site! Clicky clicky for the sneak peek! Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy!