I’m excited to welcome Amanda Uhl, fellow author and member of Northeast Ohio RWA, to the spotlight today. Amanda has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Today she’s celebrating the upcoming release of her romantic comedy, Charmed By Charlie, from Boroughs Publishing Group.
Welcome Amanda! You have quite an amazing birth story for your newest project. Tell us more!
Charmed By Charlie was born out of frustration. I had been shopping my first novel, Mind Waves, to editors and agents, and receiving rejection after rejection. My 13-year-old daughter and I were watching Gilmore Girls reruns, but I was having trouble concentrating as I stewed over what I could do to stand out in the pack. Then it hit me: Why not write a book in the style of Gilmore Girls – you know that witty bantering back and forth between characters? I started writing and before I knew it, I had ten chapters written. Then I was offered a contract for Mind Waves from The Wild Rose Press. Shortly after, another great publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group, came calling. They wanted Mind Waves, and I had to tell them it was already under contract. “What else do you have?” they asked. I showed them the first couple of chapters of Charmed By Charlie, and they offered a contract on the spot. This is why I tell new writers to never give up. A rejection one day could result in a contract on another.
You are so right about the rejection angle. It’s a tough pill to swallow but as you prove, today’s rejection is tomorrow’s contract. What else inspired you to write Charmed By Charlie?
In addition to Gilmore Girls, Charmed By Charlie was inspired by a roof coating and caulking company I used to work for years ago. It was one of those places where everyone knew everyone else and was involved in everyone else’s business, too. I imagined the characters first and analyzed their goals, motivations and conflict. Then I just put them together in various scenes and the rest of the story wrote itself.
A little art imitating life. I like it! Did anything in particular present a challenge for you with writing this book? It’s very different than your first.
In general, this books was so much easier to write than my first book, Mind Waves. However, when I turned in the manuscript, my editor pointed out that she didn’t like the hero, Charlie, as much in the second half of the book because he seemed so secretive. One touch that I added in in the final editing stage was to have Val keep a Rubik’s Cube on her desk. I thought this illustrated her affinity for math and wanting everything to add up. It also foreshadowed the hero’s future impact on her – in the first chapter he picks up the cube and messes with it, just like he messes with her equilibrium throughout the story.
I remember the Rubik’s cubes so well. I think I was about 12 when they first hit the market. I still can’t solve that puzzle! What would your 12-year-old self think about where you are today?
She would not believe it. My younger self wanted nothing to do with writing. She was going to be an actress. I went to Kent State on a scholarship to study acting and directing. I never made it to Hollywood, but I did star in many productions while there. But the time I graduated, I made an important discovery: while I enjoyed the creativity of telling a story, I didn’t want to be the one acting out the story. It was about that time I seriously began considering my marketable skills. I had always been a good writer in school. Why not look for a job that involves writing? I landed a position as a communications writer for a Fortune 500 company and have been doing that kind of work ever since.
You were definitely lucky to be able to transition your interests into a skill set that gave you a career. College, I hear, gave you another great story. Care to share?
Meeting my husband. We met in college in a theatre class. It was auditorium seating and I had to ask him to move his umbrella so I could slip by. He said he memorized my name from the attendance list but was too shy to ask me out then. We met again two years later on campus, and he finally dug up the courage to ask for my phone number. Sometimes even now, we talk about our first meeting. We call them “Fundy 1 Flashbacks” (the class was called Fundamentals of Theatre). This is usually followed by pondering: “If someone would have told you that’s the girl you would marry, would you have believed them?” I wrote about this incident on my blog — http://amandauhl.com/2015/11/how-a-whispered-prayer-wrought-an-umbrella-and-my-future-husband/
And now you show us life imitating art! I love first meetings that are memorable, but also ones that lead to the happily ever after we romance writers and readers adore. Now speaking of stories we adore, can you share with us more about Charmed By Charlie? What’s the story about?
Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.
Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.
Excellent! When can we read more about Charlies and Val?
Charmed By Charlie can be purchased as an ebook and in paperback at any of these retailers on April 18, 2017.
- Boroughs Publishing Group: http://ly/2oGvvRm
- Amazon: http://to/2nbURFG
- Kobo: http://ly/2oflEEW
- Nook: http://ly/2oro0Ar
- iTunes: https://itun.es/us/zKVXib.l
- Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2nIm3Ms
Thanks for being at A Writer’s House today, Amanda!
Amanda will be out and about in the Cleveland area. Come and learn about her writing journey and what inspired Charmed By Charlie. Get your book signed, too!