Friday, October 14, 2011

with Amanda Stephan

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Amanda!
Is there a story behind this book?

Yes, there’s a story behind every book I write. I was being contemplative for a season, and found that way too many people take things for granted. Including their children. Since the birth of our kids, I’ve always tried to stop and remember that one day they’re going to be gone and I’m going to miss them. Horribly! In fact, I’ve already told my husband to get ready to be pampered, because I’m going to need to do it!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
This is a tough question. Since being published, I’ve had quite a few opportunities to read and review other author’s works, thus pushing me out of my normal genre. I love classics like Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice, to cozy mysteries like The Witch Tree by Karin Kaufman and to memoirs that have touched my heart like Children of Dreams by Lorilyn Roberts. If I had to choose my favorite? Mysteries, hands down. But, with that said, those mysteries MUST have a little romance in them…that makes it so much better!

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
That depends on how many cups of coffee I’ve had! One or two cups, classical. Three to four cups ~ country or Gospel. Five and more… anything with a quick beat and fast tempo and no screaming!! ;)

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I was playing the piano for a wedding, and I played Rocky Top for the announcement of the new Mr. & Mrs. ___ instead of the Wedding March. It was so funny and well received, that his brother got married within the next few months and asked for the same ending.

What is your strangest habit?
My strangest habit is also my biggest curse. I talk to people. It doesn’t matter who it is, or where we’re at, I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone nearby. Which shouldn’t be a bad thing, right? Unless you’re me. One morning at an event, I walked over to a Senior Citizen’s Center and bought some coffee. There were a couple of youngish men helping out, and I thought it was nice of them to volunteer, so I said as much to them. They proceeded to tell me they were “volunteering” because they were on work-release from the prison. I’m sure you can imagine that the first question that jumped into my brain was “What’d you do?!” Of course, being polite, I never asked that question, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop talking to them, right? How terribly rude! So I tried to find trivial things to chat about until my coffee was ready, and to this day, I still have no idea what it was we talked about afterwards. That’s my strangest habit. ALWAYS saying the wrong thing!! No joke. I can be in a group of one hundred people, find the one that just lost their cocker spaniel, and just in passing, mention how horrible it would be to lose my dog.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Um, yes. Unfortunately it seems to be dinner…

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Dinner! Although I often forget or put making it off, I do so enjoy it when we all relax a little and chat at the dinner table. A coming together again. The meal that is most often requested is Hillbilly Casserole. This dish is scrumptious and can be tweaked to fit your particular tastes.

Hillbilly Casserole ~ Family Size
3 cups macaroni cooked according to package directions
1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
1 can mushroom soup
½ can water
1 pkg frozen corn
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. (Want it tastier? Melt a glop of butter in the pan while your oven is preheating instead of using cooking spray. Swirl around until bottom is covered.)

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together macaroni, cooked hamburger, mushroom soup, water, corn, and half the cheese. Spread into 13x9 baking pan or casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take foil off and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Serve with Texas Toast or crusty French Bread.

Don’t have frozen corn? Use your imagination! I’ve used quite a few different vegetables in this casserole and it still gets rave reviews from my picky family!

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
John 14:27 – ”Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

This verse is special to me because it holds so much promise. I’m one of those faint-hearted people that don’t like to step out of their comfort zones, but after the publication of my first novel and practically being thrust out of my C.Z., I have turned to this verse time and time again when things get a little scary or difficult. It’s nice to know I have a Savior that loves me and will give me the comfort I need exactly when I need it!

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I’m so glad you asked! ;) My next book, Lonely Hearts, is due for release October 30th. We’re planning on having a fun book launch party with lots of free eGifts and prizes. You can find more details on my website,

Also, I’m happy to announce that my publisher just picked up my romantic suspense series. We’re hashing out the details, but we’re super excited about it! The first book in the series, Choosing to Love, is about a young woman that is tricked into marrying the wrong man. Book Two continues the saga in – Intent to Harm, and Book Three – Death by Obituary wraps up the story.

Amanda is giving away a copy of Lonely Hearts. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Judy said...

"Lonely Hearts" is going to be a great read and I can't wait to read it. With the landlord named Pickles how can it not be a delightful read? I would love to win a copy.

By the way...I must make the recipe for Hillbilly Casserole! Sounds delish!

Looking forward to reading your romantic series coming out down the road!

Thanks for this giveaway!

Judy B

Anonymous said...

Good interview.
I'd like to read this book.


marybelle said...

This was a lovely interview. I can relate to the cooking dinner statement. It's knowing what to cook always.


wfnren said...

Great interview, thank you for hostingthe interview.


Teela said...

Amanda's LONELY HEARTS really hooks you in the first chapter. This is gonna be a good read! Also, looking forward to trying her cowboy casserole! teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Patsy said...

That's so funny about Rocky Top! I really need to try that casserole. Looking forward to reading Lonely Hearts. Thanks for the giveaway.


apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This looks like an amazing book. I would love to win this. Thanks again.


Marianne said...

Agree with Marybelle. Once i know what to make, it's not that big a deal. And that casserole? i figure it would taste great with homemade egg noodles (angel hair) Thanks for the great post, Esther. i would love to win Lonely Hearts


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

lgm52 said...

Sounds like a really good read...would love to win a copy of my own!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Courtney said...

I read her other book and really loved it! This one sounds just as great! Great interview!! Thanks for the chance to win it!

kcmelone at yahoo dot com

Pam K. said...

It was fun to learn more about Amanda. "Lonely Hearts" sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading (I read the excerpt yesterday and wanted to keep on reading about this family). I'd love to win a copy of this book.


ann said...

This sounds like a book Im going to really enjoy reading - enter me please

amhengst at verizon dot net

Amy said...

Would love to win this book. Your upcoming books sound great too.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Jo said...

This book sounds like a great book and would love to read it.


Amanda Stephan said...

Hi friends! Just a quick note to thank each of you for stopping by this awesome blog ~ they do such a great job, don't they?! It's been a pleasure being here.

No, I don't need to win a copy of this book. I think it would be pointless, don't you?! :-)

Marianne ~ I think you're right ~ egg noodles do sound good! Going to try that next time around, thanks for the idea!

Katie McCurdy said...

Thanks for another entry into this giveaway. Lonely Hearts looks great. I've heard some good things about it! :-)

~ Katie

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