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I’m excited to host another good author friend, Amanda Linsmeier. During her interview, I discovered we have way more in common than I originally thought. I’ve been guilty of calling her a girly girl (which she is), but we do share a love of cooking and apparently the same types of movies of television shows.

If you haven’t read her debut novel, Ditch Flowers, I highly recommend you picking it up immediately. See my review here – an enthusiastic 5-stars.

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Background

Author name: Amanda Linsmeier

Book title: Ditch Flowers

Tell us a little about yourself and your background: I have always loved reading, but didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was about 22. I am a part-time stay-at-home mom, and also work part-time at my local library. I write in several genres, and hope to get a literary agent for my MG fairy tale next.

Tell us a little about your novel: Ditch Flowers tells the story of one woman’s quest to find out the truth about her husband’s fidelity, while at the same time struggling with the very raw experience of infertility.

Have you written anything else (including novels, short stories, novellas, etc.): Yes, I have written, and had published online, a few short stories, as well as a creative non-fiction piece, and a poem. But I have lots more things that haven’t been published (yet)! I am querying a MG fairy tale, as mentioned above, and editing a witchy women’s fiction. I also have a short story collection that is in need of polishing, but soon will be ready to query or self-publish. I haven’t quite decided yet.

Q&A

Do you have any writing rituals: I have so little free time at the moment that I am less picky about that than I used to be. Honestly, if I get thirty minutes to write I will do it anywhere, any way. But if I have a chunk of time carved out, I like to write with a (semi) clean house so there’s no distraction, music on low, a big iced coffee, and that’s when I really get my writing groove on.

If you were abandoned on a desert island, which character from your book would you want to be trapped with: Probably Megan. She is sweet, and fun, and she wouldn’t worry too much. We could chat about our kids to make the time go faster.

I tend to put a lot of cooking in my books because I love to cook, do you have a hobby that made it into yours: Decorating, for sure. But I also snuck some foodie stuff in. I LOVE food writing (and you do a great job in Altered!) so I hope to write a baking-themed novel someday.

If you were writing a book about yourself, what would the title be: Oh, that’s a tough one. I would need a lot more time to think of that, haha.

What are the big themes in your book: I think resilience, communication, forgiveness are all big themes. I also think acceptance is a key theme.

Favorite book: Beauty by Robin McKinley

Favorite author: J.K. Rowling, or Carolyn Turgeon

Do you have any pointers or advice for aspiring writers: Keep going. Discover who you are as a writer, and push yourself even harder. Never stop growing.

Favorite song: Right now, I am in love with Alessia Cara’s song Overdose. Actually, I adore her whole album.

Favorite movie/tv show: Too many! Somethings Gotta Give, Lost in Austen, and Easy A are all favs. TV show, I will forever and always love Friends.

Chosen superpower: Teleportation?

Toilet paper: over or under: Under

Real book or tablet: Both

Star Trek or Star Wars: Star Wars

Excerpt

By the middle of July, Wisconsin brings a kind of quick heat I wasn’t expecting since moving from the south. Temperatures soar into the mid-nineties and the close of each day brings hot, heavy rain and thunder and heat lightning. Mosquitoes swarm in the moist areas of shadows. But the sky is still blue every day and the grass is green, green, like Kermit the Frog. Greg leaves for his standard three-mile run and I use the time to flip through a paint sample deck sitting in front of a fan. The old house doesn’t have central air, something I am somehow surprised to learn is needed in Wisconsin.

I have cold water waiting when Greg returns. Sweat has gathered on my upper lip and I’m not surprised to see him bathed in perspiration.

“You sure you should be out there in this weather?” I frown. I always hated when he ran in the Louisiana burning heat. But at least there he came home to air-conditioning. It somehow seems more civilized that way.

“Love it.” He smiles, his hair damp along the hairline. “The run is a beast but after, I feel damn good. And when I don’t do it, you know I feel shitty.”

He guzzles the glass of water and then points to the entry table.

“I picked you some flowers.”

“Oh?” I get up and walk past him. On the table, I see a large bundle of wild flowers, even weeds and grasses, large and bountiful enough to fill my arms.

“Oh, Greg,” I say. “Where’d they come from?”

“The ditches along the far road I run are filled with them. I know they’re not roses or anything real pretty but I thought you’d like them.”

“They’re better than roses,” I defend his gift and the weeds’ existence. “They couldn’t be any better. Thank you.”

I kiss his salty lips and gather the flowers in my arms. The scents reach my nose: tangy, grassy, sweet, and spicy. I carry them to the kitchen and using a kitchen shears, I cut down each straggly stem and arrange them just so. I recognize Queen Anne’s Lace in its dainty patterns. I see many others I don’t recognize: some kind of spiky, light purple flower, a deeper purple, a mustard-yellow with a brown center, maybe some kind of daisy? There’s even a delicate grass with a light greenish brown top, almost like a feather. I put one vase on the living room coffee table and carry one up to our room, so we can fall asleep with the scent of summer in the air.

Author Bio

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Amanda Linsmeier’s work has appeared on Brain, Child Magazine, WOW! Women on Writing, and Portage Magazine. She works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside with her husband and children, two dogs, and half-wild cat. Ditch Flowers is her first novel.

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