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Guest: Amanda Hampson

by / Tuesday, 13 July 2010 / Published in Books, Guest Blogs, The Writer's Life

I feel very lucky to have Amanda Hampson guest blog for my website…my very first guest too. Huge thanks!  Amanda has been writing professionally for more than 20 years she has had numerous articles and two non-fiction books published along with two novels published by Penguin… and we share the same publisher too.  I only found this out by reading the acknowledgements in one of her books ‘Two for the Road’.  I love reading the acknowledgements, as it’s an insight into the author. Amanda also wrote ‘The Olive Sisters’ which is on my TBR pile.  She is doing some exciting work with this book and I can’t wait to sink my eyes into it.

You can subscribe to her newsletter at The Write Workshops. I hope you enjoy her blog as much as I did…the whole option for a movie part is very interesting and something I guess some authors only dream about.  (That’s me…dreaming.)

Warm welcome to Amanda…

I’ve had an interesting journey since my first novel ‘The Olive Sisters’ was published in 2004, it was an immediate hit and every couple of weeks I’d get a letter from Penguin to say they were reprinting – that was fun. I ploughed into my next novel ‘Two for the Road’ and found it a way more enjoyable experience simply because I had more confidence that readers were enjoying my work.

While that was underway I was contacted by a movie producer from the US who wanted to take an option on ‘The Olive Sisters’ and, to cut an extremely long story short, I have ended up writing the screenplay adaptation. The whole process has taken three years and I’m now doing the 15th rewrite! The Hollywood screenplay has to meet a very specific formula and it has taken me all this time (including going to LA to do a screenwriting course) to educate myself in this particular genre.

When people hear my story they invariably say how exciting it must be. The idea is exciting but the reality is really very hard work. Plus screenplay is a director’s medium and the process is collaborative so you don’t have the autonomy you have in a novel. To put my new-found skills to good use I have also written another screenplay called ‘Last Days of the Empire Hotel’ which is set in a boarding-house in London in 1966. My next project will be to write the novel of this story – can’t wait to start.

You might be imagining that, having had that level of success, I can lounge about connecting with my creative side. Not so – I’m a single parent with two teens and all the same pressures you have; time and money! I make my living through freelance corporate writing and running writing workshops and work all hours to make ends meet. The key to my productivity is habit and routine.

Routine is the creative person’s best friend – without it you’ll always be frustrated that so many relatively worthless things eat up your  time. My routine involves dropping my son at the bus at 7am and then driving to  ‘my office’ and writing for an hour or two – as much as I can manage. Everyday I get to do something I love and gradually, it moves forward.

Did I mention my office is my car? But check out the view.

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