Monday, March 30, 2009

Amanda Ashby Talks Books!

I want to thank Amanda Ashby (You Had Me at Halo, Zombie Queen at Newbury High) for being so willing and ready to write something for this release week party. She was the very first author to get back to me and for that, she's definitely amazing!

When Lauren first asked me to help celebrate the release of Julia Hoban’s debut book, I was happy to do so since no one loves a party more than I do!!! However, since I haven’t read Willow yet (because let me tell you that poor old authors are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to getting arcs!) Lauren suggested that I talk about reading since it’s one of the themes of Julia’s book.

Anyway, considering that Willow is a story of a teenage girl trying to deal with the guilt she feels over the death of her parents, I thought I would talk about the relationship I had with my father and how it affected my attitude to books.

You see, along with the dry skin and bow legs that he gave me (thanks for that, dad), he also passed on his love of reading and it was because of him that I read The Hobbit when I was ten years old and then fell in love with writers such as Jerome K Jerome (Three Men in a Boat is the funniest book you will ever read. And that’ a promise). He also introduced to me to one of my favorite authors, Raymond E Feist, whose books continue to thrill me twenty years after I first started reading them.

And finally, he taught me that reading is a pleasure not a chore. If I want to read a book that makes me laugh, I will. If I want to read something to help me understand the emotions I’m feeling, then I will. Or, if I...well, you get the drift. The bottom line was he taught me to love books for what they gave me, not for what people would think of me for reading them.

Sadly my dad died almost five years ago and it was three weeks after his death that I sat down and wrote what would become my debut book, YOU HAD ME AT HALO. Even though it wasn’t a dark book or full of angst, it was definitely my attempt to discover how I felt about his death. And it wasn’t just through my writing that I tried to make sense of something that didn’t make sense; it was through turning to books. And actually the first time it really hit me that he’d died was when the final Harry Potter book came out and I realized that he’d never get to read it. That really sucked.

But the cool thing is that every time I enjoy a book I think of my dad. It’s a gift he gave me that will never go away. Oh, and I’m still reading books to help me understand how death affects us, which is why I can’t wait to read Willow. Happy release day Julia!


Erika Lynn said...

That is such a beautiful post Amanda! I have never read Three Men In A Boat but since I trust your word completely I will have to read it.

Amanda Ashby said...

Erika - thank you so much! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the post and I can promise that you will enjoy Three Men In A Boat (though don't read it in public because you will laugh and people will look at you!)

Anyway, I just heard from Julia herself and completely unbeknown to me, it is one of her favorite books and holds a special place in her heart so you now have two great reasons to read it!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Erika: I know, she makes you want to read it right? I really want to now as well. And I loved Amanda's post!

Amanda: So true, thanks again for writing this!


Wrighty said...


So sorry about the loss of your father. He left you with an amazing gift in your love of reading that you obviously appreciate. He sounds like a special man. I've never read "Three Men in a Boat" either but I'll be looking for it. But first I have to read Zombie Queen! I've heard the best comments about it and it sounds so good. Best wishes!

Alea said...

What a beautiful post, i'm sorry for your loss.

And how funny that both you and Julia enjoy this book!

Keri Mikulski said...

Beautiful post, Amanda.

Amanda Ashby said...

Lauren - it was my pleasure and I'm so thrilled that it was extra special for Julia.

Wrighty, Alea and Keri - thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm actually going home to Australia for the first time since my dad died which is going to be weird but I think it will be good.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Amanda: I would imagine it would be weird...I can't think how sad that would be, but you're right too, I'm sure it will be a good thing overall. I hope the trip goes well!


Yan said...

I think that that's a precious gift he left you :)

Book Junkie said...

I haven't read Three Men in a Boat either, but I've put it on my list. I cant wait to read your books as well. Ahh so many books, so little time!

Anonymous said...

I /just/ received Three Men from bookmooch - weird. But then I saw that the audiobook is done by Hugh Laurie. Gah! Now I may need to get that one!!!

katie said...

I have just put Three Men on my TBR list. Great post! I also have my dad to thank for my love of reading and I will definitely always thank him for showing me the joys of books.

Polo.Pony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polo.Pony said...

Thank you for the wonderful post! Dads give us so much, thank you for dedicating your post to them! Now I will have to read "Three Men!"

Sara Hantz said...

I haven't read it either, but i definitely will now.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sara Hantz: That's what I like to hear!

Megan said...

This is a inspiring ppost. I loved to hear this and what Amanda told.

Great Post


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