I’m delighted to invite Amanda Ross-Etheridge to chat about the inspiration behind her poetry book, A Few of My Favourite Things.
Amanda has enjoyed reading and writing poetry from a young age. She has always been interested and observant of life and the world around her. She wanted to help other people and works for the NHS.
Her mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago and has been the inspiration for Amanda to put her first collection of poetry together. Amanda is now working on her second collection of poetry. She lives in a village in South West England with her wife and two cats.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
My name is Amanda Jayne Ross-Etheridge and I have lived in South West England for most of my life. I live with my better half and our two cats Daisy and Alfie.
From a young age, I have always enjoyed reading and immersing myself in a wonderful book or some poetry. I love to learn more about the world around me or to escape into a really good story. I find getting away from reality or being able to have a chuckle can keep us sane. Especially with what has been happening lately to our loved ones and the world around us.
My mum and I have always been extremely close, and she is my world. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago and because of Alzheimer’s I feel sometimes (even though I am extremely lucky to still have both of my parents) that I have lost my mum already. I then feel very guilty for having these thoughts as I am lucky to still have her even though she is not the same person that we have always known. She has been unable to do anything for herself or speak for a long time now and this is very upsetting for myself and my family. I needed to find a way to channel my emotion’s and I wanted to raise as much money as possible for Alzheimer’s research in the hope that one day there will be a cure and other people will not have to go through what our family and so many other families have had to face.
When I am not writing my full-time job for the last 18 and a half years has been as an NHS Hospital Porter in Dorset. I have always wanted to try to do my bit to help others as much as I can.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
I have never done anything like this before and I am learning on my feet. This is my first attempt at writing, and I am in the process of compiling and writing 5 more poetry books.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
Although my books are poetry, they are stories that make people think and topics that we can all relate to. They also have a certain amount of humour too as we all need something to cheer us up and take us away from the world sometimes. It is always best to try to find and to see the funny side of things that happen.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
My mum has been the inspiration for me to work on my first of hopefully several books of poetry. The first collection of poetry came into being to help me to release and control my emotions and to make my mum proud and help others at the same time.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
If I can give any aspiring writers/authors any advice it is to keep trying one step at a time. The whole process, to begin with, can be very scary and stressful, and also confusing. But if you are writing because you enjoy it, or because it is a way of helping you with your emotions then do it and never give up. At the end of the day, not everyone will appreciate your efforts but if you help one person by comforting or enriching their life then you have done an amazing job.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
If I can put a smile on as many people’s faces as I can reach and share some fun and joy. If my words help people through difficult times or issues. And if I can take people away from the horrors that can be in life even if it is for a few moments, then my job has been achieved and I can feel proud.
List three interesting facts about yourself
1) Most of the stories/poems in my book are based on true life (me and my family’s true life and tales)
2) I married my soulmate who I started dating years after having met her before. I lived next door to her previously when she was 1 and I was five years old. So, I genuinely believe in fate and that things are meant to be.
3) I am slightly accident-prone, and I believe that to date I have broken about 12 bones.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
The Publishing and writing process can be so very harsh and knock your confidence easily. None of us want or need rejection in our lives. The main thing that I am finding difficult especially as I am not particularly good with modern technology i.e., Twitter and Instagram is trying to get the book out there and known. I am not rich and can not afford hundreds of pounds to be featured at US book fares. Especially as I am trying to raise money for charity and so getting the publicity and reviews is exceedingly difficult. If people do not know about you or your book, then they will not buy it.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
I am so grateful to everyone kind enough to purchase a copy of the book, every penny and pound counts to beating Alzheimer’s. I am also likewise so thankful for people spreading the word about the book to everyone that they know and then their friends doing the same. Finally, every review that I am getting is so important to me and I read every word and take it on board. Likewise, these reviews can help other people to decide whether the book is worth buying and reading.
What is your next project?
I am in the process of writing my second collection of tales and poems. This book is called Marvels, Mischief, and Mishaps (I bring you to question 7.3 and my accident-prone answer). I shall once again be raising funds towards a cure for Alzheimer’s whilst hopefully putting a smile on as many faces as I am able.
Connect with Amanda here:
Consisting of a selection of anecdotes, advice, laughter and love, this book of poetry is a real glimpse inside the writers mind. The author has written from the heart, taking her material from real-life stories, experiences and everyday observations. The authors mum is one of the very unfortunate people suffering from Alzheimer’s, which is how this book came about. She needed to find a way to channel her emotions and raise money for Alzheimer’s research at the same time. Therefore, for every book she sells, she will donate £1 towards charity. The author would like to thank you for your support and hopes you enjoy the book. So, feast your eyes on (and see if you can relate to) the poems and tales in the pages ahead.