By Deena Adams
I’m super excited to welcome Amanda Cox to the blog this week. I had the pleasure of being a launch team member for her second dual timeline novel, The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, which released yesterday. It’s fabulous and I can’t recommend it enough!
One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of Amanda’s new book. Be sure to comment on this post by September 14 to enter the giveaway!
Now, let’s get to the interview!
Welcome, Amanda! Share a little about yourself and your family.
I am a homeschooling mom of three. My husband and I live in East TN. We love traveling together and soaking up all life has to offer. Other residents of our home include a 15-year-old Golden Retriever, a Bengal cat, and as of August, a brand new puppy that we’re having a ton of fun training. (The kids begged for a puppy for a long time, so they are over the moon)
Sounds like a fun and full house. Do you have time for any hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I just started beekeeping this year! I have had so much fun learning about these fascinating creatures.
What a unique hobby! How and when did you start writing?
I have loved stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote and attempted to publish my first novel when I was seven. That storytelling bug never really let go, but for most of my life my writing outlet took the form of journaling whenever life got a little hard to figure out. Writing is a key way I process my own emotions.
Back in 2012, I picked up writing fiction again. God laid a story on my heart, a love story meant just for me. It took me about four years to complete it, but it taught me a lot about writing stories. After that I began working on what became my debut novel, The Edge of Belonging.
I loved The Edge of Belonging! The story portrayed such hope. Explain how you incorporate Christ and the message of hope into your writing?
My stories have a common theme of healing and relational restoration. As the characters take a journey toward healing and finding a better way forward, it allows hope to shine through. (And Christ to shine through, because He is the living Hope).
Amen! Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history?
The store in The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is named after the store my grandmother owned!
That’s cool! How long do you spend on research before you begin writing a book?
I tend to research as I am writing my first draft. Things will come up in the story, and I will sometimes pause to make sure it is accurate if it plays a major role in the storyline. If it is a minor detail, I make a note to come back to it during my first round of self-edits.
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Every day I set aside 5:30-8:30 a.m. for writing. Different seasons may require me to increase that time, but no matter what is going on, I keep that early morning dedicated to writing.
You have great discipline. Good for you! How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
About 8 months to write a first draft and put it through a couple rounds of edits.
What did God teach you through the writing of The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery?
That story offered me the opportunity to reflect on the type of legacy I want to leave behind as a mother. It was an encouragement to be aware of the way my children watch me, reminding me that I need God’s help every step of the way. Even though I’ll make mistakes, He is the redeemer and healer who brings restoration.
That’s beautiful, Amanda. What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I hope the second chances within this story inspire readers to embrace second chances in their own lives. Even though life may not have gone the way they’d hoped or planned, God provides a new way forward.
What an important lesson. Which character in The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?
Glory Ann was the easiest character for me to write. Something about her and Clarence’s story just flowed naturally for me.
I had to work a little harder getting Sarah down on the page. At the beginning I didn’t have as clear a picture of the role I wanted her to play in the story, so I had to wrestle and rewrite it a few times until I found who she was supposed to be.
What was the hardest scene to write?
The opening chapter for my present-day timeline. Sarah has been through a lot when the book opens, so I had to work through it a few times to find the right place to start her story and introduce her to readers.
Thanks for sharing on the blog today. It’s been fun getting to know you better. How can your readers and fans support you?
I would love to connect via my newsletter. It comes out once every four months and contains all the latest updates like cover reveals, giveaways, and other exclusive content. If you’re interested, you can subscribe here.
Any last words for your readers?
I hope you enjoy reading about Old Depot Grocery and the strong and sassy women who make it come alive!
Join the conversation. Have you read The Edge of Belonging? What did you love about it? Do you enjoy split time fiction? Do you prefer the historical timeline or the contemporary?
Be sure to comment by September 14 for a chance to win a copy of The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery.
The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox
Click the book cover for purchase link
Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons–but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.
1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.
This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.
Amanda Cox is the author of The Edge of Belonging. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling, but her first love is communicating through story. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers. She lives in East Tennessee, with her husband and their three children. Learn more at AmandaCoxWrites.com
Please share this interview on social media to help promote Amanda’s new release.
If you missed last week’s interview with Lisa Howeler, find it here.