Interview and Giveaway with Debut Author Amanda Cox

Discovering new authors is so much fun! I was thrilled to be chosen as part of a brand new author’s launch team a few months ago. When I read Amanda Cox’s debut novel, The Edge of Belonging, I was blown away by her talent. Let me just say, if this is her debut, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Today I’m really excited to share an interview with Amanda and a chance to win a paperback copy of her book. More info on the giveaway is at the end, but first, let me introduce you to Amanda and share my interview with her.

About Amanda:

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

About the book:

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved. 

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

The Edge of Belonging is your debut novel. What has it been like seeing your first book come to life?

It has been so surreal. After spending years writing and rewriting, submitting, getting rejections, signing my first contract, it has been so fun watching everything unfold. Holding the finished copy was definitely a highlight of my writing life. This long time dream is really happening!

What inspired you to write The Edge of Belonging?

The idea for this story began in a somewhat odd way. I was on a road trip. The car was quiet, giving my mind some room to roam and explore new story ideas, and in the median, a baby bouncer was sitting there like it was waiting for me.

I daydreamed while I drove, trading the abandoned baby bouncer for an abandoned baby. The next question that begged to be answered was who would have been there to stumble upon this child. And that is how one of my main characters, Harvey, was born. A man who lived a hermit’s existence—squatting on public land along the highway, living off only what other people carelessly lost or discarded. Trusting no one. Finding the baby shakes up the world he has become so comfortable in.

When I sat down to write the story that had been unfolding in my mind on that car trip, The Edge of Belonging quickly became a tribute to adoption and families who come together in unexpected ways.

What is it like writing two stories in two timelines? Do you write the stories separately and then work them together, or you write them simultaneously?

When I wrote the very first draft of The Edge of Belonging, it was a single timeline story. I submitted it in its original version and had some interest from agents and editors, but the feedback they gave me was that they didn’t quite know how to classify the story. Feeling like I had come to a bit of a dead end with it I experimented with adding a new timeline. I had to make drastic cuts to the original story to make that happen. That was tough work, but in the end exactly what this story needed.

I’ve written two dual timelines in this same way, writing each timeline separately. My latest book, releasing in 2021, I approached in a completely different way and wrote the two timelines simultaneously. The way the stories flow together, it just felt natural to write it that way.

Which character or characters do you identify with the most?

Hmm…this is a tough one. I identify with each of the characters in different ways. I identify with Harvey’s desire to withdraw and be independent as a method of self-preservation. I aspire to be like Pearl with her openness to let others into her life and her desire to help others. I’ve definitely had seasons where I could identify with Ivy in which I was trying to figure out who God created me to be.

Tell us about your writing journey. When did you start writing? Is this the first book you’ve ever written?

I’ve been dabbling in storytelling for as long as I can remember, whether in written word or narratives I daydreamed about inside my head. About ten years ago, I decided to try writing my first novel length project. I worked on it slowly over many years and used it as a training ground for crafting stories. The Edge of Belonging is my second novel, although it feels like my third, since that original version was written into a whole new thing!

Who has influenced you most as a writer?

When I was in third grade, my teacher read us Where the Red Fern Grows everyday after lunch. Listening to this story of determination, hard work, and loss, my eight-year-old self decided that I wanted to write stories like that someday, stories that caused people to feel something. 

I am also  indebted to my parents who happily funded my book obsession, filling my world with stories I loved. Then there are my awesome critique partners who give me amazing feedback on my writing that sharpens my work and sparks fresh thoughts.

What’s next for you?

I’ve just turned in my yet-to-be-titled novel, releasing in the fall of 2021 to my editor. Like The Edge of Belonging, it is a multi-timeline story. This book centers around a family owned corner grocery in a small southern town and the three generations of women whose lives are tangled in its inner workings. It reveals the way family dynamics—the good and the not so good—can shape a family’s history. Lots of layers and family secrets big and small to explore in this one!

You can follow Amanda’s writing on the following social media:

Website: www.amandacoxwrites.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandacoxwrites
Instagram: www.instagram.com/amandacoxwrites
Twitter: www.twitter.com/amandacoxwrites

Now for the giveaway! Entering is easy – just leave a comment below. Please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Make sure to follow Amanda on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to do date on her latest books. You don’t want to miss this beautiful story! The giveaway will open for one week and the winner will be announced next Tuesday, September 8th. Open to U.S. residents only.

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