Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Interview with Favorite Author Amanda Hughes

There is one name you will see frequently on my best lists and her heroines are on my Favorite Heroes & Heroines list... Amanda Hughes, author of historical romance with a different approach. 

I invited Amanda to be on my blog today to talk about her different style for her stories set in America's past. She tells me that all her life, she has been a "Walter Mitty", spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. As a child, she would light tapers, decorate the basement with her mother's pewter and act out elaborate adventures with imaginary playmates. To this day, the characters in her novels are shadows whispering their stories to her. As an adult, she found an outlet writing adventures about audacious women in the 18th and 19th century, and much of her writing today is a grown-up documentation of her childhood fantasies.

The Interview:

Thank you, Regan for having me on your blog today. It is a wonderful resource for historical romance junkies everywhere! I have been following your writing career as well. Congratulations on your success and all of the awards.

What kind of books do you write, Amanda?

I write novels about gutsy, risk-taking women called, “The Bold Women Series.” They crossover between historical romance and historical fiction. I think you called me an “outlier” once, Regan, and that’s true. For a long time I could not decide which genre was the most appropriate fit for my books since they do not fit the standard format of either genre. I have since given up. 

What is it about your content that make your novels crossover books?

I try to balance history equally with the romance. My books always describe historical settings in detail; the clothing, the food, the furnishings, the landscape and the times. The character, background and upbringing of my “bold women” is always established in the first half of the book and not until the second half of the book do I introduce the love story. My novels are an adventure about the main character’s life. Love is just one component.

Why did you choose to write this way?

It was never a conscious choice. I never studied a genre and wrote to fit within those boundaries. The books were inside me and I wrote them. I have always felt my stories are accurate reflections of life. We all have many experiences in this world and love is just one of them.

So your content is different. Are your characters unusual as well?

Yes, they are quite different from mainstream historical romance novels. My characters are always involved in some way with the gritty and sometimes seamy side of life. I always portray people that live on the fringes of society. Many authors write historical romances that are a form of escapism heavily laden with beauty and charm, and many readers prefer this style. But I think they are missing so many opportunities to meet varied and edgy characters. After all, these are the people really that shaped our history, particularly in this country. Again this reflects my outlier attitude!

In what time and place are you books set?
All of my books are set in America in the 18th or 19th century. Although several start out in another country, frequently Ireland, my main characters always end up here in America.

Why do you choose America’s past for settings?

Without question I choose America because of our rich and varied heritage. Nowhere on earth is there a culture as diverse as ours. This melting pot in which we live provides a writer with endless opportunities to tell stories, from the Salem witch trials to the Oklahoma land rush, to riding the rails during the Great Depression. The subjects are endless and I wish I had time to write about it all of them.

What do your readers tell you they like best about your books?

The one comment I receive time and again is that my books are page-turners. Some of my readers blame me for not getting their errands or housework done. I’m happy to oblige.

What are you working on now?

My sixth historical romance is about a bold woman in 19th Century San Francisco. To support her young siblings, this Chinese American woman runs an opium den catering to the very rich in Chinatown. Amid the squalor and danger of a city bursting at the seams, she partners with a man who has many secrets and who may endanger her life.  

Thanks, Amanda, for helping the readers understand the difference between your wonderful stories and others. For my followers, Amanda has a question to ask you:

Since this is Favorite Heroes and Heroines Month, I would like to know if readers prefer seeing a heroine saved by the hero, or if they prefer the heroine saving herself.

One lucky commenter will win my latest ebook set in the time of
America's Civil War, Vagabond Wind

Keep up with Amanda:


  1. I like a little help from the hero! Even an intelligent, spirited heroine can do with a bit of help.

  2. First of all, hello Amanda and Regan. Amanda, I have the five books of your Bold Women Series on my Kindle (on my TBR List) and I've promised myself I would start reading the first one after the book I'm reading now. They all sound like great stories. I am a fan of historical novels, be they historical fiction, romance, fantasy or whatnot. I love when there is a strong historical background (as Regan can attest).
    As to the question, I like self-sufficient, spirited heroines who are intelligent enough to accept help when it is needed. Same goes for heroes accepting help here and there.
    Happy Holidays to you both.

  3. I love what I am seeing here. Thank you, Linda and Liette for sharing. I truly am interested in your thoughts about this. And to Liette, thank you so much for downloading all of my books. I hope you enjoy them. "See" you on Facebook! I want to hear from more of you!

  4. Nice interview ladies! Sounds like my kind of author.

  5. Hello to Linda, Liette and MK. Glad you came by to meet Amanda!

  6. I have read all of Amanda's books and am always waiting for the next. I like the fact that a strong women comes from lack of the right help from men. When one happens along with genuine concern and help, it's almost over looked. But a smart women will see it for what it is and take it as it is meant to be given. I could only hope that I was one of Amanda's heroines.

  7. Very illuminating interview ..... thanks.

    I actually like to see a strong intelligent and resourceful heroine saving the hero from impetuous male instinct driven but hazardous actions. Though its also nice to see the inverse as well or even have them saving each other! LOL

    Amanda, are you considering writing about the native American Indians at all? I have recently greatly enjoyed books on this topic reviewed here.

    Also, do you have plans for audio editions of your books .... I particularly like listening on long journeys ... though have been known to miss motorway exits with particularly exciting stories!

  8. I'm with you, Amanda, about America being a "melting pot" of cultures, which makes for very interesting romances. :-) I'm especially interested in your soon-to-come story about San Francisco characters since I live in California. And I love a strong heroine who can help save herself instead of being the "clinging vine" type of heroine. So glad to "see" you on Regan's blog! jdh2690@gmail.com

  9. I definitely think that a heroine should be able to save herself--without the hero's help! It gives the female character more strength and depth.
    Also, I believe it to be more true to life regarding what men find attractive. Show me a guy who wants to constantly be saving his damsel in distress...gosh talk about a high maintenance date.
    How about a heroine who saves the hero for a change? Girl Power is sexy.

  10. Thanks to everyone for their comments. Keep 'em coming! To Quantum--my latest work Vagabond Wind is about a woman of Melungeon heritage. She is tri-racial; American Indian, Caucasian and African American. Zya happens to be part Cherokee so maybe this novel would interest you. The book touches on this part of her heritage and how she chooses to embrace it. No audio out yet but boy I would love that format someday. To Sandra, thanks for all the great support and you may show up in one of my books yet. Janice, I glad you like the "melting pot". I think we have it all here! And to Anonymous, I agree "girl power" is sexy and we don't need all the, punching, kicking and testosterone to prove it!

  11. I can see you are all having way too much fun here! The post will stay up tomorrow so there is plenty of time to share it with your friends. The winner will be announced tomorrow, too.

  12. Blessings to you, Amanda and Regan! Your interview spoke truth and realistic about your stories, I love the historical descriptions depicted...I have a degree in Cultural Anthropology, historical Asian studies, so I wait impatiently. Great childhood memories... hero help heroine... oh, love that their re younger siblings in your stories.

  13. Hi, Juanita. I'm so glad you stopped by! I had no idea you were such a learned woman. Very impressive.

  14. Thanks, Amanda. I go for damsels in distress who save themselves.

    But in practice, the distress must be pretty severe to engage the reader. That means the heroine probably needs help. And one powerful way for the hero to demonstrate his love is to help save her.

    Of course, it also works the other way around!

    Good luck.

  15. I like bold women and I like them independent, etc., but something about being saved by an equally bold man just melts my heart. Perhaps women in these days try to be self-contained, and want to show males they are not needed. But I think they are needed for a man softens a woman's heart and gives her the completion she struggles to have alone. I'd love to know someone is capable of watching my back (and wants to).

  16. Oh Eileen and Mary Ann these are such great comments. I am going to copy and paste all of these as a reference for future books. I have always wondered about this and at last I have some answers. Thank you!

    1. And thank you for asking, Amanda. Hope I can help.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. I love your thought, Eileen, and it's just the sort of hero I like, one strong enough, tender enough, to come after a bold, independent female and save her from harm.

  18. You must all come back for my post later this month on the traits of compelling heroes and heroines... from my FB poll a month ago!

  19. It's me, your cousin from Michigan. As you know, I truly enjoy your stories. I love the strength and endurance these woman have. Keep up the great work! Kelli Brewer Rohloff.

  20. Hello! Karen Gallegos here,
    As a reader of both Regan and Amanda's books. I personally like having a strong heroine who can take care of herself. Although, I find some of the best love stories happen when a strong and independent woman can give up some of that control. A man knowing he is wanted often lends to a love that is full of both want and need. The beauty of a well written love story is to watch the h and H see, feel, and allow themselves to be lead into love because of both.

  21. OMG, Karen. Well said. It sounds like over and over people like the hero and heroine helping each other. That is certainly what I want in real life. And to Kelli--hi cuz! Thanks a million for reading my books and your kind words--love you. I would love to hear from a man on this subject. I know there are more men out there that read historical romance than we realize.

    1. I will gladly be one of those men you would like to hear from, but I have to tell you, my point of view is exactly the same as all you ladies out there who cannot get enough of the heroines in novels written by Amanda Hughes.
      I love her strong women! And when one of her women is pitted against a strong man, then I feel a story is about to exciting and hold my interest. To date she has never disappointed me.

    2. That is so great to hear! Thank you so much for taking the time to read them, Donald.