Author name: Darlene Foster
Genre: Middle-Grade Travel/Adventure/Mystery
Books: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask; Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting; Amanda in England: The Missing Novel; Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone; Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music; Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind; Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action; Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady to be released Spring 2021
What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I am a Canadian author who has written the Amanda Travels series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves travelling to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. I’ve won prizes for my short stories and have been published in various anthologies. I have also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.
I grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where I dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. I come from a long line of storytellers and have been telling tales for as long as I can remember. My grade three teacher encouraged me to write my stories down, and when I was twelve I had a short story published in a local paper. It was about an amusing experience two young girls have while shopping in a department store. Little did I know, all those years later, I would publish a series of books about two girls having adventures in various countries.
I believe in working hard to make my dreams come true. Over the years, I have had wonderful jobs such as being an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter and retail manager. I would write whenever I had a few spare minutes. I am now retired and write full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people and collecting ideas for my books, I enjoy spending time with my husband and entertaining dog, Dot. Dreams do come true.
How do you balance your work with other demands? When I worked full time, I made sure I wrote two hours every day, usually in the evening after dinner. Now that I´m retired I´m not as organized, but I write every day. I could be at my computer all day, but my dog makes sure I get up and take her for walks and my husband makes sure we eat something together.
Name one of the happiest moments in your life: There are many, but the one that comes to mind is the first time I got on an airplane, at age 27, and travelled to the UK. It was a dream come true, and I was so happy and excited. It was the start of my love for travel which eventually launched my writing career.
What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner? I am a dedicated panster. I have tried planning and it just doesn´t work for me. The only thing I do is create a mind map with the locations that will be in the story. These mind maps are very messy and wouldn´t make sense to anyone else.
Could you write in a café with people around? I haven´t done this but I think I could. Once I get into a story, nothing distracts me. I’ve made notes in cafés as I people watch and listen in on conversations. The thought of sitting in a coffee shop in Spain or France writing away appeals to me.
Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it? Because Amanda travels to a different country in each book, I always include some words in the language of the country she is in, which readers say they enjoy. Amanda isn´t fluent in other languages, so I make sure the other characters can speak English and sprinkle in the odd word in their first language.
What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? That is such a difficult question as I have many favorite books. As a child, one of my favorite books was Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and as an adult, I guess it would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. But there are many other books I love. Right now I am reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, and I am loving every word.
What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader? I love to read, in any format. I alternate between printed books, both hardcover and paperback, and books on my eReader. Holding an actual book in my hands is still a great feeling.
Do you think print books will always be around? Yes, I do. Many folks still like to hold a book in their hands. A funny thing, I found that kids, even in this digital age, still prefer a print book.
Would you ever read a book on your phone? I don´t think so as it would be too small for me.
What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else? I love my Android tablet.
How long could you go without checking your phone? I don´t use my phone much as it has limited data and it´s a pay as you go plan so I don´t want to run out of minutes. But, I check my emails and social media constantly on my tablet or laptop, which is distracting while writing. I couldn´t go more than half a day without checking my social media sites.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? I don´t listen to audiobooks but I think they are wonderful, especially for the elderly who can no longer read or for someone who does a lot of driving.
Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform? I love using social media to market my books. My favorite platform is my WordPress blog.
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