“I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.” W.B. Yeats
Amanda Fleet tells all
What do writers talk about when they meet up?
I met Amanda in St Andrews recently.
A coffee, a snack, a chat; in a quiet corner of St Andrews and the seeds of this QA were sown.
I hope you enjoy this thoughtful response.
What made you decide to write a thriller?
It was in my head and wouldn’t give me any rest until I got it out. I know that sounds probably both corny and pretentious, but it is genuinely why all the books I’ve written have come about.
How did your title The Wrong Kind of Clouds come about?
It’s actually a phrase my husband uses when he’s taking photographs (or rather, a reason why he’s not taking a photograph!). The main character in the book, Summer, is a photographer, and she also uses the phrase. Everyone seemed to like it as the title, both in the research I did before publishing and in comments I’ve had since publication.
Describe the story in 50 words.
Someone wants Patrick Forester dead. As Patrick’s being abducted by them, he manages to call his ex-lover, Summer Morris, and begs her to help him. By unravelling the web of deceit that is his life, can she find out who has taken him before they kill him?
You will be spotlighted at Bloody Scotland: what do you hope to achieve?
To get through my three minutes without disaster! Beyond that, I’m hoping to meet other authors, both established and new, and learn from them. If I also get to sell a few books or make myself less anonymous, that would be a bonus.
What has your Malawi experience meant for you as a person?
It’s made me hate consumerism even more than I did before I was out there. Malawi and her people have stolen my heart and broken it, many times over. I’ve met street-kids who have nothing, who’ve had the most appalling things happen to them and yet, they go on. They yearn for education, for a better life, for a future. I’ve also shadowed a ward-round in the hospital and seen that several of the patients might be dead before lunchtime, from conditions that would be survived in the UK.
I’ve had some of the most fantastic times out in Malawi too: sitting quietly in a shady courtyard, playing the ubiquitous Malawian game “bao”; playing with the kids; watching the sun go down while walking beside Lake Malawi. All of my experiences there have made me treasure life so much more, and be grateful for everything I have.
What advice would you give to a person who wants to write a book?
Ask yourself why you’re writing it. Is it because it’s burning to be written? If so, it won’t give you peace until you have, so write it. If not… it might be a real chore to write it. You only get one life. Don’t waste it doing things you don’t yearn to do.
What makes you feel at peace with the world?
Open countryside and good friends. They don’t have to be combined, but if they are, it’s even better.
What makes you angry?
Waste. Wasted resources, wasted talents. Wasted emotions- of which anger is one. I try not to be angry – it has nothing to recommend it. I don’t always succeed though!
What is your next writing project?
I have another novel due back from the editors in September, which will probably be the next book to get published. This is a psychological thriller (the current title is “Poisonous Minds”) rather than one that features any of the characters from The Wrong Kind of Clouds. I also have about six other writing projects to be working on. I’m not sure which one will get done first. Possibly the follow-up to The Wrong Kind of Clouds (although there’s quite a bit of competition going on in my head with all of the projects clamouring to be next).
When you have a quiet time for yourself, what do you do?
I often read. I can lose hours sitting and reading if the book is good. I also run, though it’s taking me longer than I expected to get back to the levels of fitness I used to have. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with a serious arrhythmia, and had heart-surgery last year to fix it. The arrhythmia is gone now, but I had a long time away from running because of it.
I’m looking forward to thinking nothing of going for a ten-mile run again! I sort out most of my plots while I’m out running.
The Wrong Kind of Clouds
…she would have been happy never to hear from him again. But, he begged her for help, so she’s trying to help.
Along with an off-duty police officer, she gets swept into Patrick’s world of lies and deceit, in a desperate race against time to find him alive.