Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Interview - Amanda Young, author of Silent Prisoner

Amanda Young, author of Silent Prisoner was gracious enough to share a few thoughts with us. Enjoy.

Can you tell us about Silent Prisoner?

It is a true story of my life. It began as a personal journal in 2000. After writing the first draft I thought I would not dare attempt to write another word as it was so painful to write of events that had happened to me in my life. But I found myself again and again picking up the draft and as I was able to do so I would write more accounts of my life. I began this journey to write my story to hopefully better understand myself and my past. I always felt as if there was some kind of road block on my way to finding happiness. That happiness was something I could never find or have, or so I believed. I had then gotten the idea that maybe if I wrote of my life that I might understand more of why I could not find happiness or love; that I might even be able to take away the road blocks with putting words onto paper. But what I found was that there never was anything in my way. I just did not follow the road that led to happiness. I had always traveled onto a road that led only to sadness and despair. It took many drafts to finally understand that I had never witnessed a loving couple as my parents were alcoholics and left me and my siblings alone for days at a time without food or attention. The orphanages and foster homes provided no love for me. Nor did the families I lived with. It would take many drafts to realize that I had no idea of what happiness was and if I had been on the road and seen it at all I would not have even recognized it.

Did you find it difficult to share your story?

Very difficult. I put the draft away many times and thought that there would be no way that I could possibly share my story. But then an event would happen on television or a story I would hear from someone caused me to go through another draft. Even on the day that I clicked “Print” to send the final draft back to the publisher it took my son talking to me for some time to hit “Send.” He told me that I had worked too hard to stop now. I paced for several hours before hitting the button and even then thought of calling to tell them not to print it.

How long did it take you to bring this book from the first draft to the final published product?

Seven years almost to the day. I began in October 2000 and it was in print in November 2007.

Were there any special obstacles or challenges you faced during the publishing process?

Many times I sent the manuscript to publishers and to agents. Publishers said they could not talk to me without an agent. Agents said they could not talk to me because I was unknown. I then found that is owned by Booksurge was started by a group of writers and was bought out by Amazon. I was grateful to find them. I now see my book in print and those that need to find my story to read for inspiration will find it now.

Tell us about April. Why will readers relate to her? What will they like about her?

I am April in the book. I was born in April so chose the name April for myself in the book. She is a sad little girl that is tossed about since birth. She sleeps without blankets on cold nights and goes to sleep hungry most nights for many years of her life while growing up. I was told many times that when the social worker came to pick me up to take me away from my parents and bring me to the orphanage that my stomach was bloated like the starving children in third world countries. For many years I ate so fast that I would often throw up. I never knew if I were going to get another meal and so I ate as if it were my last for many years. Later in life I became anorexic. I always struggled with the idea that I was not worthy of love and food to me was a representation of love. “If my mother loved me she would have fed me,” I once said to my therapist in my adult years. He said nothing but cleared his throat as he made a note onto his pad. “But what I wished for so many times and more than for food was that my mother would hold me,” I then said to him. I think that within all of us is the desire to be loved. What everyone will like about April is that she is never bitter or angry with God or the angels or anyone. She never gives up and knows that she has to keep going.

Who are some of the other characters in Silent Prisoner? How do they come into April’s life?

There are so many. The book goes from my life at about the age of five or six, to now. I will be fifty-three in a few weeks so there are many. There is an aunt who I stay with who teaches me the love of God and the angels. There is Rose who is a strong black woman that teaches me more about faith. My grandmother I visit on occasion who is witty and whimsical. There is my therapist of several years who is stoic and tries to encourage me to speak of how I feel. My abusive marriages. Three marriages I had and with each one it got worse. My last marriage I almost did not survive. My faith is the thing that got me out. It was in the month of May. I don’t know why I can remember the month, but I can. My ex-husband had been acting the same way again that told me I was soon to be in for another “episode.” I still remember hearing the sound of the door screen slam that morning when he left. There was something in the sound of the door that made me jump. I stared at the door as it banged again. I stood frozen and a voice in my head said, “Get out and get out now!” I could barely move as I stared at the screen door. I was frozen with a feeling of terror and it was as if a voice was then screaming in my head and said, “Get out! And get out now!”

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? and

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a website now I would like to say that to all who think that my walking out past that screen door that day was easy, it was not. By reading my story I hope people will understand why it is not easy for women to walk out. But I did walk out that day and my faith got me out. And I hope that my words help to inspire others to do so too.

Thank you so much for having me today.

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