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Author Interview with Amanda McKinney & Book Give-Away


Author Interview with Amanda McKinney
by Diane G. (


Thank you so much for doing this interview for the PaperBackSwap blog!! I have really enjoyed reading the 3 books in the Steele Shadows Security series.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife to the ultimate alpha male, mother of two angels who remind me every day how precious life is, daughter to my real-life hero and heroine, mom to two stinky mutts, die-hard Titos lover (very important to mention that), and someone who wandered aimlessly through life until I found writing. I’d always struggled with what I was meant to do professionally. Post college, my world was cheap power suits, grey cubicles, PowerPoint presentations, quotas, and butt-kissing. I knew this was not my path. I wanted to be the person who said, “I love what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work.” After decades of sending positive energy into the world, hoping I would find my dream-job, the quest finally ended after I wrote the first paragraph of my first book (that was so terrible it never saw the light of day). I fell in love instantly and never looked back.

I myself do not like to read “romance novels”, but I love mysteries. For some reason your books seem more mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. What gave you the inspiration for the Steele Shadows Security series?

Steele Shadows Security was an unplanned spin-off from the Berry Springs Series. I like to think of it as Berry Springs’ steamer, darker, grittier, bad-boy brother. The series was created when I finally submitted to the unrelenting voice in my head telling me to write something more intense, more emotional, and more alpha. With blind faith, I wrote Cabin 1, which became my first #1 bestseller. It was a good lesson to follow inspiration and have faith in your gut instinct!

You really brought these stories to life with your writing and made me feel like I was right there with the Cabin residents! How much of your experiences and background played into this?

I was born in a small, southern town that has more cows than people. Big trucks, American flags, cowboy hats, sweet tea—all the fantastic clichés. From a very early age, I loved two things: reading and the outdoors. For me, inspiration sparks when I’m in nature. There’s something about being out in the mountains, that can be magical and enchanting, but also dark, creepy, and extremely lonely—which makes one heck of a backdrop for a murder mystery series. Nature plays a huge part in every one of my books and is as much as a character as the hero and heroine. I visualize each scene as I write it, and try to feel the world happening around that moment with hopes its transfers through to the reader.

The men in the security company come out as very strong until those layers are peeled back. Are the men in your life them?

Absolutely. You’ve probably noticed most of the heroes in my books are former military or service men. I come from a long line of military men and woman and I truly believe that soldiers, combat veterans, and first responders carry a shield of armor that others simply don’t, and this manifests in many different ways within each person (all those layers and layers!). I have the utmost respect for them and I hope that shines through in my writing.

How long did you take to write these books?

I’m someone who loves schedules, plans, and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So I keep myself on a tight schedule packed with deadlines. I write every day, no matter what. I find that this helps keep the same tone through the book, and keeps my creative juices flowing. There’s nothing more frustrating than opening my computer and staring at the screen for thirty minutes trying to figure out what my next word should be. Writing every day helps to avoid that. I also have a daily word goal, and I’m pretty hard-core about meeting it. I’ve been known to set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. to get in some writing time before the kids wake. Thanks to this restless nature, I can usually write book a book in a few months.

Did you stay within your planned outlines, or did you ever write yourself into a situation you could not get out of?

When I begin a new project, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline—bulleted, of course. Although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

How do you deal with the times you may encounter writer’s block?

I step away from the computer and take a walk outside. I focus on my breathing and just still myself. I truly believe in the healing power of nature. If it’s epic writers block, I meditate. It’s amazing what clearing your mind can do you for creativity and attitude!

Do you enjoy reading books yourself? If so, what types of books do you enjoy?

I’m a sucker for romantic suspense/mystery. I love the delicate mix of romance, intrigue, and heart-pounding suspense, and of course the grand finale of it all, the happily ever after ending! And let’s be honest, a swoon-worthy hero doesn’t hurt either. As a reader and a writer, pacing is very important to me. One of my favorite things about the genre is that the stories are fast-paced. Nothing pulls me out of a book more than slow pacing or that ever-dreaded lagging middle section. When I write a book, I focus on creating a page-turning experience and making the reader feel a mix of emotions—fear, anticipation, shock, lust, you name it. If he, or she, goes to bed thinking about my book, or stays up all night just to finish it, I’ve done my job.

What’s next? Do you have other books already published, and are you working on another book?

2020 is going to be a big year for the McKinney Machine! I’m carrying out the Steele Shadows Security series with three more books (at least)! I am so excited to continue these character’s stories! I’m talking kid-in-a-candy-store excited. The books will have everything you’d expect in a McKinney novel—hot romance, alpha males, strong females, fast-paced suspense, and mystery, but will be standalone novels. No cliffhangers!

Where are your books available?

I am currently exclusive to Amazon, but plan to reach new retailers later this year.

Do you have a website / blog / Facebook page?

My website is the hub for all things McKinney— www.amandamckinneyauthor.com. But the best way to stay up to date on new releases, enter fun contests, and get tons of freebies is to sign up for my newsletter here.

Thanks so much for spending time with us today!! I can’t wait for your next books!


Ms. McKinney has generously offered an brand-new autographed copy of her book, Cabin 1 to a PaperBackSwap Member who comments here on the Blog. A Winner will be chosen at random. You must be a PaperBackSwap Member in good standing to win.

Good Luck to everyone!





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13 Responses to “Author Interview with Amanda McKinney & Book Give-Away”

  1. Nancy C. (nancymissyc) says:

    OOOHHH!!! I definitely need to check out this series! I’m also a firm believer that military, veterans & first responders are a special breed of hero & love reading books that showcase that. Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Diane M says:

    I enjoyed this interview and getting to know you Ms. McKinney very much. It resonated with me because I have retired from a career in grey cubicles and am still searching for a path to fulfillment in retirement. I am so happy that you found your passion in writing and I enjoy reading what you have written! I am going to employ your technique for putting positive energy into the world (a good strategy even outside of a search for a career path!) and will be open to what comes my way. Thank you very much.

  3. Toni H. says:

    Wow! I don’t believe I have ever read an interview from an author before. This was really interesting. Ms. McKinney and I think alike, for taking a walk helps me to handle many “blocks” in my life too. Thank you for sharing and the offer of your book.

  4. Sheryl Summers says:

    This was a very interesting interview with an author I’m not familiar with. I’m definitely going to check out her books. Thank you, Ms. McKinney for giving away a signed copy of your book!

  5. Taffy Wertz says:

    This book sounds amazing! And an author interview for us to read here on PBS–wonderful!
    Would love to read this book, thanks for doing the contest, Amanda McKinney!

  6. Robin says:

    I absolutely LOVE the Steele brothers!! My kids are active duty Marines so this hit closer to home. With the thrill, suspense, romance, banter and so much more !! Who wouldn’t like these books? PHENOMENAL BOOKS !!!! I can’t wait for more!!!! (I’m not a member of Paperbackswap)

  7. NORMA L LOOS says:

    What a wonderful. insightful interview. Would genuinely love to read this book. Thank-you.

  8. Carol Summers-Kolber says:

    Amanda McKinney is a new author for me and I am always looking for a good read. I checked my favorite sites for reviews and they all praise Ms McKinney’s novels.

  9. Desmond W. (desmond) says:

    Count me in, please!

  10. B Long says:

    I always love hearing what books authors enjoy reading. Excellent interview. Thanks for this opportunity.

  11. Jeannetta Mouncey says:

    Very personal and nice interview. Thank you! I would love to stay up all night to finish this book and experience all the emotions Mrs. McKinney describes in her interview.

  12. Mary LaBorde says:

    Nice interview. Would love to read your book

  13. Miriam Machida says:

    Great to learn about a new author. Can’t wait to read Steele Shadows.

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