BE MY GUEST: Author Interview: Amanda Strong

Facebook has become synonymous with online relationships from dating to friendships to establishment of long lost connections from the past. Amanda’s book (read my review here) deals with all these things so I thought it would be good to know what she thinks about social networking sites as she talks about her book and how her life has changed after its release. Read on to find out more:
RG= Review Girl 
AS= Amanda Strong

RG: Why Facebook as a theme for your story?

AS: Facebook has been a constant topic of conversation between my friends, and friends of friends, for a few years. The endless stories, the good, bad, and ugly, happening on this particular social networking site sounded more like an upcoming reality show than life in typical suburbia. Just the complicated relationships and friendships alone had an enormous amount of layers to peel back and explore in the complex world of Facebook.

RG: Do you use Facebook? Are you addicted to it?
AS: When I started writing this book, I had an account on Facebook but never posted anything but a profile picture. I probably checked the news feed every couple of weeks. Today, I check the same account every once in awhile and email friends from my account. I mainly use my own author’s Facebook page for my book to post updates and topics relating to, with just one click. I don’t think I could’ve written this novel if I was addicted to Facebook. I made a conscious effort to remain neutral and let the stories speak for themselves. I wanted the reader to interpret the stories and come away with their own opinions, not mine.

RG: Facebook leads to intrusion of privacy, we are better off without it. Do you agree?

AS: No, social networking is not that cut and dry. I think Facebook can be a great way to reconnect and communicate with friends. With that said, I do believe people forget that it’s the individual user who chooses to post their pictures and words for all their friends to see. Sometimes I think people get so caught up with their friends and get too comfortable and don’t realize social networking is not so private. In some cases, it’s the user themselves who has compromised their privacy by posting something they shouldn’t have. Facebook is definitely not an innocent bystander and should probably have more rules in place, but I believe you can have a positive social networking experience.

RG: Have you ever found someone on Facebook, whom you lost touch with years ago and thought would never see him/her again? If yes, how was the experience? Shocking? Or A Pleasant surprise?

AS: I’ve been shocked and pleasantly surprised by a couple of people who friended me. They were friends from over twenty years ago, who I just lost touch with. When this type of connection happens, the experience reaffirms to me that Facebook is not all bad. It was great to see my friends all grown up, and for them to remind me of some memories we shared that I had forgotten.

RG: Do you identify in any way with the leading ladies of your novel?

AS: I’ve said many times these women in the novel could be any one of us…your sister, mother, wife, daughter, friend, neighbor, and so forth. I identify with some of the characteristics that make these women who they are. Chloe’s loyalty and tight bond with her friends; she will do anything for her friends and cares deeply about their lives. Morgan’s life is similar to mine; she has a loving husband and two small children. We both share the struggles of day-to-day life as a stay-at-home mom. I also identify with her decision to do something for herself, even if she needed a push in the right direction. With Brynn, I don’t identify with her as much, but am sympathetic to her situation and can see how her life spiralled out of control.

RG: How did you come up with their (leading ladies) stories? Are these your friends’ from real lives you took as an inspiration and then build on it or you heard something in news or was it all in your head that this is how your characters’ stories will be?

AS: The characters and stories are my own, but they are based on themes happening on Facebook every day, like finding long lost love, spouses confronting each other over their friends, and infidelity. To say my friends were an inspiration would be an understatement, especially the more difficult situations like infidelity and how that affects not just the person and their spouse, but the people around them. I’ve never felt so passionately about showcasing these topics, and bringing them to the forefront for people to read. I think when you see your friends dealing with these emotional situations on a bigger platform, like social networking, the complexity of emotional stress is heightened for everyone involved. 

I wanted to show three stories with women at different stages of their life, but with one common bond…Facebook. Each woman sees firsthand how confirming a friend is not as simple as it seems. One struggles with her past, one second guesses her marriage, because of one of her husband’s friends, and one fights temptation from somebody who has nothing to lose. The question is, how would their lives be different if they didn't click to confirm a friend or in Morgan’s case, if her husband didn't accept a friend request from his ex? 

RG: Have things changed for you after the release of your debut novel, “With Just One Click”? In what ways? Are those changes good/bad?

AS: Ironically, I use social media more than I did before. I’ve learned social networking is a great tool to make connections and communicate with people I wouldn’t otherwise have any contact with. I would say that’s a positive change, especially when I learned of the blog tour through social media. Another change is I went from a stay-at-home mom to being an author, which I think has shown my children how dedication and passion can lead to something tangible, like a physical copy of your book. My children giggle from time to time saying, “Mommy, are you working on your book?” The situation is new for my family, because I am now a “working” mom. I don’t think they totally get what I do, because being an author is not really the “norm” in suburbia. Even friends will hear about the book, and do a double take for a second, because they didn’t know me before having a husband and children. 

Ever since I was a girl, I dreamed of either writing a book or a script for television or film. None of these changes were bad for my life ... maybe just made it more complicated. There is never enough time and being reviewed can be nerve-wracking, but as a first time author, I feel very fortunate and have embraced the changes in my life, because I’m really following my dream.

RG: Do you have any other projects/another novel in the process?

AS: I’ve thought about different ideas for a possible second book, but, With Just One Click hasn’t been out very long. I want to give this book my total attention for now. I care about the characters and the stories too much to leave them just yet.

RG: I believe that there are only two categories of books: good books and bad books. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a “good book”?

AS: I believe a story is only as good as its characters. In my mind, a good book captures your attention from the beginning, making you invested in the characters. It is their voice that should speak to the reader; they’re the heart and soul of a book. Whether you’re reading a story that is compelling, entertaining, or witty, the characters are what drive the reader to turn the page of a good book.

RG: What suggestions would you give to aspiring authors? Any mistakes which you did and would like to warn first-time authors?

AS: My suggestion would be first, find the time to write. If you have to write between 9pm and 2am every night like I did, than do it. Secondly, I’d say write about something you are passionate about. Think about what type of book you want to write and brainstorm…sometimes the inspiration you need is right in front of you. As for mistakes, I think the best advice I can give a first-time author is make sure you proofread, proofread, and proofread. After that, have as many people proofread your manuscript. Sometimes as the author you’re too close to you are writing and don’t see the smallest errors.

RG: Complete these sentences:

Writing is like...

Women’s fiction is all about...

Social networking sites are...

E-books are...

Self-publishing is...

Book blogs are...

AS: Writing is like drinking a much needed cup of coffee in the morning…it makes you feel alive, content, and you know without it, you’re day isn’t complete.

Women’s fiction is all about targeting the best audience there is … women! (and I’m not bias at all *smiles*)

Social networking sites are fun, entertaining, informative, tempting, scandalous, and sometimes downright outrageous … we love to love them but hate the consequences.

E-books are affordable and convenient … but there is still something about sitting on a beach somewhere with a good-old book in your hands.

Self-publishing is an author’s choice… a good book is a good book, whether there is a name of a publishing house on the back cover or not.

Book blogs are an amazing resource for avid readers, and an author’s true critic.

RG: I enjoyed all your answers, smart and detailed. Thank you for stopping by my blog as part of your "blog tour" for this interview. Wish you all the best for your book! 

About the Author:

After living in typical suburbia, Amanda realized sometimes the most captivating and intriguing stories are ones that are right under your nose. Mix in the recent phenomenon that is the brave new world of social networking, and Strong delivers a bright new voice in her debut novel, “With Just One Click”. Amanda Strong graduated from Ithaca College and resides in the United States outside the Boston area with her husband and two children.

To know more about her and her writing, visit her blog: http://byamandastrong.blogspot.com/

About her Book:
With Just One Click:

"Reluctance was matched with a pit in my stomach; once I joined, anyone could randomly find me...did I really want to be found?" Chloe, a successful movie reviewer and serial dater, finds herself added as a friend by her first love. The one who left her at seventeen standing with a note in her hand as he simply walked away. Will she allow herself to open old wounds? Morgan, a loyal stay-at-home mom and wife, discovers one of her husband's friends is his very single and flirtatious ex-girlfriend from high school. 

Will obsession and jealousy tear her solid marriage apart when she hunts for the truth? Brynn, a lonely forty year-old living with her two distant teenage children and workaholic husband, fights temptation while revisiting the past with one of her friends. Will her deception destroy her family? Three lives changed forever WITH JUST ONE CLICK. Confirming a friend isn't as simple as it seems... but do these women have more in common than just Facebook? - (Courtesy: Amazon)

To buy this book, click here. 

To read my detailed review of this book, click here.

Last but not least, if you have a story to share about Facebook, feel free to talk about it in comments section below. So tell me, did you find a long lost friend on Facebook? Or you found your life partner through Facebook? Any story, fun or embarrassing, strange or interesting, is welcome! J


  1. Facebook is fun. It's interesting connecting with people from the past ;)

  2. Great post. I posted it on My Life. One Story at a Time. on Facebook! Through Face book I found friends from high school. I moved the day after I graduated and never thought I would see or hear from them again. We are all over the country. Face book reunited us. Donna

  3. Loved the book and enjoyed reading this interview!

  4. After reading this review, I definitely would love to read this book. Facebook came into my life about two years ago and enabled me to connect with people from high school and college that I really never imagined I'd see again. People I knew as wild teens were now middle-aged marrieds with teens. It was wild and still is. As someone interested in people, I have to say it has been way more positive than negative.

  5. Thanks for telling me your stories, so we all think it is way more positive than negative to have Facebook in our lives.
    Now my story... one of my childhood friend found me on Facebook, I was so thrilled to find her as I kept looking for her but could not find her...why? because her surname got changed after marriage and so her Facebook ID showed different name from her previous name. And now, both of us are so excited to share our childhood memories, Facebook ROCKS! *wide grin*


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