Amanda Thrasher is an author whom I have come to greatly admire – not just for her talent, but because she is a lovely, genuine person. Pick up any one of her books and you will feel that quality. I dearly love her Mushroom Patch series and have decided that when I grow up, I want to move to the Mushroom Patch! I hope they will kindly save me a spot. These questions are from an interview a few years ago.
When did you start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. What sticks in my head, was recognition for a poem that I wrote when I was nine years old and a creative story when I was ten. That poem was saved for years via my mom; it now is hung above my desk. Writing for me, truly is about the love of words. I love words. I love to watch them leap off of a page and come to life. I love to see a story ‘work.’ As a child, poetry and short creative stories were what I wrote for fun. I loved pencils and paper, journals or pads. Being an author is not what I set out to be.
What gave you the idea for your first book?
My very first book was likely build on childhood memories, though the characters are fictional. My first published book was written for a woman I loved dearly, my mother. She was ill, she loved fairies and I wrote her a fairy story, ‘Mischief in the Mushroom Patch.’ She never saw it in print; but she read the first eight chapters and I told her the rest.
My published pieces are children’s fantasy; I often refer them to them as fresh new fairy tales. Purposely written with polite characters that are sweet and kind, there’s a lot to be said for kind. There are no scary characters in the Mischief series, purposely written that way, of course. My intent was and is, to take my little readers, into a fantasy mushroom patch that is so real it seems unbelievably, believable. My adult novel I believe would be considered mystery/drama.
What do you do to keep yourself focused?
I think this is a great question! It seems as if I am only truly focused when I am working. I am ninety to nothing on a normal basis. But my writing time is so important to me I schedule it, often daily. When I write I require complete silence. (I know often writers like music etc), but not me. I have to be able to hear myself think. To do that requires a quiet stillness that can only be obtained through scheduled time. If I can’t give 100% of what I feel my work deserves, my art, my words, I will not write that day. On the other hand, if I have scheduled writing time nothing will detract me from it, phone, other to do’s, nothing. It’s too hard to come by, for me. I schedule my time at my desk and will not allow anything to detract me from it. I read the chapter I wrote prior to my new day’s work, to find my rhythm in my flow of thought. For me, it works and makes sense. It has to make sense or for me, it’s a waste of time. I value my time.
Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects
I have an adult novel that I love, but I cannot work on that piece at this time. My children’s pieces take precedence over it. A particular children’s novel I am working right now, of course to me, is phenomenal. But it has to be. Because the truth is, if I don’t love it that much first, how on earth will my little readers love it second? I enjoy the piece I am writing, it still find it exciting. That can only be good, since I am creator of this piece. I have flat pieces, they are finished, but they are flat. The one I am working is not….I like it!
What is your writing process?
My process has always been the same and is the same regardless of the piece(s) I write. (Adult or children’s), and I have absolutely no idea why. It has always been this way and so I wouldn’t have known to question it anyway. Having no intentions of being an author and just writing, why would I? It doesn’t matter what I write, I can visualize the whole thing in my head before I pen it. I haven’t written a word of Mischief 3, and yet I can tell you the whole thing. Right down to the newest character. What the opening scene will be, what the highlight will be, what the disaster will be, who will save the day, how I will close it etc. I even know most of the dialog exchanges. Every piece I write is like this, though the details often are perfected along the way, the bulk of what I’m doing is laid out prior too, in my head. I carry a common book with my, (much like other writers), twenty four seven and have for years. I have jotted down things such as a name, and by the next day known exactly who the character will be. I’ve jotted down possible scenarios for chapters I’m writing etc. I think most writers do this. My common book is invaluable to anyone else and yet priceless to me.
What is the theme of your novel?
The theme of my newest one, ‘A Fairy Match in the Mushroom Patch,’ I believe is so neat for lots of reasons. First it gently teaches how a colony of ‘fairies’ can work together to overcome a pending disaster and how to have fun in a game one of them is not a fan of. Building unity in the ranks of elders, scientists and fairlings, (my word, fairlings,…I love it ). It also has a very special theme, building confidence and feeling comfortable in your skin. This is based on a lovely character I created named rle. She has her own story, a true story and it’s beautiful. I had written Mischief and a lady I did not know purchased the book at a Barnes & Noble signing. We must have conversed, because weeks later she emailed me. She said, “I loved your book and my daughter would have loved your book.” She went on to say, “Could you consider creating a character with a disability, because my daughter was bound to a chair and she always asked, where are the fairy tales for me.” You can only imagine how I felt when I read that email, it touched me so. I emailed the lady back and said, “If you give me a minute to think, I might be able to do that.”
I had two concerns (a) First and foremost I wanted to be respectful of her request and (b) respectful of my art, my work, which I had already created. (the second book was underway). But I created a beautiful, little fairy named Pearle. Though she can’t walk, she can fly effortlessly. She is in a chariot, her chair, though always referred to as her chariot. The other fairies love her and she loves them. She has no limitations and is accepted by all; but more importantly, she accepts herself. I sent the lady, (Beverly Hutton), sample chapters. I said, “If you approve, I will continue.” Needless to say she loved her too, and Pearle will forever be in the Mushroom Patch, in honor of Jeni. We have done some good things together, with the help of my Mentor, Anne Dunigan, in honor of Jeni.
Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?
I don’t. I would have to say Pearle is the first character or thing, based on something or someone that I know of and she was a unique and special request. If I do, it truly is on a subconscious level. Meaning I do not purposely try to incorporate such.
How did your cover design come about?
I was assigned an artist, though I knew exactly what I wanted on my cover. The artist drew what I asked, detail, per detail as best she could.