My name is Amanda Holohan – that’s me to the right.
I’m the author of Unwanted and The King’s Fool. I was born in Sydney, Australia, but have since moved to the beautiful Blue Mountains where I currently live with my husband, daughter and friendly Burmese cat.
I’ve been passionate about books since I first learnt to read, and wild about writing since I penned my first poem at age six. Poetry, comics, stories – I spent my childhood wrapped in my inner world, scribbling away whatever chance I got.
By the time I’d finished university I’d decided that I didn’t just want to write about other people’s adventures, I wanted to have some of my own. I put on my boots and went roaming. During that time I constantly compiled notes for future novels.
My education’s pretty broad. I tend to collect skills like entomologists collect bugs. I’ve got a BA from Macquarie University with a double major in mass communication and literature. I’ve studied creative writing at UTS; photography and jewellery-making in London; cocktail mixing, travel consulting, office skills and belly dancing.
I’ve worked as a waitress, boutique manager, bookseller, hair washer, travel consultant, freelance writer, copy subeditor, editorial coordinator and have contributed many children’s and young adult book reviews to The Sun-Herald. My favourite things in the world are my family, friends and of course, my writing.
My first book, The King’s Fool, was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for 2006 and is currently on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge book list.
My most recent book, Unwanted, was published by Penguin Books in early 2015. I’ve now finished writing the sequel, which is to be published by Penguin Books in February 2017.
What drew you to writing?
I was drawn to books from a very young age. I loved the exciting and unusual places their stories took me. When I couldn’t find enough of the kinds of stories that thrilled me, I started to write my own. At first there were more drawings than words, but gradually the drawings became smaller and the words took over.
What books inspired you growing up?
I’ve always loved fables and the wild magic of fairy tales. As I grew I was captivated by the books of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Susan Cooper.
Top five books?
There are so many great books and except for number one – my all-time favourite – this list changes often.
- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. This is actually a quartet of four novels. I read them in my late teens and they rocked my world.
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
- Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness.
- The Tomorrow series by John Marsden.
- The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper.
Tips for writers?
Read as much as you can – books that fascinate you and books on writing. Listen to advice, think about it and decide how much you should take on board without compromising your unique voice. Constantly seek to improve your skills. Write what you love and from the heart; reach out to readers who feel the same. Remember, writing is a form of communication. Through your words you can share a dream, a vision of the world, a gripping tale, a common interest.