Meet the author: Amanda Brooke - The Goodbye Gift

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This week we'd like to introduce you to Amanda Brooke, the author of character-driven, poignant novels about relationships and real-life issues.  We're giving away 50 copies of her latest book, The Goodbye Gift, so apply for yours now.

This giveaway is sponsored by HarperCollins

About the book

The Goodbye Gift is a heartbreaking novel about friendship, love and sacrifice from Richard and Judy bestseller, Amanda Brooke.

Lucy has been desperate for a new heart for as long as she can remember - but getting the call to say a donor has been found will be a bittersweet relief: because for her to live, someone else must die.

Julia, Helen and Phoebe have been fast friends for all their lives, through Helen's unplanned pregnancy, the sudden death of Phoebe's mother, and Julia's desperation to conceive with her much younger husband. Yet a deep friendship can hide many secrets, and as their relationship reaches crisis point, what has long been buried is going to come bubbling to the surface.

With one tragic accident, these four lives will converge and Lucy will get her new heart. But who has made the ultimate sacrifice?

Praise for Amanda Brooke

"Enchanting, moving and hard to put down." – Closer

"A haunting and heartbreaking story that stayed with me long after I'd finished." – Fern Britton

"Tragedy, friendship – this author packs a punch. A great story with an incredible twist." – Lovereading review

Credit Mark McNulty

About the author

Amanda Brooke lives in Liverpool with her daughter, Jessica, two cats and a laptop within easy reach. Her debut novel, Yesterday’s Sun, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick in spring 2012. The Goodbye Gift is her sixth novel. You can find Amanda on her website, on Facebook and Twitter @AmandaBrookeAB.

Meet Amanda Brooke

Could you describe the room that you write in?

My writing room used to be my son Nathan's bedroom. I converted it into a study almost ten years ago, shortly after Nathan died after a two-year battle with cancer. He was only three and left such a void in my life, but I couldn't bear to leave his room empty and wanted a reason to keep going in there. 

My desk is in front of a large window and there are lots of bookshelves which hold a mixture of reference books and files, not to mention Buzz Lightyear looking over my shoulder. But despite my best efforts to get the room just right, it's always felt too quiet and too empty in there, and it's only been in the last year that I've actually settled down at my desk to write. I'm glad I've reached a point where I'm able to use his room because I turned to writing as a way to deal with my grief, and I see my writing career as Nathan's legacy.

What are you reading now?

I'm currently reading The Museum of You by Carys Bray. I first met Carys when we took part in an event for Blackpool's Wordpool Festival, and we shared our experiences of having our books selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Writing can be a lonely business, but I'm slowly getting to know other authors in and around Liverpool, and I love the sense of camaraderie that comes with it. The Museum of You is a fabulous read told in part from 12-year-old Clover's perspective. Clover is creating a 'museum' full of exhibits relating to her mum, but I've yet to discover what happened to her mum and why she isn't in Clover’s life.

What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?

The last book I bought was a cookery book for my daughter called Pimp my Rice by Nisha Katona. The author has a restaurant in Liverpool called Mowgli and the food there is amazing. My daughter is studying at university at the moment and is one of those rare students who isn't living off pot noodles and beans on toast. She loves using spices and tends to do most of the cooking when she's at home, which of course means I'll be getting some benefit from the book too!

Is research a big part of your writing process?

At the moment, I have a full-time job and my writing eats up most of my evenings and weekends, which leaves very little spare time to dedicate to research. That being said, I do as much as I can and, more importantly, what is necessary because I think it’s a huge responsibility to create characters who will be speaking with some authority on aspects of life I don't know much about.

Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?

I don't particularly have any writing habits or not interesting ones at least! I have to be very disciplined when it comes to my writing because of the limits on my time due to the day job so I suppose the nearest thing I have to a ritual is on those rare occasions when I have a whole day to devote to writing. I tend to write first thing in the morning, starting before breakfast and carrying on past lunchtime. I stop writing early in the afternoon because I like the rest of the day to mull over what my characters have been doing and what I want them to do next. When I'm looking for those flashes of inspiration, they often arrive when I'm out later or shopping in the supermarket.

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

My advice would be that it's never too late to start writing because age and experience can be a distinct advantage.  That being said, if you do think you have a novel in you, make sure the story is something that you absolutely want to write.  Don't write because you want a book published but write because you're desperate to read this fantastic story you've started to create in your mind.  That way, when you're ready to create your masterpiece, it will be a page-turner for you too even though you're the one putting in those long hours to fill the pages.

Can you tell us about your book?

The Goodbye Gift opens with Lucy, who is 24 and needs a heart transplant. The focus quickly moves to the three main characters: Julia, Helen and Phoebe, who all sign up as organ donors, and the book follows their lives to a dramatic conclusion. There's a major accident and it looks like Lucy is going to get her transplant…

Book giveaway

We've got 50 copies of The Goodbye Gift to give away to Mumsnetters.

This giveaway closes on Monday 29 August.

We ask all winners to share their thoughts about the book on the discussion thread. However, you don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion  - anyone who has read The Goodbye Gift can post their feedback (and you can buy the book now). 

Everyone who posts on the thread before 11 October will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.

Liked this? Try these:

August Book of the Month

 7 things we learned from Judy Blume

Books to read this summer          

Last updated: over 1 year ago