Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meet historical romance author Amanda L.V. Shalaby!

Today, I'm honored to have fellow historical romance author Amanda L.V. Shalaby as my guest. Her debut novel, Rhianna, was released on July 16, 2012 by Crimson Romance. Here's a taste:

Upon the unexpected death of her parents, the curate and his wife, the enigmatic Lord Guilford Kingsley arrives on her doorstep and offers to personally escort a mourning Rhianna Braden back to England from France, leaving behind her admirer Philippe who has just proposed. Shortly after Rhianna’s arrival at Kingsley Manor, family secrets and scandals begin to unfold that involve not only her deceased parents, but Rhianna herself.

Rhianna settles quickly into Kingsley Manor, finding pleasure in the company of Lord Kingsley and his twelve-year old daughter, Audra. Unable to decide if she is in love with Philippe, a count who offers wealth, position and a family who welcome her with open arms, she accepts a position as governess to precocious Audra, thus delaying her return to France and an answer to Philippe’s proposal.

As she continues to seek answers from both Kingsley Manor and her own heart, her uncommon beauty captures the attention of the dashing Lord Thayne Brighton of Ravensleigh, who Rhianna is certain, despite a mutual attraction, would never choose her over his wealthy intended. Meanwhile, Lady Lydia Kingsley suspects her husband’s attention to Rhianna has led to an affair between them, and things turn deadly when the truth of their relationship is discovered.

Eventually, Rhianna is forced to make a decision that will affect the rest of her life while discovering that some secrets are not meant to be kept.


You have such a lovely, lyrical quality to your writing. Do you have a music background? Or do you listen to music as you write?

Becky, thank you for such a beautiful compliment.  I do wish I could play the piano, but I didn’t appreciate the music lessons my mother thrust upon me as a young girl.  Her words, “You may wish to know how to play someday!” held no meaning for me early on, and I abandoned it as quickly as possible.  One day, I hope to take them up again.  In the meantime, I did enjoy listening to the classical masterpieces of Bach, Schubert, Vivaldi, and the like, during certain parts of Rhianna.

I know you are working on another novel at present. Tell us about it and when you project it will be ready to submit.

For those who have read Rhianna, they are familiar with a character by the name of Audra Kingsley.  She was only twelve years old in the pages of Rhianna, but she has since informed me that she is now sixteen and on her way to London to be presented at St. James.  Once a full-fledged member of Society, she intends to return to her hometown of Thornton, England and marry her childhood sweetheart.  But, as it turns out, there are some unscrupulous persons who have other plans for the heiress.

Audra’s story is about a third of the way completed, and I hope to have the first draft ready by fall.

What is your writing process? Do you outline your story first or do you just go with it?

The characters have almost always come first.  They have a tendency to whisper snippets of their stories to me at the most inconvenient times.  After that, I find myself writing down conversations between characters, often with no idea at what point in the story they take place.  After the first 20,000 words are written, the story in its entirety generally hits me in one fell swoop, and I will jot down a rough outline, just so I don’t forget anything. 

Do you have a good image of the physical characteristics of your hero/heroine when you are writing the story? Do you select the actors you’d like to have in the movie and build your story with them in mind?

Generally, I have a good idea what my characters look like, but I have never based them on real people or on the looks of actors/actresses.  I do have a contemporary romance that I’ve started working on, and after a few months, I did come across an actor that looked like my hero, but it was more coincidental, and I didn’t base my hero off the actor.

After Rhianna was completed, I set up a Pinterest board dedicated to the story, and I had some fun looking for actors who did have a resemblance to my characters.  The board mostly includes photos of the English landscape, drawing rooms, ball rooms, and a few other items that make an appearance in the novel.  It was fun to put together, and adds another element of bringing the story to life.

How do you take care of the research needed to write an historical?

Oh!  I have been researching 19th Century England for fourteen years, and I have my own library of factual books that I have pored over!  I also had an opportunity to visit England, which was a great thrill for me, and something I hope to do again soon.

What authors have influenced you?

My greatest inspiration for my English historical stories remains the classics, especially Jane Austen.  Charlotte Brontë is a close second.

What’s the first romance you remember reading?

The first romance I read was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  A book I have read again and again over the years.

How can people get in touch with you? And buy your book?

You can find me in a variety of places,, and among them.  But the best place to find me is at my WordPress site,  From there, you can learn more about me, my books, upcoming events and news, and links to buy Rhianna at the major ebook retailers.


  1. I love it when my characters take over. They always know what's best and when I tried to fight them, that's when my story stalls. Good luck on book 2!

    1. Absolutely, Lynn! And thanks so much. Always so nice to see you!

  2. Amanda,
    I, too, wish I had stuck with my music lessons. And you do have a musical-like tone to your writing. How fitting for a historical. Best wishes.
    -R.T. Wolfe

  3. Hi RT, thanks for coming by! By the way, love your blog!

  4. Great Interview! I haven't read a Historical in a while but this one has me curious! And I also start my stories with characters before plotting comes along.