Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with author of Espionage, A.L. Sowards

Welcome to author A. L. Sowards--Yes, another Sowards in the writing world! Our husbands are not too distant cousins and from the same small southern Colorado town. 

Amanda's recently released debut novel Espionage is making splashes. I am happy she agreed to this short interview, and I hope you all enjoyed getting to know her better.

When did you seriously start writing novels?

I started Espionage in high school. The first chapter was a project for my junior English class. I started working on it again in 2004, when I was finished with college and didn’t have to write research papers all the time. I rewrote the first chapter a few times, and then kept writing. Now I’m addicted [to writing] and I doubt I’ll ever stop.

What authors have influenced you the most?

My sister put her copy of Espionage in between her Jack Higgins and Alistair Maclean collections, and those two authors were among my favorites when I began writing. It’s hard to pick who has influenced me the most, but lately I’ve really been impressed with Stephen Ambrose and Cornelius Ryan. They both write nonfiction military history.

Every writer has a pet aspect about writing. What do you feel is your strongpoint?
Probably plotting, although I feel like I do a good job with characters too. I know just enough about grammar to know when I need to look something up. 

Give us an account of your road to publication.

I started looking for an agent or a publisher in 2007. I didn’t have much luck at first, so I kept reworking the book and making it better. The first time I submitted to Covenant, they didn’t take it, but it had gone far enough along in the process that they gave me some of the feedback they’d gotten from their test readers and let me rework the book and submit it again. 

What has surprised you about being published?

Covenant accepted Espionage in spring 2010. I guess I’ve been surprised by how far in advance Covenant (and most other publishers) accept manuscripts and how long it takes a book to hit the bookshelves once it’s been accepted.

What is the next novel you hope to publish?

I’m just calling it Book 2 for now, because I’m sure my publisher will come up with a title other than the one I have. It’s another WWII spy novel involving some of the same characters, but I tried to write it so it can be read and enjoyed even it you haven’t read Espionage. It will take place in the summer of 1944 and involve a commando mission to Romania and some spy work along the French Riviera in preparation for the Allied liberation there.

What is something about you that most people don’t know that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

I don’t like deviled eggs. When one of my sisters was younger, she liked to make them. My mom told her she couldn’t make any more until the ones made were eaten. So she followed me around the back yard and fed them to me until I threw up. I was 3 or 4, so I don’t remember it happening, but I still hate the smell.

Ha, ha! Funny how those things happen. Thank you so much for the interview and best wishes with Espionage's success!

Read the first chapter of Espionage here.
Visit Amanda's blog here.
Buy Espionage here.


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog Joan!

  2. What a great review! And how fun to get to review someone you're almost related to. It sounds like an interesting book.

  3. You can give me all your deviled eggs anytime! I can't wait to read the book. I'm actually saving it for a trip I'm taking to Finland. It's a long way to get there and I think a good book would be the perfect way to enjoy the ride.

  4. Love the deviled eggs story! My sister once made corn bread and did a cup of salt instead of a tbsp. Mom didn't want her to feel bad, so made us choke it down. I'm surprised we didn't all die from dehydration after that--salt sucking us dry.