Amanda Eyre Ward is the critically acclaimed author of seven novels, including How to Be Lost, Close Your Eyes, The Same Sky, and The Nearness of You. She lives in Austin, TX and currently writes every morning and spends afternoons with her children. Her most recent novel The Jetsetters, was Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick for March! Amanda graciously lent her talent and wrote an article in the March issue of Welcome Home on how cruising connects you to strangers. She also generously answered a few questions about becoming a writer and what's next for her!
1. Why did you become a writer?
When I was growing up in suburban New York, I was a complete bookworm. During my parent's divorce, books helped me escape.
My mother's sister, Alice, lived in New York City with her family. My Uncle David was a screenwriter (he wrote The Warriors, among other movies). Every morning, he would have coffee and walk across West 90th Street to his office, a basement apartment where he wrote. At lunch, he'd walk back and talk about his work with my aunt. This seemed the ultimate life to me, and my uncle and I had many conversations in that magical basement office...about plot structure, the writing life, and New York. It was my absolute dream to be a writer someday. I ended up in a closet office in Austin, Texas—with a photo of my beloved Uncle David on my desk—and every day I get to try to write stories like the ones that saved me as a kid.
2. What inspired your current book?
I love travel, but with three children, it can be hard to get away. When I heard from friends that cruise ships offered all of the fun with none of the packing and unpacking, I was intrigued. When I took my first cruise with my sons, I was amazed by the floating universe of a cruise ship. There are so many stories, so many incredible moments of connection, so much 24-hour frozen yogurt! I knew that sending a fictional family with secrets on a ten-day cruise would be the perfect way to force them to be together, and maybe to see each other in a new way. I'm now a complete cruise addict!
3. What’s next for you?
I am working on a novel called The Lifeguards, about three very different mothers whose three fifteen-year-old sons have been friends since toddlerhood. When the boys (who are all lifeguards for the summer) find a body at a local swimming hole, all the women must decide where their loyalties lie...and face the truth that despite their attempts to "guard" their son's lives, the world is a wild place, and they need to open their hearts and let their sons go free.