Lynn: Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?
Amanda: As a Disability Self Advocate from Virginia, I do write under the pseudonym, Sasha Fino. Writing my books can be pretty sexy for me because I enjoy letting my hair down, getting my “SEXY on.” LOL
Lynn: How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Amanda: When it comes to my new book Living Strong, I need to deal with negative book reviews more effectively when there is a negative review. My plan is to not take each word to heart in any of my books because sometimes it is not me.
Lynn: Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
Amanda: I knew it was in my cause, writing my book Living Strong really helped me to let go of that very heavy little red wagon I had been pulling for years. I am thrilled for others to read it. It was a very lengthy prose, but it was well worth it.
Lynn: Let’s switch gears and talk about your Book. How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Amanda: As of now, there are eight books, one being a short story anthology that was out for a limited time. There are different reasons why I love each of my books. I can’t pick a favorite, they are like my children.
Lynn: What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
Amanda: It was a great deal of work to write Living Strong, for which I began it on the day following my 27th birthday, and which comes out 13 days before my 31st birthday. Although some chapters of the book have been challenging for me to write, somehow I managed it.
Lynn: What inspired the idea for your book?
Amanda: So many people have aks me to write my life and how I live with my Cerebral Palsy, overcoming it. To me, having CP I have to overcome it each day. Writing it was very challenging for me because I knew I never wanted to return to what I had experienced in my past. More than anything, I was inspired because I would like other people with disabilities to look at me just like them.
Lynn: Ok, let’s have some fun. What is your writing process like? Are you more of a plotter or a pantser?
Amanda: As much as I plan, when the time comes down, it flows out of me. Ending up even better than I had been planning.
Lynn: How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
Amanda: I always enjoy having big Facebook book release parties and allowing other authors to promote their books. They are always a memorable event.
Lynn: Time to get serious for a moment.What do you think is the best way to improve writing skills?
Amanda: Although it might seem odd, this is my answer to your question. Watching movies and shows helps me a lot in writing. Seeing actors on the big screen express what they’re feeling or saying helps motivate me.
Lynn: Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?
Amanda: My writing energizes me. I enjoy using it as an outlet for the emotions I can’t express in any other way.
Lynn: How do you come up with character names for your stories?
Amanda: On occasion, I have my characters pick out their names. On other occasions, I just google it. LOL!
Lynn: What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?
Amanda: To be honest, some of my characters often get inside of my head. Music is very helpful to me to get inside the mind of my characters.
Lynn: What books helped you the most when you were writing your (first) book?
Amanda: It is true I did a lot of work on my first book with the help of Frank Cullotta but I wouldn’t be writing this if he didn’t help me out.
Lynn: Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?
Amanda: I love listing to an audiobook it helps me enjoy a great book. In fact today I just submitted my first audiobook Omerta: Journey to the past to ACX so I am very thrilled to listen to my own writing.
Lynn: Lets Get to Know You.Do you have other writers in the family?
Amanda: YES, my father is the author of Mr. Undercover, a book about his works in the mafia, the FBI, and the CIA.
Lynn: If you had the power to cure a disease of your choosing, what would it be?
Amanda: I would say Cerebral Palsy but now I just want Convid19 to be wiped out and all loved ones to be here.
Lynn: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Amanda: I do tent too, soul mates don’t know their age. I love reading the May-December romance, bad guys falling in love.
Lynn: What do you do when you are not writing?
Amanda: I’m a Disability Self Advocate. An active member of the Training Alumni Association (T.A.A.)—an association of graduates of the Partners in Policy making program and the Youth Leadership Academy supported by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities to facilitate grassroots advocacy. Being a proud graduate of this year’s class of 2020.
I enjoy spending time walking with my mom and our dog Mila while watching a good film noir with my dad.