I wrote the book for Amanda when she was ten years old (coincidentally the same age as Amanda Grand when the first book opens). My own Amanda often spoke without thinking, liked a good argument, was fiercely loyal to her friends, and struggled with a bully at school – so much so that she sometimes felt physically ill over the problems. She also felt rules and “appropriate” behavior were nothing more than a nuisance, most of the time! And of course we both loved to escape into a tale of happily-ever-after (to borrow the line from the press release).
Fun Facts about Amanda:
1. When she was two I asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She thought long and hard, her face crinkled with the effort, and then finally said, “Can I have my own spoon?”
2. I tried very hard to raise her without gender stereotypes, but when she was four her grandma bought her a barbie doll (it was “Camping Barbie,” since her dad and I liked to hike and camp). Amanda was thrilled, but she asked me at one point, “How does she hike on her tippy-toes?”
3. From the time she was two until she was about five, all she would wear was dresses. Shortly after starting kindergarten, she demanded, “Why don’t you ever buy me pants?!”
4. When Amanda was eight, she played softball. At one point I looked out on the field and she was twirling around and waving her arms. Later, when I asked her what she was doing, she said she was pretending to be a fairy who could fly.
5. The character “Audrey” is to some extent a combination of two of Amanda’s best friends, a girl named Audrey (of course) and a girl named Hannah, who really did live right across the street. Amanda and Hannah really did try all kinds of ways to set up a secret signal or some other communication system between the houses. They tried candles and flashlights and the old can with a string trick . . . (nothing worked). I would like to clarify, however, that the real Audrey never went through a phase like the character in “Audrey’s Turn” – she was always a delightful person to be around (and always good at keeping Amanda from being too dramatic!).
6. The real Amanda is now engaged to a naval officer, and we are all thrilled for the two of them.