Interview with Amanda Prowse, Co-author of The Boy Between - A Mother and Son's Journey from a World Gone Grey
From a young age I had always been an avid reader despite growing up in a house without books – libraries were my salvation. I devoured books, escaped inside them. They were my educators and my friends.
The transition time was terrible! The first few weeks were exciting, as I set out on this wonderfully bohemian adventure and started life as a creative. We sold everything. EVERYTHING! Our home, furniture, books, my gran’s china… so we could exist on one income. Money was scarce and reality hit hard. Living off cheap pasta and not being able to treat the kids was horrible.
I felt low and selfish wondering if I should give up and go back and get “a proper job.” I kept weighing up the pros and cons and the fact that we had all given up so much, therefore didn’t I need to give it a proper shot and keep going? After all I did have faith in my story. My confidence however hit rock bottom as the many, many rejection letters came in. It was a tough time for me and for us as a family.
Your first book was self-published. Can you share a bit of how you went about this - finding the right path, the amount of work involved, etc.? What unexpected experiences awaited you in the world of self-publishing?
The Boy Between is a collaborative book written with your son Josiah focused on his journey with clinical depression. What was it like working on a collaborative book? Did it put any stress on your relationship? How did you and your son solve disagreements?
Josh is severely dyslexic. The biggest challenge was getting down on paper the words that swirled and were jumbled in his head. Once we had a strategy, which relied initially on dictation, I think the biggest challenge was facing times in our life that we had shut away. Writing the book took us to some dark places, which was difficult, but ultimately cathartic. It was hugely different from writing fiction and in ways I had not foreseen.
The weight of responsibility to do the subject of mental health justice was huge. But also, unlike in my fiction, where I get to craft the most pleasing and often neat endings, there was no opportunity to do that. It meant the whole experience was raw and far more emotionally draining than I had anticipated. I think that pain though has made the book the very best it could be. And how did we solve disagreements? With great, great patience on both sides!
What do you and Josiah most hope readers will take away from your shared story?
As a very successful author, how do you create a quiet space to nurture the creative process so you can 100% on your writing? What do you do when it's time to stop working - whether writing or promotion? What is your relaxing guilty pleasure that lets you just shut it all down and relax?