Thursday, May 6, 2021

Amanda McKinney Interview - Rattlesnake Road

Photo Content from Amanda McKinney

Amanda McKinney is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than fifteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY in 2017, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series, BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES, and many more to come.

Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy romance. Amanda is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in NW Arkansas, in a small, country town that has more cows than people. Big trucks, American flags, cowboy hats, sweet tea—all the fantastic southern clich├ęs. I loved it. I still live in the same area, now with my handsome husband, two beautiful boys, three obnoxious dogs, and an aggressively large, crafty oraWhat inspired you to pen your first novel?
nge fox that I’m certain is plotting the takeover of our home.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hands down, when I turned my passion of writing into an official business - HH Tisevich, LLC. I, the woman who wandered aimlessly from job to job for decades, became a small business owner. It became very real at that point, and I have loved every minute of the journey.

My mother’s support and encouragement are the sole reasons I had the confidence to write my first book and chase my dream. Every book I write is dedicated to her because every new release is a testament to the biggest thing my mother taught me —to never, ever give up.

Tell us your latest news.
I made my first (successful) loaf of homemade gluten-free bread. I also have a new small-town romance mystery coming out May 04. The catchy summary that took me a week to write goes a little something like this: After leaving her posh NYC life behind, Grey Dalton escapes to the small, southern town of Berry Springs to pick up the broken pieces of her life. On impulse, she purchases a rumored-to-be-haunted house where she finds herself thrown into decade-old murder mystery. Men are the last thing on her mind—until she meets a tattooed cowboy and a dashing businessman. One will steal her heart, the other, her soul. Rattlesnake Road pushes the boundaries and blends genres in this raw, emotional, no-holds-barred story about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Can you tell us when you started RATTLESNAKE ROAD, how that came about?
I began writing Rattlesnake Road a year ago, but had been plotting it for a year before that. It was a story that was clawing to get out of me, waking me at 3am, slowly revealing itself in incoherent sentences and images. It is unlike anything I have written before. As writers, especially in romance, most of us have a curated list if tropes we refer to when plotting a story. I threw mine out the window and set out to write an extremely raw, real-life story that doesn’t sugar-coat the ups and downs of life. The characters are deeply flawed. The hero isn’t perfect, the heroine isn’t perfect, the story isn’t perfect. Rattlesnake Road blends addiction with faith, mental health with love. It is messy and raw and the type of book that will leave an impression and have people talking.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
The quote, “Growth and comfort do not coexist,” replayed over and over in my head while writing this book. Rattlesnake Road is a story about not giving up and being open to things you might have previously shut out. It’s about overcoming darkness and allowing light in. At the end of the day, I hope it reminds people of the power of faith.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Grey?
That sex is her coping mechanism. That one really crept up on me.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Etta, a muu-muu wearing, seventy-something Southern spitfire to Gage from Cabin 1 (Steele Shadows Security), a cocky, reckless train wreck of an alpha male. I’d love to watch her set him straight—and she would, with gusto.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Self-doubt and fear of putting myself out there. I pulled from real-life experiences and to create Rattlesnake Road, occasionally blurring the line between truth and fiction. That was scary. The book is deeply personal to me, and was, at times, extremely uncomfortable to write. I truly left my heart right there in the pages.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Hike in nature alone. Be still, quite. Listen.

Best date you've ever had?
It involved my husband, four martinis, a keytar (look it up), and a bar top in a hole-in-the-wall Irish pub.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
To any moment with my mother.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
As noted above, my mother is the one who pushed me to pursue my dream of writing. Not long after I wrote my first book, she passed away—and writing was the one thing that got me through that very dark time. It was a monumental point in my life where I realized how interconnected things are, that everything happens for a reason, and that God truly has our backs. You just have to have open eyes and open hearts to see it.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Under-eye concealer (damn the dark circles), my cell phone, wallet, and my Glock 43. Yes, I know how to use it and have my concealed carry license, thank you very much.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Anywhere alone in the middle of the woods. That’s my happy place.

First Heartbreak?
Losing my shepherd-mix, Auggie, to cancer. Seriously, that was worse than any of my relationships ending… not sure what that says about me. ;)

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love, without question.

  • The Search, Nora Roberts
  • The Dark Lure, Loreth Anne White
  • Verity, Colleen Hoover
  • Whiskey Beach, Nora Roberts
  • Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • Naked in Death, J.D. Robb
  • City of Shadows, Ariana Franklin
  • Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
  • Ricochet, Sandra Brown
Writing Behind the Scenes
I’m someone who loves schedules, plans, and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So I keep myself on a tight schedule packed with deadlines. A typical writing day for me is waking up at 3:30am, stumbling to my desk—coffee in hand—to get in as much writing time I can before the kiddos wake. For better or worse, this my most productive time of the day. I have a daily word count goal and write every day, no matter what. I find this helps to keep the same tone throughout the book and the creative juices flowing. When I begin a book, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline—bulleted of course. And although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

★ From bestselling and award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery Romance... ★

Everyone hits rock bottom, only the brave escape.

Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road.

A quaint two-bedroom log cabin nestled deep in the woods of the small, southern town of Berry Springs—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

Tucked inside thick, mahogany walls lay mysterious letters, forgotten and untouched for decades. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame breathtaking views of jagged cliffs, deep valleys, and endless lies. Mature oak trees, tall enough to touch the clouds, carry the whispers of the haunted, of stories untold

Inside sits Grey Dalton, emotionally battered and bruised, her only wish to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But outside, await two men, one a tattooed cowboy, the other a dashing businessman.

One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.

Rattlesnake Road is a standalone mystery romance about love, loss, hitting rock bottom, and clawing your way to the other side.

Your escape awaits…
You can purchase Rattlesnake Road at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you AMANDA MCKINNEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney.


  1. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher. In high school & college, I wanted to be an interpreter. Neither one happened.

  2. I wanted to be either an archeologist or a marine biologist. I ended up teaching English to 8th graders.

  3. I wanted to be a Game Show Host