“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That adage, attributed to Mark Twain, can easily apply to Amanda Lauer.
Lauer — an award-winning author, screenwriter, copy editor and journalist — has just released the fourth book in her “Heaven Intended” series, only months after her popular “Anything But Groovy” book hit the Amazon best-seller lists.
“I’ve discovered my niche and found that people appreciate the work I’m doing,” Lauer said. “People from all walks of life read and enjoy my books. Well-written and engaging stories are universally appreciated.”
It’s a solid business model for an admitted “late bloomer,” who did not turn to a full-time career in the tough freelance world until after her newspaper proofreading and writing job evaporated in the wake of 9/11.
In addition to books, that career also includes hundreds of articles for a wide range of publications including The Business News.
Now a resident of Appleton, Lauer grew up in Antigo, which she transformed into the fictional setting for “Anything But Groovy,” a look back at the 1970s through the eyes of a modern middle schooler who time-travels to live her mother’s junior high years.
“For some reason, my experiences from my junior high years are seared into my brain. Maybe I tucked them away because I knew in my heart that someday I’d write a book about that critical time in my life,” she noted. “This is a book that different generations can read together to create conversations about the joys and challenges of growing up, no matter in which era.”
The author began her career as a proofreader in the insurance industry, continuing through the first four years of her and her husband John’s marriage. As they began growing their family, the couple agreed she should be a stay-at-home mom for their four children, trading monetary rewards in favor of enduring values.
“My career was put on hold for 15 years until our youngest child started second grade. I’m not sure how many couples would live the austere lifestyle that John and I did so I could continue to be a stay-at-home mom,” Lauer said. “It wasn’t always easy, but those were joyful days. I’d go back and live them all over again in an instant if I could. ”
Once she returned to the full-time proofreading fold and then expanded into writing and editing, she found that all-important niche that authors crave.
“Historic fiction is my preferred genre, and I was first introduced to it by some very talented authors who specialized in ‘bodice-rippers’ (a sexually-suggestive romantic novel),” she said. “When I wrote my first novel, ‘A World Such as Heaven Intended,’ it wasn’t written as a Christian book per se, it was a clean Civil War romance whose main characters happened to be practicing Catholics. I instinctively knew how to write those kinds of characters. When it came time to find a publisher, I was referred to a Catholic fiction publisher, Full Quiver Publishing. Once they published the book, I fell into the Catholic author niche, and to be honest, it’s really proven to be the ideal home for me.”
The “Heaven Intended” series has drawn a loyal following. Each book focuses on a different couple drawn together during the Civil War, coming from opposite sides of the conflict that was tearing their worlds apart.
”A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended,” which was released Oct. 7, is the most ambitious book in the series yet, featuring a highly-educated, yet enslaved, young African American woman of royal heritage as the protagonist.
“People seem to really embrace this story, the reviews have all been positive and quite heart-warming, Lauer said. “It’s an honor that, for the first time, one of my books has been ranked on Amazon’s Black & African American Historical Fiction best-seller list.”
Lauer recently expanded into the shortstory market, penning “Lucky and Blessed” for the anthology, “Treasures: Visible & Invisible.”
“This was my first attempt at writing a short story,” she said. “I was very pleased with how it turned out. I’m giving serious consideration to turning this into a full-length novel.” She and her writing team won Best Writer 2020 (Red Letter Awards) for their work on the Christian movie “The Islands.”
As a businesswoman, Lauer understands the need to be constantly moving forward. She is in the beginning stages of a time- travel book where a teenage girl working at a golf course is struck by lightning and travels back in time to the oldest golf course in the world, St. Andrews, and has to learn to navigate life and love during the late 1600s.
In addition, she is pursuing transforming the “Heaven Intended” series into movies or a limited-run television series on a streaming service.
She credits at least a portion of her amazing writing output to her decade-long participation in the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) challenge where writers and aspiring writers are tasked with writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.
“Every day in November I carve out a good four or five hours from my daily schedule to write 1,667 words in my latest book. That equates to about six pages of text which is the average length of one chapter in my manuscripts,” she said. “December and January are devoted to adding the additional 20,000 words it takes to make a complete book and start the copy-editing process. As I still work full time in my other endeavors, it takes discipline — and adjusting to living with less sleep — to get this done every day, but it's definitely worth it when the end product is polished up and sent off to the publisher.”
After 20 years, Lauer has created a successful business model that melds her personal and professional interests while whetting the appetite of her readers.
“There are days when it’s a grind, but overall, I have an incredible sense of feeling lucky and blessed that I have these opportunities, she said. “Besides, if you really love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work anyhow. It’s just one incredible adventure after another.”