This is a combined review and interview with someone not only very near and dear to me, but who is also a very talented writer. I am so pleased to introduce you to my mom, Shirley Nolan Amador and her new novel, Lotus.
My mom grew up in Indio, California during the 50’s. Her parents were small business owners and very well known in this, then small community. She was an avid reader and had a huge imagination. But like for most young girls in that era, opportunity wasn’t as plentiful as it is now. Mom had many interests and aspirations, however, as most girls did then, she married young and within a couple years was a mother…to me as it so happens..;) I am aging myself now…ha! She really loved becoming a mom though….:)
I know my mother was happy with her new role as housewife and stay at home mom. She went on the have 6 children in all, loving all of us for our own special gifts. Putting her hobbies and interests aside, or at least gearing them to benefit all of us (she could sew a wardrobe for each of us in no time!), she did what every other mother does…she did her best. No matter what happened in our world, mom always tried to make it seem like she was the happiest woman ever. And I believe for a time she really was! She certainly loves children, she is a wonderful grandmother to all our kids now! But I also know my mom had dreams that didn’t really involve any of us. Back in those days, to want to follow your dreams was considered in popular society to be selfish. She grew up in an era where you took care of your husband and children, and didn’t always aspire to do more. Those women that did were viewed by many as rebels. That dirty word was born, feminists! I know this caused her some dissatisfaction in life for a time. But even though she was a dutiful wife and mother, she still taught all of us to follow our dreams, no matter what that meant. I remember her saying as long as we were happy and not hurting anyone, that was the goal.
As times changed and opportunities opened up to women, so did my mom’s world. After most of us were raised and on our own, she only had my two youngest sisters left at home. So she decided to go back to school. She worked hard and graduated with her Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. She started working in criminal law and was extremely good at it. She was part of some of the biggest cases in Southern California during those years. I was so proud of her being on the front page of several newspapers after a particular difficult and grueling case was finished. During these years she has been threatened, even carried a small gun for awhile for protection, seen cases defeated, had her heart broken by her young clients (she treated most of them as if they were her own children), but she continued fighting for what she believed in. This little Irish woman is tough!
(my mom and youngest sister)
After several years and a move to Texas, she started working at a major chain bookstore. Happy in her little town, close to her grandkids and making new friends, her love of reading and books were once again opened up to her. She met authors, organized literary events, and read everything she could during those years. During this time, she felt something growing inside of her. Something she had put away for years. It was her imagination. It was back and she had a story to tell.
Lotus was born through my mom’s imagination and dreams. It is a story, very symbolically close to her own, about a young woman learning to find her inner strength and balance both her great loves…her desire to be the best mom as well as to follow her dreams. I am so proud of my mom. She is a true inspiration and a shining example of it never being too late to discover yourself completely. I am proud to be her daughter and can only pray that I become half the woman she is. Thank you mom for this gift….
And now, a short interview with my mom….Welcome Shirley….thank you so much for agreeing to do this. Let’s dive in!
Where can my readers buy or see Lotus?
Tell us a little bit about the story.
This is a story of a young Chinese woman who comes to America from China on the verge of becoming a mother. She and her young husband settle in San Francisco Chinatown and she is stalked for the slave-trade. She is a stranger in this country and unsure of what her role is in her new life.
Give us an insight into your main idea. What inspired you to come up with the theme?
I have always loved San Francisco and greatly admire the Asian culture. I heard a story when I was a child from a friend of my Mom’s. Her mother disappeared in Chinatown and was never found. This story stuck with me. Lotus is my version of this and similar stories.
What are you working on at the moment? Any other books in the works?
Yes, I’m working on a sequel to Lotus, it will be called Violet. I also have a children’s book that I wrote and have done nothing with yet, however I eventually will get that out and work on it. It is a story of a ranch and a horse and is based on a period of time in my own life. Lotus took on a life of it’s own in my imagination and so had to be written and published first…;)
Did you always see yourself as an author?
Not really, although I have always loved to write. After a career as a criminal paralegal and investigator in California I feel I have stories in my head that need to be told.
How did you do the research for this story?
I am familiar with San Francisco and have visited many times. I did most of the research on line. I researched the earthquake and places that existed at that time as well as Chinese culture and immigration. I would like to return to San Francisco before finishing Violet for more inspiration.
Do you have any other cultural influences you are exploring for future books?
In Violet the missing girl is Korean, not Chinese. And will pick up a few years after Lotus ends.
What are your other interests?
I have a degree in Paralegal Studies from Fullerton College. I worked for many years as a Court Appointed paralegal and investigator in California handling high profile murder cases. After moving to Texas I worked for a major bookstore for eight years. Reading is a passion of mine. I started reading before I started school and have been an avid reader ever since. I also enjoy sewing, knitting and other crafts. I love to travel and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.
Anything else you would like to add?
Although this book was written as adult fiction, I think young girls would enjoy it. I would say 12 and older. It sends an important message to young girls on issues as trust and being aware of your surroundings.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I have just launched my new website Shirley Nolan Amador
Facebook: Shirley Amador
Twitter: Shirley Amador
I was captivated with Lotus from the first chapter. During the climax of the book I literally cried with worry about the fate of the main character. I could not put the book down and read it in just a couple days. Highly recommended! And this isn’t just because the author happens to be my mom, but because it’s a good story! So don’t wait….do yourself a favor and pick up a copy…