Meet Beth Amos
Allow me to introduce myself. As you can see from this picture of me at the age of 6, not all of us were blessed with being cute as a child. That (along with the fact that my family moved on a frequent basis because of my father's job) made it hard to build lasting friendships. I was left with my three younger sisters as my primary source of entertainment but unfortunately, their sole purpose in life back then was to get me into trouble. Consequently, I spent a lot of time on my own and books became some of my best friends.
I suppose it was my love of reading that led to my love of writing. I first indulged my writing passion, as do many young girls, by recording my deepest, darkest and most secret thoughts in a diary. But it didn't take long for my younger sisters to figure out where I hid the danged thing and how to pick the lock, so I quickly abandoned that project. Still, I was compelled to write. I dabbled with short stories and made quick enemies of many of my classmates when I got excited over theme assignments and essay tests. When I was seventeen, I sent off my first short story, which was flung back at me in record time with a kindly rejection. So began a long and sordid history of accumulating an assortment of rejections from a variety of sources.
Realizing my dreams of supporting myself as a writer were about as flimsy as the lock on my diary, I decided to go into nursing instead. At the age of 23, I had my son, Ryan. Somewhere in there I had a marriage or two and a divorce or two (okay three, but who's counting?) and worked at advancing my career and raising my son. Between the demands of career and motherhood I had little time left over for writing, but I stuck with it nonetheless, working toward making it into the Guinness Book of Records as the person with the greatest number of rejections.
My son is grown now and off on his own. I eventually switched my focus from short fiction to novel length. And finally, at the age of 40, I sold my first novel, COLD WHITE FURY, to HarperCollins. Two more suspense novels followed with Harper. During that time I managed to develop a flourishing freelance business and wrote over 200 articles for various periodicals. But I found after a while that I didn't really like writing nonfiction and doing it was making writing feel too much like work instead of fun. So after six years I gave up the freelance stuff, went back to nursing, and focused on my fiction. My original agent retired during that time and after several years of hunting for a new one, I signed on with Jamie Brenner of Artists & Artisans early in 2008. Jamie was quick to prove her mettle when she sold the manuscript for my previously self-published novel, THE VICARIOUS LIVER, to Kensington within a matter of weeks. The book, the first in a series, came out August 25th, 2009 as WORKING STIFF under the pseudonym Annelise Ryan. It's a quirky, fun-filled mystery featuring Mattie Winston, a nurse-turned-deputy coroner in a small Wisconsin town. There are three more books in the series out: SCARED STIFF, FROZEN STIFF, & LUCKY STIFF. Book number five, BOARD STIFF, should be released in early 2014. In addition to the Mattie Winston series, I also have another mystery series that launches in August 2013 under the pseudonym of Allyson K. Abbott with the release of MURDER ON THE ROCKS, featuring bar owner and amateur crime solver, Mack Dalton, who uses a unique neurological disorder known as synesthesia to help figure out who and how dunnit.
In addition to writing, I'm still working as an ER nurse, a job that ensures me a steady dose of adrenalin and an endless source of plot ideas. And in my spare time (not much of that!) I play competitive Scrabble, scuba dive, dabble in real estate, and work with stained glass.
These days I take all of those deep, dark secrets I wanted to write in my diary and incorporate them into my books. (It drives my family nuts when they try to find those secrets, or themselves, hidden within the stories and characters.) I write what I like most to read—mystery and suspense. Not surprisingly, given my career choice, most of my novels have a medical flavor to them. My first three thrillers dabble in those areas of life that have always fascinated me—the weird, the macabre, and the unexplainable, such as paranormal powers and extraterrestrial life. The Mattie Winston series is designed for fun and laughs because I truly do believe laughter is the best medicine and I never would have survived any of my careers or single parenthood without an intact sense of humor. And because I love a good adrenaline rush (one of the perks of both a career in nursing and rearing a child through adolescence is that there are plenty of those to go around) my books are written to keep you on the edge of your seat with your nails gnawed down to a nub.
So come along for the ride. I can promise you a good laugh or two, and a good scare or two, if not from my books then from that picture up above, where, if you look closely enough, you'll see pencil marks that fill in the places where chunks of my hair were missing. (And to Mom—those glasses! What were you thinking?)
As for my sisters—Cathy, Laurie, and Amy—who'd a thought my greatest tormentors would one day be among my greatest supporters?