Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower, a three-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Ohio. She loves interacting with her readers online. Find her on Facebook and Twitter or follow her cats Reepicheep and Mr. Tumnus on Instagram. Visit her website at

Author By Night

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Happy

The last year has been a rollercoaster with my writing career and my day job as a librarian. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t done a great job juggling the two. Although it’s worth doing both, it’s not easy under the best circumstances, and I didn’t have the best circumstances. I had been a librarian at the same college for the last eight years and left that position to take a new job as a reference librarian in a public library. It was frightening move, but one that I had to make for my mental health and for my writing.

In my last job, I wasn’t happy or at least I wasn’t as happy as I could have been. The position I was in was extremely stressful. It wasn’t uncommon for me go home so upset about something that had happened that day that I couldn’t do anything but go to bed. I most certainly couldn’t write, which was a serious problem since in 2015 alone I was under contract to write five cozy mysteries: four for Penguin Random House and one for Midnight Ink. The pressure of my day job put me behind on my book deadlines, which only exacerbated my overall stress. I knew I had to leave, but I was afraid.

You see, I’m not a big fan of change. I live two miles from the house I grew up in and still attend the church where I was baptized as an infant. The thought I leaving a job I knew so well and was so good at, no matter the anxiety it caused, was terrifying. Crime and Poetry

Even more difficult to overcome than my fear was my love of coworkers. Some of them I consider my very best friends, and I wasn’t sure if I could leave them, especially when I knew my leaving would make their circumstances worse.

But God nudged me. I was sitting at the reference desk at my old library on a spring evening upset about something that I can’t even remember now when I realized I needed to leave and God was telling me to leave. Being my ever practical self, I refused to go until I had another librarian job lined up because I knew that I loved being a librarian too much just to walk away from the occupation completely. When I made the decision, I had to ask myself what was most important to me as a librarian. Was I willing to make less money? Was I willing to have a position of less authority? The answer to both of those questions was “yes” because what I love most about being a librarian is helping people and that has nothing to do with wealth or power.

Quietly, I began to look for new librarian jobs. I only applied for a handful. I was extremely picky, and I prayed, “Please, I don’t want an interview if I don’t get the job.” Perhaps it was little presumptuous to make such a request of God, but I’m a firm believer in asking Him for exactly what you want. You might not get it. Trust me, I haven’t always, but I have always asked without mincing words. I figured He knows anyway, so why not be straight with Him when in prayer.

Of those few jobs I applied for, I got an interview for only one, and it was perfect fit in the perfect place. I still can’t believe that I was offered the job the day after the interview. I immediately accepted the position. I make less money and have less authority, but I’m happier than ever. I help patrons every day, work with amazing people, and plan library events that enrich the community. I feel like I’m a librarian again like I was at the beginning of my career, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful too that the new job affords me not only much less stress, which makes it easier to write, but a much shorter commute that affords me more time to write. And those best friends I left behind, they are still with me. I may not see them every day, but we haven’t lost touch and I no longer fear that we will. I’m most grateful for that.

If I needed any more reassurance that God meant for me to be an author/librarian, this change in my life would be it. So many things had to fall perfectly into place to make this possible, and they did. The first of those things was my ability to ignore my fear and step out in faith, knowing no matter what the answer turned out to be “yes,” “no,” or “not right now,” God had my best interest at heart and would be there to catch me when I worked up the courage to jump.