La Crosse Center

My books are a sweet escape, made up stories that help you feel good…I also like writing about regional places so I have one series that is actually set right here in La Crosse…and then I have another series set in Duluth…

Amanda Zieba

Author, WordNerdopolis

We talked with author Amanda Zieba about her book “Destiny by Design”, the 4th book in her cozy reading Champion Chocolatier series. We talk about origins in writing, delve deep into the world of WordNerdopolis, find out what’s next with this prolific author, and where can people find out more.

Transcript
Amy Gabay 00:05
We talked with author Amanda Zieba about her book Destiny by Design. The fourth book in her Cozy Reading Champion Chocolatier series. We talk about origins and writing, delve deep into the world of WordNerdopolis. We find out what’s next with this prolific author and where people can find out more. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:30
And I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:31
And this is La Crosse Local.

Amanda Zieba 00:33
Hi, my name is Amanda Zieba. I was born and raised in Alaska, Wisconsin. And I, you know, people say like how long have you been writing. The typical answer is like forever. I was one of those people who like thought holiday, who thought like school shopping, you know, back to school shopping to be a national holiday. Like the idea of like fresh notebooks, and brand new pens and planners like that always excited me. But I have been self publishing books since 2013. And writing weekly on my blog for the last four years. So always, but more recently, you know, the books and the blog.

Brent Hanifl 01:09
So can you give us a rundown on some of your books? Because you have, like you said from 2013, you have quite a few?

Amanda Zieba 01:15
Yeah, absolutely. I have 12 books. Some are for children, some are for adults, and I like to call them feel good fiction. I know that there is a really important place for books about heavy and important topics. But I also believe that we really just need an escape sometimes from reality. And these days, it feels like more than ever. And so that’s what my books are. They’re a sweet escape. They are made up stories that help you feel good. I also really like writing about regional places. So I have one series that’s actually set right here in La Crosse about four cousins who open a bookstore downtown. And then I have another series that is set in Duluth about a woman who runs a chocolate shop. I also really like to write about female entrepreneurs. I am one, so I kind of know that world. But it’s also much cheaper to write about a business than actually have to open it yourself. And it’s still just as much fun.

Brent Hanifl 02:09
Yeah, you know, checking out your website. It’s kind of interactive, you know, you have some videos on there. What is WordNerdopolis? I just thought that was an interesting link. I went to your website, and like it’s an imaginary world of some sort?

Amanda Zieba 02:23
Yeah, I was working with a business coach, who was helping me redesign my website. And she’s like, what kind of, you know, if your website was like a physical place, what would it be? And I was like, well, you know, we’ll be a bookstore because I write books. But it would also be a school because I teach and wait, maybe there’d be a movie theater because I like to make YouTube videos. And like, it just got to be all of these buildings. I was like, it isn’t one building. It’s like a city. And I often call myself the word nerd. And so I was like, it is WordNerdopolis. And there is a building for every single kind of word nerd on my site. So the images that you see there were actually painted by another local entrepreneur, her name was Rachel Wuntch. And so I went to her with the idea and I was like, I need a city, a word nerd city, will you paint it for me? And so then it just kind of grew from there. So yeah, you can visit the site and go to the bookstore or go to the movie theater, or you can go to the gym for a writers workout. Little something for everybody.

Brent Hanifl 03:22
And then also with your new release, it looks like it’s book four in the Champion Chocolatier series. So Destiny by Design, what is that about?

Amanda Zieba 03:32
Yeah, so Champion Chocolatier series. If you like Hallmark movies, you will like these books. Super light and fluffy, like I said, a sweet escape. And there’s always some elements of competition in the story. So in the first book, the main character Emmy is trying to win the chocolate shop. In the second book, she goes on a reality cooking show, and that was actually inspired by our local celebrity Baker, Jen Barney. And then I didn’t have intentions of writing more books in that series. But then when I saw her, I was like, hey, maybe my character should go on a cooking show. So that was Book Two. Book Three, Emmy and her fiance compete in a honeymoon competition to win a free honeymoon. And then in this fourth book, they are renovating an old warehouse and turning it into a boutique hotel, kind of like the Charmont. And so they get involved in another competition. I mean, Emmy’s promised her husband she will not, you know, do any more competitions. But this one kind of falls in their lap and she can’t say no. So the Destiny by Design is all about interior design, you know, you get to see several different contestants in their projects from beginning to end. Maybe because I watched a lot of HT HDTV, you know, in the pandemic and staying home so much, but it’s super fun.

Brent Hanifl 04:49
So another thing I noticed kind of that interactive component of your website, you know, you also have a section like for readers, for writers, for teachers. So what is that about?

Amanda Zieba 05:00
So I, again, when I was working with this business coach trying to decide like, how do I tell people about what I do, because I do a lot of things. And I kind of realized that I have three main audiences, you know, readers of my books, writers, because I like to write, but I also was a teacher, am a teacher. So I kind of take both worlds and put them into like a digestible format. Like, I know how to write, I know how to teach, I take those two skills, and I put them together to teach other writers how to write, how to blog, how to write a novel, you know how to market their own books. And then I also create resources for teachers. I was a middle school teacher for 12 years, and now I teach part time writing at Western. And so I want to share those things that I know, with other educators as well.

Brent Hanifl 05:52
Wow, just seems like an elaborate, interesting world you, you know, created in here at this. I have to like slow down to say it but WordNerdopolis, Word Nerdopolis. Good. So what’s next for you? What’s coming up? What are you excited for the new year?

Amanda Zieba 06:07
I have a couple of projects on the horizon. Book three in the Close Quarter series, that’s the La Crosse series. My plan is to write that and release it in 2022. And then I have a young adult science fiction pair of novels that I wrote. And they were the first ones that I wrote on my own without guidance of somebody else in the self publishing industry. They came out in 2013, and 2014. And they were the best that I could do then. So I was proud of them then. But when I compare them to the 2021 me or the 2022 me, they’re a little bit embarrassing. So the really great thing about self publishing is you can go back and you can improve things that you’ve done in the past. So I have a big goal to, you know, relaunch and redo those. I think that’s common probably for like any creator, like if you are a musician or an artist, like you look back at your early work, and you’re like, oh, goodness, like, I don’t know about that. And it’s good, because you’re growing, right. But like, I also don’t want people like people to read that book first. And think that that is me in my skill level, when really, I’ve learned a lot since then, and I can do so much better. So I would like to re-, I would like to redo those.

Brent Hanifl 07:22
That’s kind of interesting. You know, just thinking about it, I’m sure there’s so many writers that were born, you know, in a time well before this that would love to have the opportunity to not necessarily re release but almost just change something in its entirety. That’s kind of cool being able to do that. So if people want to find out more, what’s the best avenue for them to, you know, follow or check out your news or just find out what’s going on with you?

Amanda Zieba 07:44
Yeah, I would say probably the easiest way is just to go to my website, and it’s just my first and last name, amandazieba.com. And then you can see what Brent was talking about with all the different buildings and cool interactive parts. Otherwise, I am on Instagram at wordnerd_amandazieba. I’m on Facebook, just Amanda Zieba, Author, and I’m on YouTube, just Amanda Zieba as well. So probably the best way to get ahold of me is my website, but if you just want to check out some of my other work those other places are good to.

Amy Gabay 08:17
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.

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La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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