Getting to know the beautiful, delightful, smart and prolific writer; Amanda Eifert.

It’s an honour for Mandi to accept to do such a personal interview with me. Ever since I started blogging Mandi has been a staunch and heartwarming friendly support. Mandi, I wish you all the best in your endeavours and appreciate your hand of fellowship.

  • Introduce yourself, a bit about your background, your likes, dislikes and general outlook towards life.

Hi, my name is Amanda or Mandi as some of you know me. I am from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and have lived here all my life. I live by two gorgeous parks and off-leash trails for dogs. I enjoy walking the off leash trails. I miss my old dog and enjoy the other dogs on the trail. I also love how peaceful it is on those paths.image1.JPG

I have been on disability for over eight years now. I used to be an admin assistant in construction for a commercial development company. I became ill, not realizing what was happening to me because I had never experienced mental illness before December 2008. I left work my last day emotionally distraught, embarrassed, and not realizing I was hearing echoes after certain people talked. I would hear what someone usually said, then hear an echo of their voice which would comment and say something mean.
On December 24, 2008, I waited in the emergency with my Dad. We discovered I was experiencing a psychotic episode. I went into the hospital in January. Once I started a certain antipsychotic, I stopped hearing things. For some reason my now doctor told me when you hear things, it’s always the worst things you can think of. After, the psychosis I had a mini depression.
I have never had another psychotic episode since 2008 but now experience depression and severe fatigue. Severe fatigue meaning, I cannot mentally or physically do things for a long enough period to work or do many activities in life.
After trying countless medications and developing insomnia along with my depression, I went into the hospital to overhaul my cocktail of medications in July 2015. I’m finally, on a helpful and tolerable med called Clozapine.
It acts as an antidepressant, antipsychotic, and causes me to sleep through the night. Before Clozapine, not being able to sleep and becoming so used to sleep medications that they stopped working was miserable. Now, I have more freedom in everyday life as well and can do some exercise and concentrate better.
I’m a determined writer and I’ve been working on improving my writing for years. I have a BA in English Literature, a certificate in Residential Design, and am pursuing an online MFA at UBC for May 2017. I love being creative and imaginative in my writing; I enjoy drawing and acrylic painting at times; and I adore dogs, hanging with my friends, Netflix, scrapbooking, and yoga. I’m told I’m intuitive and thoughtful.
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I don’t like it when people push me into a corner and force me to decide something, I need time to weigh matters for significant decisions. Because of my illness, I need a bit more control over my life than some people realize. I have to plan down-time to relax and can’t do activities out of the house every day. I hate it when people are discriminative of people with mental illness or disabilities of any kind. I regret that because of my disabilities, I missed a lot of time with my best friends and are not as close to them as I would like. But maybe that’s life and it happens as a person grows older.
I’m extremely close to my family and I’m drawn to people who are close to their family too, including pets. I’m a proud Christian and would not have made it through what I have, if not for God’s grace and the love of my family and friends.
  • Tell us about your blog and your purpose for starting it. Did you have any set goals in mind when you were setting up your blog? What do you think about the blogging phenomenon itself? What has your blogging experience being? Here, you can share some links of your top posts or blog posts that you particularly like with us.
I mentioned earlier, I have been working on my writing for years now. After my mini depressive episode, I couldn’t read books such as Harry Potter and it was hard for me to even write. Daily, I increased my ability reading, starting with easier books such as the Twilight books and other Young Adult books, eventually, moving into more difficult reads such as the books I read in university English classes.
My goal with writing was to bring my writing to the point it was at in university, but I hope I’ve surpassed that goal. I had read some of my friends blogs and had a friend who blogged on WordPress. I signed up and started blogging.
In the beginning, my blog was a place to share about my mental illness and my daily life, the disappointment I felt at not being able to live and be like a normal girl of my age back then, and the classes I was taking. I also started writing for a young woman’s magazine and I enjoyed writing about these current events twenty-somethings would be interested in.
I also started taking some editing course through Simon Fraser University online. Quickly, I discovered I would never be perfectionist enough to be an editor, but I loved to write so I focused on creatively explore writing. It has always been my passion and I’ve been writing poems since I was eleven or so as stress relief and because it always felt right to me.
The editing courses were useful and I did learn when editing others work, to leave it as their own work and not completely change it as my editor for the young women’s magazine had done to my articles often. But I did need to work on my spelling and grammar and my blog and the editing courses aided me there.
At the same time, I was working on a Residential Design certificate. It was good knowledge to know had I been able to return to work, but it wasn’t my passion. I signed up for a few creative writing courses, and participated in many versions of the WordPress online courses. I started writing posts for my blog everyday. Gradually, I fell head over heals in love with writing fiction and especially, poetry.
I have made it my goal to visit www.shadowpoetry.com and learn to write using as many poetry types as I can master. Poetry always comes out the easiest for me, usually in free verse. Fiction requires more thought. Through Flashfiction challenges, through writing my own novel, and learning the whole process behind developing a novel, my writing has improved substantially, since I began blogging nearly five-years ago.
As a writer, I realize a blog is a necessary part of sharing your work with the public, by commenting, participating in prompt challenges with other bloggers, and sharing your work over social media. I never realized even a few years ago, how all these social media accounts add to a writer’s audience.
Twitter is a big one. I have many followers on there and quite a few new ones every day. I write some poetry only on Twitter and have found places to publish my poetry through Twitter. Mainly, www.spillwords.com. I also love the WordPress community. It’s so supportive and I love brightening someone’s day by telling them how wonderful their writing piece is or what it makes me think about. Critiquing is so helpful as long as it is done in a helpful and kind manner and I try to do this when I comment. I would rather in my own work, have someone be honest with me if it doesn’t sound right (etc.) than tell me it’s fantastic and lie. But not everybody likes such honesty.
  • Take us with you on a typical day spent with you. Show us a bit of your World and yes we love photos of  your pets if you’ve got any.
Honestly, my average day is not interesting. I set out with a list of tasks to accomplish and try my best. Sometimes, it’s a bad day, and I end up staying mostly in bed and sleeping. Other days, I do chores I need to around the house, make healthy meals, do twenty to thirty minutes yoga or walking, clean, comment on other blogs and read blog posts, catch up on writing for different prompts, read books or magazines, or work on editing my novel in second draft. I research a lot online, try to stay up on current events, and watch Netflix or TV at times.
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A day out, I plan ahead. I go to a festival in Edmonton in the summer; go to the mall for necessities and sometimes clothes shopping; I go for coffee and meet a friend or sometimes on my own for a change of environment; I go for a longer walk in the river valley; go to a farmer’s market on a Saturday; get my hair or nails done; attend an appointment or go to a movie; and whatever else I want to do or need to do. I can only go out every couple of days usually, but sometimes I manage two-days out at a time. I’m limited to about four-hours out at a time, unless I’m simply sitting, such as for a movie. After a while, an extremely noisy or loud place is difficult to remain in on certain days.
On weekends, I often do something with my Mom in the day. I’m pretty constantly texting friends or messaging them and connected to the online world throughout my week, but sometimes even I need a break.
  • What’s the next pit-stop for your blog’s outreach and publishing?  Any plans in the offing? You can also share some of your published works here.
Well, like you, I’ve started doing interviews of other poets and Bloggers. It’s fascinating to learn about other writers, their writing processes, how they publish their work, and to find their unique take on life and writing in general. It’s been a success for me on my blog. I was extremely pleased to have you as my first interview. Now, I’ve got a whole list of interviewees until October at least. The interviews are informative for readers such as blog followers, as well as myself.
I’ve had poetry published in www.spillwords.com and www.sicklitmagazine.com since June 2016. I continue to send out my poetry to literary magazines and journals, as well as websites which publish poetry and fiction. My goal is to have a short story in fiction published.
Fiction is harder for me as I said, but I love it. Rejection makes me all the hungrier to have it published. Even when I receive rejection emails, I’m happy a publisher/magazine took the time to reject me and often tell me what I need to work on.
I want to eventually publish my novel which is a paranormal romance. I’m working on rearranging and polishing the second draft of my manuscript. Then, I need to look at editors because as it is my first novel, I need an editor to read through the whole piece and tell me what works and what doesn’t. I think I’m going to try querying for an agent after, but I will see. There are advantages to self-publishing, but given my health, it may be better for me to have a publisher take care of editing the manuscript, doing the cover, the marketing etc.
Thanks for interviewing me, Jacqueline. I appreciate your generosity.
Here are some current links to some of my work and some photographs:
5. Interview With Marquessa Matthews – Nonfiction –https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/interview-with-marquessa-matthews/
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This is Nikki. My long-passed on pet, but as I said I miss her 🙂
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27 thoughts on “Getting to know the beautiful, delightful, smart and prolific writer; Amanda Eifert.

  1. What a boldly candid piece. It’s good to meet you, Mandie and to hear how you have overcome considerable adversity. Thank you, Jacqueline for your steadfast devotion to the blogging community. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A powerful , inspiration, motivational, post. A post that makes you stop still, and appreciate the courageousness of Mandi, and others. A post that puts ones own life into perspective. What an open and honest share, one that touches my heart with inspiration and just determination and just how strong we human can be… thanks for sharing such a great interview Jacqueline and Mandi thank you for opening us to your world – wow you are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for interviewing Mandi and posting her story. I greatly enjoy her insights and her creative work. I enjoy yours as well, starting with the name of your blog. I hope you are very well.

    You two make and share important art.–Christopher

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing such a personal and courageous story Amanda! I learned a lot of new things about you! You have been through so much but you are such a strong, talented woman. And great job on the interview Jacqueline!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice to meet you Mandi! Sounds like life has taken you for one heck of a ride! You sound like a strong and very determined lady and I wish you nothing but the best for today and the future!

    Like

  6. I have enjoyed reading both of your work. Very interesting bio. Through the most difficult things we find strength, often something we didn’t know was a strength. The problem with our problems is we spend years adapting and when all goes to hell the world expects quick fixes. 🙂

    Like

I love it when you decorate my heart with your words..

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