CYPRESS, Texas- If you're a fan of paranormal fiction, chances are you know Amanda Stevens. She's written more than 60 novels, including the Graveyard Queen series about a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. That trilogy did so well in 2012, producers wanted to turn it into a TV show.
Last year, though, something terrible happened. Amanda stoppped writing and seemed to disappear altogether like one of the ghosts in her books.
But then, Amanda Stevens never really existed at all. Cypress resident Marilyn Amann created her as an alter ego when she started writing. "The pen name Amanda Stevens came from my husband's name, Steven Amann," says Marilyn, "I just kinda wanted something that meant something to me, so I flipped his name around, and I thought that was kind of cool."
It's a fitting tribute to the man she calls her "biggest supporter." Active and healthy, Steven died suddenly in April 2013, bringing a screeching halt to Marilyn's life and her writing. While grieving, she took over his construction business until she could find the right buyer who promised to keep Steven's employees on.
Then she was faced with getting back to her own job. "In essence, I write about death, and all of a sudden there wasn't any distance between me and my subject matter any more," says the author. "And I think in some ways, the writing will be better for that, hopefully."
Optimistic in the face of tragedy, Marilyn has gone back to writing the next three novels in her Graveyard Queen series. Readers can pick up a copy of "The Visitor," the first book, early next year.
To delve deeper into the mystery of Amanda Stevens, check out this month's issue of Houstonia.