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Amanda Jayatissa Books In Order

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Amanda Jayatissa is a literary fiction author from Sri Lanka best known for her debut novel “My Sweet Girl.”
The author grew up in Sri lanka and moved to the United States in her teenage years. In the US, she went to Mills College in California for her undergraduate degree. She would then live for a while in the United Kingdom before she moved back to California.

Her Linked In profile says she is a corporate trainer in communications skills development and co-owner of a chain of cookie stories with her husband. While she made her name with her literary fiction work “My Sweet Girl,” this is not her first rodeo.

“The Other One,” which was a science fiction novel that she self published, was the winner of the 2017 Fairway National Literary Competition. “My Sweet Girl” was acquired by Hodder & Stroguhton, the UK publishing house in a two book deal for the Sri Lankan author.

Jayatissa was not one of those authors that always knew they were destined to be authors when they grew up. Growing up, she never consciously thought I am going to be an author. What happened is that since she was and is still an avid reader, it seemed like the next logical step to become a writer.
She loved reading as a kid and many were the times when she would have friends over and be in her corner thumbing over a book. She would also hide novels in her textbooks in high school and got severe reprimands several times but just could not stop.

However, since she spent her childhood in Sri Lanka in a pre internet era she had a limited selection of books to choose from. As such, she always felt like she was playing catch up with her friends when she got to the United States.

But even with limited access to books, she still loved to write as it was an activity that provided a lot of comfort. Still she never consciously decided to become an author as it was not something a Sri Lankan woman did.

Moreover, as a privileged woman who got the chance to study abroad there was a lot of pressure to do something more practical like engineering or medicine.

Amanda Jayatissa has always been a huge lover of thrillers and suspense and was toying around with the idea of writing one but just could not put one together. Surprisingly, the big breakthrough was when she had what she describes as a particularly frustrating encounter with a banking customer service agent.

The experience left her feeling particularly vicious and irritable and she did what most authors do. She checked into her favorite coffee shop and pulled out her pen and notebook and went on a rant about her experience with the bank’s customer service agent.

Halfway through her rant, she realized how much fun it was writing in what is a mean girl voice. She immediately knew that this was the chutzpah that her previous attempts had always been missing.

She needed a deliciously mean character who comes slightly undone but who just like her could not bring herself to speak out preferring to seethe in silence. She reworked the settings to include several of her own experiences living in the Bay Area of California.

Jayatissa has always loved a story with a wild reveal or a good plot twist and it was from this that she started working on her novel. Once she had her lead character’s voice and was feeling confident in what direction she was going to take her, it took only a few months to have several rough drafts.
In 2020 she signed with Melissa Danaczko, her agent and after several rounds of revisions and edits, she felt that the story had significantly improved. They felt that they could submit it during the summer and they were lucky enough to get a preemptive offer from Berkley a few days after submission.
During their edits, she also reworked the ending to what it is today. “My Sweet Girl” was finally published in 2021 which means from idea to publication took about two and half years.

While a lot of things changed over the course of the editing and revising, much of the story including the main characters voice and final twist remained the same. The biggest surprise for Amanda Jayatissa was how real the lead became to her.
She was also amazed at how she ended up using her experiences as a Sri Lankan navigating what are typical white spaces. What had started out as a ranty and fun thriller would become imbued with deeper themes of identity that her agent and editor encouraged her to explore.

“My Sweet Girl” by Amanda Jayatissa is a brilliantly crafted thriller that surprisingly makes one laugh. The novel tells the story of a thirty year old Paloma Evans, a woman who grew up in a Sri Lankan orphanage before she was adopted by an American family.

She spent more than two decades living a life of privilege in the US. During this time, she was told of how lucky she was to have exotic looks and to have a chance at pursuing the American dream. But things got thick when she was finally cut off by her adoptive parents.

She has been living in an expensive apartment in San Francisco and now has to rent out the extra bedroom to make ends meet. She gets a new roommate named Arun who happens to be from India. This means they have quite a few things in common in experience and culture.

She is feeling a sense of accomplishment as she helps Arun acclimatise to the United States. But then the ungrateful girl starts to blackmail her when she finds out about her darkest secret. Things take an interesting turn when the girl ends up dead in their apartment.

Paloma now has to deal with a mysterious reality and more questions than she has answers for. Who could have killed Arun? Could she have talked to anyone about Plaoma’s dark past back in Sri Lanka?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Amanda Jayatissa

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