Women do incredible things. This section features the stories of women who are a part of the Southeast Missouri community by way of living here, being from here or passing through. We hope these stories inspire you to connect with others and that they encourage you to be who you are in the world. We need you and your unique gifts.
Amanda Flinn has always loved to write. She says that as a little girl in school, writing was her favorite subject, and making books for class was always her favorite type of school project. Although she always knew she wanted to write a book someday, she didn’t consider writing as a viable career option and instead studied her other love at Southeast Missouri State University: child development.
Upon graduation, Amanda spent time working at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, as a parent educator in Jackson public schools, in children’s ministry at her church and as the owner of an in-home daycare. She also has three sons of her own. All of this experience and passion for helping children grow has led to her current endeavor as an author of children’s books.
“One position has just sort of always led to the next adventure, and that’s kind of how I ended up here,” Amanda says of writing books for children. “[Writing children’s books] is what I’m wanting to do to fulfill that need to work with children and parents and to do that on this side of it.”
Amanda’s first book, “Yoga Baby,” releases June 9, although it’s a story that has its origins in 2016. It was around this time that Amanda had more time to devote to writing since she had started working for herself, so she began taking steps to make her writing dream a reality. Amanda says she “just kind of wrote my experiences, the things I was doing;” “Yoga Baby” was inspired by the yoga she practiced with her youngest son and the children she watched at her in-home daycare. She wrote “Yoga Baby” in the Spring of 2018, pitched it at a writer’s conference in June a few months later and was offered a contract in November that same year. A board book, it tells about a mom and baby who go through a yoga sequence at home, showing the ups and downs of working out with a small child. It will be published by Beaming Books.
“It’s just a fun, sweet rhyming book, a quick read that hopefully will lead to shared time just reading with a child, but also shared time in wellness and fitness and health, as well,” Amanda says.
She currently has two more books under contract with publishers. “God Made All Your Feelings” will be published by Beaming Books early next year, and “The Maker,” which Amanda says is about “a curious little girl who lives in a gray world and goes on a journey to meet the maker who opens her eyes to color and joy, which she takes back to her town,” will be published by Little Lamb Books in Spring 2021.
Amanda says it feels surreal to have her dream of publishing a book coming true, especially considering that until a few years ago, she didn’t really go after her dreams.
“I don’t know if I just thought someone was going to discover me or just like take a chance. If you don’t speak the dream into existence, no one even knows that it’s there. And so I think it started with just being honest with what I wanted to do and taking a chance and knowing that even if I fail, something will come from this,” Amanda says. “So just realizing that dreams don’t happen unless you step forward and take action. So for me, it’s a dream come true. It’s also been making a mistake and learning from that and moving forward and trying again and not giving up even on days where nothing is coming. … Just continuing to show up and continuing to work through it and not give up just because it’s tough.”
Amanda also has served since November 2018 as the director of Kingdom Edge, which she describes as “a local online initiative of people who are following Jesus and trying to spread a message of hope and faith.” Although it started in Southeast Missouri, the Facebook page now has readers from across the country and globe. The board is working on transitioning from a Facebook page to the website kingdomedgemag.com to continue growing the following and reaching more people.
One of Amanda’s passions is mentoring writers who are in the early stages of their writing journey, giving them the tools and encouragement to persevere and get their writing published. Thus, she and fellow local author Sarah Geringer are leading a writer’s workshop together in October 2020.
“There’s just so many people in my life that have taken a chance on me, that I totally want to be that person for other people,” Amanda says. “[I want people to] know that [getting published] is reality and they can do it, that they don’t have to do it alone.”
Want to purchase “Yoga Baby”? Head over here.