Official Bio

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works as an editor and coach, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.  Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.


Unofficial Bio

I didn’t grow up wanting to write books because I was far too busy reading them. In fact I didn’t know being an author was even a real thing (I was a slow learner!). However, when the writing bug finally struck me in my mid-twenties, I was determined to get published.

Oh, how cute and adorable I was!

I wrote thirteen books and spent ten years trying to get published. Let’s just say it was excruciating, and I was close to giving up. But while I was at my father’s funeral I had a surreal experience where I imagined he was providing the commentary for the whole day. It made a terrible time a little bit easier to bear. And two weeks later it was the inspiration of my debut book, You Had Me at Halo.

Four months later I signed with my first agent and we sold it to Penguin/Random House in 2005. Since then I’ve sold seventeen books in total to Penguin/Random House, Albert Whitman and Entangled. My debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and my first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age.

I’ve also worked as a children’s librarian, an ice cream seller and a travel agent. I’ve taught many writing workshops and there’s nothing I like more than talking about plotting and story structure. I’ve also faced down hundreds of rejection letters, bad reviews and navigated the changing publishing marketplace. And I can help you do the same.

I’m also obsessed with the art of storytelling and am forever reading craft books, going to workshops and pulling apart books and movies to see what makes them work (and not work). This love of storytelling is what I bring as a developmental editor. I’m not a grammar girl or a proofreading ninja, but when it comes to the big picture, my story geek kicks in!

To find out more about my books you can visit me a my online homes:


What I Love to Read:


Some of my all time favorite authors are:

Raymond E Feist

Ursula Le Guin

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Anne McCaffrey

Jim Butcher

Brandon Sanderson

Jane Austen

Georgette Heyer

Jill Mansell


These are the books I go back to again and again, though there are plenty of others that I adore!

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Story by Robert McKee

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson

Random Facts


  • I’ve worked as travel agent, salesperson, retro furniture dealer and a librarian.

  • I hate bananas.

  • Liverpool Football Club is the greatest team in the world.

  • Apart from the All Blacks. The All Blacks are pretty awesome, too!

  • Joss Whedon is a genius.

  • Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer are the only books I re-read on a regular basis.

  • The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin is my favorite book in the world.

  • Did I mention the bananas? They really are the work of the devil.

  • Deadwood, Game of Thrones, Vikings, Parks and Recreation, Buffy and Gilmore Girls are some of my favorite TV shows.

  • I live in New Zealand but write for American publishers, which means I’m constantly trying to figure out if I should use US or NZ spelling on social media.

  • Of course this is amusing considering the fact I’m the world’s worst speller!

  • I was in the opening ceremony of the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

  • I read The Hobbit when I was ten years old.

  • I saw the movie Princess Bride three times in one week when it first came out.

  • I can’t tell my left hand from my right (please don’t give me tips on how to remedy this because they DON’T work.)

  • I can’t clap in time. At all. My palms tingle and I feel fidgety just at the thought.

  • Despite not being able to tell my left from my right I have a weirdly good sense of direction.

  • I have an abnormally large collection of crotchet rugs and vintage tablecloths.

  • When it comes to writing, if no one tells me to stop, I’ll just keep on going. Hence why this facts list doesn’t seem to be coming to an end.

  • A friend has just told me to stop. Which is another fact about me – occasionally I can be very obedient.