Welcome to Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams and fellow CFBA blogger to Relz Reviewz.............
Rel: Thanks Amy for joining me! Please share some of your writing/publishing journey with us
Amy: I began my writing journey oddly enough. In searching for good stories to share with my girls one Christmas, I came across some grown-up novels. Devouring my first taste of fiction since my college years, I'd then hand the books to my husband and tell him how I'd change them. After about seven, my husband handed a book back and said to write my own. I shook my head. But then a dream about FBI agents and a mom in trouble wouldn't be dismissed. So I wrote the story and got involved in an awesome writer's group called the American Christian Fiction Writers. I spent a little over three years learning the heart and craft of writing, all the time working on a number of novels, short stories, and proposals. Then I received a recommendation for an agent who loved my first book and we signed a contract. Eighteen months later the publishing house I dreamed of working with offered me a three-book contract.
Boy, does all that sound nice and easy. Actually this journey has been anything but. It's more closely resembled a difficult pregnancy than a walk in the park. But God returns me to a few basic things: He called me. He promised to equip me. And I rise and fall to Him alone. The other big thing God reminds me of often is that writing is an act of worship. True worship is costly, so says 2 Samuel 24:24. It's my constant prayer that with every step of this writing journey I'll offer up to God a pleasing sacrifice, an offering that has indeed cost me something.
Who encouraged you or what made you decide to write a novel and seek its publication?
I think it was my intent from typing the first word that I'd seek publication because I wanted someone to hear the story I had to tell. It never occurred to me not to try. God was gracious to put some amazing writers in my path who read my pitiful fledgling attempts and took me under their wings, showing me kindly how to improve . They also encouraged me to keep at it. So I did. I love that many novelists say the key to good writing is putting your backside in the chair and doing the work. I'd add praying all the way is the best way to retain your sanity.
Why Christian fiction?
Christian fiction is simply a natural fit for who I am and how I view life. My husband and I share a life's passion to know God and show others how He heals hearts and how we can glorify God by enjoying Him forever. We tend to focus on the Body of Christ to live out that heart desire, but are open and willing to go where He sends us and share with anyone He puts in our path.
I note you homeschool your children. What does a typical writing day (or night!) look like?
A typical writing day looks like a Saturday. :-) That's the day I work from 9am to after midnight and get the majority of my writing done. I attend to edits and business things during the week while my children have afternoon quite times and then I also work after bedtime.
As a confessed chocoholic, what do you recommend to get you through those difficult writing days?
Godiva is my chocolate of choice! But any chocolate will do on those tough days. On really difficult days, I pair my favorite dessert with a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks and lots of prayer. Together those help me salvage and learn from even the worst of writing times.
What are you working on now?
Ransomed Dreams will release in April, 2007 and now
Why FBI Agents and children?
I wanted to be an FBI profiler after I graduated college. But that's not the path God intended for me. Instead I get to interview, read about, and then write about people I admire~ without having to do all the pushups. LOL Why children? I adore my children and am passionate about them being a gift to treasure and helping tired moms (what mom isn't tired?) remember that.
When writing these books, did the plotline or characters come first?
That's a tough call. I'd have to say I knew the characters first, but the basic plot came hand in hand with Gracie and Steven. It was in telling their story that I got to know them, which made the rewriting of the entire book go well and end up being a story I'm excited about sharing.
Do we "see" some of you in your characters?
Totally. But it's not the obvious character choices. In truth, there are bits and pieces of who I am in every character.
Many authors say they "hear" their characters talking to them. How does it work for you?
I don't really hear my characters; I see them. It's like having a movie reel playing all the time in my head. Often that's incredibly distracting. But the cool thing about the way I'm wired is I see these stories and characters as ways the Holy Spirit speaks to me. Many times God touches on areas where I'm weakest or leads me to explore my greatest fears. In telling the best and most intense story I can, I walk it through with my characters and I'm changed. I love that part of being a writer. Especially when I don't have to get shot at to learn!
If you were casting actors for a movie of Ransomed Dreams, who would you choose?
That's tough because even though I "see" my characters, I see more of their inner life than physical descriptions. Besides, I'm woefully inept in keeping up with Hollywood names and faces.
The Defenders of Hope website has a page with resources for protecting children. This is obviously something very close to your heart. Can you explain your passion and what you hope to achieve?
My best friend says that when we're at a mall she's looking for great shoes while I'm monitoring the exits. I totally resemble that statement. Growing up military behind the Iron Curtain, I used my imagination early to dodge "spies" and concoct stories of what would happen if. Now as a mom and a suspense writer who does tons of research, my imagination takes me places I hope to never go in real life. I'm painfully aware that we don't live in a safe world. So I want to share all I've learned with other moms as well as to encourage parents to not walk by fear, but be armed with knowledge tempered with faith in an all-powerful God.
Do you read Christian fiction yourself? If so, some favourite authors or books both Christian and/or secular?
I LOVE Christian fiction! My all-time favorite author is Dee Henderson. Mark Mynheir, a cop writer, is at the top of my list too. I also really enjoy Robin Jones Gunn and Kristen Billerbeck. Three new entries to my favorites list are authors Karen Ball, Rene Gutteridge, and Trish Perry. I love to read everything these authors write and I wait a tad impatiently for their next release.
Where is your favourite place to read a book?
Anywhere with chocolate. :-) I especially love reading outside or reading side-by-side with my hubby curled up on the couch.
Who inspires you?
My children. They love life and they love God unapologetically. They work hard, play hard, and get back up when they mess up. They also forgive easily and love deeply. I want to grow up to be more like them.
Please share some of your faith journey
I was an alcoholic at age 13 and a total type A personality on a crash course toward destruction. When my military family moved back home to Louisville, KY I made a friend in my sophomore German class who invited me to church. I ran for cover. What little I knew of God conjured pictures of thunderbolts and scowls. But try as I might to avoid church, I eventually slipped through the doors of a Baptist church and heard for the first time that God wanted a relationship with me and that the cross was proof positive He was serious about sin as well as able to cleanse and heal me and make me a beloved part of His family. I think I wore out the entire church staff and youth group with my endless questions. I didn't receive many answers that satisfied, but when I realized the depth of my sinful aching heart and that God still asked me to come, I stepped into the most amazing love affair ever. I was 15 then, and while there have been plenty of times I've said "this is NOT what I signed up for" I've come to see there is no better place to be than in the arms of my Savior experiencing the love of my heavenly Daddy.
Any last words.................................
My prayer for my readers is that they will come face to face with the God who smiles at them and longs to draw them closer and closer to Himself. I also pray they'll know deeply His never-ending love and heart healing so that they'll find their passion and live fully the story God has placed them in.
Thanks Amy for sharing so honestly - you have been a delight to interview :) I can't wait to read Ransomed Dreams. Look for my review in early 2007!
Amy is a fellow CBFAer so check out Amy's Blog for more of her thoughts.