Friday, September 7, 2007

Chat with Author Amy Wallace

Hi, Christy here ;)
F.A.I.T.H. readers, I want to introduce you to a great lady and good friend Amy Wallace.

When I joined ACFW, I attended the local chapter meeting. The group is called WORD (Writers of Remarkable Design) and Amy is our President. For all of you who know Amy, you won't be surprised when I tell you she greeted me with a warm smile and helped me feel welcome. Later that summer, we braved the crowds at our local mall and enjoyed a lunch of Chick-Fil-A while we talked about being mommies and writing. Meanwhile, her three daughters played with Downey, who was only about 18 months then. Sweet girls! It was a day I enjoyed and appreciated. What a way to make a newbee feel welcome!

Amy Wallace not only is a great writer, but wife to David, homeschool mom, Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic.

She is contributing author of God Answers Moms' Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers.

Welcome to F.A.I.T.H. Amy!

Amy: That was such a fun time at the Mall, Christy! We need to do that again. And I’m so glad you’re part of WORD~ what an amazing group of folks!

Thanks so much~ a sweet intro.

Christy: Now, a little about Ransomed Dreams (Book 1 in the Defenders of Hope Series).
It came out in April and I loved-Loved It!

Amy draws you into the world of Gracie Lang with her opening sentence: It's New Year's Eve and "Gracie's night overflowed with promise. . ."

Little did we know, her worst nightmare, any mother's worst nightmare, was about to happen.

Two years later, living hundreds of miles away from the safe haven Gracie shared with her late husband and two children, she's a lonely teacher, with a spic and span house, longing for her family and the cluttered house again. While FBI agent Steven Kessler is the first man to have caught her eye since her husband and although her parents and sister tell her it's time to start dating again, to move on, she can't. "The past held her captive."
Only Gracie has no idea the hold the past still has on her.

I truly enjoyed this book. Amy's excellence with prose is so keen you feel you know Gracie Lang and Steven Kessler. You're walking in their shoes. You're angry when they are. You're feeling their pain. You're fighting the bad guys right along with them. This isn't just a romance. It isn't just a suspense. It's a parable of God's faithfulness and love. It's about trusting in Him.

Amy has a candid way of writing. She drew me in from the first sentence. I put this book down only when I had to, but it was never far from reach.

Amy, I understand Ransomed Dreams was the first book you'd written and you wrote it in 6 weeks. Does the first draft look anything like the finished product that's at home on my bookshelf? (I ask because I've been revising a book I finished 2 years ago, and it has changed so much I feel like I'm writing a new story - and it hasn't even seen an editor!)

Amy: Ransomed Dreams is the same story, but with a few significant changes. Originally, Steven was a widower and the suspense plot involved an international terrorist group. After my first substantial edits, I rewrote the entire novel, but it was wild to see how much of the original ideas remained. With my editor’s amazing direction we resurrected Angela and she added so much to Steven’s plot line that I can’t imagine the story any other way now. Also, changing the suspense plot and focusing it also strengthened the book so much! All in all I kept about 5,000 words of the original 98,000. But those words and the work I’d already done in writing the original helped so much in being able to jump in and take off on the rewrite.

Christy: Do you look forward to - or loathe - revisions?

Amy: I loathe the substantial edits because I always feel like a writing failure. But then I pray through the editor’s comments, and God and I get to work. That’s when I start loving edits. My favorite part is working on line edits and really seeing the story come alive and shine.

Christy again:
We have to wait until April '08 for Book 2 - Healing Promises .
Here's a sneak peak:

Facing a new threat
When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he's seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren't retreating into doctor mode...he needs his wife now more than ever.
Frozen in fear
Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission-beating cancer when she can, easing her patients' suffering at the very least. But now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but now the question of God's healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe?
Faith under fire
As Clint continues to track down a serial murderer despite his illness, a past military incident haunts his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

Christy: Wow, Healing Promises seems even more super-charged than the first. I can hardly wait.

Amy, you did a lot of research on Healing Promises before you wrote it. What does your research process consist of?

Amy: All three of the Defenders of Hope books required extensive research for the FBI investigations as well as the emotional storylines of the major characters. The research for Healing Promises was extremely painful because it required me to relive some faith crises and walk through so many people’s cancer stories, people I love. The main research I did included interviews with cancer survivors and reading books on cancer survival as well as extensive checking and rechecking my facts with doctors and some awesome people who shared intimate details of their cancer journeys. The suspense plot required a descent into the criminal mind that I had to be very careful and prayerful about or I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night. What kept me focused and able to emerge from the pain with a powerful story was returning my eyes to God each step and knowing He has a good plan and purpose for Healing Promises.

Christy: Besides writing feverishly on Saturdays - what book/author are you reading for enjoyment?

Amy: I love Sharon Hinck’s The Restorer, Robin Jones Gunn’s Sisterchicks series, and right now I’m on the third Jo Tulip mystery by Mindy Starnes Clark~ Elementary My Dear Watkins. Amazing authors with characters that make me laugh and look to God are what I read for pleasure.

Christy: What was the first book or author you remember reading as a kid that you absolutely fell in love with the storyline or Author's storytelling abilities? One that made you nearly unable to wait for the next release?

Amy: The books that stick out the most are Catcher in the Rye and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Both authors captured deep human emotion, gave amazing word pictures, and penned stories that held my attention long after I read the last pages. I also loved reading poetry and William Shakespeare.

Christy: If I'm not mistaken, you work with the youth at your church. What age group do you work with?

Amy: I taught high school seniors for two years at my church. I LOVED this age group and am so thankful to keep in touch with a number of my girls. My husband and I had to step down this summer due to time constraints related to writing. But we are hoping to teach again in the near future.

Christy: What fun activities to you have planned at home for your kids this year?

Amy: We’ll be building a pirate ship, a colonial village, and cooking a colonial meal for the holidays among other fun history and science projects for our school year. Lord willing, we’ll also take some field trips with our homeschool group and visit the High Museum, an outing all of my family enjoys. And I’m already looking forward to our yearly beach trip to Destin, Florida.

Christy: (I love Destin! It's been years since my family has been!)
Romans 1:16 is one of my favorite bible verses. What's yours?

Amy: My all-time favorite verses are 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

These verses remind me God is in control and He will bring about the good plan He has for each and every one of His children.

Another verse that God keeps before me is 2 Samuel 24:24 “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which cost me nothing.”

This is the verse that keeps me going in terms of writing for the Lord. Writing costs much in regard to time and emotional and physical sacrifice. But, for me, it’s an offering I give to the Lord knowing He receives it and in so doing I honor Him.

Christy: I think we both share a love of Casting Crowns. Ransomed Dreams is full of artists - James Taylor comes to my mind at the moment. Any other artists that inspire you?

Amy: In addition to Casting Crowns and JT, Steven Curtis Chapman has always been and will always be one of my very top favorite musicians. I also love Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. The lyrics and heart behind these artists inspire me and touch something deep within my soul.

Christy: Do you write in silence or to background noise like television or music?

Amy: I have a house full of kiddos, so I’ve learned to write to music. I have five CD’s that are my writing CD’s for each book. For Ransomed Dreams the CD’s were: Hymns 4 Worship: Amazing Grace, Geoff Moore, Nichole Nordeman: Woven and Spun, Casting Crowns, and Rich Mullins: Songs.

For Healing Promises, I’m listening to: Chris Tomlin: Arriving, Matt Redman: Blessed Be Your Name, Rich Mullins, Casting Crowns, Hymns 4 Worship.

I’ve found that writing to music like this keeps my heart and mind focused on the Lord and every once in a while the lyrics will inspire a word picture or truth that I love capturing through the eyes of my characters.

Christy: If you weren't a writer, but had to have a career, where do you think you'd be working?

Amy: I’d be in family counseling with my husband, a dream we’re taking steps to fulfill in the next few years with my hubby going back to school for his Masters.

Christy: You attended your first ACFW conference in 2002. Any advice for a first-timer like me?

Amy: Don’t feel like you have to do everything! And stay open to those God moments where He connects you with other authors and fills both of your hearts.

Another piece of advice would be that as easy as it is to say and hard to do, remember that God holds your career in the palm of His hand and will bring to pass His amazing plan for you in His perfect time. That means you don’t have to stress out and push your way into someone’s view or follow agents and editors into the restroom or accost them in the elevator. ;-)

Christy: Spill: Did you flub your very first pitch - or land it? (And either way - confess if and how much you practiced your pitch before conference.)

Amy: I flubbed and fumbled badly through two meetings with agents, but landed and had a blast with an editor and an awesome author who was so kind to go over my first chapter and give me valuable pointers and contacts.
I practiced my pitch line for the Defenders of Hope series over and over for weeks before the conference, on the plane, and as I prayed before each meeting. I can still say the lines for Ransomed Dreams in my sleep. ;-)

Christy: What should every conference goers take with them to the workshops?

Amy: A teachable heart and good pens. Be prepared for information overload by taking great notes and reminding yourself that you will have time when you get home to go over what you learned and put it into practice. Above all else, be open to what the Lord is saying. Each conference attendee has much to learn of the Lord, and there’s no limit to how He will direct each of us to encourage and be encouraged by one another.

Christy: Do you have any great conference moments and awful conference moments you want to share?

Amy: Great conference moment: meeting my best friend who is now my best critique partner and the only person I can talk to every day without running out of things to say. Also, talking Cindy Woodsmall’s ears off on the plane ride and beginning an amazing friendship.

Worst conference moment: not sleeping more than an hour total one night and nearly getting sick from lack of sleep. But God turned that into a huge positive because I learned first hand how faithful God is in impossible situations by watching Him keep me awake and making sense for all the important appointments I had the next day.

Christy: What's something (a trait, a love, a good or bad habit, a hobby...) not many people know about you, that you'd be willing to share with the F.A.I.T.H. girls and readers today?

Amy: I think everyone knows my love of chocolate, the beach, University of Louisville basketball, and collecting teddy bears. But few people know I also love soccer and played in Europe during high school. My current hobbies are scrapbooking and trying to catch up on sleep. I’m hopelessly behind on both!

Christy: Thanks so much for joining me today Amy! And for those of you who haven't read Ransomed Dreams, you can pick up a copy in bookstores now.

Healing Promises will be out in April 2008!

Amy: Thanks so much for having me over, Christy! I pray you and the FAITH readers will remember to DREAM BIG! God has amazing plans for each and every one of His children.


  1. Good Morning All !
    Good post Christy, you and Amy have sold me, I shall look for the book while I am out later, .........BUT really, Chick-Fil-A ? Ughhhhh.........

  2. Cousin Wendy - what do you mean? Are you not a chick-fil-a girl?

    It's a step up from artery clogging Big Mac's, right?

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and enjoy Ransomed Dreams!

  3. Hi Wendy!! Missed you girl!

    Amy and Christy--great interview.I loved it.
    I can't wait to read Clint and Sarah's story.
    Thanks for visiting Amy. Don't be a stranger. Maybe you can be a guest blogger one day. Your blogs are as great as your writing.

  4. Hey, Chick-fil-a is wonderful. Especially those chicken biscuits. Mmmmm.
    Ahem, anyway :-) I have to get my hands on Ransomed Dreams. You've excited me beyond belief. I also can't wait to meet you, Amy, on the Mindybus (as Christy has so graciously dubbed it). You're gonna love the surprises I have in store for my riders :-)

  5. I guess I lose once again :( to the world of the southern women and their chicken! Give me a baked potato and salad any day !! However, based on the comments, I may have to give it a try again one day !!

  6. You all are great! Thanks for the encouraging words, and for checking out Ransomed Dreams.

    I'd love to guest blog as soon as I get my brain back from edits, and if there are any brain cells left. ;-)

    Mindy~ I'm looking forward to seeing you in Dallas and very intrigued by the "surprises in store." Too bad I'm not Nancy Drew and able to deduce what you have planned. LOL

  7. Hey, Amy! Thanks for visiting today. Great interview. I feel like I know you even better. :)

    And another YAY vote for Chick-fil-a. We don't have one nearby, and anytime I'm at the mall, I have to eat there! LOL


  8. Okay, I have to comment about Chick-Fil-A. I do like it, but when I worked for Stone Mountain Toyota that's what we ate all the time becase we could walk there.
    I have a funny story about it...I went there one day before an appt. I wanted the chick-fil-a chicken sandwich...I thought it was a dollar. Anyway, it ended up being a dollar six with tax. I didn't have the six cents....Now remember I went there all the time and I told the cashier I would bring the six cents back...he just stared at me and asked the next person in line what they wanted. This man behind me tried to give me a quarter, but I just walked out.
    Well, the owner of STone Mtn Toy's wife, Joann, heard my story when I got back. Needless to say after a few phone calls, the dealership not only got a free lunch catered by chick-fil-A---but every employee got a special mug and we got free drinks at that location for life!!! Yes, life!! INcluding lemonade.
    So---they did right---but they should have let me bring back the six would have been cheaper!!

  9. Great job Christy!

    Amy, hope I get a chance to meet you at ACFW.


  10. I had a great time interviewing Amy ~ can't wait to have her as a guest blogger - one day soon!

    LOL Lindi! But your story shows that Chick-Fil-A is willing to go above and beyond on a mistake. I think that's pretty cool. Even though it would've been cheaper to do it your way!

    Hey Jenn~ Amy will be riding with us on the Mindybus. Wonder what Mindy's got planned.... hmmm... should we be worried?

    Thanks for a great blog day every one!