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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interview With Amy Wallace

If you'd like to enter this week's contest for a copy of a book, please make sure to post a comment and leave your contact information.

Tell us about your book, Healing Promises.

Healing Promises is a high-voltage suspense novel which explores how a life-threatening medical diagnosis and the search for an elusive serial kidnapper affects even the most solid, loving Christian marriage and poses a key life question: Can God be trusted?

My prayer is that readers will experience a deeper sense of the goodness and trustworthiness of God, even when life doesn’t go according to plan. I also hope readers will see that at the end of ourselves only one truth remains—God is good. What we do with that fact changes everything.

How did you get to know your hero and heroine for this book?

Healing Promises is the second book in the Defenders of Hope series, so I knew Clint and Sara from writing the first novel Ransomed Dreams. I learned the most about FBI Agent Clint Rollins and Dr. Sara Rollins from their dialogue and interaction with Steven and Gracie in Ransomed Dreams. But in writing Healing Promises, they became living, breathing characters as I watched them struggle with medical issues and many other difficulties they face in Healing Promises.

In other words, my characters become real people as I watch how they react to the obstacles in their path and how they overcome and grow because of them.

What process do you use to write your novel? Are you a strict plotter, or do you allow for some surprises?

My writing process has evolved from just sitting down to type in that blissful state of ignorance and excitement to doing fairly detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines and character sketches before I begin to write. Because the Defenders of Hope series is about Crimes Against Children FBI agents, I have tons of research to do before I begin crafting the stories. Once my research helps me define the timeline, I set to work on the chapter-by-chapter and character details.

I've found the outline and information about the characters to be incredibly helpful in keeping me on task with the story, not only the action plot, but also the development and depth of the characters. The chapter-by-chapter outline isn't extremely detailed, so I also have a lot of fun seeing where the story goes when I sit down to write.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Healing Promises grew out of two very painful times of wrestling with God and doubting His goodness. The first experience came following a friend’s funeral after three years of praying for healing. My faith was rocked to the core and I struggled to pray for a long time after my friend died. The second difficult season was that of losing a baby before becoming pregnant with my third daughter. Both dark paths took me to the end of what I understood about God. And as I worked on Healing Promises, I went back to those memories and poured into the pages all the pain of those moments as well as what God taught me and the grace He lavished on my wounded heart.

This book looks like it took quite a bit of research in the medical field as well as law enforcement field. Tell us a little bit about how you go about your research—what resources you use.

My college degree came in very handy for writing the suspense storyline. I have a counseling background and was totally fascinated with abnormal psychology and my criminal justice classes. In addition to my college textbooks, I did extensive reading about infamous serial killers and FBI biographies which provided various case details.

The research proved far easier than writing from a serial killer’s perspective. But I knew if I wrote the suspense well, I might help parents see ways to teach their children how to stay safe.

In terms of the medical aspects of Healing Promises, one of the coolest parts of my research included sending a prayer request and plea for help to the ACFW prayer loop. One of the ladies who answered provided me with an intimate and in-depth look into her husband’s struggle with the very cancer I’d researched. Her openness and amazing details provided a depth to the story and characters I wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. In addition, I had a dear friend go through cancer treatments while I wrote this story, and I had another very precious friend and his family show me what faith looks like even when life with cancer and healing don’t go the way we pray.

What are your current projects?

Very soon I’ll jump into editing Enduring Justice, the third Defenders of Hope novel. And I’ve started work on my next suspense series which includes three novels that have been brewing in my heart a long time. As to what they’re about…let’s just say they include law enforcement, families with children, and intense storylines.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Balancing homeschooling with writing time is a big challenge. As is forcing myself to get a descent amount of sleep because there’s always something to be doing or reading or writing. But the hardest part about being an author is fighting the lies the enemy whispers at every turn. Lies about my worth, my ability and the importance of other’s opinions. But praise God, there’s an answer for every lie. And that answer can be summed up with remembering who we are in Christ and that He has called us, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace which He granted us in Christ before the beginning of time. (paraphrase of 1 Timothy 1:8-9)

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Sharon Hinck because within the pages of her stories I’m invited to laugh, cry and worship God in unique ways. I love her Restorer series in particular. Set in a fantasy world is a mom I can relate to who faces emotional, spiritual and physical battles that challenge me to face the giants in my life and look to the Lord. Besides that, her sword fighting scenes ring with metal clashes and adrenaline that captures me and keeps me up way too late at night.

Do you have any advice for other romantic suspense writers?

My advice for any type of writing is to let who God is and who you are flow through your fingers. That’s the uniqueness each writer brings to a story.

In terms of writing romantic suspense, one of the most important things an author can do is fully research their story. There are a ton of ideas tucked away in good research. Read biographies about and talk to people in your character’s professions. Some folks I’ve interviewed have shared great ideas for bringing together the suspense and romance plots just by telling stories of their lives.

I’d also suggest getting to know your characters well before you begin writing. Pray about each character’s basic lie. What do they believe about themselves? They’re unlovable? They’re not good enough? And also find out what they want most or hope with everything in them won’t happen. Knowing these things about your characters will enable you to write them well. Praying about them will help you see what God wants to do through your story to touch hearts and change lives.


Blogger ChristyJan said...

Healing Promises sounds like a wonderful read.

I enjoyed this interview with Amy. Thanks!

9:27 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Happy Sunday, I have been following this wonderful author's virtual tour!
Her next suspense series sounds great to me. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks a bunch, Cindi

8:09 PM  

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