INTERVIEW WITH AMY WALLACE BLOG TOUR:
1. How was writing your second book in the Defender of Hope Series, Healing Promises, different than writing Ransomed Dreams?
Writing each book was like giving birth, but to two very different children. Some of the same experiences, many totally different. I wrote Ransomed Dreams in six weeks after playing Supermom and rescuing my then eighteen-month-old daughter from a bad fall off our front porch. I ripped tendons in the process, had surgery and then was rewarded with six weeks in a cast and ten hours a day to do nothing but write. I loved every minute of it!
Healing Promises came into existence over the course of a few months and happened in two spurts. One before editing Ransomed Dreams and one after. Because I learned so much in my first editing experience, writing the second story seemed easier. And at the same time, it was harder. I knew more about what I needed to do with the mechanics of writing, but this time I had a deadline. That made the writing a little less fun with Healing Promises. But because I loved both stories and the cast of characters, there was much to enjoy both times.
2. How did you get the idea for Healing Promises?
One of the major storylines for Healing Promises came from a question I posed to the amazing Secret Service Agent I interviewed before I wrote Ransomed Dreams. I had the seed of an idea about the character’s emotion journey, so I asked, “What would a federal agent do if he was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness?” My expert advisor said that many agents would end the battle fast. I knew then I wanted to explore how a Christian federal agent would handle a life-altering medical diagnosis.
3. What did you do to prepare yourself for getting into the head of a serial killer, and when did you get to the point in your research where you said “I get this guy” and felt you could write from his POV?
Great question! My college degree came in very handy here. I have a counseling background and was totally fascinated with abnormal psychology and my criminal justice classes. Plus, I did extensive reading about infamous serial killers and FBI biographies which gave various case details.
The research proved far easier than being in a serial killer’s head. Often, writing from the killer’s POV was disturbing. But I knew if I wrote him well and wrote his scenes realistically, I might help parents see ways to teach their children how to stay safe.
4. You mention in the back of your book some websites and places to go for cancer information. What other research did you do to describe the heartfelt experience of cancer your characters went through in your book?
One of the coolest parts of my research for Healing Promises included sending a prayer request and plea for help to my ACFW writer’s group. 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 breathed life into this story. She also became a very good friend, and I’m happy to say she and her husband are healthy and doing well post-cancer.
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 and healing don’t go the way we pray.
5. Did you find it difficult to write from so many men’s POVs and do so much male dialogue?
No. I really enjoy delving into the mind of male law enforcement officers and seeing life from a different point of view. I have a number of great expert advisors in law enforcement who’ve helped me with research, and from them I’ve also noted dialogue patterns and expressions. Plus, I loved participating in a citizen’s police academy where I learned so much about how law enforcement officers think and act.
Another fun thing about male dialogue is that it tends to be more direct and there are lots of opportunities to show friendly ribbing without a lot of fluff. I love writing that!
6. I noticed more romance scenes in Healing Promises than Ransomed Dreams. Was it hard or uncomfortable to write these scenes? Did you want to tell more but couldn’t because of the publisher’s rules about how much romance you can put into a book?
For me, writing about a married couple makes it easier to write more romance because there’s a depth to the relationship already established. Plus, you can let the characters have intimate moments without violating scriptural principles. But the key is showing the readers the intimacy without using too many words or descriptions.
Another fun thing about the romance in Healing Promises is that I was able to contrast the intimacy in a marriage relationship with the excitement of a new relationship beginning because both Clint and Sara and Michael and Hanna had a number of scenes together.
As to the publishers rules about romance…I’m thankful for them. I write CBA fiction and read CBA fiction because I don’t want to be taken into anyone else’s bedroom or sexual encounter. I don’t want to see it as I read. My publisher gives me a great deal of freedom to write sexual tension and real-life emotions and experiences. And instead of censoring me, my editors help me with the challenge of balancing realism and the thoughts I leave with a reader through the words I write. I don’t want to cause readers to stumble, so I keep that in mind and in my prayers as I work.
7. After you finish writing Enduring Justice, the third Defenders of Hope book, what do you want to write about next?
Enduring Justice is already turned in (praise the Lord!) and I’ve started work on the next suspense series. I’m excited about these stories 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.
8. Since the publishing of your first book, Ransomed Dreams, can you tell me two of the neatest “wow” moments you have experienced and why they were “wow” moments for you?
My first “wow” moment was actually a series of conversations and emails with reviewers, family and friends who read Ransomed Dreams and saw God’s fingerprints throughout the story. One particular email had me in tears because the person shared how reading Ransomed Dreams had helped her hear God speaking about the lies controlling her and the healing work God was doing in her life. I remember crying and thanking God for working through this story and allowing me to be a small part of His work in touching hearts and redeeming dreams.
Another “wow” came just a short while ago when I found out Ransomed Dreams was nominated for a RITA Award! What an honor and reminder that God knows what He’s doing with this story.
9. What has been the scariest moment in your writing career so far?
One of the scariest moments was pushing through some intense pain as I worked on edits for Healing Promises. The day after I turned in final edits, I had shoulder surgery. Signing papers detailing how I could possibly lose use of my hand and arm sent a surge of fear through me. Thankfully, none of those fears were realized and I was back to work after a short recovery time.
10. Is being an author everything you thought it would be? Name 2 surprises you’ve had writing these books and speaking to people about your books.
It’s everything and nothing like I thought it would be! I knew it would be hard work, and it is. But there have been more joys and stresses than I could have imagined. What’s surprised me most is the teary-eyed, full feeling I have when I speak to groups or sign books for people who are so excited about the story. It’s an honor to be invited into reader’s lives and to hear how God is at work through the stories.
The second surprise has been watching my husband and children talk about the Defenders of Hope books with such pride. Hearing my children bubble over with excitement and beam when they talk about their mommy, the writer, is one of the best parts of living the writing dream. One that was far beyond what I could have hoped or imagined.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Nora!
Thank you Amy for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to seeing you at your book signing at Life Way Christian Store - Mall of GA April 19th 11-2p.m.
See you then. :)
By Amy Wallace
Published by Multnomah
FACING A NEW THREAT.
When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But now 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. Now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but in this case, 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 kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt 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?
In Amy’s first book Ransomed Dreams we are introduced to Gracie and the overwhelming incident in her life. Gracie experiences every mother’s nightmare. The story is fast paced, compelling and full of amazing scenes of forgiveness. I found it exciting, thought provoking, heartfelt and a very rich story.
While Gracie’s investigating the facts of her nightmare she meets FBI Agent Steven Kessler working in the Crimes Against Children Unit. Clint Rollins is Steven’s partner. Clint’s wife Sara is an oncologist. This group of people rooting for the same team encourages each other in and out of work. They all face impossible challenges in their lives day in and day out. They all have a strong faith in God. They live their faith out loud in the middle of unnerving situations. You’ll want to read this book first so you’ll experience the richness Healing Promises has in store for you.
In Amy’s new book Healing Promises, all the same characters are back. Faith as they knew it and life as they all were comfortable with is threatened. Clint is tested in every aspect of his existence while he fights for his life. Clint is also on a mission to save children’s lives and catch the serial killer –it’s becoming so confusing for Clint. But he is determined to be an overcomer.
Clint is not going to let this disease get him down and stop him from getting this bad guy. Clint and his wife struggle with the reality that “In our weakness God is Strong.” Both Clint and Sara are used to being at the top of their game, in control. They both struggled with letting go of control – and letting God work in every fiber of their being. They wonder can it be done?
Both Clint and Sara didn’t even want to entertain this thought “In Our weakness.” That was a very uncomfortable place for them both to be, yet it was the very place God was taking them. This is a fast paced story with a great sense of family unity. Amy introduces a new character Hanna Kessler, Steven’s sister. We will learn more about Hanna in the third and final book of this series. Parts of this book made me feel uncomfortable. If you have a family member or friend dealing with a serious illness this will grip you. Amy has a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Treatments can be brutal on the patient and the family members as well. I have known some people very close to me deal with this disease. I had a new appreciation for what that family has gone through. This will definitely open your eyes to many things medically which I felt were necessary to the story.
Clint came to the conclusion “He was weak, but God was strong. God was God. God was in control.” Control that is what Clint wanted; Sara wanted; we all want. Read how Amy’s story gives a clear message of this very passage. This book will leave you with the message of hope and what God’s love looks like. This book will take you deeper if you let the message of God’s Love grip your heart.
Book Club Servant Leader
Ransomed Dreams first chapter
Healing Promises first chapter