Monday, June 30, 2008

Meet Rita Nominee: Amy Wallace




Amy Wallace is a wife, homeschool mom of three, writer, speaker, Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic. She loves crafting high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues, but who she really is can be summed up in a few short words: Amy is a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter. Amy is also the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, books 1 and 2 of the Defenders of Hope series, a contributing author of God Answers Mom's Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Moms.

Stop in for a taste of dark chocolate suspense at www.amywallace.com

1. Describe your RITA phone call.

Being a homeschool mom, I rarely answer the phone during school hours. So it was easy to ignore the first few times the same out-of-state area code popped up on Caller ID. After about five similar calls and no messages, I was sure the person calling was an annoying telemarketer. And I was ready to let them know what I thought about their pestering should they call again.

Well… they called again. And my terse greeting received a cheery answer from a very sweet lady with RWA. Once I realized this was no telemarketer, I was mortified. So I didn’t even hear what contest she was calling about.

Not too long after, I left for a writer’s meeting and shared my embarrassing phone call. A dear friend about fell out of her chair with excitement, “YOU are a RITA FINALIST! That is SO awesome!”

By that point, I was asking the Lord’s forgiveness for being rude on the phone and tearing up with thankfulness that even when I’m not listening or looking, God still finds ways to lavish His goodness on this undeserving child.


2. Tell us about the RITA book and why you think it stood out in the crowd.

To be a RITA finalist with my debut novel was a God kiss that my heart desperately needed. Physical challenges and painful circumstances of the previous two years had left me feeling broken and abandoned. But when I learned RANSOMED DREAMS was a finalist, I sensed God whisper to my heart that He sees. So for me, this honor was a gift God knew would encourage me to keep going. And it has.

RANSOMED DREAMS blurb:

Chained To Yesterday
When tragedy struck and Gracie Lang lost everything, her faith crumbled, and nothing but the drive for justice propelled her forward. But after two years of dead-end searching, the truth Gracie seeks is the very thing her stalker will stop at nothing to hide.

Forgiveness Unlocks the Future
An FBI agent in the Crimes Against Children Unit, Steven Kessler spends his days rescuing other people’s children and nights caring for his son. He’s through with God, embittered by his ex-wife who abandoned them both.

The Past Is the Key
A plot to kidnap a British ambassador’s daughter dangerously intersects Steven and Gracie’s worlds–a collision that demands a decision. But are they willing to pay the high ransom required to redeem dreams and reignite hope?


3. How many books have you written?

I’ve written three Defenders of Hope novels, and a fairytale for my kids which they think is “way cool.”

Stuffed into a file cabinet and a jump drive, I have two other novels and one novella which may someday see the light of day.

4. Do you have a favorite?

Tough question! If pressed to choose, I’d say RANSOMED DREAMS. Because in writing that story, I saw with my heart that God had indeed called me to write and would equip me for every step of this journey.

5. Describe your writing process.

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 suspense focusing on Crimes Against Children FBI agents, I had tons of research to do before I began crafting the stories. Once my research helped 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 incredibly helpful in keeping me on task with the story, not only the action plot, but also the development and depth of the characters.

6. When did you decide to become a writer and why Christian fiction?

I conceded to begin the writing journey when my husband and God teamed up and pushed me in that direction. I’ve always written and even won an award in fifth grade for a truly wretched first attempt at suspense. But the dream of writing for publication didn’t enter my mind until God plopped some novels in my lap and sent a dream that dogged my sleep. Then my husband took the initiative and scheduled an interview for me with a Secret Service agent he knew. After frenzied research, an amazing interview and watching these dream characters come to life, I was in it for the long haul because I'd found something I could put my whole heart into, something I'd been created to do.

Why Christian fiction? When I sat down to write the story that would become Ransomed Dreams, my heart’s desire was to portray real emotions and the struggles many believers face. It never crossed my mind not to write about God and His involvement in our lives through the vehicle of fiction. For that reason, I’m honored to be called a CBA author.


7. Tell us about your next or upcoming projects.

The second Defenders of Hope novel, HEALING PROMISES (April 2008), is about FBI Agent Clint Rollins who takes a bullet during a standoff, which 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 beast of cancer. As he 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?

ENDURING JUSTICE is the third Defenders of Hope book releasing spring of 2009. Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret remained buried for decades. But when the shadows of her past threaten those she loves and the system fails FBI Agent Michael Parker—setting a white supremacist free—they must learn the difference between vengeance and justice is their choice to heal.


8. Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?

I’m a firm believer that God never wastes an experience or trial. So if we’re willing to be honest and open about where our lives have taken us—first with the Lord and then with others as He directs—there’s great potential for hope and healing and seeing the redemptive hand of God at work through us. In the writing realm, my mentor calls it “bleeding into your work.” A graphic but appropriate description. Oftentimes it feels exactly like it sounds.

Powerful words are born out of our willingness to embrace our experiences and allow God to use them for His good. And powerful words draw people into a place where they’re more open to hearing the Lord and letting Him heal their hearts. Those words give us an entrance into another’s soul.

So consider your story. Ask God to use it. He will.

There are people waiting to hear the words only you can uniquely share. And I pray that as you share, you’ll see that nothing in God’s loving and compassionate hands is ever, ever wasted.

2 comments:

Debby Giusti said...

Amy, I was so excited when I heard you were a RITA finalist!!! Congrats on your well-deserved success!

So glad you stopped by the Craftie Ladies. I enjoyed reading your blog today and look forward to the next book in the Defenders series.

PamelaTracy said...

Amy, I'm glad you're here, too! What a great interview. It's so fun to get to know everyone, what they do, why, and how come.