Thursday, October 30, 2008
In the Character Spotlight, I alluded to a story that I've been asked to tell. A story that I cringe to share because it's a tad embarrassing. But it explains why I won't ever look for one of my characters in real life again. So, red face aside... here goes.
My family and I attended a mega-church for over a decade. One Sunday, well before Ransomed Dreams was published, I was sitting in service, minding my own business, and in walked Steven Kessler and his four-year-old son, James.
I about fell out of my chair. Then I nudged my husband, David, and pointed, giggling like a schoolgirl. He agreed that this man and his son looked just like he'd pictured my characters.
Well... the father and son sat right next to me. And "Steven" asked for a pen because his son wanted to take notes. He smiled and it felt like a scene right out of Ransomed Dreams. This guy was Steven.
After that Sunday, David and I would see this man every Sunday. And we'd smile and gawk at Steven being at our church.
This went on for three years.
We'd see "Steven" and smile and I'd get red-faced and giggly. David always gave me a hard time about how I should go meet my character. I always said, "No way." It got to the point where "Steven" would spot us and do the same smile and laugh thing.
Then one evening we ended up at a youth leader's social event where I saw “Steven” and found out "Steven" and his wife taught juniors. David and I co-taught high school seniors with two other couples. So here we all were.
Once again, David nudged me to finally meet the guy and tell "Steven" why we see him and laugh.
So David and I introduced ourselves and we all got to talking about why we spot each other and laugh. As I'm telling the original story, David slips away and ends up standing behind "Steven" while I keep getting myself into more and more trouble.
It all went downhill fast when I started telling this guy about how he looks just like my awesome FBI hero and how the "real" Steven is this amazing, good-looking guy.
My husband is behind "Steven" crying he's laughing so hard.
Then it gets worse.
I keep going and tell "Steven" how even though the FBI agent in my story is so wonderful and how he looks just like him, I really haven't been flirting with "Steven" at church when we've seen him. Really.
And I kept trying to dig myself out of this verbal hole. Which, as you all know, leads to a deeper and deeper hole.
Finally, my husband stops drying his eyes and rejoins the conversation. Poor "Steven" doesn't quite know what to make of me and goes to find his wife. She joins the conversation and the story gets retold.
By this time I'm so red I look permanently sunburned.
Not too long after our conversation "Steven" and his wife leave the party with a "let's get away from that crazy person" look directed my way.
Then, not two months later, "Steven" and his family moved...
Out of state....
Far away from that crazy writer.
Somewhere in the US "Steven" is now attending church and probably thanking the good Lord he no longer knows anyone who writes.
And that's why I will never look for one of my characters in real life again. Ever.
My hair is longer now, and praise the Lord, I've finally started losing weight! It's been two years in coming to get my thyroid functioning correctly again, but it's working and I'm feeling so much better.
Just in time for my 20th high school reunion. ;-)
So if you have any tips or advice for interviews, reunions or something else we all should know, please add your comments!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Hope you're having a great Saturday! I'm back to work on an outline.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'm on YouTube!!!
If you go to YouTube and search for Amy Wallace, there are six video segments from an interview I did last April about Healing Promises. We talked a lot about writing and the themes of cancer and how we trust God when life hurts.
I hope you'll go check them out and let me know what you think!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Actually, I'm catching up on life now that I'm not immersed in Michael and Hanna's world. And sharing with you guys about my friend, Michelle Sutton, is one of the happy things on my to-do list.
Her debut novel, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME, is an edgy inspirational young adult fiction novel and she's here today to share a little about the author behind the story.
Author Spotlight: Michelle Sutton
How long have you been writing fiction?
I started writing in August of 2003
(Michelle and I were in the same ACFW writer's group years ago. I'm forever amazed at how fast Michelle learns and a little green at how incredibly fast she can write.)
Who encouraged you or what made you decide to write a novel and seek publication?
Cynthia Rutledge, a former Love Inspired author inspired me. And, of course, God.
What does a typical writing day look like?
LOL! There is no such thing. I write when I can. Between the magazine, my day job and other stuff, I just fit writing in when I get the muse.
Do we "see" some of you in your characters?
Not too much. Maybe Dan, but he’s a guy. And the wild side of Tony used to be me.
Can you define edgy inspirational fiction and share a little about why you write it?
Edgy inspirational fiction tells it like it is. You get the truth and all of the ugly stuff in life along with it. I like to write things as they really are despite what we want to see.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself and God through writing that you might not have learned any other way?
Humility. It’s truly humbling baring your soul to the world through your stories.
(I totally concur... it's hard to lay it all out there. But it's worth it.)
What is your favorite way to connect with God?
Thanks for stopping by today, Michelle! To learn more, please check out Michelle's website and blog:
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
And for the elusive "free time" for me? Well, I'm reading a fascinating forensics book and taking lots of notes.
Every once in a while (okay, maybe once or twice a day) I play a new word game I found on the web: 8 Letters in Search of a Word
I'm also reading a scrumptious book entitled Chocolate Covered Friendship. Definitely a book for all chocolate lovers!
So what do you all do for free time fun? Do you make time for fun or take free time as it comes?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
But in a month's time, I've experienced the positive results of this phrase.
The first time it happened, I was bowled over. I read a review of Ransomed Dreams by Latte-n-Libre that got me all teary. It blew me away in fact.
Here's a snippet: "I feel like the measure of Christian fiction is the ability to not only entertain but to set itself apart by presenting a spiritual truth that we can take way and apply to our lives or store it to share with someone else. Ransomed Dreams does just that."
Now that's an awesome compliment. But that's not what blew me away. The reason this statement squeezed my heart was because it was a reply to a long-standing prayer. It was a direct answer to my plea as I wrote Ransomed Dreams, the one where I begged God to use this story to go deep and touch hearts with His healing power.
She went on to say this: "See how Ransomed Dreams changed my life here." Now that's something every author longs to read. And this post not only made me teary, it made me bawl and praise God.
What I wrote with a prayer to encourage others came back my way and overwhelmed me with the reality of God's answered prayers.
Then today, I received another note about a blog post referencing an article I'd written years ago that Hope found on my Heart Chocolate site.
She said, "I stumbled across Amy Wallace’s website and found exactly the reminder I needed. Amy has an article on her website entitled, "Putting on the Full Armor of God for Writers" that truly spoke to my heart."
I wrote that article praying for writers who needed encouragement and to remind myself and others that God's Word is the best place to run for every type of writing day... before you even start writing.
What a thrill to know God accomplished that. And did abundantly more than I could have imagined.
What goes around comes around. And, wow, am I glad.
A special thanks to these two ladies who encouraged my heart with their posts.
And to all of us...don't give up doing good. Or praying. God will bring it back around when you least expect it.
Friday, October 03, 2008
But since coming home, I've hit the ground running and have taught and started a young writers club with another friend. Talk about energy and fun! Before I had children, I taught and have always loved kids and teens.
They are full of energy and these young authors have creativity and imagination to spare. And some of the moms are aspiring authors too, so I'm loving the opportunity to help and encourage them.
And while I had a blast with the group, I came home needing time to just sit and not be required to talk or do anything.
I know I'm an introvert (regardless of what some friends claim) because I get refilled by alone time or time with my family and close friends.
After the writers group, I got to pray with a very dear friend who's off on an adventure in the west and spent time with another friend laughing about life over coffee.
Those times fill me too.
My husband and kids are almost complete opposites. No surprise there. God has a sense of humor.
They get filled by meeting new folks, doing new things and being on the go. In fact, they're waiting for me to come out of my home office cave and go on a painting adventure.
So I must go...
But I'd love to hear how you all fill up. What makes you come alive? What do you do to recharge and refresh?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Sutton has lived in Arizona and since 1991 and has two sons and a husband of 18 years. She began writing fiction in August 2003 when God inspired her to write a novel with realistic characters that would glorify Him. In 2004 she joined ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2006 Michelle ran for Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating board and ACFW members elected her to serve a two year term. She sold her first manuscript Then Sings My Soul (now re-titled It's Not About Me) to Sheaf House and her debut novel was released in Sept. 2008. The second book in the Second Glances series - It's Not About Him - will be released the following fall (Sept. 2009.)
Last, Michelle is Editor in Chief of the new Christian Fiction Online Magazine. The debut issue released in July 2008. The magazine is sponsored by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night an unexpected visitor appears and Annie's safe world is destroyed by a brutal attack. As she tries to pick up the pieces of her broken life, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails.
"...the exquisitely written spiritual content shows the reader that redemption is available, no matter what the circumstances."
- 4 Stars, Romantic Times!
Instead of dealing with timely issues like alcoholism, premarital sex and pornography in a preachy, oh-so-tired fashion, Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me gets to the heart of the matter with a shocking dose of realism and poignant storytelling. From the first paragraph, Sutton weaves together a thoroughly entertaining story that'll keep readers intrigued for the long haul as they get to know Annie, Dan, Tony and Susie—young adults that probably don't look and sound all that different from themselves. Now that's a seriously refreshing turn for Christian fiction."
~Christa Ann Banister~, author of Around the World in 80 Dates, (NavPress 2007) and Blessed are the Meddlers (NavPress 2008)
It's Not About Me is a wonderfully entertaining and deliciously suspenseful read that will keep you turning the pages. Sutton doesn't back away from the drama and with all of the twists and turns, It's Not About Me is hard to put down. I cannot wait for the sequel! Bravo!"
~Victoria Christopher Murray~, Essence best-selling author of multiple titles including The Ex Files and the upcoming YA series The Divine Divas
“Annie captured my heart on the first page and kept me enthralled to the very end. This edgy, yet surprisingly poignant story travels the inroads of intimate relationships – man to woman, brother to brother, parent to child, friend to friend. But especially satisfying is the author’s delicate handling of the relationship between a searching soul and the loving Savior who alone possesses the power to work all things out for the good. A terrific debut for Michelle Sutton. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!”
~Virginia Smith~, author of Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla
"Michelle Sutton's gritty writing style will very likely go straight to the hearts of teens, addressing what they deal with every day in what is all too often grim reality for our youth. Sutton is no doubt a refreshing and much needed voice in today's YA fiction."
~Tina Ann Forkner~, Author of Ruby Among Us
Waterbrook Press/Random House
If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of It's Not About Me, go HERE