Friday, April 27, 2007

Visit with Amy Wallace! (And try to win a copy of her book!)

I'm so pleased to welcome Multnomah author, Amy Wallace, to my blog today. Amy's debut novel, Ransomed Dreams, released this month. It's part of her Defenders of Hope series.

M: Amy, I’m so excited about your debut release! How does it feel to have held your very first book (your baby!) in your hands?

A: Thanks for sharing in the excitement, Missy! It’s so much fun to celebrate this time with family and friends.

My initial reaction to the boxes of books on my front porch was to stare out the window, frozen in the moment. Then my kids danced around me singing, “Mommy’s books are here!” Later when I actually opened the boxes and sat holding the first copy, I cried happy tears and thought, “Wow, God! Look what You’ve done.” It was a great moment because all the wrestling with God, hard work, and prayers came together in a wordless moment of pure praise.

M: Was this journey to publication a very long journey for you?

A: There were days I thought I’d never get here! ;-) And there are days I’m still in shock that I am where I am. But from typing my first fiction word to holding that book in my hands, it’s been almost exactly five years. That’s really not a long journey, but I’m thankful for every step of it. I’d encourage fellow writers to find ways to enjoy their path, no matter how long or short it is. God’s in charge of it all. Trusting and resting in Him is the way to make it a walk, sprint, or crawl to remember.

M: How have you seen God in the process?

A: I’ve wrestled with, smiled with, and cried with God in this process. He’s overflowed my heart with reminders of His goodness and also stripped away a number of things I’ve held too tightly in my untrusting grasp. I’m still learning how to hang on to nothing but Jesus and am daily thankful for His unlimited patience! Of the things I’m most thankful for in this process, experiencing His smile tops my favorite list.

M: How did you manage to write about a mother’s worst fear—the loss of a child? Did you find it hard to make yourself sit at the computer?

A: A good friend of mine called this series A Mother’s Nightmare series. Not exactly chart-topping flattery, but in some ways it fits. Each book in the Defenders of Hope series deals with the fears parents have and yet shows God’s amazing redemption through it all.

As for the writing, it was surprisingly freeing to write about my greatest fear through the vehicle of fiction. I could open up and let it all come out on the page and then walk away from the computer thanking God that I didn’t have to see the three white sheets in real life.

M: When we were scheduling this interview, you mentioned taking part in a blog tour for your book release. I hope it went well! Can you tell us a little about how a blog tour works and what all you did for yours? (I actually don’t know how it works!)

A: The tour went amazingly well! Thanks for asking. I met lots of new people and had a blast answering interview questions and doing some guest blogging too. The way it works is fairly simple: you can either hire someone to set a tour up for you (I hired Heather Diane Tipton to do mine) or you can ask friends if they’ll host you on their blogs during a specified time frame. Then you send jpgs of your picture and book cover as well as your guest blog submission or the interview questions to the participants. Most blog tours include sending copies of your book to the tour hosts for their review or to give away a copy on their blogs. Then for each day of the tour, the author visits that day’s blog and interacts with the posters. That part was super fun and a great encouragement.

M: I’m sure you’ve had a rush of signings and tours and interviews for your release. Do you have some sort of marketing plan? Has you publisher recommended you do any of these or do they give you any guidelines? (Yes, I’m picking your brain while you’re here. )

A: Pick away! Just don’t be surprised if most of my gray matter was claimed by pregnancies and long nights at the computer. ;-)

I’ve had personal contact via email and the phone with some of the great marketing folks at Multnomah. We coordinate our efforts so we don’t duplicate reviewers or media outlets. My media plan consists of mostly online efforts with blog tours, web giveaways, contacting reviewers, and website promotions, but also I’m doing a number of book club talks, teaching at a local library, and a big launch party at a local Christian bookstore. In addition, with the help of some wonderful friends all across the US and Canada, we sent bookmarks and stamped postcards out the month prior to the book launch. Those are showing up in bookstores, churches, libraries and in homes all over the place. I’d learned about these ideas from other authors as to what works and what doesn’t work. At the same time, I’ve checked these things out with my publisher and gotten feedback and support from them as well.

My advice here is to be yourself and do the things that appeal to you most as well as the things God asks you to do. I love the online interactions of blog tours, interviews, and personal emails, but the in person stuff makes me nervous. God opened doors for me to do a lot of things, some I love, others not so much. But I trust that God has a good plan and purpose, and I’m reminded by wonderful friends that the success of any endeavor of obedience is in God’s hands. I’m learning to rest in that.

M: One last non-writing question. Or maybe it is writing-related! J What’s your favorite chocolate—brand and type/flavor? (Visit Amy’s website to find out why I’m asking her this.)

A: A question after my own heart. ;-) And definitely a writing-related one because chocolate provides good motivation to get my deadlines met. My absolute favorite chocolate is Godiva dark mint chocolate. But I’m really not picky, anything from Godiva works. J

M: Congratulations, again, on your release!! Can you tell us when the next book in the Defenders of Hope series is supposed to come out?

Thanks so much, Missy!

Book 2, tentatively titled Healing Promises, is due out April 2008. I hope readers will enjoy Steven and Gracie’s story in Ransomed Dreams and then patiently anticipate Clint and Sara’s story. I’ve already heard plenty of groans about the long wait, but to help abate that some, here are a few fun ways to pass the time:

Check out the fun story-related quizzes updated monthly on my Defenders of Hope website.
Subscribe to the DOH newsletter to receive an inside peek into the writing life, kid-friendly recipes, and special tips and website links for keeping kids safe.
Join the Heart Chocolate community via the discussion boards. Please feel free to ask questions or just chat about the DOH books, writing, mommying, or anything else of interest. I hope you’ll join me there!

Thanks so much for having me over to hang out today, Missy! I look forward to doing this again, only next time I’ll have you on my blog to talk about Her Unlikely Family. Many congrats on your debut novel! I’m looking forward to some great reading.
M: Thanks so much for being here today, Amy. I'll be sure to have you back often.
Anyone who would like to have their name entered in a drawing for a copy of Ransomed Dreams, please leave a comment with your email address. If you'd rather not post your email addy, go ahead and leave a comment here, then go to my website and send me an email from there that includes your email addy and blogger screen name.


Belinda said...

Missy and Amy,

What fun! And of course it's always fun learning deep into the process of novel writing. Thanks Amy for sharing.
Can I add my favorite chocolate is Dove dark--or any white chocolate!

Trish Perry said...

Thanks, Missy, for the interview, and hey there, Amy, girl! Only five years from your first word to your first contract? You dog! I'm impressed!

I like the ideas you're using to market your book. Might steal of few of them . . .

I'm eager to read your Ransomed Dreams. (Amy donated a freebie to me for a talk I'm doing next month, and I know I won't get a chance to sneak a read before I have to give it to one of my audience members, so here I am, begging for another copy!)

Blessings to both of you with your writing,


Anna Dynowski said...

Missy, thank you for doing this interview and Amy, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. It's always an encouragement and joy to read about author's journeys and triumphs. My favorite chocolate: milk chocolate and if it has nuts and caramel, all the better!
God Bless,
Anna Dynowski

Missy T said...

Lindi, I love dark chocolate, too! And white chocolate. And milk chocolate. Hey, I love any kind! LOL

Trish and Anna, thanks for dropping by!

Anna, it sounds like you probably love Snickers like I do. :)


Mindy Obenhaus said...

Great interview, Missy! I'm intrigued. Congrats Amy!

Jess said...

Really good interview, Missy. Thanks! Amy, I would imagine doing so many online interviews, it would be quite a challenge to offer someting different each time.
You two did a great job.

Mary Connealy said...

Great interview Amy and Missy. I'm really not a chocoholic...although heaven knows I've eaten my share. I'm more of a pizza fact, it's lunchtime and I'm going now.
Good luck with the book, Amy. I just had my first book, Petticoat Ranch, come out in February and when those books came I hugged an armful all night. Did a little dancing then repeated it all every day that week.
I have two out now and I still hug them from time to time. :)

Christy LaShea Smith said...

Hi Missy and Amy!

Great interview!

I'm with Lindi on chocolate choices: Dove Dark Chocolate is wonderful.

Hope to see y'all at Amy's booksigning tomorrow!!!!

Lifeway Christian Bookstore @ Mall of Georgia in Buford, GA
11am - 1pm

Missy T said...

Hi, Mary, Christy and Mindy. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary, I hope the pizza was yummy! :)

Missy--off to grill chicken. Hmm. Not quite as yummy-sounding as pizza. :)


Missy T said...

And hi to Jess, too! I somehow missed mentioning your name the first time around. :)

Thanks for stopping by!


Missy T said...

I'm posting a response from a friend who had trouble getting signed up with google. Here's what she had to say:

Okay, on the chocolate front, give me anything that hasn't been contaminated by fruit or coffee.
Thanks for the great interview, Amy and Missy. I hope I'll win the book. I lost a sister when I was ten and as I've gotten older have wondered about the parents' angle in dealing with other children. Your book promises to be very thought-provoking.

The Write Life said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing.


Amy Wallace said...

Missy~ Thanks again for your great interview and for having me over!

Lindi~ I'm with you on the dark and white chocolates. ;-)

Trish~ steal away. ;-) I hope you'll enjoy RD as much as I've LOVED your books!

Anna~ thanks for reading about my journey! It was a joy to be here.

Mindy~ glad you're intrigued. ;-) I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of RD.

Jess~ thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement!

Mary~ pizza over chocolate? Wow. Congrats on Petticoat Ranch~ I've heard wonderful things about it.

Christy~ you're so awesome! Thanks for the shout out about the launch party and for being there to share the fun!

Kathleen~ I'm praying RD is a thought-provoking encouragement to you!

Paige~ thanks for your encouraging words!

Cindy Woodsmall said...

Hey, guys, I'm late chiming in. I received the message about this interview late :-(

Looks like it was a party without me. Imagine that. LOL

Hugs to all!

Missy T said...

Thanks for dropping by, Paige! And Cindy, I'm sorry you arrived late. We're still glad you came. :)

Amy, thanks for doing the interview!