Sunday, December 05, 2010
For many years going through regular school, I tried hard to find something to enjoy about history class. There were moments and tidbits, but on the whole, the classes were rather boring. Nothing but facts, names, dates, events, etc. Nothing personal, and no connection to what happened or who lived during those times. So now, as a historical fiction author, I seek to create stories people will love while weaving history throughout the book. When readers finish one of my books, they’ve usually gotten a history lesson without realizing it. And that’s the highest testament someone can give me about my books.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
That’s an easy one. The day I married the love of my life. He’s also an author, and we share the same birthday, only I’m one year older. Second to that would be the day I gave birth to our daughter and I became a mother for the first time. In just 5 months, I’ll become a mother again to our son. Those 3 days are hard to top!
How has being published changed your life?
Well, when it first happened, I felt a small bit of fear. What had I gotten myself into? And would I be able to sustain this writing as a career without disappointing my readers? I felt an enormous amount of pressure, but with prayer, a lot of that has subsided, and I write first and foremost for God. Letting Him take the reins has helped in so many ways. Beyond that, learning about my first contract led my husband to come visit me and that helped us realize our friendship had become so much more. Just 7 months after hearing the news of selling my first book, I was married. I’d say my life changed quite a bit!
Oh, yes, I remember it well. What fun! What are you reading right now?
I actually just finished Tamera Alexander’s latest novel, and I haven’t yet started another one. Thanksgiving sort of snuck in there and zapped a lot of time. But the next book on my TBR pile is Lorna Seilstad, Making Waves.
That's in my TBR pile, too. What is your current work in progress?
I just signed a contract for a new 3-book series set in the Brandywine Valley of Delaware during the Gilded Age and turn of the 20th Century. In all 3 books, an antique book brings each hero and heroine together in ways they never would have imagined, irrevocably intertwining their lives with each other. The first book is set to release in late summer 2011.
What would be your dream vacation?
That’s hard to say, since I live in such a gorgeous state of Colorado, full of amazing mountains, lakes, valleys, canyons, and high mountain meadows, as well as the plains to the east. But I’d also love to one day visit Alaska and Hawaii.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
A lot of times, the settings choose me. I brainstorm an idea, come up with at least 2-3 characters, and then determine where the story would best be set. I’m not sure I spend a lot of time on where, but for the books I’ve sold so far, my editor has chosen them for me. :)
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
First Lady Laura Bush, as she always struck me as a classy lady with a pure heart and genuine desire to help others. The time she spent in the White House and the work she’s done since then have been quite an inspiration to me.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I consider myself an amateur photographer, and I also love traveling, watching classic movies, and cooking/baking.
Description is usually my weakest skill, and I almost always end up going back in a second, third, or fourth draft to increase the details in my scenes. With the help of my critique partners and editors, though, you’d never know it when you read my books. Praise God for such an amazing team to help fill the holes where I lack.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Never give up. If you truly feel this is where God has called you to be, stick to it. Also, study the craft. Read as many books as you can in the genre you wish to write. You never stop learning, so maintain a teachable spirit, and you’ll do great.
Tell us about the featured book.
Michigan Brides is a collection of my second series of 3 books. All of them are set in Detroit, with some other locations in Michigan featured. Although this is a compilation book of three other novels, the inspiration for each one came as a result of my editor sending me a list of states for which she needed some proposals. I selected 3 states, did some research on the historical settings and events in each state, then developed some story ideas based on that research. Ever since I first saw the film, Somewhere in Time, I have loved Mackinac Island, located between the 2 parts of Michigan, so I included scenes on the island or references to the island in each book. The set in Michigan was the one my editor liked the best. So, that’s the three books I wrote.
Here is the publisher description: Within the industrial boom during the Turn of the Century, three Michigan women react differently to their rapidly changing worlds. Felicity does a very noble deed only to lead her to a romance that would be banned by her wealthy society. Annabelle’s interest in a potato picker is barred by the stigma society has placed on his ruined family. Shannon has seen too much about industry fail, prompting her to reject the suit of one of Henry Ford’s employees. Can each woman find the faith to push through the barriers so they can embrace love?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Felicity Chambers brushed sweat-soaked tendrils off Lucy Gibson's forehead. "Make sure you get some rest today, Mrs. Gibson. I don't want to return after work and find that you have overtaxed yourself."
The woman offered a weak smile, not even bothering to open her eyes. "I will."
The strain of a recent fever had taken its toll on the woman's frail body. Felicity's charity work involved delivering meals to the Gibson home, but when complications developed from Lucy's pregnancy at just four months and she was forced to quit work at the candle factory, how could Felicity turn a blind eye to the need?
To her left another girl a couple of years younger than her nineteen years managed to corral the youngest boy of five children and get him settled in his high chair for breakfast.
"Marianne," Felicity spoke over her shoulder, "Timothy has been told that if you should need anything at all today, you are to send him to the factory to find me." She smiled at the thought of Lucy's oldest, the scrappy, quick-witted lad who had secured a place in her heart at her first visit to this home.
"Yes, ma'am." The young girl bobbed her head, then turned her attention back to the toddler in her care.
Marianne lived two doors down and came to care for the home and children. With Lucy bedridden at the doctor's orders, Marianne was needed now more than ever. The other four children, ranging in age from three to eleven, scampered around the small house. Soft giggles and exclamations followed them. At least they showed respect for their mother's condition. Their shoes had holes and their clothes were a bit ragged, but they had a warm house and food in their bellies. With their mother unable to work, all of that would be taken away. Felicity couldn't let that happen.
On impulse she had sought employment at the factory and promised to give Lucy her wages. Felicity had grown tired of the constraints of her life of luxury. Working at the factory afforded her the chance at adventure without Mother dictating what charity work to do and overseeing her every move. For the first time in her life, she had a feeling of independence. She had chosen this work, and it felt good. It had seemed like the perfect solution. But now she wasn't so sure.
Grabbing her lunch pail and shawl for warmth against the cool spring morning, Felicity stepped outside and pulled the creaky, splintering door closed behind her. She smoothed a hand down the coarse fabric of her borrowed clothes. So different from the fine silks and linens she normally wore.
Am I ready for this?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me at my web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/, and there you’ll find links to my Facebook page, readers group, Linked in profile, blog, and much more. Come on by! I love to hear from my readers.
Thank you, Tiff, for this interesting discussion.
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