What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? I don’t know if this counts as quirky, but it’s definitely one of the more unusual things I’ve ever done: I tried to impress my Chinese-born in-laws by eating a chicken foot.
When did you first discover that you were a writer? I’ve written stories for fun off and on since childhood, but it wasn’t until a friend loaned me a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, and I strongly identified with something on nearly every page, that I truly realized that, like it or not, I was a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. Unsurprisingly, I love Christian fiction (mostly split-time and historical), but I’m also a big fan of humor writing (Dave Barry and Bill Bryson are two of my absolute favorites, and I’m also a sucker for Calvin and Hobbes). Also, even though my boys are 12 and 10, they still like me to read them bedtime stories, so I’ve read and enjoyed a good deal of middle-grade fiction in recent years as well.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? Quite literally, by running! A confirmed and passionate non-athlete for most of my life, I started running in 2014 with the Couch to 5K program, mostly to prove to myself that I was a non-runner and that was okay. I never expected to like it and grow to need it for my mental health. (I was diagnosed in 2012 with depression and discovered that running is a critical part of keeping those blues at bay.) I am not fast, and I don’t run super far (2-3 miles is my sweet spot), but it works.
Other things I’ve come to depend on include snuggling with my cat (a sweet Siamese named Jasmine), the love, support, and prayers I get from my writing group, The Quotidians, hanging out with my wonderful real-life friends (most of whom knew me before I became a crazy writer), my day job as a musician (I’m a professional cellist and pianist), laughing at the hilarious things my kids say and do (and frequently posting said things to Facebook), and snuggling up with my husband at night to watch Patriots football or our favorite TV shows (recent favorites include This Is Us and The Mandalorian).
How do you choose your
Although I don’t watch a ton of TV, I become deeply invested in the shows I do watch, and frequently glean inspiration for book characters from characters on the show. Those who are thus inspired frequently share a first or last name with their onscreen counterpart!
Another source for names is my own family history; my genealogist mom has spent the last half century tracing our ancestors, so there are many, many names to choose from. Some make better character names than others.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? I don’t know if I consider this an accomplishment as much as God being His extravagantly generous and awesome self, but I am thrilled to have carved out professional niches for myself in writing, cello, and piano, all while being married to my best friend and raising our three wonderful kids. All these things were part of my wildest childhood dreams, but as I got older I thought trying to do all that was pretty unrealistic, so I concentrated on cello and let the rest slide. But God didn’t forget about those other gifts He gave me or His plans for me to use them, and gradually over the years, He’s added piece after piece. I’m so excited to be using all my gifts at the same time, and I can’t wait to see what He does with them!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? Unoriginal answer, but probably a cat. Specifically my cat, because like her, I’m snuggly and friendly but occasionally need to retreat to my cave for alone time, I like to be warm, I love soft blankets and comfy beds, I’ll rant at you if I’m annoyed, I avoid vacuum cleaners, and I am very fond of cheese. (I don’t drink out of the toilet, though; that’s just her).
What is your favorite food? I’m a total foodie, so I love anything delicious, but if I had to pick a single favorite it’d probably be pasta. Any shape, any sauce, I don’t care. Pasta is my jam.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it? A constant challenge for me is making time to write. With three kids and my musical life, it’s often difficult to carve out the necessary time to put words on the page. When my kids were younger, I wrote faithfully during their nap time. Now that they’re older and in school, I’ve designated mornings as my writing time. This has presented its own challenge in recent weeks with the kids’ school district having gone fully remote, but I’ve tried to balance getting things done with showing myself grace during this unusual and difficult season.
One bit of advice I heard long ago that has proven helpful is to touch the story every day. Even if all you do is write a sentence, you’ve stayed in contact with your work-in-progress, and your brain knows to keep plugging away at it. That rule is a big reason why Roots of Wood and Stone actually got finished.
Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother's historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer's, he can't afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who's fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.
A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her
aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of
This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God's plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Sloane Kelley stood in the lobby of the Sedgwick County Museum of History, the thick buffalo robe hanging warm and heavy on her arms. A line of first graders filed past to stroke the robe’s coarse brown fur. But no matter how many little hands poked and prodded that robe, it held up. It was resilient.
Just like the pioneers who’d worn it.
The last child, a girl with wide brown eyes and a riot of
red curls, trailed her hand over the robe. “It’s softer than I thought it’d
“That’s a great observation.” Sloane loved those light-bulb moments when history came to life.
“That is a great observation, Josie.” Mrs. McPherson, the dark-haired teacher charged with controlling the chaos, rewarded her student with a warm smile.
But Josie looked instead to a beaming, T-shirt-clad woman at the back of the room. Same brown eyes, same coppery curls.
Mother and daughter, no doubt.
Jaw tight, Sloane turned to hang the robe on its wooden rack. She scanned the placard beside it, covered with facts she’d researched. Facts to fill in gaps in people’s knowledge.
A semi-successful cover for the utter lack of facts about her own past.
How can readers find
you on the Internet?
My online home base is www.amandawen.com, where readers can find descriptions of upcoming books, learn more about what makes me tick, and sign up for my newsletter (https://bit.ly/36kH991), which comes with a free Valentine’s Day themed short story as well as giveaway opportunities and all the inside scoop on my writing endeavors.
In addition to the website, readers can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaWen) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/authoramandawen).
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.
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