Amy Wallace is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, youth Bible study leader, and an avid chocoholic. Go to her website featuring heart chocolate. I promise you’ll drool. But her favorite description of all is daughter of the King. Come meet this wonderful woman of faith.
Amy, I’ve read in other interviews that your new book, Ransomed Dreams, was birthed from a dream. Did you do any writing before that?
I’ve penned tons of journals since I was a young teen, and I often wonder if they shouldn’t be kept locked away somewhere. ;-) Professionally, I did have some poetry published when I was in high school, and then before the contract for Ransomed Dreams I was honored to be a part of a Chicken Soup anthology, in one of the Cup of Comfort books, and also in two God Allows U-Turns books.
Your prologue is very intense, very emotional. How did you manage to write it and work through it?
I prayed…a lot! It was painful to write, rewrite, edit, and edit some more. Each time I cried. But it’s my prayer that my walking in Gracie’s shoes will give the readers a powerful connection to Gracie and to hearing God’s whispers through her.
Your characters are incredibly rich. Even your antagonists have a three dimensionality without losing their depravity. How do you go about developing your characters? Do they come alive as you write or do you develop character sketches beforehand?
I have to answer this question carefully because I made the mistake once of telling a reader that I liked my bad guys and could, in some ways, relate to them. She looked at me like I’d grown a third head. I think the key to writing three dimensional characters is to craft their back-story in such a way that there’s something you can relate to and understand in them. Even the bad guys. For instance, I totally get Gordon’s love for his brother. While I wouldn’t take the path Gordon chose, I could write his passion and belief in his plan because I connected with some part of his personality. While none of my characters are completely “me” they all have something in their stories that resonated with me. Doing the Snowflake character charts helped me figure that out and craft story people that came alive as I typed.
Do you have a special soft spot for one of your characters?
Can I just say, “yes” and not elaborate? ;-) I totally fell in love with the kids in Gracie’s class, James especially, and with Steven and Clint’s friendship. I know that’s more than one, but it’s nearly impossible to pick a single character.
Tell us a little about your writing process. Do you plan out your story or does it stew in your head until your fingers touch the keyboard?
The writing process has been different for each story in the Defenders of Hope series. I’m a plotter, so I work from an outline with each story. But because Ransomed Dreams was a literal dream, after I developed Gracie and Steven and did my research (thinking about the story all the time) it pretty much flew out of my fingers without a detailed outline. Book 2 was harder because it’s a little more personal, and God keeps digging deeper into me as I write. With book 2, the story idea was pretty strong in my mind after writing RD, so I was able to develop a comprehensive outline. Book 3 has totally changed three times before I even started writing it. The outline for Book 3 is the most extensive outline thus far and this story is one that wakes me up at night with ideas.
Loved the references in your story to the Princess Bride and heart chocolate. What’s the story behind these two elements?
The Princess Bride background stems from my husband looking like Wesley and hearing him say, “As you wish” as a flirtatious jest. He isn’t serious when he says it, but I’m working on that one. ;-) The heart chocolate story is one of my favorite insider details. The phrase came from a dear friend of mine in response to something I’d written to encourage her. When my web designer hubby couldn’t make my beach themed author website work, I mentioned Heather’s heart chocolate comment. He ran with it and created a site I love. Then I received some invitations to speak and the heart chocolate topic was a natural spring board, especially for speaking to women’s groups.
Did you know your story would have a strong a theme of forgiveness or did that develop as you went along?
When I first thought about Gracie’s quest for justice, I knew forgiveness would have to be a large part of her story. Then, as a natural outcome of Steven’s back-story, he struggles with a completely different aspect of forgiveness, one I believe a lot of us wrestle with…that of trying to make up for past actions.
Another spiritual thread you touch upon is who we are in God’s eyes. This part of the book touched me so deeply and brought me to tears at the end. It’s such a powerful message. Can you share how you wound up including this in Ransomed Dreams as well?
Wow, Dineen! Your comment about being deeply touched overflows my heart with thanks. I find myself rereading the end of RD just to remember how God spoke to me as I wrote those scenes. It’s a reminder I need often. To answer your question, that message came out of my walking with God through some painful places and how I’ve come to experience His healing my wounded heart.
Okay, on a more personal level. So many of us struggle to truly accept God’s love. To truly believe how much we are loved and how deeply God expressed this through sacrificing His Son. What words of wisdom could you share on this most challenging journey of the Christian walk?
I agree that one of the most universal things we believers struggle with is accepting God truly loves us. We know God loves us, but for it to resonate in our hearts is often a hard fought battle with so many lies and obstacles from our pasts. My encouragement is to curl up with a teddy bear and picture yourself in God’s arms, or a place that is safe for you in God’s presence. Tell Him the lies that are eating away at your heart, ones like: “I’m not loveable” or “I’m a disappointment.” Let yourself feel the memories that drove those lies home. When you’re able, ask God what He says about you. He has so many good things, His words of truth, to speak personally to you.
When I first learned how to go to God in this way, one of my most pervasive lies was that I’m a disappointment. The powerful truth God whispered to my heart was this: “Amy, you are a beloved child with whom I am well pleased.” I fought that truth for a while, thinking God couldn’t feel that way about me. I still sometimes doubt it. But I know in my heart it’s true. And that one truth has changed so much about me from the inside out.
I’d love to talk about this more in depth with anyone who’s interested. You can also check out the Bible studies I’ve written related to replacing lies with God’s truth. They’re all on my Heart Chocolate discussion board for anyone to read and work though the study questions.
Amy, thank you so much for being here, for sharing your heart with us. I can’t wait for the sequel, to read Clint and Sara’s story!
Thank you for having me, Dineen! You’ve been awesome heart chocolate to me and I’m very thankful for your friendship and support.
Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this fabulous book! I'll announce a winner next Tuesday. God bless!