A visit from Amy C. Blake, author of new adult suspense Whitewashed

Author (and pastor’s wife) Amy C. Blake has just released a new adult suspense novel called Whitewashed. I’ve already snagged my copy and can’t wait to read it. Meanwhile, Amy is visiting here and answering questions about Whitewashed, writing, and life!

Amy Blake, author of Whitewashed.

Hi, Amy. Welcome!

Readers love to know about writers, so tell us a little about yourself, family, dogs, cats etc.

I’m a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four from Columbus, Ohio, and we have a spoiled, 11-year-old English Springer Spaniel named Chrisgo. I earned my BA and MA in English from Mississippi College, the place on which Verity College in Whitewashed is loosely based. My husband and I met at Mississippi College and argued against each other in Argumentation class. We still debate about who won the argument because the teacher voted for him while the class voted for me (which, of course, means I won).

What are some of your favorite activities?

I love to read suspense and YA fantasy, along with other genres. I enjoy playing games like Spades, Rook, Euchre, and Dutch Blitz with family and friends. I also like cuddling on the couch with my kids watching good movies.

What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved to read, though for years I never had enough self-confidence to believe I could become a published author myself. Eventually, I took a couple of writing courses, attended writers’ conferences, and decided to give writing a try. I started with short stories, articles, and devotionals and was encouraged when some were published. Then I moved on to books. My first novels were pretty bad, but they helped me learn how to write. Now I’m glad I stuck with it through the discouraging seasons.

If you could do anything that you are not doing now, what would it be?

 Right now, I’d love to be sitting on Poppa and Grand’s porch in Mississippi soaking up some sunshine. These Ohio winters are too cold!
Amy Blake's new adult suspense novel Whitewashed.

Tell us about your new book. What age range is it for? And with female protagonists, I’m guessing it’s mainly for girls, or is it for both genders?

Whitewashed is primarily for girls, especially those in the older teen/younger twenties range who are transitioning into adulthood. However, I’ve had a few male readers tell me they enjoyed the book, and many women all the way into their senior adult years tell me they couldn’t put it down.

What’s the novel’s theme? Or what do you want readers to take away when they’re done?

Whitewashed has several themes interwoven into the plot, but I’ll just tell you about one. Patience is a real stickler for truth, so much so she sometimes can’t see people. She’s even been known to scream truth in the faces of people she loves, and in so doing caused much more harm than good. I want the reader to learn, along with Patience, that truth and mercy go hand-in-hand. Just as God is a God of truth who is merciful to His children, we should be people of truth who also show mercy to others.

Whitewashed is book 1 in the On the Brink series. The other stories feature Patience’s sisters, correct?

Actually the other two On the Brink books feature Patience’s two best friends, Nat and Christy, who are also homeschooled. Christy’s story is set in Buckeye Lake, Ohio, and ties into the 1920s when Buckeye Lake–with its amusement parks and nationally-known ballrooms–drew huge crowds. Nat’s story is still in the works, though I’m pretty sure it’ll be set in Washington DC.

 

Thanks, Amy!

About Whitewashed:

Eighteen-year-old Patience McDonough has a plan. Despite her parents’ objections, she will attend Verity College in Hades, Mississippi, and live with her grandparents. She’ll complete her degree in record time and go on to become a doctor. But things at the college are strangely neglected, her class work is unexpectedly hard, Grand gets called out-of-town, and Poppa starts acting weird—so weird she suspects he has Alzheimer’s. On top of that, she has to work extra hours at her student job inputting financial data for the college—boring! But soon her job gets more interesting than she’d like: she finds that millions of dollars are unaccounted for and that something creepy is going on in the Big House basement. She discovers secrets tying her family into the dark beginnings of Verity, founded on a slave plantation, and she is forced to question the characters of people she has always trusted. Finally, confronted with a psychotic killer, Patience has to face facts—her plans are not necessarily God’s plans. Will the truth set her free?

About Amy:

Amy C. Blake is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Mississippi College. She contributed to Barbour’s Heavenly XOXO’s for Women,Book Lover’s Devotional, and Every Good and Perfect Gift. Amy wrote short stories and articles for Focus on the Family, Mature Years, Significant Living, Vista, Encounter, and other publications. She won awards at St. Davids Christian Writers Conference and West Branch Christian Writers Conference. The Trojan Horse Traitor quarterfinaled in the 2011 ABNA contest. Her juvenile fantasy novel The Trojan Horse Traitor, releases in November, 2015, and her new adult suspense novel, Whitewashed, released February 15.
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Be part of bringing Jill Williamson’s children’s science fiction fairytale series to life!

Jill Williamson co-writing children's fantasy series

I’m so excited to have Jill Williamson on my blog today. I love her Christian speculative fiction and can’t wait to read her new book, Rebel. I saw she had a Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s book series co-written with her son–how cool is that! 

So I asked her to come tell us about it. Here’s Jill:

I came up with the premise for RoboTales with the help of my entire family. We thought that a science fiction fairytale series would be fun. In each book, Robo the robot dog befriends a child who helps him find clues to the mystery of who built him and why. This children’s chapter book series is for readers ages 7-13.

Jill Williamson's new character Robo

In the first story, we meet a twelve-year old mechanic named Tinker. He is scavenging for machine parts outside the city and finds a broken robot dog with the letters R.O.B.O. on his belly. This is no ordinary robot. Its hull is thick alloy. Robo can fly. Even better, he can fly in outer space. But Robo is busted, so he can’t really fly at all. Tinker takes him home to see if he can be repaired.

Tinker lives with his uncle and cousins. He works in his uncle’s repair shop and scavenges parts from the local Hunk and Junk. Tinker’s motto is “recycle and create,” and he hopes to someday invent something that will make a difference in his planet’s pollution levels.

When the Invention Institute holds a Recycle Race contest for young inventors, Tinker wants to enter. His uncle gives him permission—if he can find his own parts. Tinker finds an old airbike at the Hunk and Junk and hauls it home, but the night before the contest, his cousins destroy the airbike. That’s when Robo steps in to help.

Each book in the RoboTales series follows Robo as he travels to a different planet. He meets a boy, and they help one another. Book by book, the clues add up toward solving the overall mystery of Robo’s past.

As I wrote, Luke became my writing partner, naming characters, creatures, and helping to plot every detail of the stories. Luke even built Robo out of LEGOs. He is very creative.

Jill Williamson's son Luke and Robo

With my other writing contracts, my speaking schedule, and the busyness of life, the series hovered at the bottom of my priority list. I just couldn’t find the time to get them written.

From the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2014, I made time. With Luke’s continual brainstorming help, I finished the first three books and plotted the last five in our planned eight-book series. The finished books were sent to my agent, who pitched the series to publishers. Months later, the rejections started coming. In an age where most brick and mortar bookstores are suffering, publishers aren’t as willing to take a risk on a new children’s chapter book series that cost so much to make due to the artwork, yet sells for so little. So we decided to publish the books on our own.

With children’s books, illustrations matter just as much—and sometimes more than—the story. Luke and I went hunting for the perfect artist and found Kirbi Fagan. She has a gift for illustrating these types of books. And she loves dogs too!

But we couldn’t afford to pay her up front. Which was why we decided to try a Kickstarter campaign. This would help us sell books in advance. In backing our campaign, you are really pre-ordering these books. That way we can use the money to pay the illustrator now, and we’ll send you the books once they release in October 2015.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing program. If we reach our goal by the allotted time period, those who signed up to support us will be asked to pay the amount they pledged. If we fail to gather enough supporters by the end date, no one is charged and we get no money to pay our illustrator.

WillYouHelpUsMeme

Click here to visit our Kickstarter page and read more about this project, including our budget and a full list of backer rewards. Please help us spread the word about RoboTales. We can’t wait to get these books into the hands of young readers everywhere!

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