A lot of people have asked me lately whether I’m still writing.
I can understand why. It’s been around three years since I published Jordan’s Shadow—and I haven’t even blogged or sent out a newsletter for ages. You very seldom even hear from me on Facebook. So no wonder the questions, in an age where most writers put out more than one book every year.
So, if you’re one of the ones who still cares—THANK YOU!!!! I’m so grateful you even remember I’m a writer. And second, here’s the answer: YES!…I think…maybe…I hope.
I’ve been in sort of a weird place about writing for a while now.
Working full-time and having the usual family responsibilities plus being one of the main caretakers for my elderly mother leaves me very little time and energy for anything to do with writing, and for a long time after publishing Summer’s Winter and Jordan’s Shadow, most of my energy went into marketing efforts and outreach on those two books. I got way behind on producing any writing, even though I was trying to limp along. So I decided to stop marketing for a period of time and devote myself to writing. And I’ve genuinely been doing that.
I always intended Summer’s Winter to be a trilogy, and I’ve been tackling book two. (Summer’s Fall. Yep, trouble’s definitely brewing.) I’ve honestly made myself stick to a weekly word count better than in the past.
I’d forgotten, though, how long it takes to write a novel absolutely from scratch, because I’d been working on those two (plus one or two more) for years. I’ve managed about 90,000 words of Summer’s Fall.
But honestly, I’ve had a lot of issues with writing beyond finding time and producing words. My relationship with writing is not what it used to be, and I’m spending a lot of time evaluating my supposed “calling” as a writer. And if I have one, what exactly that means. And could I actually NOT finish this book after spending a couple of years on it and producing about 90,000 words? And how many of those words are actually any good?
I hope to start blogging again, and keeping everyone up to date. And again, if you’re one of the folks who is still interested and has asked, I truly appreciate you! I try to remind myself that writing Jordan’s Shadow seemed impossible, too, but I actually ended up loving the finished book. Here’s hoping!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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,MatureYears, 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.