Welcome November. I can't believe we turned the calendar to a new month already. This year is flying by. I look forward to colder temperatures and snow falling before too long. :)
Today we have the privilege of getting to know author, Amber Stockton. Hello Amber. How did you develop a love of story?
This probably began back when I was a toddler and my parents read to me every night before bed. Even now, forty years later, I still have fond memories of lying in bed, listening to the stories, then drifting off to sleep with images of those stories in my mind to create the most amazing and fanciful dreams! I could also say another part came from learning about and reading the Bible. Jesus taught through stories and not only from facts or lectures. Even He realized people relate best through personal experiences.
I like how Jesus used stories to illustrate his point. How does faith play a part in your writing?
My faith is closely intertwined in everything I do. It guides me, corrects me, and gives me the direction I need when I’ve drifted off course. Since I never really had one of those amazing “conversion” stories, most of my characters come from a place of existing faith, though that faith might be challenged, just starting, or progressing somewhere along the growing path. I never write a story without first turning it over to the Lord and allowing His words or message to arise from the story, and oftentimes what I might intend for the book isn’t the end result, because it wasn’t really “my” story to write. I pray, trust, and write.
I know what you mean. Do you listen to music or snack while writing?
Music, yes. I have a playlist on iTunes I’ve labeled as “writing music.” It’s all instrumental because words set to music distract me when I’m writing. So, I’ve chosen a bit of Gershwin, some Rachmaninoff, and a little Sousa as well. Guess all those years playing the violin shaped my love for the classics. :) As for snacking, it depends. For the most part, I have some form of peanuts or pretzels and the occasional little pieces of dark chocolate. Something to generate that munching movement which helps with inspiration in writing.
Sounds like some good writing music. Tell us about your new book.
My newest story is actually a compilation or collection with eight other authors entitled Blue Ribbon Brides. Each one of us wrote a story set at a state fair somewhere in the U.S. at different times in U.S. History. My story, Front Paige Love, is set at the Wyoming State Fair in 1925. Mildly inspired by the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, State Fair, it took on a life of its own thanks to the setting and the characters and the story they had to tell. Paige is about to settle down and marry the young man everyone expects her to marry, but then she meets a sports reporter at the state fair who opens her eyes to the adventure and excitement she’d always wanted. Together, they help each other accomplish a long-awaited dream and entertain the thought there might be more to life than what they’d always done. If anyone has ever seen Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, I actually have a cameo appearance by Doc Carver with his famous diving horses show. Oh, and each of us authors also included a reference to peaches somewhere in our stories, so you’ll have to read each one to find where those peaches are hidden.
Peaches. That's an interesting way to tie the stories together. :) What are you working on now?
I have a story in another collection called Second Chance Brides, about women who are given a second chance at love after the first chance didn’t work out for whatever reason. My story is set in the 1920’s about a young woman whose older sister always received all the attention and all the suitors. She was content to let her sister entertain all of them…except for one, and he didn’t even know she existed. So, she moved from New York to Colorado to escape the hurt. Financial Manager Trevor Fox sets out to find a lady to love him and not his money, then meets and falls for an average girl only to discover she’d deceived him to protect her heart after he’d unknowingly rejected her. Breckenridge, Colorado is where their paths cross…again. The deadline is January 3rd, so that’s my focus right now.
I look forward to reading it. What is your most difficult writing challenge?
The biggest challenge I face is balancing the demands of my children (ages 7 and 5 right now) and the needs of my family with the motivation and desire to write. Too often, I am completely exhausted after handling issues with my children and putting out fires on other things at home. So much of my mental attention is absorbed with keeping the home running, tending to my family’s needs, managing a home business in the anti-aging and wellness industry, keeping up some semblance of a social presence, and trying to keep our heads above water with all the waves crashing around us.
When I first began writing, I was single and could write a book in about three weeks from start to finish before the editing phase. That was how I had three to four books release in a single year. Now, I’m lucky if I can get one book done in one year, and lately, it’s been novella-length. I don’t want to completely set my writing aside and risk losing everything that’s been built over the past sixteen years, but I also don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my writing. Let’s just say I’m extremely grateful for publishing houses like Barbour, and my amazing agent, Tamela, who walks alongside me, no matter how slow we have to go. I can understand why most authors wait until their children are older before they begin a career. That wasn’t in God’s plan for my career, so I have to continue to do my best and trust He knew what He was doing in getting me started so early. :) One of these days, I might figure it out!
I remember my kids being those ages so I can sympathize with you. It's been great getting to know you better. Was there anything else you wanted to add?
Now, it’s *your* turn! Here are a few questions for you, and anyone who leaves a comment answering any/all of the questions will be entered in a drawing to win a FREE copy of my latest release, Blue Ribbon Brides.
1. Who are your favorite authors, and what is your favorite genre to read? Mine is historical fiction, and my authors are Tracie Peterson, Tamera Alexander, Deeanne Gist, and Linda Windsor.
2. When did you first discover a love of reading? How has that love shaped your life today?
3. What plan did you have for your own life that didn’t pan out the way you expected? How did you adapt to the new path you found yourself traveling?
4. What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Thank you, Jodie, for allowing me to come visit your blog and share a bit with your readers. It’s been a pleasure spending some time here, and I look forward to interacting with anyone who comments.
You are very welcome, Amber. :)