Verity College in Whitewashed is loosely based on my alma mater, Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. I enjoyed my years at MC and appreciated many of my teachers, but part of my inspiration for Whitewashed comes from an event that occurred there during my time as a student. I won't say more for fear of ruining the plot twists.
Tell us about your writing journey.
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 creative 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.
I think a lot of authors have those doubts. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
That's a tough question because creating characters is one of my favorite parts of writing. I was interested in Mabel's character because of the question about what goes on in the minds of individuals caught in the throes of Alzheimer's. I was interested in Patience's character because I'm so much like her, i.e., very impatient and so caught up in my own plans I sometimes can't see God's plans. But I must admit, creating Bertha Jean Tollar with her seventies obsession and Horatio Honor with his obnoxious wiener dog Chigger was the most fun. I love flamboyant characters that make me laugh even as I despise them for their silly ways.
That is so interesting! Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Ironing, no contest. I absolutely hate trying to get wrinkles out of clothes, especially since I'm so impatient about it that I end up ironing in all new wrinkles. I usually have to set up the ironing board in front of the TV, yet even with the bonus of a good movie to occupy my mind, I still wait until the to-be-ironed pile is way too high.
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
I’d really enjoy taking an extended trip to England, Scotland, and Wales (when it warms up a little). I spent a semester in London during college, and I miss going to the theatre and exploring old castles. I hope to take my kids there one day.
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 has 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.
That's a great theme. Not sure I've read too many novels dealing with that one. Please share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
Isaiah 6 reminds me of how very massive and majestic God is. When I get overwhelmed with all the little details in my life or feel tempted to throw myself a pity party, I need the reminder of who God is and why I was created--to glorify God in all I think, say, and do.
What age range is Whitewashed for? Is it mainly for girls or 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.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The Trojan Horse Traitor, the first book in my Levi Prince juvenile fantasy series, releases in November of this year. It follows 13-year-old, redheaded, homeschooled pastor's kid Levi on his adventures in Terracaelum, an invisible land suspended above Lake Superior. I'm excited about this series because I wrote it with my kids (most of whom are redheaded, and all of whom are homeschooled pastor's kids) in mind.
I'm also working on the second book in the On the Brink series, of which Whitewashed is the first. It's about Patience's homeschooled friend Christy. It's set in Buckeye Lake, Ohio, and ties into the 1920s when Buckeye Lake--with its amusement parks and nationally-known ballrooms--drew huge crowds.
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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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