Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Warm Welcome to Amy C. Blake

Welcome, fellow author! Good to have you here today! Your book sounds really interesting. Tell us, is there a story behind The Trojan Horse Traitor? 
I'm a homeschooling mother of four. Over the years, I've noticed a lack of novels about homeschoolers, which I found frustrating because homeschoolers, like other kids, are intriguing people with characters worth exploring and heroic traits worth discovering. So I decided to feature homeschooled main characters in my novels, in part so homeschooled kids could have protagonists they identify with, in part so other readers will see that homeschoolers are well-rounded, interesting people too.

What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?
The Trojan Horse Traitor is set on Castle Island in the middle of Lake Superior, hours from any other land. It's also the location for Camp Classic, a summer camp for classically educated kids. While Lake Superior is beautiful with its vast blue-green water, it is also cold even in summer and can be dangerous, especially during storms. Terracaelum, my fantasy world suspended above the lake that connects at the castle to Castle Island's northernmost cliff, is home to mythical creatures whom its rulers must protect. Sometimes Terracaelum is visible as an extension of Castle Island; sometimes it disappears altogether. The isolation of Lake Superior allows Terracaelum to remain hidden from outsiders. It also provides some of the suspense factor for Levi, a thirteen-year-old homeschooled kid who has never been away from home beyond a week-long stay at his grandparents' house.

Intriguing! Who is the most fun character you ever created? Who is the most annoying character you ever created? 
I'd have to say the answer to both of these questions is Bertha Jean Toller, the obnoxious, 70s-obsessed office manager in my Christian suspense novel, Whitewashed. Bertha Jean wears clothes a woman her age (and size) shouldn't wear and douses herself in way too much perfume. She subjects her student workers to Barry Manilow and Carly Simon music, puce poufs and lava lamps, and burning incense. I must confess, while Bertha Jean was fun to create, I definitely wouldn't want to be around her in real life.

How do you find the time to write? 
As a homeschool mom, I get this question a lot. The answer is that I've taught my kids to do as much of their school work on their own as they can. Also, I take my laptop with me to their various lessons, activities, and practices, so I can work while I wait.

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad? Any special reason for choosing to write this way? 
Computer mostly, though I jot notes in various places…in notebooks or on napkins, envelopes, and receipts. Usually, though, I can barely read my own handwriting. That's why I write on the computer.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? 
I do. In fact, earlier this year I dusted off an early writing attempt about a young seminary student and his fiancée whose Christmas of wedding planning with his folks is destroyed by his parents' untimely deaths in an accident. I'd labeled the book a Christian romance, but as I've worked on expanding the plot, fleshing out some rather flat characters, and fixing an embarrassing number of writing errors, the book is turning into a Women's Fiction tentatively titled Gabriel's Gift, a story of God's grace to his children in the midst of suffering. I hope to complete it in the next few months.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? 
Besides promoting The Trojan Horse Traitor, I just finished a draft of The Fey's Apprentice (the third book in the Levi Prince YA fantasy series). I've also done some work recently on my Women's Fiction, Gabriel's Gift. My top priority for the next few weeks is working on edits for my upcoming release, Colorblind (the second book in my On the Brink suspense series).

You are busy! What character that you’ve created most resembles you? 
Patience McDonough, the main character of my Christian suspense, Whitewashed, that released in February, 2015, is (for good and for ill) most like me. While Patience has plenty of good traits, like loyalty and compassion, she also tends to be impatient and quicker to jump to conclusions than she ought to be. Though I'm working on my flaws, I have some of the same tendencies.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft? 
Yes. I can't stand misspellings and grammatical errors, so a first draft takes longer than it probably needs to because of my pickiness.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next release is Colorblind, the second book in my On the Brink suspense series. It's due out with Mantle Rock Publishing on February 1, 2016. Here's the blurb about Colorblind:

Eighteen-year-old homeschooler Christy Kane has always been her daddy’s princess, and her dream has long been to use her musical talents as children’s music leader for his nationally known mega-church. Her first day on the job as music intern, the media shatter her world with news of her daddy’s affair with the church preschool director. Christy feels like God betrayed her as surely as her daddy did.
When her mom sends her to Buckeye Lake, Ohio, to help Aunt Jo, a relative Christy didn’t know existed, with her School of Music and Dance, Christy’s problems only increase. She’s expected to spend every day in the rebuilt Pier Ball Room, which sits on Buckeye Lake itself, and Christy is terrified of water. In addition, she and a handful of semi-talented volunteers who have underlying antagonisms she doesn’t understand are expected to prepare a professional-quality performance for the Grand Reopening of the Pier Ball Room on August 7th, with the added pressure of knowing Aunt Jo will lose the ball room if they fail.

Christy finds a diary written by Lillian, a girl who lived in Buckeye Lake ninety years earlier. Christy is intrigued by Lillian’s world in 1920s Buckeye Lake, when thousands came to play at the amusement parks and dance in the ball rooms. But soon Christy’s interest turns to concern as events from Lillian’s diary happen in Christy’s world, ninety years to the day after they occurred the first time.

Between her shattered family, her uncertain future, and her bizarre present, Christy doesn’t know where to turn. Will God rescue her?

Buy the book here:

About Amy:
Award-winning author Amy C. Blake is a pastor's wife and homeschooling mother of four. She has an M.A. in English from Mississippi College and has written articles, devotionals, and short stories for a number of publications. She'd love for you to visit her website at amycblake.com for tips on homeschooling, advice for the rookie pastor's wife, and helps for the Christian life. You can also find more information on her website about her novels--WhitewashedColorblind, and The Trojan Horse Traitor

Connect with Amy here:

AMY is giving away a copy of THE TROJAN HORSE. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Heather Marsten said...

This sounds like a fantastic premise - and it is great finding books with male protagonists. When my sons were growing up I found it hard to find age-appropriate boys with strong heroes. And then to target it to classically educated children is priceless. Thank you for doing this.

Robin Bunting said...

Love the interview. rebunting@yahoo.com

Kim Amundsen said...

Nice interview. Sounds like a good read. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

Caryl Kane said...

Amy, thank you for answering the call to homeschool! I have a few friends that have also answered the call. I admire them so much! THE TROJAN HORSE sounds intriguing. I would love to read it.

psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

Library Lady said...

Our Church Library readers suspenseful books and I do too.
Thanks for giving me the chance to win this book.
Janet E.

Boos Mum said...

This sounds amazing. Like that it is about a homeschooler. I am a homeschool mom, sign me up.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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