When I first saw the cover of Ransomed Dreams on CBD's website and read the premise, I was hooked! Finding her website, I emailed Amy to let her know I was keen to read her book when it made its way Down Under and Amy graciously responded! That has now led to a lovely friendship (via the internet but I slowly convincing Amy of the wonders of an Australian holiday!) so I am thrilled that Amy decided to make her final stop in Melbourne, Australia to chat about Ransomed Dreams in book stores in the US now!
Thanks for inviting me to come Down Under. I'm looking forward to the day my family and I get to do that in real life!
Wouldn't that be fun – we could provide great fodder for another novel – LOL!
Now to Ransomed Dreams...
Amy, as I expressed to you after reading RD, the most powerful element about your book is God's message about guilt and forgiveness and that is something that I rarely experience. Usually the characters are the best part of a book or an intriguing storyline but your message hit me right between the eyes and somehow knowing what I do of you from our friendship that was the important bit - am I right?
I'm thrilled the most powerful thing about my book was God's message about guilt and forgiveness! To me that says I listened to the Spirit and He'll use this book to reach people with its theme, which ultimately is its highest purpose. I do still hope the characters and story were interesting too. ;-)
Absolutely :) I loved Gracie and Steven's authenticity , due to their imperfections as well as their appealing personalities. They were characters that I easily connected with and that makes the read all the more enjoyable.
You highlight the destructive nature guilt can play in our lives as well as the freedom God's forgiveness brings. Was this a theme you started with or that developed while writing the story?
The theme that became so clear as I wrote the first and very rough draft for Ransomed Dreams was one of forgiveness. The idea was there with the initial glimpse of a story idea, but it grew stronger the more I typed.
Gracie and Steven both battle with forgiveness. Gracie needs to forgive another for the loss of her family and Steven battles to forgive himself for his own failings. Did you identify with one character more than the other?
Gracie's and Steven's battle with forgiveness was so different, but equally mine. I've never worked a job where someone's life was in my hands like Steven, but the issue of self-hatred for very bad choices is something I've wrestled with God about on a number of painful occasions. And like Gracie, there were people in my past who had taken some very precious things from me who I struggled to forgive, especially when that offer of forgiveness was in essence spit upon. Forgiveness is such a tough issue to address, but my prayer is that through Gracie and Steven readers will catch a glimpse of what forgiveness looks like with skin on so to speak, and that God will draw them closer in the process.
How has God's forgiveness impacted your own life so far?
The verses in Matthew 18 that talk about how when we don't realize how forgiven we are we fail to extend that forgiveness to others have penetrated my heart. God has graciously shown me that my extending forgiveness to others~ forgiving from my heart~ has only come after I've spent time in His presence feeling the weight of my own sins and the preciousness of His complete forgiveness toward me.
I love that you didn't tie up all the loose ends in story - the realism in your story is one of its many strengths - do you feel pressure to finish with, say the "perfect, happily ever after" or dramatic conversion scene for all your characters?
Thank you! Writing real is something every writer wants to hear they've accomplished. It's good to know Gracie and Steven and their journeys are as real to readers as they are to me.
I don't really feel the pressure to tie everything up or make it perfect. Life's not like that. What I do want is to give readers a satisfying ending that evokes a smile and maybe, hopefully, raises some questions that readers will talk over with God.
What was your favourite scene to write?
I loved writing the scenes with Steven and Clint ribbing each other. Their friendship and dialogue made me laugh. But my favorite scene in Ransomed Dreams is the very last one. I'd say more, but I don't want to give anything away. ;-)
Loved it too :)
RD packs an emotional punch from the prologue and doesn't let up. How do you transition back to being a mum to your three precious daughters after writing such heartrending scenes that must be so draining?
So many of the scenes in Ransomed Dreams were hard to write. I still cried reading them in galley form even after I'd memorized the book forward and backward. But transitioning back to real life wasn't all that hard because I write one very long day a week. My kids are in bed before I finish working and when I see them the next day my writing hat is tucked away with my notes for the next week. Writing on Saturdays has really helped me to snap out of my fiction world and not let it intrude on family life.
Some fun stuff now ;-)
When you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first? A platypus or a koala?
You know how I always say the platypus is proof positive that God has a sense of humor. But I think my family would overrule that choice and so I'll go with the cuddly, but clawed, Koalas.
Vegemite or Peanut Butter?
I'm game for some Vegemite. I'll just blame Men At Work if their romanticizing all things Aussie doesn't make vegemite taste as fun as it sounds. What does it taste like anyway? Please don't say chicken. LOL
Mmmm...vegemite is an acquired taste that we ingrain inour children from birth! It is very likely to be the first topping they experience on bread or toast. It is quite strong, salty and with a beef like taste and it is best used sparingly. Though you will find some courageous Aussies who eat it by the teaspoonful !
Favourite line from "The Princess Bride".
Probably not a surprise here, but my fave line would have to be, "Wuv, Twue wuv." I'll add too that I just so happened to be married to a real life Wesley~ blond hair, blue eyes, great smile. He doesn't have the "as you wish" down yet, but we're working on it. ;-)
Inconceivable! I guess you have had to get used to disappointment!
Best read for 2007 so far...
Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney is without question one of the best books I've read, and it was my first read for 2007. Running a close second place would be some of the homeschool books my girls and I have enjoyed: The Door in the Wall about Medieval England during the Plague, Ink on His Fingers about Johann Gutenberg, and If All the Swords in England about Thomas a'Becket.
Any final words...
Thanks, Rel, for a fun virtual time in the great land of Oz! Not only are
you a great friend, but you're an awesome blog hostess. And to all my traveling buddies (commenters and readers both) as well as the great blog tour lineup of bloggers- THANK YOU! You guys and gals have been awesome and made this tour over the top wonderful.
If you're not on Amy overload, I hope you'll make one more stop over to the Defenders of Hope site (link: http://www.defendersofhope.com/newsletter.html) and sign up for my newsletter. Every other month I share some Heart Chocolate, a kid friendly recipe and a glimpse into the writing life as well as tips for protecting our kids. Abundant blessings to you all! Dream Big and rest safely in the hands of our wonderful God.
Thanks Amy ~ it has been an absolute pleasure once again to chat with you :)