Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Amber Schamel tells how she puts a historical novel together

Aaliyah's last chance at winning her husband's love is destroyed when she is banished from her home as an 'unclean' sinner.  Struggling to survive amidst the fear, grief and bitterness of living in a leper colony, she would give anything just to see her son again. When rumors of a Healer from Nazareth reach the colony, Aaliyah wonders if this man could really heal her, or if He would despise her like the rest of her people. It is now that Aaliyah must make the most difficult decision of her life: risk her life to appear in public, or die a leper.
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Short Bio:
Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, homeschooled through her education and currently works with their 10 family businesses as bookkeeper and marketing director. She volunteers half of the summer helping and ministering to young girls and Christian families. Amber loves history, culture, reading and music. She has a musical ministry and travels throughout the United States ministering thru song. During her spare time she enjoys crafting Christ-honoring stories that will inspire and encourage her readers. Amber currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO. 

1. What part of history inspired you so that you became an historical novelist?
I have always loved history. There are so many amazing stories in history and they play through my mind like a movie. Seeing how God’s hand has guided history is very inspiring.
2. What eras and locales do you prefer?
I love the Civil War era, and the time when Christ walked the earth. I’ve visited dozens Civil War battlefields, and have also visited the Holy Land. Both those places captured my heart and my imagination.
3. How do you create characters from hundreds of years ago (or however many)? Isn’t it difficult to understand the society in which they lived, the way people thought then, their beliefs and superstitions and that sort of thing?
Actually, I’ve studied history a lot, but I don’t study the dates and events as much as I study the culture and day-to-day life of the people. Historical fiction is a challenge, because you have to make your characters authentic, but that is what I love most about historicals! For me, it’s not hard, because that’s my favorite part.
4. How long does it take to do research for a book? Do you do research first, or as you go?
The research time varies depending on how familiar I am with the era, setting etc. I do a lot of research before I start, but there are also things that come up as I’m writing that I have to research as I go.
5. Is it difficult to find information about medical treatments that were available, habits such as how frequently they bathed, foods, etc.?
Sometimes those things can be hard to find, especially as you go farther back in time. You can learn a lot on the internet these days, and there are also a lot of forums or groups that you can ask for such information. For my current Biblical novellas I was able to get all the information I needed from books I purchased while in the Holy Land.
6. How is the spiritual payload woven into your books?
This is very important to me. Every story has a lesson, because it deals with how a character reacts and handles the problems in their lives. To me it is important to encourage the reader to Godliness and character, and to communicate the gospel to them, while at the same time not leaving them with the feeling that they’re being hit over the head with a Bible. It takes a lot of prayer and listening to the Lord to weave in these elements.
7. What drives you to write?
I love to read. But as I started getting into more books, I started to realize how much bad literature there is out there. I became very frustrated that so many books had inappropriate material and even worse morals ingrained into them. This is what drove me to write. My desire is to create literature that is excellent in quality as well as the integrity of the content.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Ada! It has been a delight!