Thursday, November 20, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH FAY LAMB: CRITIQUE, STALKING, BITTERNESS, REVENGE, HUMOR-FROM AN AUTHOR'S LIFE AND WRITING




1.    
Your brand is “Writing with a Romans 8:28 attitude.” How does that come through in your books, etc?
I’m so glad you asked. Long ago, I learned that God is always in the details of our lives. In my writing, I try to show that even when we make our biggest mistakes, God is true to His word. He makes all things good for those who love Him. God even gives us an example of this verse in His own suffering—as both God the Father and God the Son when Jesus took our sins upon Him at the cross. That horrible death, the separation of Father and Son, it happened for my good. I want my readers to realize how much God does love them.

2.    How has your work with the American Christian Fiction Writers Critique Groups helped you as a writer?
My work with the critique group began when I questioned a mentor about networking. I wasn’t sold on the process of approaching someone for what they could do for me. This wise woman turned the tables on me.
She said, “You don’t network for what you can get. You find out what you can give. Get in and serve and don’t expect things to happen—but they will.”
I enjoyed my work, but it was the best thing to happen for my writing career. Critique partners at every state of their writing put their two-cents into my works in progress, and those pennies were worth a million to me. Likewise, as I critiqued others, I reinforced my knowledge of the story elements that I feel are so important to writing fiction.

I miss the large group, and I’m trying to get back into it. I have remained in critique, though, as I have some amazing critique partners in three separate groups.

3.    Your books have interesting themes, subjects and characters, such as Stalking Willow. Have you even known a stalker? How does a person handle the fear of such a person?
I have never been stalked, thank the Lord. My mother was, though, by a man who’d robbed the store in which she worked. He shot her in the face, but my mom was a survivor. She continued to work in that store for years until the man who shot her went to prison, but he was released only eight short years later. The first place he came was to our front door. I was a teenager, and I was at home with my mother. I recall my mother’s bravery that night, but I also remember my fear and that’s what I gave to Willow.

Fear can be paralyzing, but God can work through it if we allow Him to do so. I can’t imagine facing anything so terrifying without the Lord.
Though my mother had a breakdown after the man’s return, her weakness allowed God to be her strength. I’ve never really thought about the chain of events, but I was saved as a young child. I didn’t get baptized until the year of the breakdown, and my mother was saved just before that and baptized on the same day with me.


This goes back to your first question about Romans 8:28, and I’m just now realizing it. That man intended to kill my mother on the night he shot her, but God turned his evil into eternal life for her, and I now have the hope of seeing her again.

4.    You caught a hold of a monster when you decided to write about bitterness. Did you research legitimate reasons why many people are bitter; the consequences.  and how did you use research in your books?

This is going to sound as if I don’t care about research. I truly do. I didn’t have to research bitterness, though. I had it inside of me. I know it from the inside out.
That old adage that says, “write what you know” is one I follow. When I write issues, they are ones that I have battled. I have worked hard to overcome bitterness. I’d like to say that I’ve conquered it. I haven’t. But when the roots start to grow, I pray, and God plucks them up. He reminds me that bitterness puts a wall between me and those I love. It can even cause me to say I hate someone, and God does not call us to hatred, but to love. He does not call us to isolation. If the roots grow deep enough bitterness becomes a hefty hedge that keeps others out. And if they do that, how can I be an effective witness for Him?

5.    Is bitterness something we release or do we need a miraculous touch from God? Can we get away from it by ourselves? How does a person begin the process?
A miraculous touch to eliminate bitterness once and for all would be wonderful, but I think that the description of roots is applicable. When bitterness seeps into our hearts, it burrows in, and the more fertile the soil, the heartier it grows. Bitterness is a weed, and we know that weeds can grow anywhere. Weeds choke out healthy plants (love, patience, forgiveness, longsuffering).
I can’t imagine conquering bitterness without God, and I believe that as in all things, the process of eliminating it begins with prayer, asking God to help you to see the evil in harboring ill-will or grudges against others. Ask His forgiveness, and every time that the bitter thoughts ravage your mind, pray and ask God to take them away from you. Then, gradually, as God works in your life, add the person you hold a grudge against to your prayer list. Pray good things into their life.

6.    Your next book in the Amazing Grace series is titled Better than Revenge. Is revenge almost part of the DNA in some families like a disease? What is the cure to stop it from going through the generations?

The need for revenge is actually rooted in pride. Revenge says you did something to me, and you deserve to pay. Revenge doesn’t take into account that I did something to Christ for which I deserved exactly opposite of what He gave to me, despite my wrongdoing.
In Better Than Revenge, Christ-like forgiveness is explored, and I truly believe that the greatest “revenge” is to see our enemies come to Christ. The emotion that it will evoke (love) is much stronger than the hatred that it would replace.

7.    In another novel you write of home repossessions, an education ended because of lack of finances, but this story, Charisse, also has bitterness and revenge after a murder. How do you satisfy readers with the resolution of these huge problems?

Again, I think it goes back to my Romans 8:28 perspective. Charisse is a young widow who loses her husband to a hit and run driver. She can’t believe that her old high school buddy, now a judge, would enter a directed verdict, which means the judge has decided the state does not have enough evidence to bring the charges, and the matter should never have been brought to trial. Charisse wants retribution, but she discovers that her heart has the ability to forgive. She never would have realized that had she not been allowed to face off with the hero, Judge Gideon Tabor, and with the accused, proving that God had Charisse in His arms all along.

I also like to add humor in my books. In Charisse, Gideon provides a lot of laughs, and he lightens the mood quite a bit. I think that when we can see the humor in situations, it provides a satisfying ending whether it be in life or in story.

8.    You also have a book, The Art of Characterization. How long had you written and how many novels did you write before you could teach about creating great characters?

I’ve been writing since I was five years old. Now, we know I wasn’t writing well all those years.
I truly got serious about the talents God has given me and my need to study the craft when I was in my early twenties. I’m a bit older now by thirty some years, and I didn’t get published until 2010. I had three novels published when I wrote the tutorial on characterization and a fourth one was scheduled for release. I have also been teaching workshops over the last few years, and The Art of Characterization was born from one of those workshops.

9.    What is the biggest obstacle you face when you begin a novel?

The first chapter. Literally. If I can break through that first chapter and have an idea where the story is going, keep the characters corralled and not trying to come on stage at once, and if I can get the characters to open up to me, I’m good, but sometimes that takes me awhile. I occasionally use an index system, but I can’t outline. I bristle at outlines, though, I’d probably get a book written quicker with one.

10. What are you working on now?

I have a few projects in the work. My novel Storms in Serenity, the first book in the Serenity Key series will be released in early 2015. I’m writing the third book in the Amazing Grace series, entitled Everybody’s Broken. I am also working on a multi-author collaboration, a Valentine’s Day novella entitled The Love Boat Bachelor. This story is a sequel to last year’s A Dozen Apologies. Also, the next book in my The Ties that Bind series, Hope, will be released in 2015.

Ada, thank you for allowing me to share with your readers.


Charisse
By Fay Lamb

He wants a family. She wants retribution.

Charisse Wellman’s husband has been gone a year, and she’s about to lose the only home her son, V.J., has ever known. She’s quit law school but the money just isn’t there. Her only option is to work as a law clerk for her ex-friend, Gideon Tabor. The only problem: Gideon is the judge who let her husband’s killer go free, and Gideon doesn’t know the connection.

Gideon Tabor can’t believe that the woman interviewing for the job is the girl he loved in high school. Charisse is hesitant about accepting his job offer, and when she does, Gideon makes every attempt to apologize for his relationship-ending blunder in high school. Charisse accepts his apology, but she keeps him at a distance. When Gideon learns that Charisse’s anger actually stems from his release of the man who ran down her husband, he tries to explain, but Charisse doesn’t want Gideon’s excuses or the love he has to offer. She wants her husband’s killer to pay.

Stalking Willow
By Fay Lamb

Bitterness, a stalker, and a neighbor to die for. What's a girl to do?
Trailed by a stalker in New York City, Willow Thomas, a young ad executive, scurries back to her small North Carolina hometown and the lake house where ten years earlier a scandal revealed her entire life had been a lie, and a seed of bitterness took root in her soul. The cocoon of safety Willow feels upon her arrival home soon unravels when she meets opposition from her family, faces the man she left behind, and the stalker reveals he is close on her heels. 

Can Willow learn to trust God to tear out her roots of resentment, reunite her family, ferret out a deadly stalker, and to rekindle the love she left behind?

 BIO
Fay Lamb is an author, editor, and writing coach.
Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.