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Interview with Amy R Anguish

Amy is a Christian, wife, mother, author, artist. She grew up a preacher's kid, moving every few years. She’s never lived anywhere longer than six years. By the time she got married, she had lived in six different towns, seven if you count the few months her family lived with her grandparents between jobs one time, and five/six different states. Amy married her husband thirteen years ago, who she met in college. She majored in English, not to become a teacher, but because she knew from middle school on that she wanted to be a writer.


Welcome, Amy. How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
I’m pretty sure the first thing I did was jump and down and squeal. Ha! Seriously, though, I spread the news through Facebook and friends, had a release party online, and used the phrase “I’m an author” as much as possible.

What book have you read that has had most influenced your life?
I have read so many books that I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one. Maybe we could say it was a book my eighth grade English teacher wrote, because even though the book wasn’t that great, it made me realize that it was achievable. I knew a real-life author with a book in our library. That meant I could do it, too.

Who is your favorite author? Have they impacted your writing?
I have several favorites. Karen Witemeyer is one I always love reading. Sandi Rog impacted my life because not only do I love her books, but she took me under her wing and helped me learn to be a better author as she gave my first book the chance to be published. I also enjoy Autumn MacArthur and Katherine Reay and Tracie Peterson and so many more!

How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?
Maybe somewhere in between. I write because I have to get the stories out of my head, but also because I hope God will touch other people through my words. But it’s also more of a hobby because I can’t do it full-time with two preschoolers demanding my attention all day.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
I don’t know about hidden. I tend to say I have too many talents. I can paint and draw a little, crochet, sew, quilt, embroider and cross-stitch. Sometimes, my projects take over the whole house.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

How long it would take to really get word out and market myself and build my platform. When you’re growing up, dreaming of being an author, you don’t think about that part of it. You just think, wouldn’t it be neat to have a book published?

What do you like to read in your spare time? What other genres do you enjoy reading?
I love Christian romance, contemporary and historical. I also love fantasy and retold fairy tales. Every now and then, I’ll go through a period of dystopian stories.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a stay-at-home mommy, which keeps me hopping for sure. I also teach Bible class half the year, and am one of the ones in charge of planning our annual Ladies’ Day. I craft, as mentioned earlier, and in the summers, I garden and put up vegetables.

If you were deserted on an island, which three people would you want to have with you? Why? Criteria:
a. One fictional character from your book – From my book Faith & Hope, I’d like Joe. He seems like he’d be good at winging it, as well as keeping our spirits up.
b. One fictional character from any other book – The dad from Swiss Family Robinson because he’s done it before and survived.
c. One famous person that is not a family member or friend – Tom Hanks because he survives everything the movies throw at him!

What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?

Killing house plants

What message do you hope readers take away from your books?

I want people to see that even though my characters are Christians, they aren’t perfect, nor is their lives. But they can get through anything and be stronger because of their faith in God.

Who or what spurs you to write or inspires you?
My dad has been my biggest supporter in creative endeavors from the first time I held a pencil. But since writing, my fans are definitely encouraging. I have days when I think, “Why am I doing this? My writing isn’t even that good.” Then, someone will ask when the next book is coming out or mention they stayed up until three because they just couldn’t put my novel down. And I pick up my computer and start working again.

Where do your story and character ideas come from?
Everywhere. I’ve lived all over the southeast, so my stories are set in various areas. I’ve had about ten different jobs since graduation, so I can use those experiences. In my latest book, Faith & Hope, Faith deals with infertility, which is something my husband and I went through. My character Hope works at a summer camp based on one I spent several years at.

Are you working on another book? Plans for future work?
I am working on several more books. I participate in nanowrimo every year, so I have about six manuscripts on my laptop, just waiting to be edited. And there’s always a new idea to get down. Right now, I’m waiting to hear if a story has been accepted for publication, and rewriting another that I wrote back in 2008 that needed a complete overhaul.

What do you love most about writing?
I love getting the stories out of my head so the scenes aren’t playing over and over there while I’m trying to sleep at night. And I love hearing someone tell me that I moved them with my words.

What is the hardest or least enjoyable part about writing?
Trying to make it perfect. I have all the advice of various editors running through my head at all times, and that makes it a little harder to just let the creative juices flow.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I won’t always be able to keep the characters named what I named them or even the title itself the same. That was one of the hardest things to wrap my head around.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
If I do, they’re so secret even I’t know about them!

Have you ever written a character based on you in some part?
I think most of my characters have at least a little of me in them, but definitely Faith in Faith & Hope, in her struggles with infertility. And in another manuscript waiting for editing, a girl named Adrian is based on how I could have ended up if I had chosen a different path in my faith journey.

Have you ever written a character with an actor in mind?
I haven’t. I tend to give vague ideas of what my characters look like, but not too much so that my readers can picture them in their own minds.

Do any of your family members make occasional cameos in your books?
I try not to include anyone I know for fear they’re disappointed or offended. My sister would probably disagree that she hasn’t made it into a book, but I promise that character was only based partly on her!

Often, we are stuck in situations that we are not able to find a way out of. Have you ever incorporated a real-life situation from your own experience into the book and made the character find a way out of it the way you could not?
I haven’t. The closest I came was when I wrote Faith and Hope. I was in the middle of our infertility struggle, didn’t know if we’d ever have babies, and I thought about letting Faith achieve that dream. But you’ll just have to read the story to see if she did or not.

Do you often project your own habits onto your characters?
In my first book, An Unexpected Legacy, my character Jessica often read to escape reality. And I tend to do that. She also preferred plain chocolate smoothies to anything with fruits. That’s me. There will probably be a character in the future who drinks tea. That’s me, too.

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Jodi Artzberger writes inspirational romantic suspense that is Gospel-centered and intertwined with God's love and plan of redemption. Her love for the Word has led her to teach women's Bible studies and teach women how to study their Bibles for themselves. She loves living in beautiful Colorado with her husband, two boys and three rescue dogs. In her spare time, you can find her reading, of course. She also enjoys exploring Colorado and playing with her latest kitchen gadget. To learn more and read her blog, visit www.jodiartzberger.com.




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