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Interview With Amy Wallace

Ready for some “heart chocolate”? Amy Wallace brings a unique blend of encouragement and hope to anyone who crosses the path of her website. And her Defenders of Hope website and newsletter offer valuable information for keeping kids safe.

The first book in your Defenders of Hope series, Ransomed Dreams, releases this month. Give us an overview.

The Defenders of Hope series is about missing children, shattered dreams, and hidden truth that entangles three Crimes Against Children FBI agents in questions of justice, faith, and the seemingly senseless realities of their work.

Ransomed Dreams starts off with a tragic accident that propels Gracie Lang into a quest for truth and justice. An international plot to kidnap a British ambassador’s daughter dangerously intersects Gracie and FBI Agent Steven Kessler’s worlds. The past is their key to freedom, but only forgiveness unlocks the future.

Tell us a little about your publication journey.

I began my writing journey oddly enough. In searching for good stories to share with my girls one Christmas, I came across some grown-up novels. Devouring my first taste of fiction since college, I fell in love with reading again. I'd then hand the books to my husband and tell him how I'd change them. After about seven, my husband handed the book back and said to write my own. I shook my head. But then a dream about FBI agents and a mom in trouble wouldn't leave me alone. So I wrote the story and got involved in an awesome writer's group called ACFW. I spent a little over three years learning the heart and craft of writing, all the time working on a number of novels, short stories, and proposals. Then I received a recommendation for an agent who loved my first book, and we signed a contract. Eighteen months later the publishing house I dreamed of working with offered me a three-book contract.

Boy, does all that sound nice and easy. Actually, this journey has been anything but. It's more closely resembled a difficult pregnancy than a walk in the park with plenty of sleepless nights and fears about how everything would turn out. But God returns me to a few basic things: He called me. He promised to equip me. And I rise and fall to Him alone. The other big thing God reminds me of often is that writing is an act of worship. True worship is costly, so says 2 Samuel 24:24. It's my constant prayer that with every step of this writing journey I'll offer up to God a pleasing sacrifice, an offering that has indeed cost me something.

You’re a wife, homeschooling mom, and youth Bible study teacher, as well as an author. How do you balance your writing time with your other responsibilities?

Lots of prayer, little sleep, and an organic schedule that flexes better than I do. My kids and I have school time in the morning and then during naptime/ quiet time in the afternoon, I do some office work. In the evenings I may do some research or marketing work on the days I’m not preparing Bible lessons for church or having a date night with my hubby. But my actual writing time is only on Saturday. I put in about fifteen hours and love every minute. Thankfully, my wonderful husband and three girls do the errands and cleaning that I can’t because I’m writing. I totally think I get the best end of that deal.

And how does your faith and spiritual life play into the picture?

There are many days where sheer obedience to the Lord is all that makes me get out of bed and do the day’s work. Other times, my writing and teaching are moments filled with worship. I love those days. God is so good to give me enough of the latter and His very real presence to make the days of pure and painful obedience doable.

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle on the writing journey has been trusting that the Lord did indeed have a purpose for creating me the way He did and calling me to be both a teacher and a writer. There were plenty of days I wanted to and actually did quit writing. But, like Jeremiah, there was a fire in my bones and holding it in was impossible, because it was God’s fire and that can’t be quenched.

Overcoming the fear that fueled my struggle to trust God came in pieces over time: a loving family who believed in me, amazing critique partners who believed I could write, incredible counselors who helped me see that the pain in my past didn’t have to shackle my dreams, and mostly lots of God moments where He kept showing me His complete love. Then when “The Call” came, I literally took a leap of faith I didn’t feel ready for and God caught me. We’re still working on the trust issue, but God’s revealed Himself too much for me to ever walk away from the path He’s planned for my life.

What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

That’s a tie between listening to my kids thank God for their mommy being a writer and reading comments from endorsers and reviewers that got the heart of the story and met Jesus there.

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

My children are my greatest inspiration to write. They love life and God unapologetically. They work hard, play hard, and get back up when they mess up. I want to grow up to be more like them. And I want them to see through my life that the tough choice of obedience yields the amazing gift of seeing God and knowing that He is good.

My story and characters come from the issues I wrestle with in my heart. In many ways I write to work out my salvation and to catch a glimpse of one more awe-inspiring facet of God.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique? How was Defenders of Hope born?

I think my heart makes my storytelling unique. What I write comes out of who I am and the journey I’ve walked with God. My passions and questions show up in the pages of my stories and my desire to take the mask off and let my outside match my inside, no matter how shocking that can be, keep it real.

Defenders of Hope was born out of a literal dream that became the story, Ransomed Dreams, and my husband’s tenacious belief that God had called me to write. God also introduced me to a wonderful Christian federal agent who helped me create the plot for my first book and still serves as my best technical advisor. Then there’s my awesome editor and my loving heavenly Daddy who together delivered this book baby. It’s to them and my hubby that I give a much sustained round of applause and sigh of relief because, praise God, the delivery is over, and I hold in my hands a real book!

Finish this question. When I get a rejection, I…

…eat chocolate. Then I blog about it as I pray. Nothing, not even the painful words of rejection are wasted in God’s hands. The way I see it, God, chocolate, and writing cover a multitude of heartaches.

Any parting words for up-and-coming writers?

Tell your story. And in so doing, worship. Wrestle with God. Be obedient. And then go to sleep at night knowing that God has created you for a good purpose, to do with Him things that only you and He can do. Remember as you walk your journey, to look up often and see the smile God has for you, because you are an essential, beautiful, and beloved child of the King.

So inspiring! Thanks for sharing with us, Amy!

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