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Interview With Betsy St. Amant

This week it is my privilege to interview Betsy St. Amant. Having seen her name on the main loop often and reading one of her previous books, I was glad when her name came up on my list of interviewees this year. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Betsy; I’m sure you will, too.

How did you know you wanted to write fiction and romance in particular?

It all goes back to a young girl who discovered her first Christian fiction novel on the messy floor of her older sister’s room! I was about 12 years old and still immersed in Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twin novels when I found Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn in my sister’s room. I started reading and fell in love. I knew in that moment that I wanted to create the same characters and feelings of inspiration that I felt while reading that story. I love how Robin’s writing made me, as a young woman, want to draw closer to God while also encouraging me to hold out for a true hero and not settle in my future relationships. It was information I’d heard my whole life at church but never truly felt until reading her books.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
That’s easy—joining the ACFW. If I hadn’t joined at Gayle Roper’s suggestion almost 7 years ago, I’d have never made it as far as fast as I have today. I truly believe God blessed and is blessing the ACFW and its members! They’re all precious to me.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I read this and literally just burst out laughing! As a part-time employee outside of the home, a wife, a mother to a sweet but very clingy/active two-year-old, ACFW moderator, freelance writer for my local newspaper, and multi-published author for Steeple Hill Love Inspired, I’m still not really sure how I manage to do what I do every day. I chalk it up to the grace of God! Somehow (maybe through holy time warps?!) all of the above gets accomplished and I manage to blog regularly, beat my deadlines, keep my house clean, and occasionally feed my husband. ::wink:: Seriously, though, it all comes down to priorities and prayer. I’m actually teaching a workshop on Time Management for the Busy Writer in March 2011 for a local RWA conference. I thought I was qualified to teach the subject of time management as a stay-at-home mom/writer, but God gave me that extra bit of material when I ended up going back to the work force (kicking and screaming I might add) last March. ☺ I think my biggest challenge personally is feeling like I have to do everything and do it well. The Lord has taught me lately to just breathe and trust His timing instead of my own. He stopped the sun for Joshua in the Old Testament once—I figure He’s got my situation under control. ☺

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I couldn’t separate them if I tried! I guess it goes back to my desire to write and how that novel of Robin Jones Gunn’s touched me so deeply. My faith and writing are so intimately entwined, that’s that. Without Christ, I couldn’t write a word on my own. That’s how God planned it for me, and I’m willingly embracing that truth. Sometimes I have to rein myself in so I don’t get preachy in my books—because I’m so eager to share the good news of Christ! But I’m learning to step back and let God speak through the pages instead of me just screaming the gospel at my readers. Subtle elements of faith can be just as powerful!

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I think my younger-than-average age (I’m 26, was first published at 24 through The Wild Rose Press) helps give my stories a unique voice and perspective. I hope to use that to full advantage. God has an audience for each of our stories—I just want to write to the right one, the one He has for me, whatever that age group is.

Finish this question. I want my books to . . .
Lead others closer to the Lord like Robin Jones Gunn’s books did for me as a young teenager. I want my readers to feel inspired to change the world and make it a better place through their own relationships with Christ and then through each other. That’s a tall order but thankfully I worship a pretty tall Savior. ☺

What’s next for Betsy St. Amant?
I just completed and turned in my contracted novel with Steeple Hill titled Fireman Dad, coming August 2011. This is a story about a single mom and fireman, and a lot of the story is based the real life experience I recently lived, as my fireman hubby was laid off from the fire department December 2009 due to city budget cuts. Everyone tells you to “write what you know” so boy, did I! ☺

Any parting words?
Thanks for having me! I really appreciate all that the ACFW does to help promote its authors and spread the word about their books. I’m truly honored to be a part of this wonderful organization.

Thanks for sharing with us, Betsy!

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