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Interview with Tammy Barley

Tammy creates strong heroines with very real problems in historical romance novels. In Love’s Rescue (2009), after a devastating home fire and then a kidnapping, Jessica Hale waits to see what God can bring out of the smoldering ashes. Book two of the Sierra Chronicles Trilogy is Hope’s Promise (2010), where Jessica, now married, learns of God’s unconditional love. Book three, Faith’s Reward, released on January 4th (2011), follows Jessica, now pregnant, as she learns to rely on God for the safety of her unborn child.

Tammy, congratulations on your third novel, Faith’s Reward! Clearly you have a love for the west and for horses, but how did that direct you to write historical instead of contemporary fiction?

Most of us have toured historical sites in the United States, such as Washington DC, antebellum homes, and western ghost towns. My folks loved touring such places, so I grew up feeling more a part of the 19th century than my own. Through fiction, my readers get to time-travel to earlier times and places, as do I, while I research and write. I love that.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Kidney failure. No kidding. We talk about God working in mysterious ways? Along with dialysis, I was given the opportunity to write. An illness that nearly resulted in death opened a door to a new life.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Prioritizing. Each of us can prioritize based purely on facts and logic, but God doesn’t operate on facts and logic alone. I always seek God’s direction so that I use my time and abilities according to His plans.

How do you research for your books, which take place in the late 1800’s?
First I learn everything I can online and via published books. Then I visit the books’ settings. I view the land, touch the rivers, listen to the trees. I watch the mountains where the sun rises and observe the unique color of the sky when it sets. I see the birds that begin to stir at first light, and wait for the deer and wildlife to come out with the moon. Only then can I take the reader there.

I see on your website that your current novel, Faith’s Reward, has a contest which began on February 14th. The grand prize is a chance to win “the day of your dreams”. It entails a spa day perhaps. Tell us what we need to do to enter the contest (winner will be announced on 8/1/11)?
It’s easy. Read Faith’s Reward and correctly answer the five story questions at And voilà! You are entered into the drawing. For details and to enter, visit

How do you balance storytelling and the spiritual aspects of your characters?
I begin by asking God, “What would you like for me to share with Your people in this story?” I often find myself inspired by one or more faith themes, and then determine a way to work in those faith themes, in a way that will touch readers in a beautiful, memorable way. I try to go light on spiritual aspects, because I hope that Christian readers will be able to share these novels with friends and family members who are seekers, and whose hearts might be touched through God’s gentle and ever-present love.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Seriously? Every time I receive an e-mail from a reader that says one of my novels affected her in a meaningful way. Those are my greatest moments. They fuel my love for what I do.

Tammy, thank you for taking time to share with our ACFW readers!
Thank you so much!

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