Ralph Waldo Emerson said “earth laughs in flowers,” if this is true then May is a series of giggles all around us. Flowers are in bloom, the weather is warming up, and spring fever is upon us.
Speaking of new things—last October I had the honor of interviewing author Amy Wallace. I enjoyed her first book Ransomed Dreams so much, that I asked her to return and discuss her second book in the Defender of Hope series, Healing Promises, released April 15th.
Not only did Amy come by, but she came bearing gifts!*
Amy is a self-confessed chocoholic, wife, homeschool mother, and author. Her first book in the Defender of Hope series, Ransomed Dreams was published in April of 2007. She is also a contributing author to God Answers Mom’s Prayers, God Allows U-Turns for Teens, Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Moms.
Reading Healing Promises first does spoil the first book a little, but it is an excellent stand alone book too.
Amy I am so excited to meet up with you again! Besides writing, what have you been doing? And I heard you had shoulder surgery at the end of last year, how has the healing process been?
Thanks so much for having me back! Your interviews are always fun, and it’s a pleasure to be part of CWO again.
I appreciate you asking about the shoulder surgery. The healing process has been long and difficult, especially since I had to wait four months to even have the surgery because of writing deadlines. But I recently told my sport’s medicine surgeon that my shoulder surgery was good fodder for writing Healing Promises. The lessons God taught through this experience added depth to my writing this particular story, as I was crying out to the Lord, like two of the main characters, for release from some intense pain.
Other than shoulder recovery and tons of physical therapy, I’ve been busy with homeschooling, actually working on my scrapbooks some, and enjoying a little time off over the holidays with my family. My hubby and I also celebrated our thirteenth anniversary on New Year’s Eve by flying with some friends to another city for dinner and watching fireworks from the airplane. That was awesome!
You had me hooked as a reader with your first book, Ransomed Dreams, but I have to say that I LOVE Healing Promises. This is a bit of an emotional journey for Clint and Sara, was this a difficult book for you to write?
This was an intensely personal and painful book to write as it forced me to look back into some difficult memories. I talk about two in particular in the author letter, that of attending a friend’s funeral after three years of praying for healing and of losing a child. But writing this story also reminded me of how true Job 1:21 is. The Lord gives and takes away, but in it all, blessed be His name. It took me a long time to experience the truth of that verse. But looking back I see even more clearly that I never walked a step of this journey alone. And very often I didn’t even do the walking because God carried me.
Can you tell us a bit about the research you had to do for this story?
As I formulated the suspense angle of this story I did a lot of reading on serial killers. Not fun by any account, but fascinating. In college, my criminal justice classes and abnormal psychology courses were among my favorites. But as soon as I knew the storyline, my protective husband asked me never to look at the websites and books I’d read again. And I haven’t. But I do have to pray a good deal to keep the real life stories and pictures out of my head.
As for the emotional and relational aspects of the story, I had a group of wonderful people providing intimate details of their personal battles with the illness Clint and Sara have to face in Healing Promises. A few of those amazing people have semi-fictional cameos in the story. But I also did a great deal of reading, interviewing, and online research to supplement the personal information.
Several times throughout the book you reference the song “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman, can you explain the significance of this song to you?
This song became my life anthem last year. There were physical valleys of pain and personal struggles with my calling to write that still make me cry when I sing this song. But what a gift to worship the Lord and raise my voice to say, “Blessed be Your name” even when life hurts.
This year, the song and the struggles are different. God has healed so much in my heart and in some very dear relationships. But “Blessed Be Your Name” is still a song that God uses to remind me that no matter what, He is with me and He is good.
I love the relationship that Marilynn and Sara have. Marilynn warned Sara not to depend on people and circumstances. Can you explain what Marilynn was trying to communicate?
I loved Marilyn and Sara too! And what Marilynn was trying to communicate is the same thing my best friend tells me all the time: people and circumstances don’t define us, the opinions and situations swirling around don’t determine our worth. Because the measure of who we are was settled by the only One who has the full picture. And He looks at His children with smiling eyes and outstretched hands. Our worth was settled on the cross of Christ. Therefore, no accolades or relationships make me okay, any more than negative words or circumstances define who I am. It’s an easy truth to know, a much harder one to experience.
What message would you like your readers to come away with in Healing Promises?
My prayer is that as readers become involved in Clint and Sara’s journey, they’ll experience a deeper sense of the goodness and trustworthiness of God, even when life doesn’t go as we prayed. I also hope readers will see that at the end of ourselves only one truth remains—God is good. What we do with that fact changes everything.
What is one thing or verse God is using to speak to you right now?
God is hard at work teaching me what unconditional respect means and also showing me the joy in being part of a community of believers. Our church family has struggled with so many deaths and health crises in our membership recently, but God is still very real and present among us. What a gift to truly weep with those who weep and know God is gently wiping away each tear. And to rejoice with those who rejoice, knowing our heavenly Daddy is dancing with us.
Last time you where here you responded to one of my questions saying, no one has asked you what your favorite chocolate is. Amy, what is your favorite chocolate?
See, I love your questions. 😉 My favorite chocolate is Godiva dark chocolate mint medallions. And I’m happy to receive those with much thanksgiving should anyone want to send some my way.
Amy I wish you the best Mother’s Day this month, and thank you so much for visiting us here again.
Thank you for having me! I hope Mother’s Day is a joy-filled celebration for you and your Book Buzz readers.
Be sure to visit Amy at her personal blog Heart Chocolate, and you can read the first chapter to each of the two books in the Defender of Hope Series.
* Now I mentioned at the beginning that Amy comes bearing gifts. This month, Amy will be giving one of our lucky Book Buzz readers a nice Mother’s Day gift pack (but no worries if you are not a Mom, you are included also). This gift pack will include a signed copy of Healing Promises, a Healing Promises mug, and a Starbucks gift card. Thank you so much Amy! Click here for all the details on how to enter the monthly drawing.
©2008, Laurel Wreath