Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Story Continues

I'm posting this for all of the "Saving Elizabeth" fans out there. It's especially for those of you who have been questioning me about a sequel. You guys rock my socks off by the way! Yes, I am working on one. No, I don't know when/if it will be published, but hopefully, this will satisfy you until (crossing my fingers) it is!

After writing the final battle scene of "Saving Elizabeth," I couldn't help but wonder what Lucifer's reaction would have been. Here it is in all of its raw, unedited glory. It didn't make the final cut, but I couldn't stand the thought of getting rid of it. Hope it sheds a little bit of light on what's to come. Enjoy! :o)

P.S. Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below.

WARNING: If you haven't read "Saving Elizabeth," but want to, you might want to wait to read this. Reading this before "Saving Elizabeth" will be a bit of a spoiler.

I walked into the lair, shoving away the hands of those offering their assistance.
            “Leave me!” I growled through clenched teeth. “I’m fine!”
             I waited on the last creature to whisper his apologies before I turned the corner and shrugged off my cloak. 
            “Tonight was just a setback.”    My voice bounced off the walls of the empty chamber, but for some reason, the echoed words didn’t sound as promising as when I’d first spoken them. Appalled, I glanced at my wounds.
            A setback. Nothing more.
               The sticky black liquid oozing from my chest begged to differ, but try as it might, it proved nothing to me, nothing other than the fact that Gabriel, unknowingly, was about to sign himself over to the dark side. If he was going to use a little girl to fight his battles, then he might as well have changed sides tonight. Joining the dark army was the only thing that could keep him from losing any twinge of pride he possibly had left. It was just a matter of time before Gabriel came crawling on his hands and knees, begging to be given a place with the darkness.
 Chuckling, I dipped a finger into the gash, then examined it with curious fascination.  
            “Interesting,” I murmured, as I brought it to my lips for a taste. I’d never been wounded in battle before.
            “Who knew there was anything at all inside me?”  I licked my fingers and swallowed hard to force the bitter substance down my throat. Mortal blood always tasted warm and sweet. This was vile.
            “How fitting.” 
            I kicked the tattered cloak into the shadows and retrieved the newer, more ornate one draped over the arm of my makeshift thrown.
            “Armon!” I summonsed, as I slithered into the new robe, concealing all evidence of the outcome in the forest. “Come quickl…”
            “Yes, Master. You called?” 
            I lowered myself onto my perch and smiled at the creature before me. My most trusted servant, Armon had always been cool and collected in his dealings with others, but I couldn’t help noticing his trembling shoulders as he bowed before me.
            I motioned for him to stand. He followed orders, but kept his eyes lowered to the stone floor beneath his feet.
            “Armon,” I began, “I think we underestimated the power this girl possesses.”
            The words in my mouth tasted almost as foul as my own blood. They were an unwelcome reminder of the human who’d found strength and bravery when Gabriel, one of my own kind, had been so close to failure.
            “She’s far more precious, and much stronger than even I presumed.”
            Armon’s head nodded ever so slightly.
            I leaned forward, placed a finger under his chin, and lifted.  He flinched at my touch, but slowly raised his fearful eyes to mine.
I smirked and leaned back in my chair. 
Sometimes, it was the smallest things that pleased me.
            “Gather your brothers together,” I ordered, noticing the black streak my finger had left on Armon’s chin. I glanced down at my sticky finger, then wiped the remnants of my wound on my cloak.   “I must speak with them at once. Tell them we’re not finished with her and we must start planning our next attack right away.”
            “But…but, Master,” Armon hissed. “You were almost defeated tonight. Next time, Gabriel may bring reinforcements. What if,” the creature paused, aware of how dangerous it was to be saying such things in my presence, “What if HE shows up Himself? What will happen to us then?”
            With a thunderous growl, I catapulted from the thrown. Armon attempted a retreat to the shadows, but I reached him before he could escape my wrath.
            “I said, gather them together!” My trembling fingers lurched for Armon’s throat. It made a slight popping sound as I clenched it and lifted him into the air. “This girl could be the key that changes our fate,” I hissed, my jaw now tense with anger.   “I. Will. Not. Accept. Defeat!”
             I threw the sputtering creature against the chamber wall.
The smell of dust filled my nostrils as crumbled rock showered the floor.
             “Now, go!”    
            I lowered myself onto the thrown.
            Wide eyed, Armon scrambled to his feet and rushed from the lair.
            “Stupid, ignorant creature,” I mumbled.
            It didn’t take long before the sound of angry, questioning hisses drifted into the chamber.            “Is he mad? Does he not realize this could bring us all to an early end?”
            I touched the wound on my chest through the fibers of my robe, questioning whether I really was mad. Was my decision to continue in my pursuit of Elizabeth really worth it?
I reasoned with myself.
            What are you saying, Lucifer? Of course it’s worth it. It is written that in the end, you will be defeated by the light, but if this girl can predict your advancements, then surely she can be used to predict His advancements as well. If so, then she is the key to gaining the upper hand and rewriting your future. You must pursue her! What do you have to lose?
            Calmed, I stood and straightened my cloak.
            Yes. We will continue.
            I sauntered out of my chamber and made my way to the great meeting hall. The confused mass of demons roiled as I made my approach, but when their eyes beheld me they whispered their reverent praises.
            I raised my hands to signal their silence, and was suddenly reminded of the last time I’d been in this position. It was the time before the fall, and I was the Morning Star most treasured by The Creator. I was convinced I was more powerful than God himself. 
            At that time, the faces of those I addressed had been hopeful, encouraging, trusting. They had followed me to the end and unknowingly sealed their fates to eternal banishment and darkness.
            Now, those very same faces looked haggard, angry, and confused.
            “I have called you together to address a concern that I am sure many of you share.” My eyes rested on Armon crouching in the far corner. “It has been brought to my attention that some of you wish to cease our pursuit of Elizabeth.”
            A few in the crowd were brave enough to mumble their admittance.
            “This makes me wonder, then, if you have forgotten just how much her God took from us.”
            Those who had been mumbling now hushed. Confusion slowly etched their brows.
            I scanned the crowd.
            “Do you not remember what it felt like to be ripped from His presence and banished from paradise with no hope of returning?”
            Their stunned looks encouraged me to continue.
            “What it was like to have me, your ruler, refused a thrown?”
            A few silently nodded.
            “Do you remember what it was like to see Him create the earth, and the wonderful things in it? To realize that He created it for the hideous mortals he fashioned to replace us…mortals whose knowledge and beauty paled in comparison to ours? Weren’t you angry when you learned of the gifts He insisted on embellishing them with? Those gifts should have been ours!”
            The crowd began to surge with anger. Adrenaline coursed through my veins at the sight of it.
            “There we were, cold and dark, wallowing in regret over our mistake, but did he allow us to make amends?”
            I raised my hand, then slammed it down on the boulder I was using as a podium.
            “ No!”
            I had the crowd right where I wanted them.
            “And, as if he hadn’t punished us enough, he rubbed our mistake in our faces by sending the last Adam and giving the mortals the second chance to walk in His presence that we deserved. He gave them our gift, even after we’d lured them into disobeying Him. Did He ever once do anything like that for us, the fallen?”
            “No!” the chaotic crowd answered in return.
            I raised my hands in an attempt to silence them.
            “And do not forget, friends, about our future. It is written that in the end, the darkness will be defeated by the light. Our fates are sealed unless we do something to stop Him.”
            The crowd silenced now as I talked of our ominous future.
            “Capturing Elizabeth may be the something we need to change our fates. If she can see our every move and stop us from capturing human souls, then surely she can warn us of His advances if she works for us. If we know His every move before he executes it we WILL rewrite our futures.”
            I stepped around the podium and placed a hand on the shoulder of a nearby minion. “Not only that, but it will allow us the revenge we so desperately desire. He should pay for what He’s done to us, and if we stay the course, reinforce our plan of attack, and capture Elizabeth, He will be punished!”
            The crowd cheered, offering their support.
            My eyes flickered to Armon, who had yet to take part in the excited mayhem. His eyes regarded me warily.
            I snarled. He cowered in the shadows as I stepped behind the podium once again.
            “So, my friends let this be a day you remember for all time, for this is the day when His kingdom began to crumble, and the kingdom of darkness began to reign!”
            Cheers, almost deafening, roared through the meeting hall.
            “We will capture both Elizabeth, and Gabriel!” I yelled, my voice rising above the chaos. "God will be defeated, for we are legion, and none can bind us!"  


Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: "Halflings" by Heather Burch

I want to preface this review by saying I'm not just a fan of Heather Burch the author, I'm also a HUGE fan of Heather Burch the person. I know, I know...they're one and the same, but let's face it. There are instances where we've all fallen in love with an author's work only to realize the author didn't seem to really care that we stood in line for hours just to get an autograph , or we've fallen in love with an author only to realize their work didn't meet our expectations. I can honestly tell you that this is not the case with Heather. I had the distinct priviledge of meeting her at a writer's conference back in August long before "Halflings" was ever released. We were both attendees who had just signed publishing deals, and even though hers was on a grander scale than mine, we shared our thoughts about the exciting roads we had ahead of us. I found her to be an absolute joy to be around. Now that I've read "Halfings," I realize that her work perfectly compliments her kind, encouraging spirit. She's worth standing in line for, you guys!
Now…on to the  review! 

After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

I was so very excited to receive an ARC of "Halflings." I'd heard so much about this book and how it would usher young adult paranormal romance into the Christian book industry...something I'd been waiting on for quite some time. Being a young adult paranormal romance writer of faith myself, I knew the matter would have to be handled delicatley for its audience, but feared the author would play it too safe to pacifcy a sometimes easily offended crowd. I'll be honest. There are many times I've played it safe in my own writing, but I'm happy to say Heather took the bull by the horns and offered us a debut that not only touches on deep spiritual matters, but also provides us with the action and sizzling teenage angst we've all come to expect from young adult paranormal romances.

First, we've got a pretty amazing protagonist.  Nikki Youngblood isn't your typical teenage girl waiting around on some knight in shining armor to come rescue her, and I love Heather for creating that! Forget the frills and lace. This is a girl who rocks her Vintage Tees. She drives a motorcycle, knows karate, and can beat the heck out of some hellhounds when given the chance. Does Nikki have moments of weakness? Of course she does, but don't we all? That just makes her more like us. I can relate to the tough girl who doesn't know what's going on in her life at times, can't you?

The second thing that stood out to me was the plethora of "yummy" male characters. Hand me a spoon! I could just eat them up! You've got your sweet, dependable Mace, your bad guy, Raven, and your adorable, Vine. Zero is even intriguing in a nerdy, dude needs some sunlight kind of way. They're all fighting to protect Nikki, but in doing so, some fall in love with her, creating a love triangle to rival the best I've read.

Third, I found Heather did an amazing job with her imagery. She can honestly paint an elaborate picture with only a few words. This isn't a book just to be read. Heather made sure you'd see it, feel it, hear it, taste it, and truly experience each moment with her characters. What a gift!

Last, but certainly not least, I have to mention the spiritual elements. Every character in this novel is on a journey...a journey between what is good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark. They're all fighting inner battles that almost make the physical battles with the hellhounds seem miniscule in comparison. Don't we all fight these types of battles on a daily basis? I know I sure do. Our lives are constantly dictated by the decisions we make. The problem is that many of our decisions aren't easy. Sometimes the world, our minds, and even our emotions tell us one thing while God tells us another. Thank you, Heather, for creating multi-dimensional characters who struggle with the deeper issues in life. 

So, as you can tell, I'm a fan. I think Heather did an amazing job with her debut novel. She introduced us to the world of the Halflings and set us up nicely for more (hopefully many more) novels to come. So, what are you waiting on! Run out right now and pick up "Halflings" by Heather Burch...or you can just click HERE.    

  P.S. Heather, totally gets bonus points for using Gilead's Balm in "Halfings." Love, love, loved it. Oh, and extra, extra bonus points for the similarities between "Halflings" and "Saving Elizabeth!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

You Are Beautiful!

I originally wrote this as a guest post for The Elliot Review as part of my blog tour, but wanted to upload it here for those of you who may have missed it. I wrote it with fellow writers in mind. I hope you'll be encouraged by it! Best wishes for a happy new year!

I’ll start by saying every step toward Saving Elizabeth’s publication has been a milestone – a smoothing of the rough edges each writer begins his journey with, but there are many rough edges yet to be smoothed. I’m not convinced there will ever come a time when any of us step back, look at ourselves in the mirror and think there’s no sand papering needed … no growth left to do. As a matter of fact, one of my jagged edges, “fear of man,” recently reared its ugly head during the publication of Saving Elizabeth. As much as I’d like to tell you otherwise, what people think or say means a lot to me….more than it probably should. People -pleasing was ingrained in me at an early age, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve done my best to make everyone happy, despite how unhappy living up to others’ expectations may have made me. I’m a perfectionist, to say the least, but I’m also a very passionate person who wears her emotions on her sleeve. When combined, those two character traits can create a wonderful novel. Unfortunately, they can also create a doubtful, nervous author who’s sometimes afraid of reading reviews. I imagine I’m not alone in these character traits. Have you ever been afraid to share your writing with others?

I thought so.

I wish I could give you an easy solution that would erase your fears. Someone once said that when a writer screams at the page, the reader only hears a whisper. How true that is! Writers are passionate people by design. Our emotions must lie close to the surface in order for us to easily tap into them and create something that moves readers. We feel deeply, which means rejection often crushes us to the core. There’s no built in emotional switch that can be flipped on when it’s time to write, and then flipped off when our work is finally presented to the world. We must realize we are who we are. Our work is beautiful, regardless of what others have to say about it. It always has been, and always will be because essentially, it’s us on the page. It’s our thoughts, our ideas, our emotions, our desires that make up our stories, and what right does anyone have to tell us that we are not beautiful? At a recent writing conference, Tosca Lee shared this quote by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

Translation? When you shove your writing in a drawer because you’re afraid of what people will say, remember, you and your writing are both brilliant. Keep dreaming. Keep writing. Keep bleeding on the page despite what others might think. A few may not be ready for it, but there are others out there who NEED to hear your stories. Happy writing! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saving Elizabeth Update

Hi, everyone! We're in the middle of this blog tour, and as you can imagine, things are busy, busy, busy! It seems right when I think I'm finished with all of the interviews and guest posts another one rolls in. Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining at all. The more the merrier in my opinion, so keep sending those requests! I'm more than happy to share myself, and my writing with you guys. 

I wish I had the time to write a longer, more elaborate post, but unfortunately, time will not allow it. I do want to let you know how things are going with Saving Elizabeth since its release. So far, I've gotten nothing but wonderful reviews from those who have read it. *breathes a sigh of relief* People seem to be reading it and loving it. I'm so excited! Check out what people are saying, and join in my excitement! 

  "I LOVE RIEL!!! He is so heart-breakingly wonderful. Amy’s writing could take me from laughter to tears to chills in a snap. Saving Elizabeth is a sweet, soulful, and engaging read." 
Author Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil) - YAtopia Review

"For the teens in the world who LOVED the Twilight series and the parents that wished their children were reading more about their "Faith". This book is the perfect blend for young adults who love to read about adventure, drama, and a great guy! " DailyBolton - Amazon

"A great book for fans of "Unearthly" by Cynthia Hand, "Halo" by Alexandra  Adornetto, and "Angel Burn" by L.A. Weatherly."  Michelle D. -  YA Literature Review

"I must say I am amazed! Amy's writing style is wonderful!"
Angela Binkerd - Goodreads

"Amy Machelle hit a HOMERUN with the book !"  Blaine Green - Goodreads

"This is a very clean and sweet story.  It illustrates the power of Satan and how he tempts and tries  humans.  There are some powerful statements and illustrations geared to empower teens in their quest to a life overcoming temptation."
Lisa - Bookworm Lisa Reviews

On top of the awesome reviews, Saving Elizabeth currently has 4.65 out of five stars on Goodreads, and is ranked  51st out of 159 books on the Goodreads Clean Teen Fiction (Christian) list. It's currently tied with The Hobbit for 10th place on the Goodreads Great Christian Fiction for Children and Young Adults List. Eeeek!!!!! (Go cast your vote!)

I guess that catches you up on everything! I am so very blessed and thankful for the wonderful opportunites I've had recently to share my work. Oh, there are a couple of stops left on our blog tour! Check out my website for a schedule. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hello! Best wishes to you all, and merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reviews, Interviews & Blog Tours! Oh, My!

Click Picture for Tour Schedule

That's right! Can you believe it? I know! I'm still in shock! The blog tour is about to kick off, and I'm so excited, yet nervous at the same time. Those of you who have followed me through this journey know I've been very open about the roller coaster of emotions I've been on since first putting pen to paper. Each baby step taken toward publication has been riddled with fear and excitement, and this one is no different. I've worked very hard to preen my "baby" and prepare her for the world. Now, she's ready to take flight, but I can't help but wonder if I've done enough to help her in this journey. My mind is filled with countless doubts.

What will people think? 

How will they respond?

Will Saving Elizabeth be something people force into the hands of their friends to read, or will it be something they regret spending their time on and toss on a virtual shelf never to visit again? 

I guess we'll soon find out! 

There's a lot I haven't known about this process, and still don't know, but one thing is certain.  It's about time the world hears Elizabeth's story! So grab a front row seat. Open your hearts and prepare your minds for the spiritual tug-of-war you're about to experience. The roller coaster isn't over yet, people. In fact, it's just beginning. Step in, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks

As I type this, I am stuffed to the brim with all of the yummy Thanksgiving foods my family has prepared for the holiday season. My family, like many others, didn't just celebrate on Thursday. We've had three days of food, family, and fun. As the festivities come to an end, I can't help but reflect on all of the many reasons I'm thankful this holiday season. I'm thankful for God and the gift of his Son. I'm thankful for my wonderful family who has supported me throughout my life no matter what. I'm thankful for my sweet daughter and the joy she brings each and every day. I'm thankful for friends who will laugh with me during good times, and cry with me during bad. I'm thankful for the opportunity, inspiration, and ability to write and put ideas onto paper. I'm thankful for people who believe in my writing enough to take a chance on it, and I'm thankful for the patience those people have shown with a "newbie." Last, but certainly not least, I'm thankful for you guys. It's such a blessing to know you're just as invested in this journey as I am. I hope you've all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. May God continue to bless you in all that you do! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My First Author Interview

I was blessed recently to be interviewed for the first time by a fellow inkpopper/blogger. I thought Raven did such an amazing job with the questions that I've posted the interview here for you guys. Hope you enjoy!

Interview with Author Amy Machelle
 by Raven Paramour
Amy Machelle is a first grade teacher who uses writing to escape her hectic days of tying shoelaces, opening ketchup packets, and begging children to please use tissues instead of their sleeves. While writing has always been a hobby for her, it swiftly turned into an obsession during Fall of 2009. That’s when she began work on her young adult debut novel, Saving Elizabeth. She uploaded the first half of the novel to Inkpop.com in March of 2010. It was a huge success, and by June of that year it had been voted a top 5 pick, winning a review from one of the HarperCollins editors. Once Amy received the critique, she eited the manuscript according to the review, and then went to work querying agents. Like most writers, she dreamt of one day having her work published, but after several rejections she quickly realized the disheartening statistics were true. Literary agencies typically reject 99.5% of all submissions they receive. That means agencies who get close to 500 queries a month only invite around 50 of those querying authors to send proposals for review. Out of those fifty, it’s estimated only one, sometimes two manuscripts are ready to be presented to publishers.
Even with the odds stacked against her, Amy determined to have her work published. After months of searching for agents, emailing them, and patiently waiting for replies, the polite rejection letters began to pile up. Although some might have considered self publishing, Amy had her heart set on traditional publishing, and didn’t let the rejections get her down.  After her 15th rejection letter, Amy found Tell Tale Publishing, a publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. To her delight, she got a response from Patricia Lazarus, the editor of their Thistle young adult imprint. Patricia expressed interest in Saving Elizabeth and ultimately offered Amy a publishing contract. Allow me to introduce the lovely, Amy Machelle.

Amy: Thank you so much for having me, Raven! I’m so excited to be here!
Raven: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Amy: Sure! I’d be glad to, although, I’m afraid I’m not too interesting. I’m your run-of-the-mill 29 year old  wife, mother, and teacher. I just also happen to write. When I’m not having tea parties with my little girl, expanding the minds of seven year olds, or writing about demonic forces, you can find me curled up on the couch with a good book. I enjoy going to the theater with my hubby, rolling the windows of my Jeep down on the way home from work, and turning my radio up too loud. I’m also addicted to all things chocolate.   
Raven: How did you find Inkpop? Did you hear about it from a friend or was it an accidental discovery?
Amy: It was actually an accidental discovery. I was searching online, prematurely, for publishing options when I ran across Inkpop’s sister site, Authonomy. I uploaded a couple of chapters of Saving Elizabeth there, but quickly learned it wasn’t for me. I noticed that several of Authonomy’s members also had their work uploaded to Inkpop, so I decided to check it out. Saving Elizabeth was a perfect fit, and it quickly found a large fan base with Inkpop’s young adult community.
Raven: So Amy, what inspired you to write Saving Elizabeth?
Amy: My husband is a youth pastor, and the Twilight craze hit his youth group pretty hard, so much so that the girls started to bring their copies of Twilight to church instead of their Bibles. They were seriously reading it during church services. I couldn’t imagine what in the world would have them so captivated, so I bought all of the books and read them for myself. I finished the entire series in two weeks, and decided to search our local Christian bookstores for Christian young adult fiction that would capture them like Twilight, but reinforce much of what my husband was teaching them during youth group. I came up empty handed. The Christian book stores weren’t offering young adults much in the way of fiction. As a matter of fact, their young adult sections were minute in comparison to their adult sections. That’s when I made it my mission to write something that would appeal to the younger generation. 
Raven: Upon reading Saving Elizabeth, I got a feeling that this was based off something in reality. What I mean by that is did you ever struggle with your faith like Elizabeth? Or rather, do you know someone like her?
Amy: We’re only human, and I think we all struggle with our faith from time to time. I’m no exception. I’ve not struggled as greatly as Elizabeth, but there are times when I’ve asked God why certain things have happened in my life. Luckily, He’s God, and He’s big enough to handle my occasional doubts.  He’s great at reminding me He’s always been there for me, and always will be.
Raven: From previous conversations, you said that you planned on writing a sequel for Saving Elizabeth. When did it come to you to write a sequel?
Amy: The thought of a sequel was always in the back of my mind, but it was definite during the completion of the last couple of chapters of Saving Elizabeth that the story would continue. Elizabeth isn’t finished telling her story yet, and I’m okay with that.
Raven: Each writer has a unique style of writing a novel. Some listen to music, some work in complete silence, or some might watch movies or read books for inspiration. Did you ever come up with a playlist/soundtrack for Saving Elizabeth?
Amy: I have to write in silence. I’ve tried to be the cool author who listens to music during writing, but it just doesn’t work for me. My husband swears I have a touch of ADHD. I do, however, listen to music between chapters. It just helps prepare me emotionally for what I’m about to write. The songs I listen to are specific to certain events in the story and are varied. At the beginning of Saving Elizabeth, I listened to Casting Crowns’ Somewhere in the Middle. For me, it just summed up how Elizabeth felt. In the middle of the novel when Elizabeth began to display her anger, I listened to a lot of Evanescence. Toward the end, it was A Fine Frenzy. I won’t tell you which song by them. I don’t want to give away too much. I’ll let you see if you can figure it out. ;o)
Raven: Did you do any outlines for Saving Elizabeth or did you allow the story to write itself?
Amy: I’m a complete pantster. There were no outlines. The story just evolved.
Raven: Since Saving Elizabeth has religious undertones, how do you plan on addressing any issues that might come up?
Amy: This is something I’ve thought about a lot, and I’m prepared for backlash. It’s going to hurt, but I stand by my writing 100%. Saving Elizabeth sheds light on the spiritual realm and the battle between good and evil that I believe takes place for us every day. There’s also a message of grace and redemption that I think the world desperately needs to hear. If someone lets the fiction aspect of the story overshadow that, then they’ve missed the point altogether. I realize that some of the things I’ve portrayed in the novel might be controversial, especially within the Christian community, but if people can’t separate fiction from truth, then they should stick to nonfiction. 
Raven: If Saving Elizabeth was made into a movie within six months from now, who would you want to be in the movie?
Amy: Oh, no! You’ve asked the one question I can’t answer completely! My friends and I have talked about this several times, and we can never agree. For Elizabeth, I think I’d pick Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries. For Melissa, it would have to be Julianne Moore. I’d pick Alec Baldwin for Sam, and I might choose Alexander Ludwig for Riel. That one is still up in the air, and don’t ask me who I’d choose for Brad or Lucifer. I have no idea!!!!
Raven: On your blog, you said that the photographer Alex Stoddard had a picture called “The Forgotten Housewife” really resembled the internal struggles that Elizabeth went through in the story. Are there any other photos and or images that really connected to you or to Saving Elizabeth?
Amy: Alex Stoddard is AMAZING, and many of his photographs really spoke to me during the writing of this novel. His photograph entitled, Arrival reminds me of Riel. Your Turn With God reminds me of the point in the novel where Elizabeth talks to God for the first time since her father’s death. There are many. Check out Alex’s work! It’s awesome!
Raven: You have written a short story for Beyond the Diaper Bag which is a collection of humorous stores, inspirational moments, and helpful tips from real moms. May I ask how many children do you have?
Amy: If you don’t count the seventeen kids I mother/teach every day in my classroom, then I only have one little girl. She just turned 4 and she’s absolutely amazing! J
Raven: Have you been working on Saving Sarah? An idea was posted on your blog called Saving Sarah. Is it related to the Saving Elizabeth series or is a different concept?
Amy: I was toying with that idea before I really dove into edits for Saving Elizabeth. It would also deal with spiritual warfare. The idea is still there, but Saving Elizabeth’s sequel is my first priority at the moment.   
Raven: I recall that you dreamed Saving Elizabeth being published by Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins. Do you still want to be published by Zondervan at some point?
Amy: That was my dream as a young writer without a completed novel under my belt. I was very na├»ve about the publishing world at the time and didn’t realize how complicated it all was. I couldn’t be happier with where Saving Elizabeth ended up. It’s my baby, and I feel it’s in great hands with Tell Tale Publishing. Could Zondervan, or any other publishing company be in my future? Who knows? For now, I’m just enjoying the present, and I’m loving every minute of it!
Raven: If you could meet any character from Saving Elizabeth, who would it be?
Amy: I’d want to meet Elizabeth! There’s no doubt.
Raven: What do you want the readers to get out of reading Saving Elizabeth? Is there anything that you like to tell them?
Amy: I think I’d just like to ask them to be open minded. This is more than just another paranormal romance novel. This is a coming to faith story. It’s a lesson in realizing we all have a greater purpose here on this earth. It’s a reminder that our past doesn’t define us. There are many lessons to be learned, but if you’re not open minded and ready to evaluate your own life, then you won’t fully benefit from all Elizabeth’s story has to offer.
Raven: How does the editing process go when a book is getting published? And how much is changed from the original manuscript?
Amy: I’ve been through two rounds of content edits so far with Saving Elizabeth. They were very similar to the reviews that HC gives on Inkpop, only much more detailed. The first round was a six page document sent from my editor. I was pretty bummed about it until I talked with another first time author who received eight pages from her editor, and told me to count my blessings. They were all about making the story tighter, deleting unnecessary back story, and making the characters more believable. We added a couple of scenes that I’m in love with, and changed the ending drastically. John Osborne once said asking an author what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it thinks about dogs. That’s pretty accurate, but it’s all worth it when you read through the final product.
Raven: I saw the book cover design for Saving Elizabeth. Is it what you wanted? And how much say could you have? There are horror stories of first time authors unable to give any feedback in what they envisioned.
Amy: I didn’t have a specific cover in mind for Saving Elizabeth. I knew there were a few things that I absolutely didn’t want on the cover, and the wonderful people at Tell Tale took that into mind. I love the cover and couldn’t be happier with it.
Pop Questions 
Raven: If you could meet any author dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Amy: I really wanted to meet Ted Dekker, and I was blessed to be able to recently.
Raven: What are you looking for in a story?
Amy: It has to be a page turner. I want to lose a night of sleep reading an entire novel
because it leaves me dangling on a cliff at the end of each chapter.
Raven: If you could be any paranormal creature what would it be?
Amy: Mermaid
Raven: If you could travel to any place in the world where would it be?
Amy: Africa
Raven: What’s your favorite childhood book?
Amy: The Giver by Lois Lowry
Raven: What is your favorite movie?
Amy: Dirty Dancing, The Wizard of  Oz, Titanic, Chicago, Hairspray, and Footloose. 
Raven: What books have you read recently?
Amy: The Help, Forbidden, Adam