Betsy St. Amant joins us today to talk about her new book. Betsy is one of my fellow columnists over at Choose NOW Ministries and I’m super excited about sharing her with you today. She’s cute as a button and an encouragement to all who read her posts.
Here’s her official bio:
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things – chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God’s grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her ninth Love Inspired novel released in January 2014, while her first romance with Zondervan Publishers comes out August 2014. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing, and can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha.
Betsy, thank you for being here today. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 29 and look like I’m about 21. I have one older sister, grew up in a Christian home, and was saved at the age of 7. I’m so blessed to have the Christian heritage I have for generations back. Unfortunately, about a year ago, my husband of 9 years decided he wanted a divorce, so I’ve been walking that journey with my 5-year-old daughter—who is the sweetest and smartest thing in the universe! I am blessed.
Tell us three things about you that would surprise your readers.
1. I love kickboxing
2. I have a tattoo
3. I can’t blow a bubble with bubble gum, or whistle! Epic fail.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
I devoured books like candy. My mom says that when I was little, I would sit on the floor surrounded by books and cry because I didn’t know how to read quite yet. Once I learned how, I never stopped. My favorite series growing up was The Saddle Club, The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley Twins, American Girls, and Robin Jones Gunn’s “Christy Miller” series.
What is your favorite genre to read now?
Any genre with a strong romance thread! I enjoy reading historicals a lot, because I don’t write them – I can relax in the story and not subconsciously edit as I read.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
I felt called to write for God when I was about 12 twelve years old, and dreamed of it well before then, so it seems like that desire has always been in my blood.
Why do you write?
This is best answered by a quote from Sir Issac Asimov – “I write for the same reason I breathe—because if I didn’t, I would die.” That’s true for me. Writing is my calling, my ministry, and also my release. It purges me, whether it be fiction writing or blog/article style writing. I truly write because I must.
Tell us about your latest book.
I have two new releases! THE RANCHER’S SECRET SON released January, 2014 with Love Inspired (Harlequin) publishers, and is a sequel of sorts to my April 2013 release, THE RANCHER NEXT DOOR. Then in February, my first e-book, A FEBRUARY BRIDE, with Zondervan Publishers (HarperCollins) released as part of a bridal series I am honored to be a part of. Starting in the Fall of this year, the e-books will be combined into 3-in-1 compilations in print. They’re also available on Audio CD! Very exciting!
A February Bride:
Allie left the love of her life at the altar—to save him from a lifetime of heartbreak. When a Valentine’s Day wedding brings them back together, she struggles against her family’s destructive history. Can Allie ever realize that a marriage is so much more than a wedding dress? History repeats itself when Allie Andrews escapes the church on her wedding day—in the same dress passed down for generations and worn by all the women in her family—women with a long history of failed marriages. Allie loves Marcus but fears she’s destined to repeat her family’s mistakes. She can’t bear to hurt Marcus worse. Marcus Hall never stopped loving Allie and can only think of one reason she left him at the altar—him. When the two are thrown together for his sister’s Valentine’s Day wedding, he discovers the truth and realizes their story might be far from over. Can Allie shuck expectation and discover who she is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she ever walks down the aisle, what dress will she wear?
When her troubled teenage son is sent to Camp Hope, Emma Shaver is thrilled and relieved. The therapy horse ranch in Broken Bend, Louisiana, is well-known for giving at-risk teens a new lease on life. There’s just one problem—it’s owned by her old high school sweetheart, Max Ringgold, who doesn’t know he’s her son’s father. Emma didn’t plan on facing her past to ensure her son’s future. But when old feelings for Max resurface, Emma must decide if she will reveal the truth to him and restore her family for good.
Without giving away the ending (or the beginning and middle, for that matter) what is one takeaway message you hope readers will get from reading this book?
From THE RANCHER’S SECRET SON – I hope readers will recognize the beauty in second chances and learn that sometimes the best kept secrets are what keep us from God’s plan for our lives. There is freedom in truth!
From A FEBRUARY BRIDE – I hope readers will glean the fact that nothing is ever too far gone to be repaired—not a heart, not a relationship, not even a dress.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Anywhere and everywhere! Usually, I think of a character and their internal conflict first, and build a storyline around it. I’m very much a character-driven author. Though there have been times in my earlier novels with Love Inspired where I dreamed up the setting first, and built the story around the setting.
What are your favorite themes to write about?
Second chances, redemption, and restoration
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am editing my first trade-length release with Zondervan (ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE & CUPCAKES) that comes out August 2014! Then it’s back to work on my next novel for Zondervan that will release early 2015, yet to be officially titled.
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I work a full time job in the oil & gas industry, write novels, freelance for my local newspaper, periodically write for www.ibelieve.com, and am a single mom of a 5 year old daughter—meaning I am also in charge of cooking, cleaning, shopping, keeping up the house, etc. I don’t understand the term “free timeSome days I don’t feel that I balance it well at all, but other times, it works out by the grace of God. I have a wonderful support system within my family, especially my mom, who is my number one babysitter, which helps a lot.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Completely. I hope all my stories point out the grace God gives us, and inspires readers to want to know Him more. Some of my stories have a more overt faith element than others, but it’s always in there. I can’t help it.
Do you have a life verse that doesn’t necessarily relate to writing? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” It reminds me that there is always more to anything in our lives than meets the eye, and that God is worthy of my faith in Him. He can be trusted.
What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
That would definitely be walking through this divorce process. God’s grace is sufficient!
What are some things on your bucket list?
1. Visit Ireland, Germany and Italy
2. Eat an entire tin of those shortbread Christmas cookies that cycle around every December, in one sitting
3. Barrel race on a horse
4. Hit the New York Times Best Seller List
5. One day have the means to blow someone away with a surprise, HUGE cash gift – like a waitress, or a coworker, or a struggling single mom who needs a reminder that she is seen by God.
What advice would you give to writers who are seeking traditional publication?
Keep at it, never give up, and consider rejections badges of honor. It means you’re trying, and if you keep trying, you increase your chances of making it. If you quit, you’re guaranteed never to succeed. God has a plan for you and your writing, and while that might or might not be publication, it will always be for His glory and for your good if you keep seeking Him first!
Where can readers find you or your books on the internet?
www.scribblechicks.blogspot.com (group blog)
All of my novels are available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. and also on Kindle and Nook.
Thanks so much, Betsy, for sharing with us today!