Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Author of Note (Amber Stockton)



I’m delighted to welcome Amber Stockton to The Bookshelf. Amber, we’ll be talking about your writing journey, and I also have a few just-for-fun questions. But first, tell us about Amber Stockton, the lady next door.

I was born outside of Washington, D.C. with roots in Virginia and Kentucky as well as Pennsylvania, but I spent most of my life living in Delaware. From an early age, I always loved to read and tell stories, but I also love traveling, photography, horses, movies and music. Now, I am married to another author, Stuart Stockton, who had his first book releasing in April of 2009. We have one daughter so far, and we live at the base of beautiful Pike’s Peak in Colorado. We also have a border collie named Roxie, who keeps life bouncing. Outside of our little circle, I have three brothers and my parents have been married for over thirty-five years. On Stuart’s side, there are two sisters and a brother, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law, three aunts, two uncles, four cousins, one nephew and one niece. His parents have also been married thirty-five years.

Sounds like you have a busy life! Would you share a little with us about how you got started as a writer? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?

That would be years ago. I wrote my first short story in 5th grade with several accolades from both my teacher and my fellow students. It was even entered into a ‘Young Writers of America’ contest where it became a finalist, but didn’t get selected for publication. Ever since I learned to read at age 3-1/2, I’ve been telling stories. Writing seemed to be a natural progression from the verbal. Although I continued it as a hobby for years, it wasn’t until 1997 when I wrote my first fan fiction and received a lot of encouragement and feedback that I realized I might be able to make something of this ability. It took me another five years before I took the step professionally to begin a career. Five years after that, I sold my first book and took that rather scary step into the world of authorship. I haven’t regretted a single moment.

Well, you obviously still love it … you’ve been really busy, with several releases last year, and Liberty’s Promise coming up in March. Tell us about your upcoming release.

This book is actually a Repackaging of my 3 historical Delaware novels: Promises, Promises; Quills & Promises; Deceptive Promises. Here is a collective summary:

Feel the heartbeat of a chaotic new country through the lives of three Pennsylvania women who seek to know to whom they can entrust their hearts.

Relive the birth of a new country as three women battle for determining to whom they can entrust their hearts. Raelene is all alone, but is there peace in following the wishes of her deceased father? Elanna is intelligent for her young age, but will her love for an older man turn into a passing fancy when his integrity is questioned? Margret's loyalties are torn when the colonists rebel, for how can a relationship with a British soldier built on deceptions survive? Will each woman find her place of freedom to embrace her faith and trust her heart to love?

Repackaging … I like that. J Of all your published works, do you have a favorite? And if so, what about that book makes it special to you?

At the moment, it would have to be Quills & Promises as it was my first attempt at retelling the courtship of my husband and me before we were married…only I time-warped us back to the French and Indian War and had us correspond with written letters instead of email. :)

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

From real life, other books, movies, just about anything and everything I encounter in whatever form it takes. It could be something tiny like a remark someone makes all the way to a personal story someone shares or a biography I read somewhere. It’s hard to describe how the ideas form. I only know it takes just a blip and my mind is off and running!

How much time do you spend writing?

It depends on the day, to be honest. When I’m on a deadline, I am forced to make time wherever I can find it, and I often write for 4 hours. On an average day, though, I’m lucky to get thirty minutes to an hour free to write. With a baby at home, free time is quite precious, so I grab it when I can. The optimal time for me is late at night once she and my husband are asleep, as I am NOT a morning person unless I absolutely have to be. J

Ahh, another night owl! That’s when I do my best work too. What’s your best piece of advice for new and aspiring writers?

Writing is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, determination, patience, perseverance and faith. And it won’t happen overnight. You have to maintain a teachable spirit and be open to constructive criticism, no matter how far along in your writing journey you get. In the end, the rewards far outweigh all the sweat and tears you shed along the way. Most importantly, if you feel this is the path for you, never give up!

Amen! Give us one writing tip that you personally find invaluable.

Read, read, read. If you’re going to be a writer, you must immerse yourself in the styles and genres where you’d like to be published. Become familiar with those who are selling book after book. Find out why their books work and what doesn’t. Know your market and read everything you can find in your genre.

That’s good advice. Now for that off-the-cuff stuff I mentioned. If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question – what question would you ask of whom?

George Washington, and I’d ask him if he knew what would become of the country he helped found, would he still make the decisions he made that led to the creation of the United States?

Good question.... What books are on your bedside table right now?

For fiction, I’m currently working my way through a few of the “Love Finds You In…” books as I have two proposals with the editor right now under consideration. I want to familiarize myself with the tone and feel of the stories so I can be ready to write the book the editor wants.

For nonfiction, I have my devotional by Dee Brestin entitled, A Woman of Confidence. A group of ladies and I meet at our church each week to discuss it, and I’m loving the concept of having confidence without having pride, and growing it through inner holiness.

What word annoys you more than any other?

“Whatever.” It’s so rude and dismissive, although I suppose it’s the tone accompanying the word that bugs me more than the word itself.

Gotta agree. What “super power” would you like to borrow for awhile?

Lightning speed, so I could get everything I need to get done in a minimal amount of time and still have time left over at the end of the day to relax.

Share a grammatical pet peeve…go ahead, sound off.

Dangling participles. People use them all the time, and it irks me when I read a book that’s gone through the editing process with these left unchanged. It’s not difficult to reword a sentence to avoid this, yet far too often, they are overlooked. For example, instead of saying someone picked the book up, you write that they picked up the book. That way, “the book” becomes the object of “picked up” and answers the question “picked up what?”

In every chapter I edit for my critique partners, I always mark them with the rewording suggestion. Perhaps some day, writers will be held more accountable for proper grammar usage and not be permitted to fudge in a few areas for the sake of a good story. :)

Thank you for hanging out at The Bookshelf for awhile! Where can readers find your books?

The latest information is always available on my web site on the books page, but I also include special announcements, sales, blog tour news, etc., on my blog. Here are the links:

http://www.amberstockton.com/
http://amberstockton.blogspot.com/

Thanks again for being with us, Amber. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you.

Thank you for having me here, Delia. It’s been a true pleasure and honor. And thanks to all of my readers who help keep me writing. If it weren’t for you, I’d have no destination for my books and no career as an author.

Amber Stockton is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author and their baby daughter in beautiful Colorado Springs. They also have a vivacious Border Collie mix named Roxie. Amber has sold eight books to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Other writing credits include writing articles for various publications, five short stories for Romancing the Christian Heart, and contributions to Grit for the Oyster and 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.

2 comments:

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Thanks for such a great interview, Delia...and a fun one! Loved your questions. Very thought-provoking. I've directed folks here, so hope it builds some added traffic for ya.

Delia Latham said...

Thanks for being a part of The Bookshelf! Can't wait to welcome your readers. :)