Today we are delighted to feature author Fay Lamb, and we get to talk a little about her new book Stalking Willow! Readers can find my review of this book HERE!
Welcome, Fay! We are so glad to have you!
Stalking Willow features a unique protagonist: Willow is the daughter of celebrities, and yet wants nothing to do with the spotlight. She is running for her life after a series of dangerous events, pursued by a stalker who reminds her of his presence at will and hasn't yet been apprehended.
Hoping for safety, she flees to the only place that has ever really been home to her, a lake house that she hasn't returned to in years. She left there broken over her parent's choices and denying that she loved her childhood best friend. She returns still broken and bitter and finds her friend living there still, and he still wants to protect her.
Willow learns that maybe this place has always been her heart's home....
Fay, I love picturing your characters. Can you describe Willow in five adjectives?
Independent, bitter, cautious, snarky, and beautiful.
And Willow's best friend, Quentin?
Sweet, strong, longsuffering, protective, and witty.
Can you give us a glimpse into Willow's mind at the beginning of her journey home?
Willow has lived in a world of her own making for ten years. The things that happened to her before and when she left the town of Amazing Grace have left her bitterness, and while the roots of bitterness grow around us, they hedge us in and make it difficult to move forward. So when Willow journeys home, she expects to find things the same: her cousin and her cousin’s best friend will still torment her with their cruel jokes, her aunt will still hate her, and the boy she always loved, well, he still won’t be in love with her. She’s right about a few things, but she finds out she’s wrong about others.
Every great story is a story of transformation. When you began to write Stalking Willow, did you have any idea that it would be her story of moving from bitterness to life again, or did that theme develop as you wrote?
From the very first word, Willow showed herself as a bitter young woman. I actually had to write the first scene over several times because Willow just didn’t connect with the reader. Her bitterness made her very unlikeable. What came out later in the story was her sarcastic humor, and when I showed that from the start and showed the reader just why Willow was hurt so deeply, she began to connect with the reader. But Willow’s spiritual journey was always meant to be one that dealt with the roots of bitterness and how they keep up from looking at life realistically. Quentin also works well with Willow. My favorite parts of the story is their sparring and bickering. Quentin shows himself as a man with broad shoulders and a patient spirit, and he just doesn’t give up on Willow no matter what.
Now, about you! What is your favorite part about writing?
Oh, definitely, the twists and turns. When I’m writing and I get surprised by something that a character does, or another aspect of the story springs forward, I know that the reader will be surprised, too. I love this creative process that opens possibilities to me that sitting down with a straight outline doesn’t afford. I believe I think better in creative mode. Things fold together. When I outline, I find more plot holes than I can fill because I just get antsy outside the creative process and I want to move forward.
The hardest part?
The hardest part of writing to me is letting go of the story. I won’t tell you how many times I edit, but I edit a lot. It helps that I love to edit, and I try to catch as much as I can before my critique partners and then my editor can find the mistakes. Letting the final draft go to the editor is the toughest part for me.
Do you have any while-I'm-writing habits?
Hmm, well, I have pictures of my characters—lots of pics. Usually they’re celebrities in different roles that suit the characters I’m writing about. I also mull the story over in my head for long periods of time before I write them or I “play” with the story—writing just for fun to see if the story will pan out and hold enough conflict for a size story I want to present.
Did your characters do things you hadn't planned on them doing?
Well, in Stalking Willow there are two women who are pretty atrocious, each in their own way. They hate each other actually. The one that I thought would be the unredeemable of the two surprised me with what I believe is one of the cutest scenes in the book, and when she did what she did, I almost felt the relief in having her “get it.” Of course, she doesn’t change right away, but this instance in the book helped her crack a smile and a giggle, and it made me laugh aloud, and she realized what is important in her life. I was absolutely blown away by the scene. I was a spectator watching it unfold, and well, the one who doesn’t get redeemed—she shows what Willow really had to overcome to completely lose her bitterness.
What surprised you most about Willow, or Quentin as you met them in your book?
Willow was always going to be what I call “snarky.” She looks at things and says what she thinks. She got that from her granny who raised her. The only difference in Willow and her granny is that Granny could say it and let it go. Granny never harbored ill-will toward others. Willow held her anger close to her heart, and Willow’s sarcastic humor was actually a coping devise gone awry. Quentin is the one who took me by complete surprise when he began to hold his own with Willow. He learned to be “snarky” right back. He didn’t let her words bother him. He tossed them back at her, and Willow begins to see just how silly she looks holding on to things that happened ten years before—things that others in her life have left behind.
What was your inspiration for the settings and characters? Which came first: characters, setting, theme? Or all three at once?
Characters and setting go hand in hand for me. I will see a character in a movie and I’ll think about where I can use that personality. In some cases, I use the same celebrity in different roles because I’m actually watching how he or she portrays the different characters he or she brings to life. This, for me, makes the character a little more multi-dimensional.
I love Western North Carolina, and as I stayed up here, I realized there is a wealth of story ideas and settings. Amazing Grace and the surrounding towns are modeled after real cities in a certain area. Other series I’m writing take place in Central Florida, Eastern Kentucky, and on a small island in the Gulf of Mexico—all places that I take ideas from and place my characters into.
Theme is sometimes there as in the case of Stalking Willow, but usually I explore the theme as I write, or I’ll pray and ask the Lord to help me with the message on the issue He wants to deliver. Without fail, with every book I’ve written, I’ve just delved into the treasure chest of personal issues I need to deal with, and God helps me to deal with them through my writing.
Can you tell us what you hope we take away from this story, what was on your heart as you wrote it?
My heart was on a message the Lord brought to me when my pastor spoke about his awesome Christian heritage one day. I immediately shot up a prayer challenging God about my lack of a godly heritage, and with a rapid response, God reminded me that I was where I was that day (sitting in church, worshipping God, a child of God who is set free of my past) because of the heritage He had given me. Up until that day, I had a lot of bitterness about my childhood and my parents and the things I thought God should have taken care of in my life. Realizing that God is always in the details of my lives, helped me to begin to pluck out bitterness by the roots. More than anything, I want readers of Stalking Willow to realize the detriment of bitterness. We give up so much when we hold to our hurts and perceived wrongs against us. I still have to fight to keep those roots from taking hold, but each time I feel them growing, I remind myself that I have exactly what God wants me to have. Even if I’ve made a mistake in my life, even if I’ve done something that God would not condone, He still proves the love he pours into Romans 8:28.
My sister is a budding novelist, and she is constantly scratching down plots, characters, and ideas. Do you ever feel like you have more stories to tell that there are hours in a day to write? :)
Recently, I listed all of the stories that I have to complete that have both been contracted and those I need to complete for submission. Besides the four that are contracted, I have eight other stories waiting in line. I do my utmost to give quality time for my writing, and it is true: we must make time for things we love by releasing the things that prevent us from doing the things we love.
What is next on your writing/publishing horizon? Please, do tell!
My second book in the romantic suspense Amazing Grace series entitled Better than Revenge will be released in September of this year. There are two more books in that series that will be released in 2014/2015 entitled Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes. My contemporary romance series, The Ties That Bind has four novels, and the first novel, Charisse, will be released in July of this year. Liberty the second in the series will be released at the beginning of 2014 with Hope and Delilah to follow in 2014 and 2015. Beyond that, there’s a mystery series I’m hoping to co-write and I plan to finish up the eight novels mentioned above while starting the others that are spinning around in my brain.
Thank you so much for visiting, Fay! We hope to have you back when your next books are published! :-)
Thank you so much for having me, and I would love the opportunity to visit with you again.
I received Christ as my Saviour at an early age, but wasted many years before rededicating my life to the Lord in my mid-twenties. I still live in Titusville with my husband, Marc. We have two married sons, Corey and Ethan, and five grandchildren.I currently work as an editor for Pelican Book Group, and its three imprints, White Rose Publishing, Harbourlight Books, and Watershed Books. Pelican Book Group is a writer-friendly publisher seeking talented inspirational fiction in many genres. As a part of the Pelican Book Group Staff Blog, I contribute to Tactical Tuesdays: Advice for Self- Editing.http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/
Writing has always been the desire of my heart. Creating characters and stories that live on in the hearts of the reader is my goal. I currently write romantic suspense and contemporary romance. My debut novel, Because of Me, was published by Treble Heart Books in February 2012. My second novel, Stalking Willow will be released by Write Integrity Press in May 2013.
Through writing, God has blessed me with the ability to work with writers at all stages of their careers and to teach workshops at events such as the Central Florida chapter of ACFW and the Christian Author’s Guild Catch the Wave Conference near Atlanta, Georgia. I will be teaching a workshop at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference at Lake Yale in Leesburg, Florida in February and plan to return to Catch the Wave in August.
I love to look at the world and gather the humor in the most unlikely of events. I share the fun on Facebook and on my blog: On the Ledge.
I offer advice for self-editing at the Tactical Editor both at www.facebook.com/tacticaled and for the Pelican Book Group Staff Blog at http://pelicanbookgroup.blogspot.com/.