Because of Me was chosen as a finalist in the prestigious 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis Contest.
Fay will give away a copy. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.
Welcome, Fay. First, tell us a little about yourself.
My husband and I live in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of both of our families were born and resided. I work as an acquisitions editor for Pelican Book Group, and I volunteer with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), as secretary for their operating board and as a co-moderator of ACFW’s large critique group, Scribes.
Sometimes people are curious about a writer's motivations. Would you share why you write with us?
I write because I have to write. I have stories bouncing around in my head, and I have to get them on paper. Writing is a stress release, and it’s my passion.
Tell us about your latest book.
Because of Me is the story of Michael Hayes, once a promising young investigative reporter, and his fiancée, Issie Putnam. In his ambition, Michael leads Issie into a very dangerous situation, and their lives are changed forever. Michael is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison while Issie is left alone to raise a child born of a crime committed against her on that fateful night. When Michael returns to their hometown to protect Issie from the man who harmed her, he finds that she’s not alone. Issie is raising her son, and though Michael is not the child’s father, the boy was definitely born because of him.
What suspense! And interesting characters.! How do you get to know your characters?
I know that writers have various ways that they connect to their characters. Some have written back stories, some journal, some interview them. I simply learn about them as I write. I love being surprised by what a character will tell me and allowing the reader to experience the same surprise.
What themes do you write about?
I’m an issue-oriented writer. That doesn’t mean that I’ve gone through the situations in which I place my characters, but I have gone through the results of those situations: bitterness, anger, lack of self-esteem.
It sounds as though you put lots of emotion into your books. What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My writing schedule varies because I have other projects. I have discovered that my most creative period of the day is between 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. That works well if I’m writing in the mountains and my time is pretty much my own. There I have a desk in my bedroom that sits in front of a window that overlooks the mountains. In Florida, I have an office in our house, and the window there overlooks our azalea garden in the front yard.
The mountains and azaleas offer an inspiring view. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I do juggle, but generally, I work better if I have several projects going at one time. If I have one project, my mind seems to wander. I’ve developed a routine that works well for my spastic mind: I assign several minutes in an hour to work on each job I have before me.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m an in-between. I use the LOCK system James Scott Bell teaches where you use an index sized card and include the following: a LEAD character doing something interesting that moves the story forward; the OBJECTIVE of the lead character in that scene; the CONFLICT keeping the lead character from his objective; and the KICKER ending for the scene. This allows me to be more creative than an outline.
Thanks for sharing. Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Although I’ve written since I was a small child, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties, that I realized that any talent that I have been given to develop comes from God. If it weren’t for my faith, I’d have nothing worth writing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Working with critique groups, I see so many take criticisms the wrong way. They fold when they should learn and continue forward. If the criticism is unfounded, learn to recognize that. If the critic is on point, adapt your writing accordingly. Writing is a career for the most patient. Don’t take shortcuts, but never give up.
About Because of Me
Not your typical Christian fiction.
Michael’s fiancée, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.
Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.
Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?
Available through all fine book retailers, Amazon.com, and Mountainview Publishing (http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb), a division of Treble Heart Books.
Bio: Fay works as an editor for Pelican Book Group, the publisher of White Rose Publishing/Harbourlight Books. As a part of the Pelican Book Group Staff Blog, she contributes to Tactical Tuesdays: Advice for Self- Editing. http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/
Learn more about Fay at her Web site
An Excerpt from Because of Me
Looking out her open window through the pouring rain, Issie stared in amazement at the ruts gouged deep in the mire where they’d spun in circles. Their path had taken them away from the creek and across the road to slam up against one of the hundred year old elms. A miracle for sure. Her airbags hadn’t even deployed. Deep, shuddering breaths shook her body. She collapsed over the steering wheel again and sobbed.
Cole touched her. “Mommy, we’re safe. We can walk from here.”
So calm. Where did he get that part of his nature?
Yes, they were safe for the moment, but she’d feel even safer at home with Cole in his pajamas after a warm shower.
Issie groped around in the back of the Jeep, feeling for the blanket she always kept there. Rough wool grazed her fingertips. She pushed open the door, stepped out of the vehicle, and tugged the blanket over her head. Cole climbed across the seat and out to stand under the blanket she’d spread over her. The make-shift shelter did little to protect them against the driving rain.
Cole’s hand gripped her shirt. Water dripped from his bangs onto his straight little nose. His drenched clothing stuck to his body. His teeth chattered, and he let out a broken “Brrr” under his breath. She kept the woolen cover over them and started down the road toward home.
She looked down at him. “What do you say to a warm shower, a grilled cheese sandwich, some warm cookies, and a glass of milk?”
He smiled up at her. “Yeah.”
“Are you okay?” The voice emanated from outside their cloth protection.
Someone was on her property. She was alone and vulnerable. Issie screamed and pushed her son behind her.
“Are you okay?” the man asked again.
Her entire body quaked. Even in the downpour she caught the faint scent of his bay rum cologne. She lifted the blanket.
A smile turned his lips and years fell away from his worn and weary features. Water ran in rivulets through his too-long hair and dripped from his scraggly mustache and goatee.
Issie placed her hand over her heart—the heart that would forever belong to him.
“Mommy, it’s Michael, just like I told you,” Cole sang out.
Issie swayed. Would God be so merciful to her to send him now when she needed him most?
Michael reached out and steadied her. She closed her eyes at his touch. This wasn’t a dream. He was home.
“Issie?” Her name on his lips brought a shiver, and she opened her eyes. Lightning illuminated the area for a brief second, and a boom of thunder broke over them. “My truck’s over here. Let me give you a ride home.”
“Are you really Michael?” Cole blinked the rain out of his eyes.
“And how would you be a’knowing that, lad?” Michael asked.
Issie giggled at the brogue he always mimicked so easily when he’d been around Matilda. Michael’s gaze fell on her lips as if fascinated by her action, the way he’d always done when she laughed.
“Michael.” She found her voice. “It really is you.”