"Where thieves break in and steal" is how the Bible describes this world. But, even if you are trying to store up riches in heaven, how do you handle being face-to-face with the thief who tried to take your earthly treasures? What if you had to face him every day? In author Amber Stockton's newest book, Stealing Hearts, that is exactly the predicament in which young Grace Braxton finds herself. Will she find it in her to forgive him? Will she learn to trust him before it's too late?
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN STEALING HEARTS?
This is book 2 in my latest Brandywine Brides series, and I had already
established the connection between the 3 novels to be a family heirloom book
that first appeared in Promises, Promises, book 1 in my Liberty’s
Promise series. The book was read by the heroine of that story to the hero, and
it was passed down through the generations. Along the way, however, it was lost,
and the heroine in Bound by Grace (book 1 in Brandywine Brides) located
it again. I needed a way for that book to play an integral role in the meeting
of the hero and heroine of Stealing Hearts, and what better way than to have the
hero steal it? So that’s what he did. But instead of making him a common thief,
I actually had him come from a family of means and his theft be a one-time rash
decision. The story that followed is the result of his mistake.
Q: HOW DO
YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
Some authors plot out the tiniest details of their stories in an outline or
detailed synopsis before they ever start typing or writing the first word of
their novels. I tried that once, and it didn’t work. I felt blocked and
restricted to the plot I’d developed. So, instead, I now jot down a basic
summary with the primary points, then I start writing. The books I write come as
a result of the characters taking the story and running with it. Stealing Hearts
happened the same way. Secondary characters, dialogue, specific events,
meetings, conversations ... none of them are planned to any extent. I put my two
main characters into a situation and let them take the story where they wish. In
the writing world, the official term is “intuitive” writing, though some also
call it writing by the “seat of the pants.” I suppose that could be
true, and it makes writing that much more fun!
Q: WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES
FROM THE STORY WHERE YOU DREW ELEMENTS FROM REAL LIFE?
The family interactions contain quite a bit of truth in them, though the
dynamics might not match my life exactly. My heroine (Grace), has an excellent
relationship with her aunt and uncle (her parents were killed when she was a
little girl) as well as her extended family. This is shown in her interactions
and how often she seeks the counsel of her elders when facing difficult
decisions. The same can be said of me, as I am very close to my own parents and
siblings. I also have quite a temper and can be known for reacting instead of
responding, so when Grace lets a few insults fly at Andrew, wounding him with
her words, I regretfully admit that’s been me more times than I wish to count.
Then again, my own personal experiences help me make scenes such as that more
Q: WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
Without a doubt, Andrew, the hero. Because he began the story as a thief
sentenced to serve time working for the Baxton family, I expected a great deal
of humility and contrite behavior to be commonplace in his interactions. But it
turned out he had quite a commanding presence and was a bit of a rascal too. His
forthrightness and even confident demeanor ended up being some of the more
enjoyable scenes to write ... especially when was able to put Grace in her
Q: WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
Book 3 in the series, Antique Dreams, releases in March, and I recently
finished the galley proofs on that one. Galleys are the manuscript formatted
exactly as it will appear in print, and it’s the author’s last chance to make
any minor changes before a book goes to press. In October, I sold a trade-length
novel to Abingdon Press, and it’s due in June, so I’m working on getting that
one written. I’m also working on proposals for two other editors in the hopes of
selling two more 3-book series’, but I can’t give any further details at this
time. What I can say is one series is set in southwestern Colorado and one in
Wyoming, both post-Civil War settings, and both containing a great deal of
western flavor. Aside from that, I’ve had recent requests for two shorter novels
to be adapted from novella-length stories, so those proposals will be my focus
for completion by the end of January. In this business, you’re usually only as
good as the next book you write, so you must stay writing at all times to keep
the contracts coming. That’s not easy for me, with two little ones under the age
of 4, but I do the best I can.