Q&A: Amber Stockton
Set in times of war and the birth of a nation, Liberty's Promise follows the interwoven stories of three women in the 1700's. Raelene must find love (or at the very least, a husband) to comply with the terms of her father's will. Elanna is young but madly in love with an older man who's off at war and who's integrity is in question. Margaret and her young British soldier are caught in a war of loyalties as the American colonies declare independence. In a time when men were waging war and women were left behind, these three are fighting their own battles... of the heart.
Your 'Romancing America' book started out as separate titles for the Heartsong Presents readers. Tell us how the individual novels are linked together into a larger picture.
The 3 novels follow one family across 3 generations. The heroine of the first novel is the mother of the heroine in the second, and heroine of the second is the mother of the heroine in the third. The feature characters from book 1 appear in books 2 and 3, and the stories also highlight the family home as it grows and expands, paralleling the family growth and increase in their financial holdings. The books take the family from the Great Awakening through the French & Indian War and into the Revolutionary War at the dawning of a new nation. I had a lot of fun weaving in actual historical figures and having them interact with my characters. Those scenes were among the most favorites of my readers.
When you were originally writing the series, how much were you focused on each individual title—and how much were your eyes on how each piece fit into the larger story?
I had an overall outline of the progress that needed to be accomplished from start to finish, and I broke that up into three segments, so each novel could tackle its own piece. Once I had a firm grasp on the big picture, the individual titles took on a life of their own, and the characters wrote themselves, for the most part. Once each book was finished, I went back and compared the final product with the original series arc to be sure I included everything I needed to make the three books flow.
What was your inspiration for the original series? (And how much did your original plan change over the course of the arc?)
Inspiration for these stories came from an actual house about 2 miles from where I lived at the time. It was built in 1740 and owned by the same family for nearly 300 years before being sold at public auction, the land subdivided into neighborhoods. Research revealed not a lot was known about the family, so I took what I could find and developed the stories from there. And I’ll be honest. I don’t plot extensively on each novel I write. There is always a synopsis to help me establish the general flow of the story, and to make sure I tie up all loose ends from start to finish, but when I write, I let the characters dictate most of the minute details and individual scenes. With that in mind, my original plan allows for change and makes is somewhat easy when an unexpected scene or situation occurs in any individual story.
How does your faith influence your writing?
It drives everything I write. From the synopsis to the first word and through to the final period. My faith has sustained me through many difficult circumstances in my life, and I seek to share that with my readers. To do that, I put my characters in real-life situations and if they possess faith, I allow that faith to guide them, just as my own has guided me. If the character doesn’t have faith or is struggling, I always have someone in their life whose faith is stronger to guide or support them through their difficulties. Because I have never cared for being told what to do in a “preachy” sort of way, I don’t include preaching moments in my books. Instead, I allow each character to discover their faith or grow on their own ... with a little help from their friends or family, of course.
What do you most hope readers get out of your fiction?
Exactly that. Hope. It’s the reason I write inspirational fiction. Without hope and the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel,” where would we be in life? Hope is what keeps us going, no matter how dark it might seem at the moment. It is my goal to see my fiction inspire lives and bolster confidence in my readers, helping them see there IS a silver lining, and they WILL survive. I also like to show them they’re not alone in their struggle. Far too often, we think no one understands, so I try to let the lives my characters lead represent those personal struggles and pray the stories will touch the hearts of my readers. Even if just one person is impacted, the story has done its job.