We're pleased that our special guest today is Amy Gamet and she's giving away both of her books. Welcome, Amy! Please tell us about yourself.
I am a stay-at-home mom to three young kids, with an awesome husband who gives me time to write whenever he can. I used to teach middle school math, and though I loved the kids, I enjoy writing much more than I ever loved the Pythagorean Theorem.
Q: Why do you choose to write romance?
A: My first attempt at writing professionally was for magazines. I got three assignments on my first three query letters, which was wonderful. The articles were short, but it was a high to see my name in print. Then our family moved to a new home—a real fixer-upper—and I was sidelined by home improvement projects for over a year.
When I tried to go back to writing articles I found I had little interest. It took me a while to realize a simple truth—I don’t even like to read magazines, so why one earth did I think I would like to write for them? Around that time, a friend started a book club and invited me to join. We read mostly women’s fiction with a little chick-lit, and the point was hammered home even harder. I like to read romances, almost exclusively. I dropped the book club and tentatively started several rough drafts in quick succession, soon realizing it would take some time to learn the craft of writing fiction. Everything I had written up until that point had been non-fiction.
Q: I'm glad you found romance. How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Funny story. When I was writing my first novel, Meant for Her, I was having trouble coming up with a name I liked for the heroine. The parent of one of my son’s classmates called to RSVP for a birthday party. Her name was Julie Trueblood, and I liked it, so I threw it into my story as a placeholder until I could think of something else that resonated with me. I got used to seeing it there, and it stuck! I recently emailed the mom to share the story with her, and she wrote back, “Read some of the book already and she sounds exactly like me, except for the double math major. I always hoped I would be famous! Can't wait to read more. -- The Real Julie Trueblood.”
Q: How neat! I love that name. Which element of story creation is your favorite?
A: The characters come easily to me. Once I know who they are, their word choices and language just flow into the dialogue. I enjoy how different they are from each other, and how they choose to express themselves. I really love characters with strong personalities, whether they be opinionated or kind and loving.
Q: I agree with you about that. Which element of this story was the hardest for you?
A: The suspense plot doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work at it. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I almost never think people have ulterior motives, and I believe people are genuinely good at their core. Not exactly suspense material, eh? I try to make this work in my favor, by making my villains human and relatable, just like my heroes. The elusive plot details have to be hashed out on giant sheets of paper in a rainbow of scented markers before I even know where to begin. (Okay, maybe the scented markers aren’t a necessity, but that’s what I use—and I refuse to share them with my marker-destroying progeny. Mommy has to have some things of her own.)
Q: LOL What inspires you? What motivates you?
A: I can’t believe I get paid for this! I love to write, like some people love to take naps or go skiing. After years spent working jobs that were an imperfect fit for me, I’m motivated by the writing itself, and the just rewards of that writing. When I read a good review or hear that someone got lost in one of my stories, that’s amazing to me. I love the idea of a person I don’t even know picking up my words and experiencing what I’ve written. It’s just incredible.
Q: Please tell us about your other books.
A: My first book, Meant for Her, is about a woman whose father dies and leaves behind a coded message for her to decipher. Her father was a notorious traitor who went into hiding ten years earlier to avoid prosecution, leaving Julie to fend for herself as a teenager. Hank Jared is the Navy investigator on her father’s homicide case. He’s falling for Julie despite his position and reservations about her possible involvement in his espionage.
In Meant for Her, we meet Julie’s best friend Becky O’Connor, who’s nursing her own wounds over her sister Meghan’s abandonment. Meghan ran away years before with Liam Wheaton. Meghan and Liam’s story is my current book, Love’s Greatest Gift: A Christmas Novella.
We also get to know Julie’s aunt Gwen, who is the clear fan favorite, with many reviewers asking to hear her story. She took Julie in to live with her after Julie’s father’s abandoned her. Gwen’s husband was killed in a tragic accident just a year before, but she would never turn away an injured soul. Gwen knows what it means to find true love, she just isn’t convinced she’ll ever experience it again. I’m going to prove her wrong this winter, when Colin Mitchell, a man from her past, comes back again in Book Three of the Love & Danger series.
Q: Please describe your journey to publication.
A: I thought I would submit my first book to Harlequin, but as I was writing it I also joined an email loop for self-published romance authors. It sounded wonderful—total control over your books, your covers, your marketing. According to the authors on the loop, if I could write a good book, it would eventually find its audience. I never did submit anything to Harlequin, and I suspect I never will. I am loving being in charge of my own destiny.
Q: Way to go on striking out on your own! I agree it's a wonderful way to go. Would you like to ask readers a question?
A: When my mom told her friend Joy I had written a book, Joy said, “Everyone should write a book in their lives. It’s wonderful that Amy’s already done that.” What about you? Have you ever considered writing your own book? What would it be about?
I would like to give away a copy of both ebooks in the Love & Danger series, Meant for Her and Love’s Greatest Gift.
Thanks so much for your generous giveaway, Amy! Everyone, to enter this contest, please leave your email address along with your comment so we can contact you if you win.
Love's Greatest Gift EXCERPT:
Meghan O'Connor had been in love with Liam Wheaton since as long as she could remember.
Her parents had done what they could to stop it, carefully erasing his name from the birthday party invitation list and failing to pass on phone messages when they intercepted his calls. But Largo was a small town, with only one class at each grade level, and ten months out of the year Liam and Meghan spent six hours a day together.
There was talk of sending Meghan to boarding school at Saint Catherine's, but in the end Bill O'Connor couldn't justify the additional expense, just to get his daughter away from Chip Wheaton's son.
Chip was a drunk, and a mean one at that, who could be found at The Well any night of the week. He worked at the quarry, or doing construction, in-between layoffs and being fired time and again. His wife Lindsay cleaned houses and cared for the couple's five children, who always seemed a shade dirtier and a tad more disruptive than the other children of Largo.
Liam was the oldest. He got a job as a stock boy at the Super Duper when he was fourteen, and the townspeople could often be heard commenting on how clean and polite he was for a Wheaton.
Meghan didn't care that Liam was a Wheaton. All that mattered to her was that he was gentle and kind, going out of his way to make sure she was happy, and flashing his devil-may-care smile to cheer her up when she was not.
He had the darkest brown hair and strong, handsome features, marred by a razor-thin scar that ran from his left ear to his chin. His father had crashed the family sedan into a maple tree when Liam was five, propelling the unrestrained boy face-first through the windshield.
Meghan thought the scar made him look like a warrior.
For the most part Liam was quiet, keeping his smart wit and quick temper hidden from those who didn't like a fast tongue on those they look down upon. He excelled in school, but with the future before him like so much blank paper, Liam knew only that he wanted to spend it with Meghan.
He only got in serious trouble once, when Ricky Powell asked Meghan to go with him to a dance and she said no. Ricky touched her face and called her a bitch who'd rather go slumming with trash. Liam broke Ricky’s nose in two places.
The pair signed up for track and field instead of soccer so Liam didn't have to buy cleats and a ball, and when Meghan tried out for a part in the school play, Liam volunteered as a stage hand. It was after a performance of My Fair Lady, in the heavily draped wings of the stage, that they shared true love's first kiss.
Patty O'Connor didn't miss the high flush on her daughter's ivory cheeks, nor the newfound spring in Meghan's step. Patty was in the crowd when Liam broke the school record for the hundred meter dash, and saw Meghan embrace Liam like only a woman holds a man.
A shocked Patty could feel the eyes of the other parents upon her, shame covering her like fire, wishing the bleachers would give way beneath her just to draw attention away from that filthy embrace.
Meghan was taken out of track and field, and the theater troupe, and her father sat her down to explain exactly what kind of people the Wheatons really were.
Meghan seemed to take his words to heart.
Over the next several weeks, she went out of her way to make it up to her mother, watching her younger sister, cleaning the house and doing the shopping. Patty was just beginning to think things were back to normal when Bonnie Harrison called to say she saw Meghan and Liam making out behind the Super Duper, “like a couple of horny teenagers.”
Saint Catherine's was called, only to find that the nuns were in the process of shutting down the school due to poor enrollment.
Patty marched a mortified Meghan into the principal's office at school, and Meghan shriveled as she listened to her mother reprimand the administrator for allowing Liam Wheaton to get his grubby paws on her innocent daughter. Well aware on which side his bread was buttered, the principal gave Liam his own private lunch table, away from his classmates, and Liam's desk was moved to the opposite side of the classroom.
It was a full year before her mother sent Meghan back to the Super Duper.
“I need eggs for the casserole, and I can't walk away from these,” she said, gesturing to several pots bubbling on the stove. Patty exhaled loudly, staring at her daughter. “Go to the store. And no funny business, young lady. Do you hear me? If that Wheaton boy is there, you ignore him. Not a word.”
Meghan's bike flew down Main Street as fast as her feet could pedal, her dark hair blowing behind her in the breeze. All the way there her heart pounded in her chest, her hands gripping the handlebars too tightly as her emotions raced in anticipation.
They hadn't even spoken since the fateful track meet, the adults keeping a close watch on them at every turn. Meghan pulled her bike up on the curb, hastily snapping the lock and running inside. She scanned the aisles one by one until she found him, his long body reaching onto a high shelf.
She bit her lip as she started toward him. “Liam,” she called out lightly, and his head snapped up.
His eyes held hers, devouring her, setting her belly to tingling. “Meggie.”
“My momma let me come buy some eggs.” What a stupid thing to say, but it didn't matter, because they were together again, face-to-face.
“I've missed you,” he said, his eyes falling to her lips.
Meghan felt herself flush, loving the sound of his words after so much silence. “Meet me,” she said quietly.
“I don't know.”
He took a purposeful step toward her. “The old powder mill, by the river.”
She had heard stories about what went on there. Dirty stories about men and women and what they could do to each other. She felt dizzy, even as she nodded her consent. Anything to be close to Liam. “When?”
“I get off at six.”
Her parents were going to a concert, and Becky had a sleepover at a friend’s house. “I'll be there.”
And so it was that Meghan O'Connor and Liam Wheaton made love at the old powder mill, the summer they turned sixteen. When Meghan slipped from Liam's arms and raced to beat her parents home, she had no idea that two great changes were about to take place, that would alter her life forever.
A new life was forming in her belly, and the old powder mill was about to go up in flames.
Buy Love's Greatest Gift at: http://amzn.com/B009QFC756
Please visit Amy online at: www.amygamet.com
Thanks so much for being our guest today, Amy!