Thursday, May 26, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Amy Walsh

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Amy Walsh

Linda: Welcome to my blog! Congratulations on your recent release, His Brother’s Atonement. What was your inspiration for the story? 

Amy: Thank you, Linda! Several things, really. One of my co-teachers, Nikki, camped throughout Wyoming last summer and had so many things to say about the beauty of nature and the lovely small communities. After conversing with her, I started paying more attention to contemporary novels set in the western states and began following the Whispers in Wyoming page on Facebook. I ended up writing His Brother’s Atonement during the nights I stayed with my grandmother in hospice. Honestly, the story just seemed to write itself through my fingertips, the characters coming alive to tell a story of God’s amazing ability to redeem even terrible situations in beautiful ways. 

Linda: How did the opportunity come about to be part of the Whispers in Wyoming series? 

Amy: After I was finished writing Aubrey and Shane’s story, I started to look for a home for it. I approached WiW and asked if they would consider taking me on as an author. When I heard that they thought I would make a good fit to their team, I was ecstatic! I am so honored to be part of a project that has a gospel-centered and heritage-based theme!

LM: What sort of research did you have to do for this book? 

Photo: Pixabay/Sharon Kehl Califano
Amy: Well, I picked Nikki’s brain, and would run ideas by her. For instance, Aubrey, who works as a
designer, gets to create the aesthetic for a restaurant in their small town of Engelmann. Nikki and I hashed back and forth over what sort of food would go over well in some of the towns she visited. By the time we were done conversing, I wanted to move out there and start my own 1 Arroyo Drive bistro! I already had a good inkling from all the contemporary and historical westerns I devoured over the years. I watched many videos and went on rabbit trails about ranching life and the history of Wyoming. I did a lot of zooming all over Wyoming via Google Earth. 

LM: How do you choose character names and places for your stories? 

Amy: It all depends. Sometimes names just pop into my head as I am imagining characters. Sometimes I look for names that have meanings that match certain character traits. Most often, I look through lists of names to get ideas. When I am writing my fantasies for the Dolls of Mahogany Manor series, most of my names are Latin-based, which is fun and easy. Vastaterra was the name of the country, and it just means “large land.” Fascinare (fascinating), one of the main characters, has amazing powers and is mesmerizing. 

LM: As a female, what is the most difficult thing about writing male characters? 

Amy: I have the same difficulty as I have writing other characters when I haven’t walked their walk. Part of their character development is to do the research I need so I can get into their minds. I also have two amazing resources, my husband and my dad. I have rewritten many times because my husband has said things like, “A man would never say that.” Or, “That is just not how a man thinks.” One difficult thing when I am writing romances is that that the heroes that so many romance readers seem to adore would probably not make the most wonderful husbands! Mr. Hot and Moody might be super-hard to live with for multiple decades – ha ha! I loved the challenge of writing a male character who wasn’t hot and moody and making the reader fall in love with him anyway in the novel, A Misplaced Beauty

LM: What books are on your TBR pile? 

Amy: I honestly have a couple hundred TBR books that I have downloaded on my Kindle over the past couple of years: novels written by author friends, books that were free or on sale that looked good, and research books. I prioritize my reading quite a bit because I have limited time as a full-time teacher, mother/wife/friend, and author! I mainly read novels to support other writers for their book launches or if an author is being spotlighted on my blog. I also read books that I think my students would like. These books are at the top of my TBR pile right now: Violet’s Vow by Jenny Knipfer, Big Apple Atonement by Carolyn Miller, Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham, Journey to Joy by Anne Perreault, and A Promise for Faith by Stacy T. Simmons. 

LM: What would you tell your younger writing self? 

Amy: I would tell myself to get started earlier, to force myself to make time for something that I love so much. And not to give up so easily. I was writing pretty heavily when my children were very young, hoping to support myself with my writing and stay at home. However, I discovered I was so obsessed with writing that I was mentally spending more time with my characters than with my children. I didn’t want to shortchange them or miss out on precious moments. I decided to put writing to the side for over a decade -- until my kids were older. I probably could have done better with being self-disciplined, instead! I would also tell myself to spend more time studying the writing of the authors I admire – to read with more awareness of literary aspects instead of purely for enjoyment. I wish I would have made time to go to at least one writing conference a year and looked for a local writers’ group that met regularly. I just feel like I put a major part of what makes me aside for a very long time! 

LM: What’s next for you? 

Photo: Pixabay/
Amy: I have so many exciting projects coming up! In October, my novel Voices in the Sanitorium will be releasing. The story involves the West Mountain tuberculosis hospital where Dick Smith wrote the song “Winter Wonderland” in the 1930s. It is a women’s fiction novel with some suspense. I am working on the second book in the London Debutante’s series and a contemporary novel that involves two sisters on a ‘get-to-know-you’ tour of the Scottish Highlands. I had the blessing of being able to do so in-person research in the United Kingdom in May. I wasn’t able to leave as expected because I came down with COVID, just as I was about to leave for home and had to be quarantined in Edinburgh for an additional ten days. The extended-stay gave me the opportunity to research other book ideas! But that’s another story! I am also looking forward to continuing to collaborate with other authors in Whispers in Wyoming, the Brides of Pelican Falls series, and a couple other multi-author series that have yet to be announced! 

Linda: Where can folks connect with you? 


His Brother's Atonement:

Shane Phillips had given up hope of ever meeting the nephew born to the woman his brother assaulted. After checks he sent to Aubrey Anders were returned, Shane decided the most he could ever do was pray for the Anders family. When Shane discovers that he and Aubrey work for the same graphic arts company, he must find a way to assure her he means no harm before both Wyoming branches meet for a conference. 

Aubrey thinks she has worked through most of her trauma with the help of her psychologist and loving community. However, meeting Shane Phillips seems to have unleashed suppressed anxiety and insecurity. But as their paths continue to intersect, Aubrey begins to wonder if Shane could be part of God's plan for her despite their painful connection. 

His Brother's Atonement is a standalone novel as are the other novels in the Whispers in Wyoming multi-author series. 

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait for the Voices in the Sanitorium! I had no idea how she started this book and how she did her research of the west that was very interesting. Also found how she picks charcuterie names very interesting. These were all great questions. Thanks Linda and Amy!