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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Author Interview--Fay Lamb

Anne: The interview today is with one of my most favorite people in the world, Fay Lamb. She's not only a dynamite writer but a faithful and loving friend. I'd love for all of you to know her, so I asked a few of the usual questions about her writing and a few personal questions.

Number one is always: What inspired Charisse?

Fay: Charisse started out as a novella entitled Faith, which was written as a critique group project in the early 2000s. My critique partners each had a character who was a member of a Bible study. We pitched the project to Barbour, and we were informed that they liked the story, but they needed a published author. At that time, we decided to disband the project and do whatever we wanted with our portions. Later, when I had a chance to pitch the story to another publisher, I deepened the plot and lifted it from a novella to a novel. The story underwent several changes until it was contracted by Write Integrity Press—no changes requested.

Anne: I happen to be privy with just how much Fay does. I'm going to need a few drumrolls, please. She is a published author, a blog writer, a freelance editor, a trainer, and an acquisitions editor who travels to several conferences a year. Add to that a hands-on grandma helping to raise a rambunctious two-year-old, a wife, and one who involves herself with her many, many friends' lives. Any one of these activities might be a full-time job for the rest of us. Tell us, Fay, how do you keep up with yourself?

Fay: Laughing. I’m very competitive with myself.
Actually, my work ethic in the legal field has carried over into my writing/editing and into my ministry of working with authors. I cannot be effective if I don’t have several projects going at once. Give me some slack, and I’ll take it. Then I’m miserable because I’m not getting anything done. Give me a bunch of projects, and I’m working, and I’m happy.

Anne: We all have fears that plague us, no matter what profession we choose. Fay, what is your greatest fear in writing?

Fay: This is a timely question. I have several new projects contracted. All my contracted work is in various stages of completion—or, let’s say, non-completion. When I begin a project my heart is always filled with trepidation. Will I be able to carry the plot? Will I be able to connect with my characters in order to connect my readers with them? Will I be able to increase the quality of my writing with each book? And that’s what it all boils down to. I never want any reader to say that I have become complacent with craft and simply get too busy fulfilling contracts to write a story well. I look at my stories as new paintings. I want the characters and the story to resonate with the reader.

Anne: What's the best advice you ever had in writing?

Fay: I actually received two good pieces of advice. The first was from my mentor, Tiffany Coulter. In response to my anguish over the fact that I felt networking was unethical because to some networking equates to coming alongside someone who can do something for them and befriending them. Tiffany wrote back to me and provided me with very profound reasoning. She indicated that I needed to turn that around. Instead of looking at what’s in a relationship for me, I needed to look at what others could benefit from in a relationship to me. That’s when I got involved with American Christian Fiction Writers' Scribe’s critique group. I moderated it for four years, and I put my heart into it. I learned that working with authors was a ministry God had intended from me. It also made my goals and motivations clearer, and it helped me to move on from ministries others had placed me in or backed me into that were keeping me from writing.

When I stepped down from Scribes last year, the decision was a hard one. But I had been putting fifty to sixty hours into the group. I needed time to write, and I felt I could connect with writers on a deeper level. Since my “retirement” I have continued to work with authors, and I have been blessed by my relationships with them.

The second bit of advice came from author/speaker James Scott Bell during a conference. He outlined the elements of storytelling, and he encouraged authors to learn one or two elements per year. As you’re working on those one or two elements, the others will naturally improve.

Anne: What do people ask you the most about writing?

Fay: Lately, I’ve been asked a lot about deep point of view and how it is accomplished. I’m a fanatic about deep point of view. When I teach workshops, I never fail to bring it into the discussion. Most recently, I taught classes on layering and on character, and deep point of view (POV) was a large part of the instruction. I believe that this element, more than any other, lifts an author’s work above the crowd—when it is done correctly.

Anne: What's the best question you've ever answered in "The Tactical Editor (one of the blogs she does)?"

Fay: Well, I have a lot of favorites. I love to use examples when I can, and so I’m going to say that my favorites are those where I can work a quirky example into the post—and the readers get it.

Anne: And finally, tell us about your next book...

Fay: The next book in The Ties that Bind series is entitled Libby. Libby is Charisse’s best friend, and Charisse and her matchmaking husband cause hilarious calamity:

After the death of her mother, Libby Overstreet’s preoccupation with buying a garden nursery in rural Orange County, Florida is stalled by the gorgeous man she sees daily at the local coffee shop. Evan Carter, a contractor, has been watching Libby with interest, too. When their matchmaking friends, Charisse and Gideon, introduce them Libby is sure Evan would want nothing to do with a plain Jane like her, and Evan is afraid his past indiscretions and propensity for violence will crush someone as sweet and innocent as the beautiful brunette with the overlarge glasses and expressive green eyes.

Anne: Fay, thank you  so very much for sharing with us today. You are a true Florida peach!

Fay: Anne, thank you so much for this new opportunity to share with your readers. You are one of those “networkers” who has been a total blessing to me in all that you do. Have I said, “I love you,” lately?

Anne: I love you, too, sweet friend.
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