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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Author Interview--Fay Lamb

Anne: Our interview today is with author Fay Lamb of Titusville, FL. She and her husband Marc have two married sons, Corey and Ethan, and five grandchildren. She works as an editor for Pelican Book Group, and its three imprints, White Rose Publishing, Harbourlight Books, and Watershed Books. In addition to writing her own books and editing, she also contributes to Pelican's Blog, Tactical Tuesdays: Advice for Self-Editing. Yesterday, I reviewed one of her books, Libby; you can read that review by clicking HERE. Fay, What inspired Libby?

Fay: Charisse is the first story in The Ties that Bind series. When I originally wrote Charisse, her name was Faith, and she was in a novella which contained stories of four different women who attended Bible study together. The other four authors and I pitched the story, and it would have been taken except none of us were published at the time. We could have invited a published author to join us, but we decided to each take our story and do what we wanted with it. From several different events, Charisse grew into a novel. Libby wasn't a part of the novella; but as I discovered, Charisse needed a confidante that wasn't tied to the original concept. Enter Libby.

Libby's funny comebacks and her wisdom blew me away, but I had a problem. In Charisse's story, the hero is the comedian. As I pondered this, I realized that Charisse knew something about her old pal, Libby, that I, the writer, didn't understand yet. The comebacks and humor weren't like Libby at all. They were like Fay Lamb who hides her deepest pain behind humor (and sarcasm--but Libby doesn't have the heart for sarcasm).

Libby was inspired because I learned to love her like my character Charisse, and I knew that Libby had a story to tell. Why was she hurting? What was going on in her life? We get a little bit of that in Charisse's story, and that's because it was important to the plot, but I couldn't let Libby overshadow the hero. So I pushed her a bit in the background, promising her she'd get her turn. And Libby would not let me forget that promise. Little did I know her keeping me to that promise was true to her nature. The necessity wasn't about Libby. She knew her author needed to tell this one.

Anne: I don't think I've ever seen two people who so constantly misinterpret each others' actions. Do you think their marriage stands a chance?

Fay: Great question. I hope that the reader will see that the misinterpretations from Libby came from her lack of self-esteem and her not understanding that everything Evan did, even trying to stay away from her, was because he was so deeply in love with her. His own past painted his misconception as well. He thought that someone as sheltered as Libby shouldn't have to live with the "monster" he knew he could be.

Once the misconceptions were corrected--and Libby understood that her beauty shines from the inside and from what the person God has made her, and once Evan understood that he is made in the image of a Heavenly Father and he can be different from his earthly father, I can see Libby and Evan living very happily ever after.

Anne: What made you decide to make both of them so in love with landscaping? Is that also one of your passions?

Fay: This question made me laugh because I never realized something about the story. While Libby is the closest character to me that I think I'll ever write, and her love for her grandmother is the same love I shared for mine, the truth is my grandmother only grew cactus. She had a full porch of cactus. My mother and her mother were master gardeners and provided food for the family table. My grandfather had his fruit trees, and my grandmother's aunt who was among other things the first white woman schoolteacher in Alaska and a Florida horticulturist of the year who brought exotic fruits to Florida. I developed my very black thumb from my grandmother. And I inherited her cactus--the full porch of them. They died within three months. True story. I can truly kill cactus.

But the landscaping comes from my memory of my grandmother's house and the azaleas that used to circle her oak trees. My cousin and his wife own the house now, and I think the azaleas are gone. But now, my front yard is filled with oaks and with azaleas, and I think of my grandmother every time I see them.

Anne: I think your characters need more pets to show them the depth of unconditional love. What do you think?

Fay: Have you forgotten Gideon's dog, Cletus? Charisse and Gideon still have him. Libby could probably use a very trained German Shepherd to guard her garden nursery though. However, I must say that the only unconditional love between pet and owner in the Lamb house comes from the owners who put up with all the unique four-legged characters the Lord sends our way.

Anne: Do you think Libby and Evan will eventually have a houseful of kids or just a couple or none?

Fay: You'll have to keep on reading the series to discover that question. Hope is going to be keeping Libby and Evan very busy, and Delilah, we know how difficult she can be. :-)

Anne: How much of yourself and/or your hubby did you work into Libby and Evan?

Fay: Evan's infinite love and patience is a lot like my husband, Marc, but my dear man can't build anything to save our lives. That's okay because neither can I, so we hire it done.

Libby on the other hand, as I said, is the closest character to me than any I've written--except she's more godly, more discerning, more evangelistic, and much sweeter than I ever could be. She also had a much better relationship with her mother (and I think writing Libby's relationship as such was my way of saying "I might not have always acted like it, Mom, but I love you, and I can't wait to see you when I get home and we'll be sisters and we'll both have radical changes in our personalities. I hope that you're standing by Jesus when I finally come home, too. Because after Him, I want to hug you the most.")

Libby's back story, even the horrific event that happened in her childhood that brought about her lack of self-esteem is my story. It was very painful to write, and while it isn't the worst thing to happen to me as a child, I think it affected me the most. It altered my perception of life around me in ways that still cause me to look at the wold (and myself) differently than I should. But I learned the same truths that Libby learned in her story. I won't share them here because I hope people will read and find that there is healing for this same issue, and it's a life changer. When I got a hold of the Truth, I understood some things that have made me who I am today.

Anne: What's the next book on your horizon?

Fay: I have several books contracted, and I'm working diligently to get those to my publisher. Storms in Serenity is my next release. It is a modern-day retelling of the aftermath of David's sin with Bathsheba, and it is literally the book of my lifetime. I've been working on it for nearly thirty-five years. I'll admit it's complex, but unlike the editor who once told me my stories were too complex for Christian readers, I do believe that Christian readers want complex stories. This one has a lot going on. Many things occurred in David's life after that sin--a lot of conflict came to him even after his repentance, and that's what's happening on the little island of Serenity Key.

As mentioned, Hope and Delilah from The Ties that Bind series are in the works as well as Everybody's Broken and Frozen Notes from the Amazing Grace series.

Anne: Why does it not surprise me that you have FOUR!!! books in your WIP (work in process) stack? You are somewhere close to superhuman in how much work you get done. I would say you're my inspiration, but I don't want to ever work that hard! However--I have to say I've learned more about writing from your crits and edits and advice than I have anywhere else. God bless you, my beloved friend!
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