Your YA Christian fiction novel, Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK, is about a pastor's kid who wonders if the faith she has grown up with is actually her own. Throughout this journey she begins to "rethink" her reputation as the good girl. Were you writing from your own experience as a teenager? If not, what inspired you to write this story?
Yes and no. I am not a PK but I grew up in a similar fishbowl of sorts in the church. My dad was a deacon, my grandparents were founders of the church itself, my mom a SS teacher - so I was always known as "so and so's granddaughter or daughter", not just me. I drew from those experiences and feelings to portray Addison. I wanted to show readers that even the good girls aren't perfect, and that sometimes, they struggle more than anyone else on the inside where no one can see.
I can definitely relate. I absolutely loved Addison and found myself connecting with her in many ways. Did you incorporate some of your own strengths and flaws when creating her character?
Thanks! She surprised me a lot ::grin:: I gave Addison some of my quirks, like my affection for mochas and sprinkles, and her love of books. I've always felt a little nerdy, too, like she did, growing up. Never quite fitting in because of my "good girl" status at school, sometimes stuffing emotions for the sake of other people we love. Addison and I have a lot in common, to be sure. Including climbing out a window in the middle of the night ::wink::
Oh, I craved a mocha with sprinkles so many times while reading your book! =) Why did you decide to take a break from Christian romance to write YA, and do you plan on continuing to write for this genre?
This story just begged me to write it, so I didn't feel as if i had a choice. haha! And once I did, I fell in love with YA and hope to continue to write more stories in that genre. Romance is always a key element of anything I write, regardless of genre, so readers can always expect a strong romance thread and a happily ever after from a Betsy St. Amant book - whether in adult or YA fiction.
I'm sure your teen readers won't complain about that. ;) What challenges did you face while writing Confessions of a PK?
Time. Always time! I do so much and am responsible for so much that having a tight deadline on a story that was literally twice as long as my typical Love Inspired romances was hard. But the first person POV (point of view) really helped the story progress, I think. That style was new for me but really fun. I loved being able to get inside Addison's head that way. Thankfully, God seems in the habit of giving me holy time warps when I honor Him with my time, so it all got done.
What I loved most about your book was that it was eye opening, yet entertaining. How did you master the art of telling a Christian story without coming across as preachy?
Thank you! That's the goal. I wanted to write a story that entertained but shared a message, yet wasn't throwing religion or God in the reader's face. That's a harder line to balance on than I realized! I'm always so grateful to hear I accomplished that goal. Mastering the art, however - well, bless you! lol That's all God, right there.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this story?
I hope readers who are already believers will be stretched in their faith and challenge themselves to ask the hard questions "WHY do I believe what I believe?" And I hope readers who don't have a faith in God yet will be drawn to Him for the first time.
Now for the fun questions. =) Where do you get most of your writing inspiration from?
Mochas with sprinkles ::wink:: No, seriously, Starbucks helps. So does sitting in Barnes and Noble with my open Netbook, surrounded by other artsy types. And of course, from reading fabulous novels by Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, Susan Meissner, Julie Klassen, Lisa Wingate, and on and on.
What does your writing routine and writing space look like?
I have no writing routine. ha! Impossible. I'm a fireman's wife, so he's gone a lot, making me mostly responsible for our four year old, who has her own schedule of preschool, dance class, AWANA's at church, etc. I also have a part time job at a water company, my own editing/critique business, am a List Hostess for a 2500+ member writer's group (the American Christian Fiction Writers - http://www.acfw.com/) and I freelance regularly for my local newspaper. What is time, again? ::grin:: I write in snippets around all of the above - on lunch breaks, on my Netbook in my little girl's preschool parking lot or dance academy lot, at home late at night, or during the afternoons at times when she's playing her own computer games or when my mom offers to babysit...I take what I can and God makes it work. As for my writing space, that's usually my car or Barnes and Noble or somewhere like that, but I do have a home office with tall bookshelves, a writing desk my Dad built when I was little, and awesome art from Target and Hobby Lobby that inspires me :) As well as a framed photo of a girl from the Yucatan who loved ADDISON's story so much, she and her friend made T-shirts with gummy bears that boasted TEAM WES :) Love that.
If those shirts were on sell, I would definitely have to buy one. Do you have to snack or sip on anything while you write?
Mochas, Coke Zero, Nerds, or goldfish crackers. Hey, don't judge ::wink::
Is there any advice you might have for aspiring authors?
DON'T STOP WRITING. You will never be published if you don't finish a novel. And you will never be published if you don't open yourself up to rejection through critique partners, writer's loops, contest entries, and submissions. It's worth it! Also, never underestimate the power of a writing conference in regards to both craft/learning and networking. Sign up for one when you're ready and get ready to rock your writing world! (See http://www.acfw.com/ conference page for info about 2013 September conference)
Thank you for interviewing with us, Betsy! Do you have any final thoughts?
There is an interactive quiz for readers of ADDISON BLAKELY on my website (http://www.betsystamant.com/) under the "Extras" link that's really fun! Who would YOU date if you were Addison??
If you would like to enter the drawing to win a copy of an autographed copy of Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK, enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*If the raffle box isn't showing, you can enter by leaving a comment instead.
Betsy St. Amant is one Good Girl who enjoys writing about Bad Boys in her YA fiction novels. She lives in Louisiana with her hunky fireman hubby and an adorable toddler that is already smarter than she is, is often found consuming massive amounts of chocolate and then attempting to work it off in the gym, and is an avid reader who is constantly wondering where Mr. Darcy went. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill romances and has a BA in Christian Communications. Her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Publishers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing. Visit her website, check out her personal blog, or check out her blog for writers.