Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details.
is her debut romantic suspense novel released by
Let's get to know Fay!
What made you decide to write? What did you do before becoming a writer?
Oh, I never decided to write. I just wrote, and before I wrote, I made up stories and plays for my friends to enact. I have never had a time in my life when a story or characters rehearsing for stories have not played in my imagination. Now, if you’re a writer, you’re probably nodding your head. If you’re not, you’re either scratching your head or shaking it in confusion.
What made you pick your genre? What do you love about it? What stereotypes about it make you crazy?
I have always liked a suspenseful tale. Not a scary tale. I’m a big chicken when it comes to scary stuff, but I want a story that makes me hold my breath, wondering what’s going to happen next, and if what happens next turns out to be a twist, I’m even happier.
Tell us about Because of Me.
I’m very excited about this story of Michael Hayes, once a promising young investigative report, and his fiancée, Issie Putnam. In his ambition, Michael leads Issie into a very dangerous situation, and their lives are changed forever. Michael is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison while Issie is left alone to raise a child born of a crime committed against her on that fateful night. When Michael returns to their hometown to protect Issie from the man who harmed her, he finds that she’s not alone. Issie is raising her son, and though Michael is not the child’s father, the boy was definitely born because of him.
You are also very involved in ACFW. Tell us a little about that. How has that community been beneficial in your development as a writer?
Since June 2009 I have been the co-moderator with Leigh DeLozier for ACFW’s Scribes’ critique group. I’m an advocate of critique. I believe that more than anything critique has increased my writing skill and has taught me to handle the criticism that is a part of every writer’s life.
I’m also currently on the ACFW operating board, and in the few months since I’ve come onboard, I have learned so much about ACFW—good things.
One of the main goals of American Christian Fiction Writers is to see its members learn the skills necessary to become a published writer. We have all the tools at your disposal, from the Scribes critique group and small groups to online writing classes and so much more.
Even as writers move from being unpublished to published, there are classes, webinars, even conference tracks that tie into the marketing aspect of being a writer. So, there’s something for every phase of your career.
Where else can you fellowship with likeminded individuals who desire to see you succeed? ACFW is probably the biggest group of cheerleaders an individual can have as they journey to one of the most difficult goals—publication.
Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?
I have found that my creative peak is reached between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. I am able to accomplish a lot when everything is quiet and I’ve been able to get rid of the major distractions of the day. I get a major portion of my writing done when I’m afforded that luxury, but when I’m not, I adapt to the situation.
When I’m in Florida, and when the weather isn’t stifling hot, I like to sit on my porch and work. The other 350 days of the year in Florida, you’ll find me in my home office. I do get a reprieve several times a year when I travel to North Carolina. There, you’ll find me in a desk in my room peering out at the Smoky Mountains.
Is the life of a writer what you thought it would be? What is different?
I don’t know what I realistically thought the life of a writer would be. When I was very young, I pictured me writing in a home in Cedar Key overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Reality is that if you write for the money, you’re probably going to be disappointed. I’ve just been blessed to have a husband who realized that writing was one of the most important things in my life—right up there with him and my boys and only second to my relationship with God. Marc Lamb has sacrificed greatly to allow me to do what I love. So, if Cedar Key every does come into the picture, I think I’ll let him pick out the house.
Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?
I jokingly refer to myself as a multi-tasking phenom, but actually, I’m covering for the fact that when I have multiple things to do, I am absolutely unable to concentrate on one job at a time. During the day, I may have as many as twenty jobs I’m working on. I put each chore into a group: editing, critiquing, writing, housework. Then I make a list under each group of what tasks I need to accomplish in order of importance. I even go so far as to make a little chart, and every hour, I work for fifteen minutes on each group until I’ve completely finished my list. Then when I get that wonderful time to write in the evenings, my mind is settled, and I can go into my little writing word and pay close attention to what’s going on around me. Yet, as part of my list during the day, I’ve also made some headway on a story.
What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
I complained to a dear writing coach, Tiffany Colter once that I did not like the concept of networking. I told her I’m not one to get to know people idly, and I would never saddle up to someone because I thought they could do something for my career. Tiffany gave me the advice that advanced my writing career beyond measure. She told me that I was looking at networking—especially Christian networking—backward, that I needed to look at what I could do for others and give without thought of reward.
This was the proverbial thump on the head for me. I loved it. Despite the fact that my pastor and I joke about giving being on the bottom rung of my spiritual gifts, serving is on the top rung. So, I set about to serve. I sought out ways to assist ACFW, and I was immediately put to work with the critique groups. If the experience I learned from critique were the only thing I’ve received, I would be blessed, but I look at the friends I’ve made, and I’m doubly blessed.
What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?
Don’t give up. Never give up. You know, I think someone did give me that advice, and I didn’t listen. I allowed hurt feelings to overshadow my writing career, and I lost some valuable experience and practice. Then I discovered the advice given to me was dead on.
So, don’t ever give up!
What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that?
You can’t sit alone in a room or your house every day plunking out stories. You’re well will run dry. You have to get out and breathe, do something different. You never know when you’re going to run into something or someone and a story will be born.
What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?
Serious scenes. My characters never want to behave. Give me a funeral, and I’ll write a scene that will have me laughing out loud. Because of Me has one or two of those moments. I could not get through the tension filled scenes without Michael or Issie becoming a comedian. It must’ve worked, because my editor left them as they were written.
Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?, and how do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?
I don’t set out to write a character around someone I know, but I do take bits and pieces of the personalities around me to make up a character. In Because of Me I was able to write the anguish felt by the heroine, Issie Putnam because a dear friend and I sat up many an evening discussing issues that brought us both anguish. Those issues aren’t a part of the book. I’d never do that to a friend—or an enemy—but the feelings that we shared come alive in Issie.
What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)
Definitely music. I know some writers who say they can’t write with music because it changes their mood. Well, I play music that goes with the mood of the story. For example, I’m working on a story set in the world of professional surfing. I’m not likely to listen to Texas country, but you can bet there will be some island-flavored tune playing in the background.
And movies. . . my goodness, actors are some of my biggest inspiration. It isn’t so much the actor as the roles they play. In Because of Me Michael’s personality comes alive, I believe, because of the actor my mind chose to portray him.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
Eat. No, I’m kidding. Well, I do eat. I eat a lot. Follow me on Facebook and you’ll see how important food is to me—especially ice cream, fried pickles, and sweet tea.
I have one hobby. I actually love to make tatted lace. I don’t get enough time these days to tat, but it is one of my favorite pastimes.
But more than anything, I love to work with writers. I love offering critique and just encouraging my writing friends, and I’m blessed to have many encouragers in my life as well.
Tell us a bit about your work in progress. You mentioned a screenplay and a book about professional surfing. Sounds interesting!
Resurrection is the working title for my novel set in the world of professional surfing, and it comes with an interesting behind the scenes story of God at work. I’m currently working on the third draft of this story because with each of the previous two drafts the Lord just kept telling me to get closer into the aspect of surfing. I may be from Florida, but I’m not a beach lover, and I kept questioning God on this one. Then one day He answered.
My husband and I went to the annual Cocoa Beach Surf Fest so that I could get a feel for what’s going on and do some research. We stopped walking, and I found myself in front of a tent for Christian Surfers International. When I approached the guy manning the tent and told him my story, he was very enthusiastic. “This is what we need,” he said then he gave me an e-mail to contact the local chapter president. I went home, and I e-mailed this guy, but before I finished the e-mail I felt led to add, “Just so you know, the only thing I know about surfing is that my cousin, Lauralee used to design surfboards.” Well, I don’t think it was five minutes later when I received a reply from the man’s wife. She says, “I have a cousin name Lauralee.” So, I wrote her back: “Do you mean we both have cousins named Lauralee, or do we have the same cousin?” Well, my cousin Karen, whom I’d never met, wrote back to me and explained that we had the same surfboard designing cousin. . . and Karen and I have learned that we are more like sisters than cousins, and through her work with Christian Surfers’ International, I have learned exactly why God has placed this story on my heart. There is a subculture usually ignored by Christians, and they need to learn that Christ loves them.
What is next for you?
I have completed a second romantic suspense, Willow’s Path, and two contemporary romances, Charisse and Liberty. Currently, in addition to my surfing story, I’m working on two other romantic suspense novels and the last story in the contemporary romance series while editing a contemporary fiction entitled, Storms in Serenity.
How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter? My website is www.faylamb.com, and I’m very active on Facebook. You can find me there at www.Facebook.com/fay.lamb. I also play the role of The Tactical Editor on Facebook and at the Pelican Book Group Blog Post found at www.pelicanbookgroup.com.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Fay! Got any questions for Fay? Maybe about surfing or making tatted lace? I mean, how cool is that?