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Monday, August 19, 2013

Fay Lamb ~ Author - Editor

Fay Lamb offers 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. Fay writes for Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens. Fay and her husband Marc reside in Titusville, Florida where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

Last month I shared about my newbie experience attending the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis in late June. During my two days at the trade show, which is put on by the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA), I had the privilege of interviewing three authors about their current/upcoming releases. Today I feature author and editor Fay Lamb.

Fay and I go back to around 2000 when we were both beginning our serious journeys into the world of fiction writing. We started as critique partners and in the process became great friends. This past June we caught up with each other once more and marveled at our being at ICRS together, both as authors and Fay also as an editor for Write Integrity Press, which also published her book Stalking Willow.

We sat at a small table with our soft drinks near one of the stages was set up and got caught up on each other’s lives and, in particular, Fay’s release Stalking Willow. I began by asking:

Pam:  How long have you been writing?

Fay: I started writing at five, by making up stories and telling them to others. That would have been about forty-seven years ago. (laughter). Actually it was in my mid-twenties that I took writing Christian fiction seriously.

Tell us a little about your book Stalking Willow.

Willow Thomas is a very bitter young lady. Raised by her grandmother, she grew up thinking her mother was dead and the man identified as her father was not really her dad. She eventually learns her parents were Hollywood superstars who are both every much alive. They abandoned her to her granny, and granny kept their identities a secret. The news about her true parents gets out, and the paparazzi begins harassing her. She escapes to New York. Ten years later, a stalker begins terrorizing her with email pictures of her. She flees to hometown in North Carolina. In reality, the physical danger isn’t the stalker but the bitterness in her life. She needs to change.

What motivated you to write Willow’s story?

My own bitterness. Write what you know. I wanted a godly heritage like other people I knew, and God said “you have the heritage I gave you. I was with you through everything and that is your heritage.” The bitterness is gone but I’m still growing.

What is the main message you hope your readers will take away?

God is in the details. That’s what I believe Rom. 8:28 is about. Not so much while in the midst of a crisis do you see this, but later when you look back, you see God in the details. If our lives are messed up by our own doing or by someone else’s, God will work all things out for good. He allowed his Son to die on the cross and He worked that out for good.

Which characters did you most enjoy creating and why?

I loved Willow’s Aunt Aggie. I didn’t know how her character would turn out but she surprised me with her character arc. She is comedic relief to the story. Willow looks at her aunt and must decide if she wants to follow her example or stay stuck where she is.

What was your biggest challenge in writing this novel?

Bitter people are never likable, and I needed to make Willow likable. My critique partners would say things like,  “I’m not feeling her yet. She is too angry.” I used sarcastic wit with her, and I had to add a character in the story that would battle against her. The hero won’t take her sarcasm and is sarcastic back to her.

Do you ever show soft sides of your unlikable characters to make them more likable?

I haven’t tried that technique with a hero or heroine. With Willow I used deep POV to show why she is bitter. Going into her internal thoughts so that the readers would better understand her.

What are you currently working on?

I have two four-book series contracts. Stalking Willow is the first novel in the Amazing Grace series. The second book in the series Better Than Revenge is a repackage of my novel Because of Me that came out under another publisher that is no longer in business. The new version releases September 15, 2013.

The first book in the Ties That Bind series is Charisse that releases in July. The third and fourth books in both series will release in 2014 and later.

What do you consider the best part of your writing journey?

Being able to tell God’s truth in a modern-day parable to reach readers beyond a Christian audience.

What characteristic of God do you like to present most in the stories you write?

Humor. Forgiveness is another, but I love to portray that God has a sense of humor. Consider Haman in the story of Esther, or and the plague of frogs. Moses and Aaron must have shaken their heads, and wondered what in the world is God up to.

It was great fun learning all that Fay is up to these days. You can find her here: TwitterFacebook, or her Website. Fay’s Blog, “On the Ledge,” is accessible through her website.


  1. Do you think it is necessary to soften her bitterness within the first 300 words? By that I mean to introduce your character you have to more or less lead with the bitterness to present her problem and help with her conflict or obstruction. How soon can you soften her, figuring that people could instantly dislike her and put it down before the 300 words are up?

    And one piggyback question: How important to you personally is creating a likeable character in the beginning in the beginning and showing her growth out of bitterness later in the story? It sounds like you wrestled with this a bit.

    1. Hey, Greg. I'm not sure if Fay will answer this or not, but I'll make sure she knows about your question. My answer would be this: as long as you show her motivation for the bitterness, readers will follow her. You don't have to "soften" her up if her motivation is strong enough. I always remind people about Scarlet O'Hara. She wasn't nice yet everyone followed her throughout the book and it was a classic bestseller.

    2. Greg: I do agree with Ane to an extent. When Willow first stepped on stage, she was downright nasty and negative about everything. None of my critique partners liked her. I definitely had a problem. I had to make an unlikable person likable within that first chapter, and yes, within the first 300 words. I don't believe I took the nastiness and negativity from her. I cloaked it in sarcasm that hinted at some deep hurt that gave her a reason for her bitterness. In so doing, I gave the reader a reason to want to know her story. To answer the "piggyback" question, a character arc was very important to this story. Willow had to let go of the bitterness. The reader needed to see this growth. Of course, Granny helped a bit, and she had a mirror in another person that showed her what her life would become if she didn't pluck out the roots. Willow battles with her old nature and the new nature she wants God to instill in her, and the result of her past behavior is that sometimes when she says something, the person she is talking to believes the old nature is shining through. However, she is asked to do something that will show the extent of her arc. Willow has a choice to make, and that choice will show if Willow has allowed God to pluck those roots out of her heart and help her to heal.

      Ane, Scarlet is a great example. I don't know that the world will ever see a heroine/villain like her again. She overcame her obstacles, but she did so often at the expense of others, and she never really arced. Oh, she had a moment of clarity about Rhett, but when we leave her thinking about worrying about that tomorrow, we know she's going to be scheming.

      Greg: Thanks for the great question. I actually have a post today on the Pelican Book Group blog about likability, and I name an excellent novel where the heroine is not likable from the start. Her nature was necessary to the plot of the novel and the author's message. That book is Mother of My Son by Rachel Allord.

  2. Great interview, Fay. Can't wait to read Charisse...

  3. Pam: I always enjoy our time together, and I thank you for the interview. I do want to clarify. I'm a writer with Write Integrity Press. I'm an editor for Pelican Book Group.

  4. I wondered too, Fay, I was a little confused about what you were doing. I enjoyed this interview today and learned a lot.

    It's nice to begin to know you better. :) Hugs.

  5. Fay, It's always good to read another one of your interviews. Keep up the great work!

  6. I always enjoy your writings, Fay. It's such a privilege to crit with you and learn from you. And your characters have such depth that the reader can readily identify with them and understand any pain they carry. It's always marvelous to see how God works in their lives, and this inspires me to look for ways God works in my life.


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