Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RETURN TO LOVE by Betsy St. Amant

Isn't Betsy the cutest little thing ever? *smiling*

Welcome everyone. What an honor it is for me to host Betsy St. Amant. I've known Betsy for a few years now, and I've read several of her works and absolutely loved everyone of them.

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her contemporary romance RETURN TO LOVE is under contract with Steeple Hill Love Inspired for a July 2009 release, and the sequel A VALENTINE’S WISH is contracted for a February 2010 release. Betsy has also been published in the Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, Kickboxing or Chocolate, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. Betsy has a B.A. in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to Crosswalk.com. Betsy is a wife, author, new mother, and avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

What I want to know first, Betsy, is this... When did your love affair with polka dot shoes begin? ~wink wink~

I think the love has always been in my heart! Haha! I just love shoes, and when I found that red and white polka dot pair of heels, well…they complete me. Sigh. ::winks back::

(I can't help it, Betsy, I have this image of a hundred different pairs of unique style, polka dotted shoes, neatly lining your closet shelves. *smiling*)

What is your fantasy dream vacation? And why?

Europe. Germany and Ireland first. There is something so fascinating about those old world countries. Very mysterious and intriguing. I’d probably come back from there with a dozen new story ideas. Wait. Maybe I shouldn’t go until I fulfill my existing contracts first, then. =)

(Who knows, if you go now, you might be inspired to get your other stories completed faster. After all, I bet the castle walls in Ireland have many tales to tell. Enought to keep you busy for quite some time anyway.)

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always known, I think! I started writing when I was seven years old, short stories and poetry and little fun things like that. I haven’t stopped yet!
(I hope you never do, either. *smiling*)

What are some of the challenges you face with your writing as a new mother?

TIME! And ENERGY! The same ol’ that I’m sure every mother faces with whatever career they choose. Even if your baby sleeps really great like mine does, you just stay tired anyway. But eventually, you get used to it and you press on and somehow reserve enough brain power to write books. =) I wouldn’t trade my Little Miss for all the sleep in the world.
(My daughter's thirty years old, and I struggle with some of the same issues. Time and energy. What are those again? It's been so long since I've had them that I've forgotten. hehe)

Any tips for other young mothers who want to pursue a writing career?

Just hang in there! It gets easier. And harder. Wait, that wasn’t very encouraging. Haha! Seriously though, when you make time for God first, He gives you time warps and somehow everything manages to get done. Writing, housework, baby fun time. It really is possible through Christ.

(Excellent advice.)

Any rejections? If so, how did you handle them? And what would you say to someone who’s just received a rejection?

Of course I have them! Enough to wallpaper my house. Or my agent’s. Maybe both. You just shake it off and keep writing! Some bother me more than others. It just depends on if I was already having a rough day. Sometimes I can just close the email file and not think about it again, other times I will get another Diet Coke, find some chocolate, and vent to my critique buds before pressing on. But always, always, always – press on. You won’t ever get published if you quit submitting.

(No truer words were ever spoken. Or more frustrating. hehe)

Has publishing changed your life? If so, how?

It’s made life much more interesting and crazy, to be sure! All in good ways. Having to meet deadlines is actually working well for me. I’m apparently an “under pressure” type of writer. Haha. It’s also changed my life in a very positive way because between my book sales and my fireman hubby’s new second job, I’m going to stay home with my daughter and write full time! What an amazing blessing. God is good. As of July 2nd, I’ll be an official stay at home mommy! I can’t wait. If you ever met my little girl, you’d understand. She’s addicting. =)

(I can so relate. I'm much better under pressure too. That's when I do my best work.)

If a person came to you and expressed a desire to write, what would you say to them?

Run away!! Haha! Just kidding. I would say embrace your dream. Why not? Go for it. I believe God gives us dreams for a reason and we should honor Him with the talents we’ve received. So work it, sister! Join our crazy club!
(Run away works for me too. hehe Jivin' right back at ya.)

We already know that your husband is your hero, when and where did you meet? And when did you fall in love with him? At first sight? Do you believe in love at first sight?

I want to say I believe in love at first sight, but I just don’t. It’s a romantic notion, to be sure, but I feel that true love is so much more than chemistry. There is definitely chemistry at first sight! But not love. Not REAL love. That takes commitment. Its more of a choice, I suppose. I guess that’s a bummer for a romance author to say! Haha. For my husband and me, we were friends first through church and then best friends in high school before dating. When I had my wisdom teeth taken out at age 18, he was right there beside me, bringing me chick flicks (and watching them with me!) and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Then he mowed the yard for my parents and my dad told me he was a keeper. So I listened. =)

(The chocolate chip ice cream would have sealed the deal for me. hehe)

Where did you get your idea for, RETURN TO LOVE?

I knew I wanted to write a love story about two childhood best friends finding their way back to each other. I first determined I wanted the setting to be in New Orleans, as that is a special city to me and my husband. (he proposed there!) Somehow the pieces all came together after that—with some revisions from my editor, of course! =)

Tell us about your book?

RETURN TO LOVE is about a woman who works as the penguin keeper at the Aquarium of the Americas. She is hosting a fundraiser gala to earn money for displaced penguins upstate. Unfortunately, her gala’s success—and the fate of her beloved birds—all boils down to her childhood best friend’s involvement. Carter is a famous musician who left the big time after turning his life over to God, and now he’s back in New Orleans for Gracie’s heart. But she’s still clinging to the broken pieces and refuses to trust him again. Will a batch of penguins and the mischievous intervention of her church’s youth group help Carter and Gracie return to love? Find out July 1st! =)

Upcoming books? Tell us about them, please.

With pleasure! Obviously my July release is RETURN TO LOVE. The sequel releases February 2010 for Valentine’s day, and is appropriately titled A VALENTINE’S WISH. Its Lori’s love story—Gracie’s best friend from RETURN TO LOVE, and is also set in New Orleans in a chocolate boutique in the French Quarter. Lori begins receiving gifts from a secret admirer. Are the gifts from the handsome Italian chef in the kitchen? Lori’s youth pastor best friend? Or her ex-fiancé, back for a second chance?

Also, I have a new story contracted for April 2010, entitled RODEO SWEETHEART, about a young woman desperate to save her family’s business—and the city slicker real estate agent from New York who is just as determined to buy it out from under her.

I’m sure you have many favorite books by other authors, would you be willing to name one, and tell us what it was you loved about that particular book and author?
The one that jumps to mind immediately is THE SHAPE OF MERCY by Susan Meissner. It’s a haunting, intriguing tale of a college student who is transcribing the diary of a young girl from the Salem Witch trials. It’s just fascinating. I highly recommend reading it.

My review of, RETURN TO LOVE:

I didn’t know Penguins had feathers. I do now though, thanks to Betsy St. Amant’s sweet romance story, Return To Love. This novel is definitely a “grab your favorite soda pop and chocolate bar” kind of read.

Betsy St. Amant is a talented and gifted writer and it definitely shows in her amazing novel, Return To Love.

I loved the whole concept of a “woman scorned” theme. Well actually, was Gracie Broussard really scorned? Because things aren’t as they appear, that’s for sure, and there’s more than meets the eye here. But what? Just when things look like they couldn’t possibly get worse, they do. Gracie’s finds herself, and the future of her precious penguins, at the mercy of her enemy, a man she despises, a man she wants absolutely nothing to do with. Will her heart get trampled all over again in the process? Or has the man really changed, or is it all a performance? After all, performance is his gig. Or is it? Gracie discovers something about someone she has always respected and loved? Who will she believe? A ghost? Or the man who betrayed her and crushed her heart?

When Carter Alexander spots Gracie feeding the Penguins, it’s purely by accident. Or is it divine intervention? As a changed man, he tries desperately to prove that to Gracie, but she’s not buying it. Can he use his past to save their relationship and the penguins that Gracie loves so dearly? Or will the scars of the past destroy everything?

Have I piqued your interest? Good. Now, if you want to know the answers to these questions, then make haste and purchase a copy of, Return To Love, to find out. You won’t regret it. (Sorry, the link thing on my blogger isn't working. To purchase a copy or to go to Betsy's website or blog, please copy and paste the addy's below.)


And last but definitely not least...how can people find you on the Internet?


Thank you, Betsy. I look forward to reading your next book.

God bless.

Until next time...

See ya~~~

Debra Ullrick, 2nd place winner in the 16th Annual Heartsong Awards Favorite New Author category
The Bride Wore Coveralls, 2nd place winner in the 16th Annual Heartsong Awards Favorite Contemporary Romance category
Déjà vu Bride, the sequel to, The Bride Wore Coveralls, Spirit Light Books
Dixie Hearts, Barbour publishing

http://www.debraullrick.com/ http://www.christianromancewriter.blogspot.com/


Carmen said...

Great interview! Would love to win her book. Happy Birthday to Audrey!

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Annette M. Irby said...

The first time I met Betsy (smiling at Bets), was at a writer's conference and she was wearing polka dot shoes!!!

Congratulations, Betsy! So excited for you!!

annette [at] annetteirby [dot] com

Debra Ullrick said...

Sorry, Carmen7351, the drawing isn't for a copy of Betsy's book, but for a $15 Amazon.com gift cerificate. But, the good news is, if you come back and post a comment about something that either tickled, touched, or taught you something in the review or interview, I will add your name to the drawing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Debra Ullrick said...

Hi Annette,
Thank you for stopping by. I would love to see a pair of Betsy's polka dotted shoes. I'll bet they're as cute as she is. hehe

Unknown said...

Hey Debra, I loved what Betsy said about handling rejections, "Always, always, always press on. You won't ever get published if you quit submitting.
Being new to the writing world, I needed that to encourage me to keep on keeping on!


Debra Ullrick said...

Thanks for stopping by, Debra. That was excellent advice for sure. And it extends to more than just writing. We can never give up. We have to keep pressing forward in Christ.


Betsy St. Amant said...

Thanks for reading, guys! And thanks for having me, Debra. You're always a delight!

Ashley E said...

This sounds like a great book, but I like the sounds of the sequel even better! Of course, being me, I'll have to read them in order, so.... :) And thank God for time warps, yes?

Robin Jansen said...

Betsy is such a sweetheart! A joyful soul.

Robin Jansen said...

What a great interview! Always love Betsy. Such a joyful spirit that is catching.

Tracy Ruckman said...

Betsy is always so perky and fun - I don't think I've ever seen her any other way!

Great interview - I love the unique questions. And if Betsy ever needs a travel companion, just holler!

Robin Jansen said...

I really appreciate Betsy's encouragement to new writers...yes, keep submitting--never give up. And Betsy loves polka dotted shoes, I love pink cupcakes. Betsy, your dream vaction sounds dreamy. I hope it comes true very soon.

Bethany said...

What a fun interview! Betsy sounds like a real sweetheart. And I understand how addicting babies can be! I love how thrilled she is with being a mom -- and congratulations on getting to stay home with your baby. Babyhood is a wonderful time, and it's great to be able to be there for all those exciting new steps!
Thanks for the interview with an author who is new to me, and for the fun contest!
momofjimmy [at] yahoo [dot] com

Carmen said...

What interested my was Betsy's desire to vacation in Europe, Germany and Ireland, as they are very mysterious and intriguing to her. Do I see a book coming? That and her polka dot shoes--something you'd never find me in! Thanks for a second chance to get this done right. A $15 Amazon gift certificate is great also!
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Edgy Inspirational Author said...

Betsy is even cuter in person. :) I would love to try this book if I win it.

Edgy Inspirational Author said...

LOL! Whoops. I meant if I won the gift card I could get her book.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I love polka dots! I'm more of a polka dot shirt girl rather than shoes, but I Love 'em!
I love a woman scorned theme and this book sounds great! A gift card could get it for me! :)

Doreen said...

What a sweet interview!! I don't own any of her works yet but hopefully soon will! :) I've been wanting to purchase a certain Bible on Amazon for a while now and hope to win the gift card! *Hopeful*
purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

Doreen said...

I've actually been to part of Europe before, in France on a short term mission's trip back in 1996. :) It was so nice but nothing compares to being back at home, in the U.S.A! :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your release and your SAHM status.

I had an author comment to me the other day how gorgeous all the Steeple Hill book covers are, and she is right they are. Yours is particularly nice.

Pamela J said...

I've actually been in New Orleans... Just one month before Katrina forced our son and his bride to move as they lost almost everything they owned at the time. I think this book, Return to Love, sounds like a great one to read. Since it is out now, I will keep my eyes open. What fun it would be to see it next time I am in town. Just might be a great time to buy an new book!
Pam Williams
cepjwms at wb4me dot com

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! Return to Love sounds like a wonderful book. I love the New Orleans setting. It is one of my favorite settings for a book. Betsy sounds like a fun person. The polka dot shoes sound great.


Unknown said...

I love where Betsy says that when you put God first He gives you time warps to make things possible :-) So true!

I'd love to be entered :-)

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Anonymous said...

I loved the unusual questions posed to Betsy. I have read one of her The Wild Rose Press books. It was really good. I even asked her, doubt that she remembers, if there was a sequel coming. Alas, that was a no. But with her new books I see that happens. She is adorable and upbeat.
Thanks for the opportunity for the Amazon gift card.
b (dot)werts (at)sbcglobal (dot)net