Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is currently writing her fifth novel for Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She has been published in 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 BA in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to Crosswalk.com. She is a devoted wife, mother, author and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.
Hi, Betsy, welcome to my cyber cubby. You have a new novel coming out in October, don’t you? What is the book about?
Thanks for having me! Yes, I do. Mistletoe Prayers is a two-in-one novella compilation by Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Fellow author Marta Perry and I each wrote a Christmas novella. My novella is titled The Gingerbread Season.
Where did the story idea come from?
When my publisher asked me to write a Christmas novella, I started brainstorming. What are my favorite elements of Christmas? I instantly thought of small towns, community, and family. Since my word count was limited being a novella, I knew it’d be easier for the hero and heroine to have already known each other—so I had them be high school sweethearts who never got over the other. The rest…you’ll have to read ::wink::
Which of your novels was most challenging to write, and why?
I actually want to say this novella, because of the limited word count. My novels with Steeple Hill Love Inspired are still shorter than traditional trade length novels, being category, and wind up at 60,000 words. This novella only allowed me 30,000 words. I tend to be long winded, and well…you can imagine the struggle to be extra tight and concise in my writing. But it taught me a lot and my editor really pushed me to my limits in a good way with this story. I appreciate all her hard work. Writing is such a team effort.
What drew you to writing romance?
The first Christian fiction romance novel I ever read was when I was about 11 or 12 years old—Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn. I was hooked – forever. I fell in love with romance, with the idea that a book could not only inspire me as a young teenager to dream of a love worth waiting for, but be drawn closer to God as I read. Wow! I wanted to share those feelings and inspiration with my readers. It became my heart’s desire.
I see several of your books were published by Love Inspired. How did you find and meet your editor?
I first acquired my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray with Hartline Literary Agency, at the 2007 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference. She pitched my first Love Inspired novel, Return to Love to an editor at Steeple Hill and it was contracted in the spring of 2008, and released summer of 2009. The rest is history! ::grin::
How long does it normally take you to write a book? How many books do you write per year?
This is a tricky question because it’s never the same answer! It depends on so many factors—whether I have a deadline, whether I have other obligations at the same time (and as a part time employee outside of the home, a freelance journalist, a wife, mother to a busy toddler, and novelist…I always have those!) how inspired I am, how pressured I am, etc. I can write a Love Inspired novel from start to finish (not including revisions or the editorial process, just my own start to finish writing) in 3-4 months. I suppose right now I average 3 books a year. I had a July 2009 release, a February 2010 release, an April 2010 release, and now my Christmas novella this October. I am currently writing on my newly contracted fireman story, set to release summer 2011 that I am very excited about! More on that later ::wink::