Friday, December 18, 2015

Come Meet A.M. Heath, Author of the Ancient Words Series!

As a follow-up to my review of A.M. Heath's In the Shadow of Thy Wings (HERE), I thought that you might like to meet the lovely lady who pens the arresting Ancient Words series. :-)

Pour yourself a cup of coffee... or perhaps chicory might be more appropriate, given the Civil War background of A.M. Heath's novels! :-) I know that you'll find her as warm and engaging as I have... and will soon be thinking of her as a friend.

How did you become interested in Civil War history and fiction?
I've always had a love for history. My dad also loves history. He's always told us little stories growing up, and I craved that sort of thing. But Civil War history, in particular, I've grown so fond of because I love the clothes. Lol What can I say?! I'm a woman. While I genuinely love to study any historic period, I've grown to appreciate Civil War history for a couple different reasons. Growing up in the south, this history is still so alive. There are battlefields everywhere down here. One of the major battles in TN, Stones River, is right across the street from our doctor's office. The park where I played as a child, the cavalry once skirmished there. I was visiting a friend the other day and he was telling me that there's still a Civil War fort on the back part of his property. Living where I do, it's an easy subject to immerse yourself in.
This war is really interesting because the two sides weren't so easily marked. It was called a War Between Brothers for a reason. This makes for VERY interesting circumstances. Which make for some very interesting fiction. ;)

That is interesting! I'd love to know what your research and writing process looks like?
I'm what writers call a pantser. Lol What that means, is that, not only do I like flying by the seat of my pants, but I also thrive in it. I do my best work with less planning. I plan some. And I've learned to take the time to do my character sketches. But I can't work with a detailed outline. I need the freedom to feel out the story as it's being written. My research follows this rule. I typically research as I write by keeping civil war journals open at all times and reading a little as often as I can. As I'm writing and specific needs arise, I'll research as needed. But for the most part, when I'm excited about a new project, I can't slow down long enough to outline or spend three months on research. I like to jump in with both feet and get started. It's a happy sort of chaos that I work well in, I'm afraid. Lol

It's a wonderful thing to leap with both feet into something God has called you to. :-) Do you have a “missions statement” for your writing? Care to share?I simply want to glorify Christ and share Him wherever I go. Whether I'm penning a story, typing an email, talking to a friend, or tending my family at home, I try to keep that goal always before me.

Who do you see as being the most interested in reading the Ancient Words series?As a history lover, I first and foremost imagine people that love history, particularly Civil War history, will really enjoy it. But I'm a romantic to the very core, so while the first book of the series was a bit lighter in the romance department, I imagine that Christian romance fans will be satisfied. Or those that love a great Christian fiction novel.

After Book Three – which I am highly anticipating! – I understand that the Ancient Words series will be going from the 1860s to the current day. Yet, despite a 150-year-gap, the books are connected. That’s an intriguing twist. Could you tell us how it came about?

I'd love to! This is probably the most unusual way to write a series. You'll see what I mean in a minute. Lol

First of all, I'll explain how they connect: All throughout this series, you should have noticed the letters that were passed between characters. ;) Of course, you noticed. The books are built around these letters. Book 4, His Love Endures Forever, is a story about a teenage girl, Allie Redman, who moves into the Harper home. She finds the letters written between the characters and it's that salvation message that Claire sends Frank in Book 1, Where Can I Flee, that impacts Allie 150 years later.

In the beginning, I was only writing Allie's story. I loved the idea of telling a multi-generational story and also of telling a story through letters. But as I wrote the Harper letters, I fell in love with these characters. They were so much larger than their letters allowed them to be. I started off writing short stories that featured these characters and told their story through their eyes. Parts of the short stories overlapped the letters, but it told richer details that the letters couldn't have. My plan was simply to tack it on at the end of the novel as some bonus reading material. But again, God changed my plans, and the Harpers outgrew even that space, demanding a series of novels of their own. So I set aside Allie's story and focused on telling the Harpers' story first. Allie has been a patient gal, but I'm looking forward to bringing this new generation to my readers and letting them see the Harpers' impact on people they've never seen.

I find that so interesting -- that you started with Allie and went back in time to the Harpers. And as I'm sure your readers can testify, you're not the only one who "fell in love" with the Harpers! ;-)

Last of all, do you have a favorite verse of Scripture?Proverbs 4: 14, 15 “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.”
I can't tell you the amount of trouble this verse has rescued me from simply by doing exactly as it says and aiming to stay far from sin rather than draw near it.

Places readers can connect with you online?
You can connect with me on Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. However, I'm most active on Facebook and through my weekly blog. You can also catch a lot of behind the scenes stuff on my series on my website.


Thanks for visiting me today, A.M.! :-) It's my prayer that your writing goes forth more and more to the glory of God -- for the furtherance of the gospel -- and for the edification of believers. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! :-)

Grace and peace,

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