Hello Scribe Fans, Katy Lee here. Recently I joined a fabulous and supportive author network called John 3:16. We are made up of a diverse group of Christian writers each using the particular writing gift God has given to us. From fiction to non-fiction to even poetry.
But speaking of gifts, I am very excited to introduce you to Tammy Hill, one of these very talented writers from the network who writes YA fiction. Tammy’s debut novel, Knowing, has just been released this month and is about a young girl named Ember who has a very interesting, if not a bit scary, supernatural gift.
Knowing has such a different premise from the many Christian books out there that it caught my eye immediately, and I wanted to invite Tammy here today to learn more about her and her writing life.
So sit back, readers, and enjoy the conversation.
Please, tell us, Tammy, how do you battle the doubt monster? We define the Doubt Monster as: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
The doubt monster didn’t rear his (or should I say “her”) head until after the book was complete. Before then, I was really writing for God and for myself. The thought of other people reading it was not something I would let myself dwell on while I wrote. Not only that, but all of the words, scenes, and voices of the story flooded me. I didn’t have time to think much—just write. When a publishing house actually wanted my story, the doubt monster struck all at once. I was nauseous and shaky…and turned the contract proposal down. Thankfully, God gave my husband the faith I was lacking and he pushed, pulled, and pried me into accepting it. I’m so glad he did.
Is there a story that you haven’t told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?
I always meant for my novel to be a series. Ember’s story was first, and Missy’s will be the next. I’m so excited about writing book two, but I haven’t let myself think about the story too much. My life is extremely rich right now with the launch of Knowing this month!
What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?
The biggest surprise was a publishing house wanted my story! I only sent it in as part of my New Year’s resolution to write a manuscript and submit it once. I thought they would send some nice feedback and I could work on the manuscript over the next year. Yes, it was a big surprise.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?
I’m always looking for new things to learn and ways to grow. I would go for the next thing that I was inspired to try or put more time into developing one of my other interests, like photography.
How do you come up with your shtick? By shtick I mean your voice. That thing that identifies the story as belonging to only you. Perhaps an element to your stories like small towns or a thread of equestrian-life or medieval dialogue…something that says these are the type of stories that are your brand.
I haven’t written enough stories to have a ‘brand,’ but I hope all of my books will have a Christ-centered common thread. I want them to exemplify God’s grace and forgiveness. I hope readers come away knowing that, no matter what mistakes we make, our loving Father is there for us. I also hope to continue writing books that demonstrate that God wants to be an active part of our lives, not a dead religion.
What is your junk food of choice?
We have discovered Belgium waffles since moving to France. A waffle slathered in Nutella is definitely a junk food that sings to me during stressful times.
Nutella is staple in my house!
What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?
It seems I have taken many risks lately—not physical ones, but I have made it my goal to ‘get out of the boat’ and walk in faith in so many things. Publishing my novel, adopting our two girls from China, and moving the family to France are just a few exciting things going on in my life over the past few years.
Wow, France! As beautiful as that sounds, and I am sure it is quite a beautiful place, I can see how you could say it was a risky move to make. But it sounds like you don’t make a move without God’s direction, and so your steps are protected.
Thank you, Tammy, for sharing a little about yourself today. I feel like we know you better now!
Sixteen-year-old Ember Matthews is tired of being the person everyone else wants her to be. Although she is nervous about moving to a small town and leaving behind the comforts of her old life, Ember welcomes the opportunity to escape the mistakes and pain of her past. Ember truly wants to change, but when faced with temptation and peer pressure from some new friends, she finds herself slipping into the same old patterns. As she reconnects with God, Ember begins to realize that she is no ordinary teenager. She sees things that no one else sees, and knows things she has no business knowing. Will Ember learn to use her God-given gift, or will the burden of her calling be too much for her to carry?
Tammy Hill is a homemaker with a love for reading, photography, and writing who grew up in the South. She and her husband were stationed throughout the U.S. and Germany with the Army. A few years ago, they decided to trade an ordinary, comfortable life for a full life in Christ. This book is just one of the many exciting results of that decision. They now live with three of their six children and two poodles in the South of France.
Connect with Tammy on Facebook.