Book Reviews,  interview

a strand of hope

Guys, today is the release of the first novella in a four-part series! I’ve read this book SO many times already, and it is SO good! I can’t recommend it enough!

Amanda Tero always amazes me with her writing — and several of her books are featured on my blog. It’s so rare in the world of books to find an author that is constantly good and solid, and I love knowing I can hand one of Amanda’s books to my younger siblings with no cautions, no marked-out passages, just an exuberance and an, “you NEED to read this one!” type of comment.

One reason I enjoyed this one so much is because the story shared a bit of little-known history that was intriguing — the Packhorse Library Project. This was part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration to bring an end to the Great Depression, and I hadn’t heard of this part of the WPA before. To me, it pretty much seems like a prefect job . . . I mean, you’d get to spend all day out in nature, recommending books, reading books to those who can’t read yet, finding books that are wanted — and you’d get paid to do so. A perfect win-win situation, in my humble opinion :D

But, anyways . . . Today the book is officially available on Amazon, and the e-book is only $.99 . . . so why not splurge? It is SO worth it! And if you sign up for Amanda’s newsletter, you get a free short story glimpse of Lena’s life pre-library days — which I’ve also read, and adored =)

All the fun release day party things are going on at Amanda’s blog: Amanda Tero, YA Christian Historical Fiction Author — but before you click over to visit her, in the midst of all the release day details, she agreed to let me pester her with questions :D

Hello Amanda! Welcome to MfM! Do you mind introducing yourself to everyone? 

Not at all! I’m the fifth of twelve kids, homeschooled, and apparently ten years older than I look. ;) I also apparently live a double life because those who know me in the writing world don’t realize I’m just as much musician. And those who know me in the music world don’t know how much I write. I probably need to fix that. ;) 

That’s funny! I found your website first from your music . . . and it didn’t take me too long to realize that this talented musician was also a really good writer! And then we “met” during one of your book releases that ironically had nothing to do with music =) Can you share a bit behind the inspiration for writing A Strand of Hope?

A Strand of Hope is different than the other books I have ever written. When I first came up with the idea, I knew I’d have to have a book lover (of course). I also knew I wanted her to have books as her “escape,” so I had to think of a life she’d want to escape from. Having an unloving, self-centered mom was the perfect solution. It also unleashed a whole lesson for Lena to learn (more on that later).

What is your writing routine? Is there something that helps you get your thoughts on paper? Candles, music, chocolate, etc.? 

Routine? What’s that? Haha! My writing tends to be sporadic, but when I do write, I usually have music playing—depending on which story I’m working on, depends on what playlist I use (BBC Robin Hood soundtrack is for action-packed and Jane Austen-type for more light fiction). And chocolate is consumed.

Which character can you relate to the most in the story?

Hmm… I do think that I probably identify with Homer most. He isn’t afraid to speak the truth. 

I personally learned a lot of history reading this book — what was one thing that you learned about this part of our history through researching this book that you didn’t know before, or that surprised you? 

Honestly, the whole Pack Horse Librarian program was brand new to me just over a year ago. Learning about the entire program was so cool! I think what surprised me most about it was the magnitude of books donated (thousands).

Do you mind sharing some of the difficulties that arose from four different people writing four different stories about the same town of Willow Hollow, and how you overcame them? 

That is a great question! So, when you have likeminded authors banding together to write a series, you think it will go smoothly. We did have our hiccups. I think one of the most challenging was realizing that we’re not all in the same genre. I write YA Christian Historical Fiction, Faith writes more New Adult Christian Historical Fiction, Alicia writes Christian Women’s Historical Fiction, and Anita writes Christian Historical Romance. But, look at what is common: Christian Historical Fiction. We’ve chosen to focus on marketing our individual books with our individual genres, but then marketing the series as Christian Historical Fiction. 

There are so many wonderful lessons in this book — what is the one overarching lesson that you want readers to come away with a deeper understanding of when they close your book? 

Lena’s relationship with her mom is rocky, and I think we all have those relationships that just don’t go smoothly. However, it doesn’t matter what the other person has done, said, or feels. As individuals, we are commanded to forgive them—and to forgive again and again, as many times as needed. As I wrote the book, I was going on my own journey of forgiving others who had “ought against me,” and I personally needed the words that Homer told Lena. I’m hoping that others will also learn from his words of wisdom.

That is definitely a lesson that the Lord has been teaching me very recently! And it seems like it’s a common one as I talk with others — there are so many aspects of forgiveness, and it can be hard to apply them all to our lives!

Ending on a fun note: Do you have a writing quirk, and do you mind sharing it? :D 

I definitely make faces as I write. I don’t necessarily read portions of my WIP aloud, but I do make the faces of my characters. As for quirks in my writing, I’m fussed at for using too many fragments or running ahead in the story and leaving my audience behind a little confused because I didn’t explain things well enough. ;)

I’ve already mentioned that Amanda has a party goin’ on over at her internet home: Amanda Tero, YA Christian Historical Fiction Author and one of those fun activities is an art contest. And there’s an exciting giveaway over there, too. And a few puzzles, and a quiz and . . . you better just go check it out :D

Meanwhile, to celebrate the release of the book, Amanda is offering several of her books for free, or at a discounted price, over the next few days. I’ve read most of these, and they all come highly recommended!

:::About Amanda:::

Amanda Tero went straight from phonetics to scribbling before she understood spelling. Though none of her one-inch letters will ever be published, she has since grown up and introduced the world to her faith-filled novellas: A Strand of Hope, Journey to Love, and the Tales of Faith series. She’s a picky bibliophile on a quest to fill bookshelves with pages of clean, accurate, and edifying stories, specifically for the YA Christian reader.

Her childhood as one of twelve kids in a preacher’s home gave her many lessons on Biblical forgiveness, endurance, friendship, and love. She weaves this knowledge into the lives of characters who take the daring, difficult, and daunting paths, leaving readers with a glimpse of how to apply Scriptural teachings in realistic ways. When she’s not surrounded by words, Amanda educates students in understanding a different alphabet on piano and violin.

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I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.

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