Monday, April 20, 2015

Author Interview: Amanda Hage (and giveaway!)

I'm always excited to find (and share) new authors.  But, I'm especially excited about this one!  Not only is she the daughter of a dear friend, but she is also a local Minnesota homeschool graduate.

Amanda Hage, author of Lily: A Legacy of Faith, is a talented young writer of wholesome Christian novels with biblical values and worldviews. The much anticipated second and third books in the Lily series, Lily: A Legacy of Hope and Lily: A Legacy of Love, have recently been released and are available on www.thornberg.com and www.amazon.com. If you are looking for adventure-filled historical novels for your children, read on! Amanda agreed to share a little about herself and her writing.


Amanda, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am the fourth of eight children and have been blessed to grow up living in a God-fearing home. All my years of formal schooling, I was home-educated by my parents. When I graduated from high school in 2013, I expected to just study medicine and photography. But God’s expectations were different. The things I thought would be at the center of my time and life have turned out to be on the periphery. While I am still trying to absorb a nursing textbook and find time for my eye to catch God’s creation through a camera lens, novel writing has become my major work until the Lord sees fit to change things. On the side, I have six piano students and teach flute to my younger sister. I also have the privilege to periodically play at nursing homes with a local flute choir. When I am not working on a story, twisting tales and conniving conflicts and characters, or doing my Bible and nursing studies, I enjoy meandering through the park behind our house, chumming around with my siblings and doing various projects from cooking to drawing to knitting.

How did homeschooling prepare you to write a book?

It gave me one on one tutoring with my mom and dad and allowed me to freely invest time in what interests God gave me. My parents did not squelch my dreamer’s imagination. They encouraged the silly, short stories I would write when I was a little kindergartner. I remember my mom buying blank books for me to fill with my pictures and tales. I was a writer from the very first. The biggest and most important thing, though, was that my parents invested themselves into teaching me. They did not let me get my disobedient, lazy way.

I could not stand English. I did not like it. At all. Shocking, right? Especially, when I completed a trilogy of historical fiction about a month before my high school graduation. I remember plowing through all my English lessons for the week in one day, just so I could get it done and not have to think about it for another seven days. I did it because mom and dad would not let me get away with not doing it. But I could not even squeak by with just barely getting it done. I had to do it right, know it and understand it. Writing stories was still fun. I never minded that. But grammar was a chore. I dreaded it. I was lazy. Gradually, the Lord changed my heart. He gave me the love of learning that my parents have. At the time my mom was teaching me how to put words and sentences together to form paragraphs that would hold a reader’s interest and be very informational, my dad unwittingly gave me a love for words and what they can communicate. Reading this interview, you might have noticed I tend toward a flowery turn of phrase. Thank my dad.

When I had enough of a grammar foundation, Mom got the Institute for Excellence in Writing curriculum for me to do when I was in junior high. She tailored it to fit me. Then writing for me took flight. It was still structured writing—and that was really hard for me. I did not like being forced to work in a grammatical framework. I still don’t. But at least with that curriculum my imagination and creativity had a little room to move around and work. Habitually, with rare exception through all thirteen years of school, I was done with all of my lessons by lunch. My afternoons were free. I had time. One day, a few months before I turned fourteen, I was bored. Groping for something to keep me occupied and not idle, I sat down in my room and decided to write a story—just for fun—a long term project that I could putter away on as I wanted to. That was the start of the Lily Wellington’s story and what I thought would be only one book. Five and a half years later, it was three and friends were pleading for the publication I had never considered.

Who is your target audience for the Lily series?

Originally, I intended it to be for girls age twelve and up—roughly how old I had been when I started writing. But I laugh because God has greatly expanded that range. I have been told repeatedly by the few ‘guinea pig’ families I tested it out on that the series is a wonderful family read aloud and that even their teenage sons loved reading it.

What messages or values do you hope to communicate to them?

God is the beginning of life and the end of it. He is absolutely sovereign in everything . Life is livable because of the Everlasting God. Without Christ and His salvation, a God-pleasing life is impossible. His Word, the Bible, holds all the answers, whether we like them or not, and it is the absolute standard for our lives. We must trust and do what He says. God is the definition of right and righteous.

Can you share a little about your future writing projects?

In the editing process, I have a western and its sequel waiting and begging to get to the printing press. Hard on the heels of that, I have two other novels begging to be put down in writing and a few more ideas after that. After those, who knows? I never expected to go on writing after the Lily books were done. Even after this western I thought that was it—I guess I should learn my lesson.

And lastly, since this is a book blog, please share some books or authors that you would recommend.

I have read the majority of Janette Oke’s novels and every one of them I have found to be engaging and edifying, which is something I especially expect of a novel labeled with Christ’s name. Unfortunately, I have been more often disappointed than not. A novel in the Christian genre that is not missing nor mediocre in godly edification is a diamond in the rough.  Daughters of the Faith is a biographical series by Wendy Lawton. She’s written the girlhood trials of many unsung heroines of the faith, who quietly and faithfully followed God.  Lois Walfrid Johnson has written a few series for young teenagers. My personal favorite and I think her best is the Viking Quest series. It is great for both girls and boys alike.  Patricia St. John, the author of the beloved Treasures of the Snow, also wrote several other wonderful stories:  Rainbow Garden, Star of Light, The Tanglewoods’ Secret, and The Secret at Pheasant Cottage.  Arleta Richardson’s Grandma’s Attic series and Orphan Train books are wonderful stories for all ages.



Thank you, Amanda, for sharing a little about yourself!

And now.....a giveaway!  Amanda has graciously donated a copy of her first book.  Please enter the contest below and share it with your friends!  The winner will be chosen on Monday, April 27.  


Edit:  Two entries per person.  One for leaving a comment and one for sharing the giveaway with a friend.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 comments:

Alyssa W. said...

Congratulations Amanda!! I am excited for you!
Alyssa

Abbey T said...

Sounds so exciting! Good job on a whole series!!

Leah said...

How great! I'd love to share this book with my goddaughter named Lily :)

Jennifer said...

Amanda, congratulations! I am so amazed and impressed that one of my cute SS students has gone on to develop a God-given skill in writing edifying, engaging novels. Looking forward to seeing where He takes this and you! Love, Jennifer

kathy said...

Amanda ... how nice to see and hear of your work!! keep it up ...
We need Christian writers who are not ashamed of the Gospel!!!

Wendy Gunn said...

I am presently rereading Amanda's first book and enjoying it every bit as much as the first time I read it! Knowing Mandy personally, it is a thrill to see her become a published author. She is a gifted writer! All ages will enjoy her book, Lily, and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, as well as future books. Congratulations, Mandy! I am so happy for you on this accomplishment, and grateful for more good, wholesome books to be written!!

Miriam said...

This looks great. As a homeschool mom, it is really fun to read of your experiences and wishes for your book.

Sarah H said...

I would love to read one of these books! What area of the US is Amanda from?

Jenny Bergren said...

Sarah H, Amanda lives in MN - Twin Cities area. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the Hage family and can't wait to dig in to these books. Maybe this will be a summer read-aloud for the kids and I! Thanks for posting this interview, it is fun to get to know an author...you do a great job here, Jenny!