28 August, 2020

#Interview with Amy Watkins, #Author of 200 Letters #Contemporary #Romance - @alwaysluvd7

About the Author:

Amy Watkins is a Washington, D.C. native. In childhood, she hated reading until she stumbled across "The Coldest Winter Ever" by Sistah Souljah and fell in love with books. She graduated Cum Laude from Frostburg State University and received a medical degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore. She served in the US Navy for 8 years. She currently works as a family medicine physician for the US Navy. She resides in Virginia with her 3 children and an adopted dog. 200 Letters is her debut novel.

Amy on the Web:
Facebook * Amazon Page

An Interview with Amy Watkins

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

In my younger years, I was not interested in books at all.  I hated reading and writing. But then I read the Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah and it changed my life.  I realized that books were not always about faraway places, history, or fantasies that I could not relate to.  That books could teach lessons that related to my life. That’s when I started reading and writing.  I started with poetry, then short stories, then a novel. 200 Letters is my debut novel but there are a couple of others that I am currently working on.

What inspires you to write?

My personal life is a big inspiration for me. I have been through a lot and one way that I coped with my stress is to write about it. Writing was very therapeutic and that writing turned into an inspiring novel.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 

200 Letters is based on events that happened in my life and the life of one of my closest friends. I was in an abusive marriage and miraculously I was able to escape that marriage.  My friend was unjustly incarcerated and struggled to appeal his case to no avail. I intertwined our stories to come up with an inspiring masterpiece.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day? 

15 years ago I started to write a book about people whose lives changed after an intervention at a hospital. But I lost my drive to write the book and it was lost. I have two novels that I am currently working on. Hopefully they will not get lost.

Tell us about your writing process. 

I usually come up with a story and then start writing about it.  I pray a lot during my writing. I mainly pray for inspiration. I also read the Bible a lot because I like to intertwine scripture with modern day life. I usually write an outline of the book as I go. Ideas seem to pop up randomly so I use a lot of sticky notes to jot down ideas or inspirational quotes that I later incorporate into the novel.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

My favorite scene in 200 Letters is when the main character, Angela, escapes her abusive husband. Things aligned perfectly for her so that she could escape unscathed. The way that I wrote this scene in the book is the exact way that I was able to escape my abusive husband. It is my favorite scene because I feel it gives hope and drive to other women who are involved in abusive relationships.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

The main character, Angela, is based on myself. She is sweet but naïve. She tries to do the right thing but often makes mistakes. She is loyal and puts up with way too much crap. She often gets taken advantage of and mistreated but she is strong and bounces back quickly.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Tons of sticky notes everywhere. For whatever reason, I tended to come up with great ideas in the shower or while driving to work.  I had tons of sticky notes around my bathroom and car. It was chaos but it worked.

Do you read? Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

I love to read.  I mainly read romance, suspense, or Christian novels. My favorite book is Better Than I Know Myself by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. Other authors I enjoy include Eric Jerome Dickey, Zane, Sista Souljah, and T.D. Jakes. Something unique about my book is that it is spiritual in that it uses scripture and it relates it to real life. But it is also very real, raw, and ratchet. It has plenty of violence, sex, sin, and betrayal. I liken it to Zane meets T.D. Jakes.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

Take criticism with a grain of salt. Listen to constructive criticism openly but do not let it get to you.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

As I wrote 200 Letters, I sometimes got the urge to leave some of the gory details out thinking it may be too much for my readers. But in my heart, I felt like I shouldn’t sugar coat anything. I am glad that I didn’t. Since writing my book, many people have come to me letting me know that they went through some of the same things I wrote about and my writing was giving them the strength to leave or move on. It helped them to know that there was someone out there going through similar heartache and that they were not alone. If I had left out some of those details, they would not have felt the same connections as they felt with them in. My advice to writers is don’t hold back. Put your heart into your work. You may be helping someone else through your writing.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?

My Bible (to read, pray, and study), a solar powered radio (because I love to dance and listen to good music), and a lighter (because I do not know how to build a fire with sticks and rocks).

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

I am a single mother of three kids with a busy career. Yet I do still manage to have free time. I have to make time for myself. I usually have free time between 8:30 and 9:30 pm.  I send my kids to their room and I enjoy myself for that hour. I am usually writing, reading, watching a movie, drinking some wine, or praying/studying the Bible. My favorite place to unwind is the beach, though I rarely get to go without my kids. My second place, is in my living room when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet.

About the Book:

200 Letters is an inspirational romance suspense novel that follows two people as they try to escape abusive relationships. Their paths cross and they fall in love. However, the tainted lovers from their past scheme in an attempt to break up the happy couple.  This scheming leads to an unjust incarceration during which letters are written between the couple. It is through those letters they gain spiritual enlightenment and discernment. The book uses biblical scripture and relates it to modern life. It uncovers the ill effects of social injustice, mass incarceration, and prejudice. This page turner not only entertains but also mentally and spiritually challenges. Based on true events.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon