Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guest Blog with Amber Stockton

Hi! My name is Amber Stockton, and I'm sure the bio posted will sum up who I am. So, I'll get on to other fun things. :) First, I'm both thrilled and honored to be here this week on this fantastic new blog.

Heartsong Presents has been a book club that has gotten me through some rather difficult months in the past 17 years since the club formed. Yes, I've been a member of the club for that long. It wasn't until 2006 that my dream of becoming an HP author was realized. Now, with 6 books under my belt and more to come, I'm loving the connection with the HP family and the readers I've met along the way.

My newest book being featured this week is Patterns and Progress. I've had many readers email or write to me and comment on the strength of my heroines along with the close relationships they share with their mothers. Some have even asked me where I get that inspiration. The source? None other than my relationship with my own mother.

It seems to me that heroines in novels usually stems from two places: your own background or a lacking in your experiences. You either portray aspects of your life through your heroines, or you make up for what was missing in your life by giving your heroines everything you didn't have.

I had a rather strong woman as an example set before me. My mother always had it all together...or made it appear that way. From the time I was 8 years old, she went to work, managed the finances, prepared meals, took care of the 3 of us kids (at the time; a 4th came 5 years later), and kept a good control over the household.

As the only girl with 3 brothers, I helped out quite a lot. Learning alongside my mom created an inner strength I still carry with me today.

But there were times growing up where I resented the fact that my mother expected so much of me while allowing my brothers to slide by on so many things. It felt like she valued me more for what I could do around the house than for who I was as her daughter. But, she is an adult child of alcoholic parents with a mom who basically drank herself to death after my mom turned 12. By the time Mom was 19, she'd lost her mother. So, she had to be strong. Not knowing how else to respond, she raised me the same way she remembered growing up--handling it all.

Deep down, I resented her for that and unbeknownst to me had built a wall around myself, not allowing people to get too close. I had assumed an air of confidence and conveyed the appearance of having it all together as a way to mask the inner turmoil and desire for acceptance.

It took years before I was able to forgive her and shift our relationship into one of friends. When that happened, we established an amazing friendship that has only grown better with time. We would chat on the phone, send emails and talk via instant message all the time. Now that I'm married and living 2000 miles away, the relationship has seen another change, but the strength and bond is still in tact.

In my latest release, my heroine struggles with the changes in industry and development. Changes that are affecting the very fabric of life she'd come to know. A certain young man, Jacob, who espouses those changes catches her interest, but she struggles with embracing the change or digging in her feet and holding fast to what has always been comfortable.

In her real times of distress, she turns to her mother and shares several special moments with her. There is a bond between the two women that's evident by their conversations and how quick the heroine is to seek out her mother when she needs to talk. In fact, one of the conversations the two women have is similar to one I had with my mother when I was making that lifetime decision on who I was going to marry.

I had a lot of fun writing a close-knit family who teased and bantered, yet demonstrated an obvious love for each other that went far beyond blood relation. The conversations between Shannon and her mother though are among my favorite, primarily because of how self-assured and calm the mother is about the knowledge she shares.

Just when Shannon felt at her wit's end or completely torn on the direction she should choose, her mother would offer a challenge grounded in faith and wisdom that gently guided Shannon while also allowing room for her to take ownership of her decisions. When Shannon took the time to speak with her mother and seek God, the situation started to turn for the better. A few more obstacles still remained, but this time, she was up to the challenge.

In many ways, this heroine is her own creation. I often take bits and pieces from several women to create my characters. That inner strength and determination, though, came from my own experiences. When I set my mind on something, I go for it. Shannon Delaney and Jacob Berringer are both the same way! It was a lot of fun pitting these two strong personalities against each other and throwing them into difficult circumstances to see how they'd handle it.

I hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the ride while writing. :)

Oh, and I love to hear from my readers. Post a comment here or get in touch with me through my web site. Praying you have a fantastic week!

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Question for you: Do you live near your parents or far away?


  1. I've lived within a twenty mile radius of my parents since I got married, my inlaws too. To this day, my mom still does the family Sunday dinners (at noon), although the group is getting smaller as people pass away and grandchildren move on.

  2. I live a long ways from any of my family. But I'm only minutes away from most of my husband's family.

  3. My parents live across an Arkansas hayfield. The farthest I've ever lived from them is 2 miles. Did I mention I'm an only child? I have two sets of inlaws. Hubby's Mom lives 10 miles away and his dad lived 13 hours away. We usually saw him twice a year until he passed in 2008. We still go see his wife though.

  4. I live 2000 miles away from my parents and 3 brothers, but just 10 minutes from my husband's sister and her family, then an hour from his parents, brother and new wife, other sister, cousins, grandparents. Oh, and one of three aunts/uncles live about 1-1/2 hours north. Thankfully, they're a lot like my family so I don't miss mine so much.

  5. I live less than five min walk from mum shes in a nursing home up the road.
    my dad died when I was 11

  6. At this point I live close to my side of the family and far from my hubby's side. But for a while it was the other way around. And before that we were far from both.