Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Author spotlight on Tiffany Amber Stockton

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author and speaker who touches lives through partnering with Nerium International (www.stutas07.nerium.com). She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have two children and a vivacious Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold fourteen books so far and is represented by Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.

Amber will be giving away one copy of either Antique Dreams, A Grand Design, or Brandywine Brides to one of our visitors this week! Just answer this question in the comments to be entered in the drawing:

What is one thing you know about Mackinac Island?

And now, on to the fun stuff.

Thanks for joining us at Novel PASTimes as our featured author instead of a column writer and our resident web guru! We’re glad to have this chance to learn more about you and your books. Your next book, A Grand Design, will be released in August. Introduce us briefly to the main characters and the story line.

I’m honored to be here and excited to connect with our readers. It’s a few months prior to my August release, and the setting isn’t technically historical. However, it’s set on Mackinac Island, a place where cars are not allowed, so the ambience feels quaint and historical.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a romantic getaway for two on Mackinac Island, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they take a vacation and answer a request from Alyssa’s grandmother to help her piece together an heirloom quilt with blocks created by longtime friends.

Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island. As the quilt’s story takes shape. Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life while being romanced by Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. But memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go.

The quest takes a surprising turn when a man from Alyssa Denham’s past—the reason she hadn’t returned to the island in fifteen years—interrupts the relaxing getaway for her and her best friend.

In the end, the quilt will bring healing to more than just a fractured quilting group. It will bring restoration to the hearts of Alyssa and her grandmother too.

A Grand Design will be part of the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press. How did you get pulled into the series, and were there certain guidelines you had to follow? Did that change anything about your normal writing process?

This is a story I love to tell. I was with my children at a play place on Halloween Day in 2012 when my phone rang. My agent was on the other end of the line. She didn’t take long before cutting to the chase and asking me if I could finish this vacation getaway book by June 1st. When I said I could, she said I’d just sold it to Abingdon’s Quilts of Love line. It took me about two seconds to remind her there were no quilts in that book. She told me that didn’t matter, as she added in a quilt to the synopsis. Now, all I had to do was write it into the story.

It was one of those conversations where you had to be there, but trust me when I say it was quite comical to be on the receiving end of great news only to discover I now had just seven months to take a story where there was no quilt and make a quilt the prime focus.

As for guidelines, having the quilt as the core driving force of the story is pretty much the requirement for this series. Since I had come from writing category romance where the romance had to be the core driving force, it didn’t change much in my process, but since this story had pretty much been written, I had to go back to the beginning, chapter by chapter, and weave in the added story line where nothing had been. Ironic as it is, that added thread deepened the story and brought out some truths in the characters I hadn’t known. So, I gave my agent double thanks for her work.

Wow, that is a great story – how nice to have an agent with that much faith in you to pull it all together!

Historical fiction requires so much research. What’s the most interesting (or unusual, or funny) thing you’ve done in the name of research for a book?

For my first series set in historic New Castle, Delaware, it was a blessing to have that town basically untouched since Colonial times. In fact, that town was originally supposed to be what Colonial Williamsburg is today, but the residents and business owners didn’t want all that tourism, so they turned down the offer. Still, walking cobblestone streets and stepping into buildings that were present nearly 300 years ago can give you goose bumps and make you stand in awe when you imagine what those hallowed walls have seen in all those years.

A comical thing I did for that first series was walk up and down the primary streets and enter business establishments or restaurants, or even houses (if they were open to the public) and go through the motions my characters experienced, so I could describe it in greater detail. When I repeated lines of dialogue to myself and carried on a conversation with myself while walking those cobblestone streets, you can imagine the looks and stares I received from passersby. J

If you could be any character from another historical novel, who would it be and why?

What a unique question! Usually, I’m asked if I could be any person from history or if I could meet any historical figure, who would it be. Taking into consideration the historical characters adds a much greater dimension. The first character who comes to mind is Angle from Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, but I honestly would not want to have lived her life in order to have what she ended up having in Michael and his abiding love.

So, let’s turn instead to Janette Oke and Love Comes Softly. If book 2 had done as good of a job with Missy and Willie’s romance as the movie, I might lean more toward that one, but book 1 definitely holds a special place in my heart as I’m quite the bookworm, and I loved seeing an Eastern gal who lost everything and in desperation agrees to a loveless marriage to save herself, only to discover abiding love in the process. This journey is similar for me, coming from the East, and giving up everything for the man I married 7 years ago. Though I didn’t lose everything in the same sense as Marty, I did feel lost and alone until I met him and realized coming west to Colorado was the way I’d find my life. And I did!

Nothing like romance in real life. :-) You’re our research guru here at Novel Pastimes! What is one or two of the most interesting things you’ve learned while researching a novel?

Visitors, come back tomorrow for Amber’s answer to this and other questions. And don’t forget to leave a comment answering her question for your chance to win one of her books. Here it is again:

What is one thing you know about Mackinac Island?

Include your name and email with your comment (spelling out ‘at’ and ‘dot’ to help cut down on spam). The winner will have his/her choice of Antique Dreams (which is available now) or A Grand Design or Brandywine Brides (which will both be released in the fall). Thanks for entering!


Wendy Newcomb said...

I love the calm and peace of the Island and that fact that it's beautiful doesn't hurt any either.


Lane Hill House said...

1) they sell fudge!
2) no motorized vehicles allowed
3) movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was made there
4) my daughter and her husband have been there twice
5) going over the Mackinac Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere) live cam ~ http://www.mackinacbridge.org/bridge-cam-20/ to the ferry ~ Shepler's Ferry and Star Line Ferry depart daily from both Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan or
St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula from May through October. $25 RT adult. The Mackinac Bridge connects the two communities.
6) Pellston, Michigan airport ~ Great Lakes Air provides passenger charter service from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island.
6) I have never been there
7) I would love to win in this drawing!
Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

karenk said...

I would love to visit this quaint town in Michigan. Thanks for the chance to read one of Amber's wonderful novels :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I have never been to Mackinac Island but sounds like a great place to visit. I sure enjoyed this interview. I know from reading that no cars are allowed, and I would love to win the book, A Grand Design. I already have Amber's Antique Dreams. Thanks for this give away . Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Susan P said...

Being a Michigander I have been to the Island many times. It is always a joy to visit. I love that your book is about it and the Grand Hotel! What a sight that is when riding the ferry over. I do know they have really old tombstones in the cemeteries. We love to visit and read the inscriptions coming up with ideas of their lives.
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

Merry said...

I know it is in Michigan, no cars are allowed and it is so beautiful.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

A Lilac Festival takes place each June. My sister & I went in 2009, though we arrived two days after the festival ended. Turned out the blossoms were at peak bloom a week later than normal! It was a spectacular visit. KathleenGrimmWelty (at) gmail (dot) com