Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My First Fancy Interview: Betsy St. Amant, Author of "Fireman Dad"

What do I do when I'm not blogging or chasing after Melissa, you might ask?

I'm usually reading, writing or watching reality TV, and in between bugging my writing mentor, Betsy St. Amant. She's one of those rare super talented people who still corresponds with us, mere mortals. Here's the bio from her gorgeous website:

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, ‘Kickboxing or Chocolate’, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. She has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly freelances for her local newspaper. Betsy is a fireman’s wife, a mommy to a busy toddler, a chocolate-loving author and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

Betsy's latest novel is Fireman Dad, which was just given a 4 star review by Romantic Times Magazine. This fun and heartwarming story is about a stubborn woman, a hunky and determined man (the best combination :) and one of the most honorable professions out there. Betsy lets us in on the fears - and blessings - on being in love with a hero.

Betsy, you're awesome. How can you write a gazillion books, have a couple of part time jobs, a toddler and still put up with my hormonal emails?
To be honest? I still don't know. Ha! I chalk it up to the grace of God, and a totally unnatural amount of self-discipline. I'm a detailed, organized, goal-setting, list-making kind of girl, so I don't mind wearing the SuperWoman sometimes. There are definitely moments, though, when it chokes me and I have a hysterical fit that ends in my 3 year old patting my shoulder: "Cheer up Mama". She's good for resetting my priorities :) Trust me, I'm not perfect or Super. But thanks for the awesome compliment. I'll take it and stitch it on my cape.

Your leading lady has an aversion to dating firemen. Since you're married to one, can you point out the upsides?
Sure! There are definitely good and bad parts of being a fireman's wife, as the heroine discovered so well in the story. The downsides are obvious - crazy schedules, missed family time, low pay and significant danger. But the good parts include bragging rights (my hubbys a hero!) and how sexy they look in uniform ;). Also, the crazy schedule can sometimes be a good thing. All departments vary depending on city and state but typically, firemen around here work "5 on, 6 off" which means he works a 24 hour shift, is off 24 hours, works 24 hours, off 24 hours...5 times, and then gets 6 days off in a row. This is great for family time or taking vacations, yet not having to use actual banked vacation time. It's a huge plus and also makes working a side job easier. Plus, you sometimes get discounts at restaurants ;).

Despite Marissa's fears, her son wants to be a fireman when he grows up. Would you freak out if your daughter decided to do that? Are there any firegirls, by the way? Pardon my ignorance.
I probably would freak out, but thankfully I have a long time before my daughter decides on a career! haha. There are firewomen, but its pretty rare, at least around here, because of the physical requirements. There are physical tests before getting on the stations (especially city departments, often the country districts are volunteer only or have fewer requirements). You have to literally prove you can carry a human body so many yards and drag hoses and climb ladders and bail out windows from a two story building... It's not easy. Sure, there are women out there who COULD do it, but probably not a lot who WANT to. ;) To the ones who did, kudos!!!

It's very annoying how Marissa and Jacob are always supposed to be together in every single scene but never do until the very end. Why must you torture us so much?
Because otherwise the book would end on Chapter 1? HAHAH!

That's okay, we're tortured but we like it. The best part of the entire book for me is your testimony on the last page. It's amazing how God's come through for your family. Is that what compelled you to write the book?
I do enjoy torturing my readers. And my characters. But all to the greater good! Hehe. Seriously, though, yes, the true story part of this novel (as explained in the Dear Reader letter in the back) is exactly what prompted this story. It had to be told.

If you had to pick an actress to play Marissa in a movie, who would it be? I'd pick Alison Sweeney (Sami from Days of Our lives) - she has a good "angry but in love" face.
Ohhhh good choice! I answered this question in another interview and chose Julianne Hough. What do you think?

I love her! Who would you pick for Jacob? Kirk Cameron already has experience playing a fireman in Fireproof - but he doesn't do kissing scenes, and Fireman Dad's movie would have some really good ones :).
Yes, there must be kisses. I chose Josh Duhamel.

I like him too, but can't forget those rumors about him cheating on Fergie (probably not true) - people would never say that about Jacob :). Anyway, to wrap it up, could you elaborate on why Christian romance is so awesome?
I think Christian romances are awesome because not only do they inspire and encourage someone still waiting to find the right person to share their lives with, they also remind said reader that the ultimate Lover of our souls is Jesus. And that while finding earthly love is wonderful and a blessing and something to strive for, it's not the bottom line. We'll truly never be satisfied in our hearts until we connected with the One who set them to beating.

Fireman Dad will be available on August 1st. Order it on ChristianBook here! Also, check out Betsy's blog.


Betsy St Amant said...

Thanks so much!

Riley's Smile said...

I will certainly look for Fireman Dad... thank you for sharing. Hopped from LBS

Ms. Blasé said...

That is so cool that you have a writing mentor!!! I gotta get one of those!

"...story is about a stubborn woman, a hunky and determined man..."
Okay, I'm a pretty stubborn woman, so where's my hunky, determined man?!

"Trust me, I'm not perfect or Super."
Yes, but the Spirit of the One who resides within her is... and that's all that matters :)

"...carry a human body so many yards and drag hoses..."
At first I thought that said "drag horses," which would've been SO awesome!! But dragging hoses is okay too, I guess.

"Kirk Cameron... doesn't do kissing scenes..."
My respect for him increased 100-fold just now.

"...the ultimate Lover of our souls is Jesus."
I was just telling God the other night how He is my #1 love and that I'm looking forward to Him sending me my #2 (i.e., my future husband). Only a Christian hubby wouldn't mind being "second best" :)

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