Hiding in Plain Sight, Place of Refuge Series #1Hiding in Plain Sight, Place of Refuge Series #1
Amy Wallace
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In a quiet town with a thriving Mennonite community, police officer Ashley Walters finds her threadbare faith and way of life challenged by the Plain people whose simple dress and welcoming manner open her eyes to a God she left behind. Peace eludes Ashley until she realizes the answers she seeks aren't found in starting over but in returning to the simple truth that it's God who overcomes the world, not her.
     

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Amy WallaceAmy Wallace is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic. Those are the hats she loves to wear, but who she really is is a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter.

Favorite Verse:  2 Samuel 24:24- "...I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which cost me nothing."

Visit Amy Wallace in our Writers' Corner

 

 Our Interview with Amy Wallace


 

How did you come up with the concept for Hiding in Plain Sight?
 
Writing this Mennonite romantic suspense story started with lots and lots of prayer and a challenge from my agent to try something new. So rather than start with tons of reading research and a suspense plot, I visited a setting I hoped was right, and God led me to the exact people and places and impressions that mixed together to create a story.

Some of the story themes came straight from my life: answering the questions of who is in control and can I trust Him as well as healing from the past.

The revitalization project and the ensuing trouble detailed in Hiding in Plain Sight came from visiting many small towns, including Montezuma, Georgia, and grieving because so many of these pieces of our American heritage are dying out. Stores are closing, people are without jobs. I wanted to do something to show these towns aren’t beyond hope. So I asked some “what if” questions and a whole host of other crazy questions and a story came to life.

How did you choose the setting?

The setting, like the story, chose me. Or rather, God led me to the perfect place. From the first time we visited, I fell in love with the town of Montezuma, Georgia, and its people as well as the Mennonite community there.

Do you have a favorite character from Hiding in Plain Sight? Why?

As much as I’m tempted to choose “a favorite child” from this story, that’s pretty tough. So I’ll go with Chester. He’s a loveable, mischievous puppy and a physical reminder to Ashley that God is closer than she thinks.

Fun story about Chester… On my family’s first visit to Montezuma, Georgia, we spent a good deal of time at Yoder’s Gift Shop. While I talked to the wonderful people working there, my three children played with some chestnut puppies for sale, one of which they named Chester. There was no way we could add a puppy to our family at that time, so I created a fictional Chester for them to “enjoy for always.” And now we have a wonderful puppy that we don’t have to feed, walk, or clean up after either, but we can enjoy his antics “for always.”

How much research did Hiding in Plain Sight take?

Unlike the Defenders of Hope series about FBI Crimes Against Children agents, Hiding in Plain Sight required less book reading/ interviewing and more time spent just walking down the streets of Montezuma and chatting with people, gathering impressions more than facts. However, I did spend a lot of time emailing with a Montezuma police officer and members of the Mennonite community I’d met, peppering them with what had to seem like strange questions at times. I’m willing to risk those “out there” questions because I’m convinced research and the resulting details help bring a story to life.

Is the story based on fact?

Yes and no. There is a real town of Montezuma, Georgia, and the wonderful Travelers Rest Bed and Breakfast. There is also a Mennonite community there, including Yoder’s Restaurant and the church visited in the story. And much of how Ashley feels about the people and the places in and around Montezuma are drawn from my family’s experiences while visiting there.
But the characters, their struggles, the whole revitalization project and resulting troubles…those are pure fiction. 

How many books will be in this series?

There are two books in the Place of Refuge series: Hiding in Plain Sight and Nowhere to Run.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Hiding in Plain Sight?

Spending time with Mennonite friends has taught me much about their quiet, peaceful faith. I love visiting them when I’m in Montezuma. Life slows down, and it’s easier to just be. They’ve teased me saying it’s just that I’m a “city girl” enjoying the country, but it’s more. It’s taking time in the quiet to see God at work, to feel His presence as conversation focuses on what He is doing, to see Him in the laughter of children and the joy of family. 

I also enjoyed learning about a different facet of police work than I’ve researched before by delving into a female police officer’s perspective.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
The biggest challenge is choosing “best” instead of just “good” and trusting God to decide which is which. This is life and writing, which become entwined for me as God has something to teach me with every story.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love sitting down and experiencing the Lord writing through me and losing myself in the story.
I also love connecting with readers and hearing how God has used something I’ve written to encourage their hearts. I love getting to know and pray for new friends I meet through book signings and online. Please don’t be afraid to say hi! It makes my day.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with that have helped your writing?

ACFW—American Christian Fiction Writers and my local ACFW writer’s group, WORD—Writers of Remarkable Design. I credit both of these groups with preparing me, encouraging me, and opening doors that enabled me to write for publication.

I also co-teach a young writer’s club with another homeschool mom and author, and the teens there have taught me much about writing and creativity.
 
I love how iron sharpens iron when writers get together and share their stories and lives.

What message would you like your readers to take away from reading Hiding in Plain Sight?

I’d love for readers to experience the nearness of God and learn along with me how to rest in His perfect ability to carry the weight of the world on His shoulders. Also for readers to look at their past and present through God’s healing, redemptive perspective and trust Him more and more.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I remember loving Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. The interplay of good versus evil and the tension of childhood versus adulthood and truth versus lie struck deep, and I’ve been intrigued with the myriad ways to explore these themes ever since.

What is your greatest achievement?

Homeschooling three amazing children and getting to pray with them as they stepped into a relationship with Christ. Truth be told, I did little but show up and depend on God to do what He does best: love, guide, and redeem every moment for our good and His glory.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I sit down and read a good book with my children. There’s nothing like escaping into Narnia or Green Gables through my children’s eyes.

We also love going to the beach. There’s just something about laughter and family time combined with salt water, shells, and no cell phones that energizes me.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

More than anything else, it’s my prayer that readers know how passionately, personally, deeply, and fully they are loved by the One who has written their names on the palm of His hand.

 


 
Nowhere to Run, Place of Refuge Series #2
Nowhere to Run, Place of Refuge Series #2
Amy Wallace
CBD Price: $10.99

Defenders of Hope Series, Vols 1-3
Defenders of Hope Series, Vols 1-3
Amy N. Wallace
CBD Price: $26.97


 
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