Fay Lamb is an editor for Pelican Book Group—the publisher of White Rose Publishing/Harbourlight Books—and an Operating Board member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She also co-moderates the ACFW Scribes’ Critique Group. Her second novel, Because of Me, which finaled in the 2010 ACFW Genesis contest, was recently published by Treble Heart Books.
A Florida native, Fay lives in Titusville with her husband Marc. They have two married sons and five grandchildren.
Please tell us about your path to writing and working in the publishing industry.
I think I’ve been on the writing path most of my life. I’ve always loved to tell a story. My imagination doesn’t take a rest. In high school I was known as “the girl who writes stories.” I was a little older when I realized that any desire to write came from God and that if He has provided me with any talent, it should be used to glorify Him. Since that time, I became serious about my writing, seeking publication. It’s been a long road, but along the way, the Lord has given me encouragement and even changed my direction a couple of times. In fact, working for Pelican Ventures, Inc. is a dream I never thought would come true. Not only am I an author, I’m an editor—and I work with some pretty awesome professionals in the Christian publishing industry.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Because of Me was a wonderful unexpected detour. I wasn’t happy at the beginning of the journey, but looking back, I clearly see that God was at work.
I was told by an editor of a major publishing house that my work was too complex for Christian readers. My husband counseled me to write a contemporary romance with lighter issues and seek publication of it to prove that I can hold the interest of a reader with a less adventurous plot. His reasoning was sound, and I would recommend it for anyone who has taken on a complex project.
While I continued to tweak the contemporary romances, a friend offered me the chance to meet with the editor/owner of Treble Heart Books. We spent a delightful evening learning about the industry, and by the time we left a three-hour lunch, I had a sense that this editor understood me and the reasons behind what I write. I sent her my manuscript, and Because of Me found its voice in Christian publishing.
Because of Me is the story of Michael Hayes, once a promising young investigative report, and his fiancée, Issie Putnam. In his ambition, Michael leads Issie into a very dangerous situation, and their lives are changed forever. Michael is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison while Issie is left alone to raise a child born of a crime committed against her on that fateful night. When Michael returns to their hometown to protect Issie from the man who harmed her, he finds that she’s not alone. Issie is raising her son, and though Michael is not the child’s father, the boy was definitely born because of him.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I’m still learning this lesson. God never moves away from us. Even when we step away, even when we’ve messed up, even when we think He’s far from us, He is there. When we are going through the deepest struggles of our lives, God is fulfilling His promise that “all things work together” for those who love Him. When we call out to Him, God doesn’t have to rush to us from across a wide gulf. He simply has to wrap His arms around us and tell us, “I’m right here. I always have been here. Your needs are met, and I love you, Child.”
As a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Operating Board, you work with the Scribes’ critique group. What is the best advice that you can offer to writers—young or older—who are just starting out?
Writers who are just starting out can benefit greatly from a critique group, but they have to steel themselves against some assessments of their writing that will hurt. There’s no way to get around it, but there is a way to get over it. Write. Write. Write. Realize everyone has an opinion. Not everyone is going to like the way you write or what you write. The secret is working to find out which advice to take and which to discard. Then work toward eliminating those issues in your writing that rightly receive criticism.
It’s not easy, but writers are as much artists as a musician, painter, or sculptor. Anything that requires a development of talent takes practice—lots and lots of practice.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Anyone who spends anytime with me on Facebook knows the answer to this one. We have a drive-in restaurant in town. It’s called The Moonlight. My favorite celebratory/comfort foods are: Moonlight fried pickles, a jumbo sweet iced tea with extra ice, and several different types of Moonlight ice cream, but mostly a hot fudge Sundae, light on the fudge, with bananas, and whipped cream.
And if my husband and I don’t show up at the Moonlight at least every other day, they worry about us.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Not an ounce of musical talent exists in me. I was maybe eight-years-old, singing away in the backseat of my much-loved grandmother’s car, when she turned to me and said, “You’re as tone-deaf as your father.” End of music career, and with so many people showing up and embarrassing themselves on American Idol, I’m so fortunate to have someone who loved me enough to tell me the truth.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Despite the fact that I’m not overly fond of the ocean, I think I’d be beach music, the kind you select on your iPod, earphones in the ears, chair in the sand, and the waves tickling your toes.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I really had to think about this one, so here goes: I’m the strong, female lead, wearing dark glasses, and trying to walk in high heels like a grown up and failing miserably. In other words: I really am a mess, but if we want to put a positive slant on my personality: I’d say I’m a wee bit complicated.