Looking for a new book to read? We recommend you pick up a copy of The Broken Road. Last week, we had a chat with the author, Amanda Johnston, about what inspired her to write, the writing process itself and how it has changed her.
4word: Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a Christian, and where are you now in your walk with God?
Amanda: I’m a married mom of three. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic, our oldest son is in Heaven, and we have a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a son who is almost two. Right now, I stay at home with the kids, but prior to this year, I taught high school English and history at a private Christian school. I hope to go back to teaching someday when the timing is right.
4word: How long have you wanted to be an author?
Amanda: I started writing poetry back in 8th grade to work through a bout with depression. In high school, when the school’s literary journal printed some of my poetry, I though I could make something out of being a writer.
4word: And where are you now in your walk with God?
Amanda: I became a Christian on December 26, 1986, two days after my fifth birthday. My parents and older brother encouraged me to take my faith seriously, so I look back on my childhood and adolescence as the kind most Christian parents want for their kids. Of course, I had my sin issues and minor rebellious streaks, but for the most part, I wanted to live with integrity and honor Jesus.
Right now, I am learning how to be an introverted mom to two extroverted children. They are two exuberant, creative, loving kids who live every day like it’s the grandest in existence. I cherish solitude, quiet and contemplation. Abba is teaching me, through them, to cherish community, excitement and my awkward participation in sports.
4word: What part of writing a book is the most difficult for you? Why? How do you work through that difficulty?
Amanda: The most difficult part is finding the time to write. In Little Women, L. M. Alcott describes Jo March as falling into a “vortex” when she writes. In this vortex, Jo writes furiously for days or even weeks at a time, then suddenly, she is done and emerges to return to everyday life for several weeks or months. I am a “vortex” writer, which is difficult when you’re a stay-at-home mom with two kids under five. I still haven’t figured out how to mesh the vortex with being a housewife…
4word: And which part comes most easily to you?
Amanda: I love writing dialogue. As I have deepened my relationships with my characters over the last eleven years, I hardly have to think about what they will say. Their words pour out of me easily, because I know them better than I know many of the real people in my life.
4word: How has the process of writing your first book changed you and your relationships with others?
Amanda: Writing a novel is hard work. Though I enjoy it immensely, the actual discipline of writing has taught me to be more careful with my time. Writing is the ministry Abba has placed on my heart, so I have to be protective of it and not allow other good ministry opportunities to take its place. That said, I also can’t allow writing to supersede the privilege of I have of being a wife to my husband and a mother to our children.
Writing The Broken Road deepened my relationships with family and friends, especially as I handed them portions of the manuscript to read. For the first time, I handed them my heart on paper. Their understanding of me as a writer — that what I was doing went far deeper than they initially understood — strengthened our relationships as well.
Through writing The Broken Road, I learned for myself that Abba cares very much about even the tiniest details of our lives. That truth is no longer only a promise in Scripture to me; it is a personal, active promise in my life, because He involved Himself in the smallest details of the story in ways that still amuse me.
If you’d like to hear more from Amanda, you can visit her blog or find her on Facebook. And don’t forget that The Broken Road is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.