Thursday, January 21, 2010


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. Betsy has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to She is a wife, mother, author, and avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

SDC: Welcome Betsy. Over the last few years you have become both a well-known and talented writer. Before you tell us about your newest release coming, please fill us in on what got you started writing from the beginning.

Betsy: Thank you, Shirley! My writing actually goes back to childhood. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing, what was always in my soul! God purposed that in me from a very young age when I first pounded away on my parent’s keyboard and penned poems and short stories in notebooks. To actually be living my dream is a blessing I will never take for granted. I got serious about writing for publication around the age of 18 and attended conferences, made contacts with other authors, joined the ACFW, and the rest is history.

SDC: Tell us about your publishers. How did they find YOU?

Betsy: My agent is who connected me with Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She contracted my first novel with them only a few months after we started our partnership. I'm honored to work with Tamela Hancock Murray of Hartline Literary. We make a great team! And i enjoy working with my editor at Steeple Hill. She pushes me to be better and is a great motivator.

SDC: Teamwork is so important. I read in your blog, your purpose for writing and was blessed by that, Betsy. What kind of response do you receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who have been influenced greatly by one of your books?

Betsy: Thanks Shirley. Actually, some of the most encouraging emails have come from readers of my Crosswalk articles, at I submit regularly to them, and was honored that my New Years story “Let Your Shine Before Men in 2010” was chosen as the home page lead article right after Christmas. It’s such a blessing to hear that God uses the words He gives me to touch others. As for my books, it is the same. I haven’t yet heard from anyone who professed to not know the Lord, but I pray that one day someone in that position will pick up my novels and come to know Christ. In the meantime, I love hearing that God uses my stories to deepen relationships with Him. I’m still in awe He would see fit to use me that way.

SDC: That just about answers my next question already. Let me add to that. How do you make faith, love, and hope work together in your stories?

Betsy: With Steeple Hill Love Inspired, a faith element is required, but they don’t want to see “preachy” messages, so there is definitely a delicate balance there. Sometimes its tricky to accomplish, especially for someone like me who grew up in church and was led to the Lord at an early age. “Christian-ese” comes easy to me, and my editor always helps me see when I’ve used phrases or analogies that might not be understood by a non-church go-er. But I think when you take your characters through an external situation, it’s pretty simple to help lead them on a spiritual and emotional journey through it. It’s just with Christians in real life. When conflict arises, you have to choose how you will handle it, and taking my characters down that path usually comes naturally. And of course, a romance isn’t romance with love – I just hope that my character’s human love for each other will hint at the deeper love that Christ has for His church.

SDC: I see you use an agent. How did you go about finding yours, and what was your criteria for selecting?

Betsy: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I signed with Tamela Hancock Murray at the 2007 ACFW conference. She sold my first novel to Steeple Hill a few months later. I was very pregnant with my first child when I received the good news about my first contract. 2008 was a blessed year in so many ways! I knew Tamela and all the Hartline agents were sought-after and had a great reputation in the Christian book industry, and I also knew several of her current clients, who spoke highly of her. We seemed to be a great fit in both personality and goals, which is important, and that instinct has proven to be true time and time again since. My advice for anyone seeking an agent is to do your homework and learn about the agent. Just because they are well-known or respected doesn’t mean they’ll be a good match for you personally. All agents are different – some are more aggressive, some take things slower, some are a friend and cheerleader, others keep a more professional distance…you need to determine what relationship you want and then submit to an agent that fits that criteria. Matching yourself up with an agent who isn’t a good fit is a waste of both of your time.

SDC: I love to ask this question for the answers are so varied. What’s your favorite Bible verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Betsy: So many! But I think right now, especially in the midst of my husband’s recent lay-off from the fire department, that it would be:  Matthew 6:25-26 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

SDC: I love those verses in Matthew too. Many of us writers have favorite rooms or spaces in our home or around our homes that we use to get our creativity juices flowing. Where is your favorite place to go and why? Does it often play any part in your story writing?

Betsy: Usually, just sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop does the trick. It gets me in the center of the house, by the window overlooking our big front yard, with lots of light shining through the windows. But sometimes, I have to get away, and then nothing beats sitting at a table in Barnes & Noble with a hot Starbucks mocha. THAT is inspiration!! :::grin:::

SDC: I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read one of your books but I hope to soon. (In my spare time?) Have you ever considered writing about a character who leaves the United States and goes elsewhere to find his or her love? (Or do you already have a book like that that I have missed hearing about?)

Betsy: I actually have and am waiting to hear back from a publisher on that very topic right now. Stay tuned! I can’t really elaborate at the moment. ::wink::

SDC: Hmm, sounds intriguing. Have you ever written anything that you had to later toss? How would you describe your OLD file system of “works in progress” that you chose not to pursue?

Betsy: I really don’t have any stories that I have completely “given up on”. There is one romantic suspense novel I actually wrote, revised, wrote, revised, had critiqued by famous author Dee Henderson, and wrote and revised again. Literally this story went through 5-6 drafts, and it was the story that led me to acquiring my current agent. It’s still unpublished but I believe God has a purpose for it. I’m hanging on to it until I know what it is! It’s hard to see stories put aside indefinitely, but that’s where faith comes in. As authors, but especially as Christians, we have to trust God’s timing!

SDC: Boy, isn't that the truth. I understand you have a book you would like to share with one of our readers. That is always exciting to us here at the blog. Tell us which one you are planning to donate. Also, what question would you like to have answered to help me select the winner?

Betsy: Yes! My second novel with Steeple Hill is A VALENTINE’S WISH, which is a sequel to my first novel RETURN TO LOVE. I will be giving away a free copy of A VALENTINE’S WISH to the winner on your blog. If the winner hasn’t read the first novel yet, they can find it or have their local Barnes & Noble order it. (It’s not imperative that the winner read the first to enjoy the second, but of course I’d love for them to! ::grin:: ) A VALENTINE’S WISH releases in stores and online February 1st.

Here is the back cover for A VALENTINE’S WISH
Unless youth pastor Andy Stewart finds a suitable wife fast, he’ll lose his job. Yet the woman of his dreams is his best friend. And Lori Perkins is still smarting over a failed engagement, so he can’t just declare his love. His plan: he’ll be her secret admirer and woo her anonymously with flowers and chocolates. And then, when romance is on her mind, Andy will confess his Valentine’s Wish – to spend his life with her. There’s just one little problem. Lori seems to think her secret admirer is someone else!

And the first line, my favorite! “Unemployed. Single. And out of brownie mix.”

Here is my question for readers to answer in order to win: What is the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you on or near Valentine’s Day?

SDC: Great question! It’s been a real pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts, Betsy. As we close, please tell us where your books can quickly be found and where our readers can look you up.

Betsy: Thanks Shirley! It was great to be here. Thanks for having me. Readers can find my books at or through Amazon or CBD. They are in stores (Walmart, grocery stores, Barnes & Noble, etc) the month of their release date and can be ordered through B&N or other book sellers throughout the year. I always enjoy hearing from my readers and can be reached through my website – – or my blog,

READERS: Be sure to answer Betsy’s question above to try to win a copy of her book!
Congratulations to Cynthia Chow of California. You have just won Betsy's Book! Be sure to watch for it in the mail soon.


  1. Thanks Shirley, for having me! It was an honor to visit your blog!

  2. Thanks for the great interview. It gives me some things to think about as an aspiring writer.

    The most romantic thing...Well, after seeing a musical, we went to have dinner at a restaurant my husband made reservations at. He had already set up to have flowers delivered to our table. We enjoyed dinner in an intimate corner of the restaurant.

    Can't wait to read "A Valentine's Wish." I enjoyed the first book a lot. Please enter me in the drawing.

    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  3. Great interview! : )

    The most romantic thing on or near Valentine's Day? husband isn't all that romantic, lol, but one year he brought home milkshakes for the kids and I. The kids and I loved it!

    Thank you for entering me!

    scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

  4. I enjoyed the interview.
    To answer the question: My husband won a fur coat for me for Valentine's Day

  5. Great blog - and Betsy, best of luck with your new release! I can relate to the java at a table in a bookstore with an open laptop being inspirational! :-) Best to you and your hubby on the job front - living in Michigan as I do, we know all about tough job/economic situations. Praying for you. Blessings - Marianne

  6. Please enter me in the drawing for the book
    You can find her books in Walmarts, gro. stores and in bookstores. You can also find her on her blog


  7. What a cute cover, Betsy!! The books sounds so fun. :)

    Great interview, Shirley.

    Romantic Valentine's Day?? Well, my husband, who's way more romantic that I am, was determined not to propose on Valentine's Day. He wanted to be different. So he proposed on Jan. 31, the one-year anniversary of our first date. I hope that counts as close enough! Oh, and he proposed at the spot we first met, by a water fountain at church. :)

  8. What great stories!! Thanks for sharing everyone =)

    I especially love the fur coat story and the millkshakes. haha. What wonderful, fun memories =)

    Good luck everyone with the drawing! And if you're local to north Louisiana, I'm having a booksigning February 1st! Both of my novels will be available for sale that evening at Barnes & Noble at 6:30 on Youree Drive. I'd love to meet you!

  9. The most romantic valentines day was when my bf sent me roses, the ironic part was I had just finished telling a friend how he had not sent me roses yet. :)

  10. My boyfriend bought me a teddy bear unexpectedly about a week before Valentines Day! (I was 20, so it meant a lot then. lol) Surprises are the best.

  11. One year Jason grilled lobster and homemade butter sauce with all the side items. Set up candles and had candy and a present waiting for me when I got home from work. His mom was supposed to keep the kids, but something came up. So... I shared the most wonderful Valentines Day with the 4 people in my life that I love the most and hold the key to my heart. What more could you ask for?

  12. I love the interview! Your book cover is awesome too Betsy. I think my favorite valentine surprise was when I got this gigantic box of gourmet chocolates filled with nuts and fudge and all that stuff from the bakery delivered to my house but it wasnt from my husband, it was from my Secret SISTER! I was ready to give my husband a great big kiss then I read the card! Oh well. He got the kiss anyway, and I got sicker than a dog eating too much chocolate.
    Janice I.

  13. Poor Janice!! lol What a story. And Melissa, wow, I had no idea Jason had such romantic notions! What a catch. Your family is so sweet. (we're neighbors, FYI!) These are all great stories. Keep 'em coming, guys!! Let's celebrate LOVE!!!