“A young executive, who fled a high-profile life years before, now faces the return of the paparazzi and a psychotic stalker unleashed by the machinations of her mother. When faith is the one thing she no longer possesses, can she learn to trust God and the man she left behind to see her through the fight of her life?”
Today in the Embattled Spirit studio we have Willow Thomas, star of Stalking Willow, by Fay Lamb
J.A. – You are certainly an interesting character, Willow, and it’s not a wonder. Fay told me you were abandoned by your “superstar” parents.
WILLOW – Yes. I never met my mother in person, and my relationship with Dad hasn’t been good.
J.A. – Sadly, I think too many people can relate to being abandoned by their parents. Before I dig into that issue, do you have any good childhood memories?
WILLOW – My grandmother. I loved her. She gardened. Crocheted. And she ran the vacuum at 6:00 a.m., making the machine hit my bedroom door. “You goin’ sleep all day?”
J.A. – (Laughs) I wish I’d thought of that alarm-clock tactic when my kids were teenagers.
WILLOW – Granny also loved me enough to switch me when it was needed. She’d switch my best friend, Quentin, too, when we got into something together. Don’t tell Quentin I told you this, but he’d cry. And I’d laugh at him.
J.A. – Such a meanie! What about the time he covered for you, and he took the switch for you?
WILLOW – I didn’t laugh that day. He took my punishment because he loved me. That night I cried myself to sleep.
J.A. – Did that bring you two closer?
WILLOW – Quentin distanced himself from me in high school, and I always wondered if it was because I never thanked him. I’d supposed he thought I didn’t appreciate him that much when the truth was, I missed him almost as much as I missed my Granny.
J.A. – Regrets are difficult to live with. What’s your most prized possession?
WILLOW – Granny’s big old pickle jar. It was filled with buttons—all different sizes, colors, and shapes. I would play with those buttons for hours. When I missed my parents—the parents Granny invented for me—I found the button jar a sanctuary.
J.A. – Wait a minute. The parents Granny “invented” for you?
WILLOW – You’ll have to read my story to figure that one out. Another favorite collection of mine is Granny’s old photographs. I used to sit at her feet for hour and ask her who the folks in the picture were. I’d lay out all of the pictures of the man she told me was my father, and I treasured them. I knew he’d come back for me one day. I used to daydream he was a king of a foreign land, and when everything was safe, he would return.
J.A. – I detect a dream-busting moment somewhere in the book. But, hey, your real dad turned out to be a king of sorts. Everyone in Hollywood knows him.
WILLOW – Yes. But he messed up by choosing to live with the ice queen, and she didn’t want anything to do with me. Granny had something to say about that in one of her written prayers. And yes, you’ll have to read my story to learn about that, too.
J.A. – So not fair! Moving on. Did you inherit any talents from your real parents?
WILLOW – Most of what I inherited came from my dad, thank goodness. We’re both creative. I draw pictures that tell a story. And Scott brings some great picture to life with his writing, producing, and his directing.
J.A. – How about your Ice Queen mother?
WILLOW – You don’t want to know.
J.A. – You’re on loan from your author and you’re not leaving my studio until you spill the beans.
WILLOW – Fine. What I inherited from my mother wasn’t biological. It was a vine-filled wall full of bitterness that took root in my soul. Aunt Aggie inherited it too.
J.A. – Bitterness. Now we’re talking spiritual warfare. The kind of stuff that destroys lives.
WILLOW – When I learned the truth of who my mother was, her abandonment tore into my soul and planted the seeds that separated me from everyone I loved. My Aunt Aggie missed the chance of a lifetime because of my mother’s selfishness and self-serving nature.
J.A. – How’d you handle your bitterness?
WILLOW – I did something I never thought I would do, and it almost cost me my life.
J.A. – Oh boy! Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. Do tell.
WILLOW – Read the book.
J.A. – I’ll let it go only if you help my audience out. If someone asked you about overcoming bitterness, what would you recommend as a cure?
WILLOW – Four things helped me overcome and tear out the roots of bitterness:
1) Trusting God and leaning upon Him, sharing my hurt and pain with Him
2) Forgiveness: most bitterness is born from hurts real or perceived. To keep the roots from taking hold or in order to pluck them out completely, I had to forgive
3) Prayer: sometimes it takes a hundred prayers a day to keep turning my hurt over to God and asking him for the strength to forgive. Some days, I found I didn’t have to pray at all. Other days, I have to bow my head plenty of times
4) Love: If anyone had the right to be bitter, it was Jesus. He hung on a cross to show His love for me. There isn’t anything anyone can do that equals what I did to Jesus. I try to always remember that no one has ever done anything to me like I did to Jesus, and I realize that I have no right to hold back forgiveness, and again, forgiveness is a weed-killer for the roots of bitterness.
J.A. – Great message. You’re off the hook, Willow Thomas. Now, skedaddle back to your author before I throw you into one of my stories.
READERS: Leave a comment below and win a copy of Stalking Willow. (your choice of E-book or softcover) ONLY ONE WINNER, so be creative.
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READ an EXCERPT from Stalking Willow, Romantic Suspense (SCROLL DOWN)
MORE about author Fay Lamb (SCROLL DOWN)
Amazon (print book): http://amzn.to/ZIzpFo
Links for author Fay Lamb:
www.faylamb.com (Website and blog: On the Ledge)
www.facebook.com/fay.lamb (FB page)
www.facebook.com/AuthorFay (Fan page)
www.facebook.com/TacticalEd (Fay is the Tactical Editor, sharing self-editing tips)
(Excerpt from Stalking Willow)
A heavy footfall on the pier made her skid to a stop. She closed her eyes as fear shivered through her. She was alone here. And vulnerable.
She tensed, awaiting the assault.
She jumped, turning around at the man’s booming voice so close behind her, and lost her balance. She teetered backward, arms flailing.
“Whoa. Willow. Whoa.” He ran at her.
She struggled not only to keep from falling into the water, but also to stay out of his reach.
“Stop fighting or we’re both going to take a bath, Willow.”
The sound of her name on his lips and the grasp of his arm around her waist brought with them a sigh, whether of relief or exasperation, she couldn’t tell.
“Quentin.” She found her equilibrium and pulled from his grasp.
He lifted his hands in surrender and stepped back. “You could have called. I’d have opened the place for you.”
Had he lived on another planet ten years ago? “I didn’t want—I made a last minute decision, took an extended vacation.”
“I’d have taken the covers off the furniture, cleaned the place up a bit.”
“I did that last night.” She pulled at her top, straightening it and then made sure the baseball cap was firmly affixed to the top of her head.
“I saw you come in.”
“You still live in your parents’ house?” She hadn’t meant for the condescending tone to escape, but her heart spoke, not her brain.
“I bought it from them. They moved to Florida like all senior citizens do eventually.”
That subtle humor—how she’d missed it. Even now, against her will, she laughed. He could easily have taken a return shot at her rather than at the self-exiling older generation who were leaving in droves to find a warmer climate in a flat landscape.
He reached for the bill of the worn Amazing Grace High School baseball cap, the one she’d stolen from him so long ago—the one she’d found on her bed stand. “Cute,” he said.
She ducked away from him. “I don’t want anyone to know I’m here.” And he’d never get his hat back either.
He waved her off. “Anyone here would know you.”
“And that’s why you sounded so shocked when I turned around?”
“That it was you wasn’t what shocked me.” He started away from her.
“What was it then?” She left her challenge out in the open like a baited hook.
He stopped and turned his green-eyed gaze upon her. “From the look on your face, I thought you would faint from fear and fall into the water.” His voice softened with each word. “Are you okay?”
Fay Lamb is an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group. She also provides freelance fiction edits.
Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for two four-book series. Stalking Willow, the first in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series is currently available for purchase, and Charisse, the first release in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series will be available in July, 2013. The second story in the Amazing Grace series, Better than Revenge, is set for release in September 2013.
Fay is a past-secretary for American Christian Fiction Writers. She served for four years as the moderator for ACFW’s critique group, Scribes. For her volunteer efforts for ACFW, she received the Service Members Award in 2010. She was also a semi-finalist that year in the ACFW Genesis Contest.
Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren (with the sixth on the way).