AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT Amy Lichtenhan
Author Amy Lichtenhan has agreed to spend a few minutes with the JR bunnies talking about her latest story Take This Regret and writing in general…
Amy’s latest story is Take This Regret, released by The Writers Coffee Shop Publishing House July 28, 2011.
Tell us a little about Take This Regret, and what inspired you to write Take This Regret?Take This Regret is a contemporary romance about a young man, Christian Davison, who abandons his girlfriend Elizabeth Ayers and their unborn child during his college years in pursuit of his life-long goal of becoming an attorney. It’s a decision he regrets almost immediately, but one he does nothing to right.
The story picks up five years later when a chance encounter brings Christian and his daughter face-to face for the first time. Once he sees her, Christian can no longer stay away and is willing to do anything to finally be a part of his daughter’s life.
Take This Regret follows Christian and Elizabeth as they struggle to come to terms for the sake of their little girl, Lizzie, who has been thrown into the midst of their turmoil. Elizabeth and Christian are forced to face their past and through it uncover a love that has been buried beneath years of hurt.
Many of us have been in situations so similar to Christian and Elizabeth’s, whether we’ve felt the hardship and strain of being a single parent or the sting of betrayal when someone walked away from us when we needed them most. When writing Take This Regret, I wanted to explore how two people might deal with a betrayal that most would think unforgiveable and the gamut of emotions they feel as they’re forced back into each other’s lives.
Take This Regret ~ There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives. For Christian, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth.
Christian Davison has a plan for his life. He is determined to become an attorney and to one day take his place as partner in his father’s law firm. Nothing will stand in his way, not even Elizabeth Ayers and their unborn child.
After Christian cuts her from his life, Elizabeth spends the next five years struggling to provide for her daughter and willing to sacrifice anything to give her child a safe, comfortable life.
For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back just as Elizabeth will do anything to protect her daughter from the certain heartache she believes Christian will bring upon them.
When Christian wrestles his way into their lives, Elizabeth is faced with asking herself if it is possible to forgive someone when they’ve committed the unforgiveable and if it is possible to find a love after it has been buried in years of hate. Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?
They say everyone deserves a second chance.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I start out with a very basic outline. It’s usually just a general idea of what will happen in the beginning, middle, and end. Once I start writing and get to know my characters a little better, I will start to plot out several chapters at a time to help give me direction and keep me on track to get my characters to their Happily Ever After.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
It’s always been contemporary romance and paranormal romance for me. I love to read it and I love to write it! I can hardly stand a story with an unhappy ending. I want an escape from the stresses of real life, and I can always find that when either reading or writing in the romance genre.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Christian Davison for sure. I love that he’s flawed and real and makes mistakes, and most of all that he’s man enough to admit it when he makes them. Of course, the black hair and blue eyes don’t hurt either.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Elizabeth Ayers. Underneath everything, she’s a very sweet, kind person, but she’s harbored a lot of resentment for many years. That kind of bitterness will tend to cloud a person’s judgement, and it was difficult at times weaving that bitterness and fear into her actions while still maintaining the true person she really is.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?Absolutely! Christian and Elizabeth’s little girl, Lizzie, was inspired by my niece, Parker Elizabeth. My niece has such a quiet, sweet demeanor, and I couldn’t resist writing her into this story.
Also, Melanie’s best friend in Pulled is my best friend and alter ego, Katie (yep, same name!).
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Definitely finding the time. While I love to write, it takes me time. I’m not on who can fly through a manuscript and then go back and fine tune later, but instead I spend a lot of time ruminating over a thought or phrase to get it just right.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
This one is kind of funny…When I was in my twenties, I was a Mary Kay Sales Director.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Haha…I think this is it
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I need a nice, long run. It’s a great way to chase the stress away and clear my head of the rest of the world. When I’m running, often a scene I’ve been working on becomes clear or lines of dialogue pop up in my mind.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music is a must. I love to find a song that has just the right “feel” to set the tone when I’m writing. For Pulled, it was The End by Silverstein. When writing
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
If Pulled were a movie, I’ve love to see Keira Knightly as Melanie Winters and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Daniel Montgomery. Take This Regret is a little bit more difficult ~ I could see Chris Pine as Christian Davison, but I have such a clear picture of Elizabeth in my mind, I’ve haven’t been able to match her with any actress. Maybe my readers can give me some suggestions?
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was on vacation with my family in Disneyland when I got word. I remember lying in my hotel bed when I checked my e-mail and there it was. My husband was beside me, so he couldn’t have missed my excitement, but he definitely would have been the first one I’d have told anyway.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Funny story ~ I was in 6th grade and on my school’s volleyball team. I’m not quite sure where I’d gotten my hands on a romance novel, but was reading it on the bus on the way to a volleyball game. When I got to the juicy part, I thought it’d be a great idea to share it with everyone around me. So here I was, 11-years-old and reading this sex scene aloud in the back of the bus to five or six girls huddled around me. I’m not sure how long he’d been listening, but I was cut off by an “ahem” from up above. When we looked up, our coach was leaning over us (with what I now realize was a very amused expression on his face) with his hand out to take the book from me. I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I’ve fallen in love with the Shadow Series by Erin Kellison. She’s a brilliant writer of dark fantasy, and I’m dying to know if Shadowman finally gets his Kathleen. By the time this posts, I should!
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Ah yes, I do. I write medical records, which has actually been great. Since I do it from home, my schedule is flexible. I’m not sure I would ever have found the time to finish my first two books had I not worked from my own home office. I’m in awe of those who do.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Right now I’m working on the first book in a new paranormal romance series. It’s a little bit on the dark side with a ton of forbidden romance. I’m definitely excited about this one.
How do you pick your characters names?
As you probably noticed above, I don’t mind “borrowing” names from people I care about. I do it as a way to honor them, so it’s common to find recognizable first and last names throughout my stories.
I also jot down names I hear that I like in my notebook and use them where I need them. I try to stay with fairly common names just because I don’t want my readers struggling with pronunciation.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I tend to lean toward love at first sight. It may have something to do with the fact that the first time I saw my husband standing in front of his high school locker, I stumbled to a stop and grabbed my friend to ask her, Who Is That!? Once I finally snagged him, we’ve been together for 17 years.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
So far, I’ve gotten none of those comments, but I have gotten that look. You know the one…the rise of the brow with just a hint of eye-roll.
But honestly, I write what I love to read, and I’m not ashamed of that. There’s enough heartache in the world. Is it too much to ask that in my escape time, I get a happily ever after?
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Ah, this is an easy one…my mother-in-law makes these brownies that have an entire super-sized Hershey’s chocolate bar baked right in the middle. Dangerous!