Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sharing Faith-Based History Through Story

Come, sit down, and have a chat with author Amber Stockton. I'm thrilled you've dropped by!

An email came to me with a reminder that today, the 9th of the month, is my day to post. Well, all right, so I hand-picked this day out of all the other options available. No wait. There were only 3 days left that hadn't been claimed, and this seemed like the best one for me. Guess that's what I get for procrastinating and jumping in to reserve my day sooner. But the 9th day is special, not only because you get the privilege of reading a post from yours truly (tongue-in-cheek), but because it's the last single-digit day of the month before the double-digits take over.

Little tidbits like that often excite me, and finding them amidst other research for my novels is more than a golden nugget to me. It's like discovering an entire goldmine, rich with hidden details and secret little unknown facts that create a desire within others to find out more.

When others ask me about my genre, my answer is usually "historical fiction with romance." And that's true. While all of my books so far might be considered category historical romance, several readers have come back to say they feel like they are getting a rich history lesson interwoven with the story of the characters. But it's not the boring details of faceless names or disconnected dates and details. Instead, it's history that you often won't find in textbooks and stories that often get overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

When asked what I write, I usually reply, "Normal stories. The weird stuff (science fiction) is left to my husband." (Stuart Vaughn Stockton) It's why I write romance. That usually means I'm sweet and innocent. Well, all right. So, how about just sweet. On second thought, let's stick with historical fiction author. :) Yes, that will do it.

Now, have you ever suffered from the proverbial foot-in-mouth disease? If you engage in conversation with anyone at all, you have likely experienced this at least once in your life. Me? That disease seems to follow me wherever I go. It's probably because I've never known a stranger, and my mouth often speaks before my brain has had a chance to tell me whether or not it's wise to say what tumbles out. This doesn't bother me, though, as it usually translates into a memorable first impression. Now, whether that memory is good or bad depends upon the recipient, but so far I haven't had any complaints. :)

So, what makes history so appealing to me? Well, that would have to be the simplicity of it all. With the hustle and bustle of today's society, the pressures and demands on our time, and the frantic pace at which most of us live, I love to shift gears and slip into another world where the ringing of the telephone or the blaring of a car horn, or the tick-tock of a clock doesn't remind me of how much I'm not accomplishing, and how demanding of your time everyone else is, because whatever they have to do or say is far more important than what's happening in your life.

Going back to when communities rallied around each other, and hard work and sweat, along with a man's word meant far more than it does today, well, that inspires me and gives me hope that maybe I can help maintain that mindset through the stories I tell and the books readers read. My stories are usually a showcase of characters living everyday, normal lives, but their faith (or in some cases their discovery of their faith) is what helps them get through the difficult situations life throws their way. Toss in some unique historical facts, some often obscure or lesser-known settings, and some fun supporting characters, and you've got the recipe for most of my novels. I've also been known to include cameo appearances by well-known historical figures such as George Washington, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford. That alone can be challenging, as so much is written about people like those, and any portrayal of them must line up with the details that have thus far been written.

But never let it be said that I run from a challenge. Just take a look at my everyday life, staying home and working as a virtual assistant for a local small-press publisher, with two little munchkins underfoot (a daughter who will be 4 in April and a son who will 2 in the same month), while attempting to find time to write and meet deadlines, as well as somehow figure out how to market my books and keep selling new ones. Praise God for my agent, or I likely would disappear into oblivion and lose myself in the mounds of laundry, constant vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing, and the general demands on my time from a toddler and preschooler. Every day, it becomes clear to me my most authors wait until their children are older or even out of the house before beginning their writing careers. That luxury isn't mine, though, and somewhere in all of this, God has a plan. My job is merely to trust Him and keep doing the best I can to move forward. That's the simple faith most of my characters possess, and it's what propels most of my stories. I don't beat you over the head with religious diatribes or include amazing conversion stories. Instead, I offer a slice of life as it might have been and invite you to lose yourself among the pages of the stories God gives me to tell.

So, that being said, I'm thrilled to be here with fellow historical fiction authors who share my love of history and passion for writing. It's equally exciting to visit with you, the reader. For without you, we writers couldn't keep doing what we love. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

I'll see you  next month, where I'll share about the history of New Castle, Delaware, and offer a giveaway of my March release. In the meantime, if you'd like to know more, feel free to check me out on Twitter, Facebook, and my web site. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you.


  1. How do you do it, girl? Two younguns and a career and housework. Your stories sound amazing and so do you! Nice to get to know you better here.

  2. What a fun post! I was right there with you in the gold mine. ;o) Your kids are adorable! I now have a 2 year old underfoot and oh my goodness how do you get anything done with a 2 and a 4 year old? I'm excited to get to know you better. I think this blog is going to be a blast!

  3. You're one busy lady! But life's more fun when there's a challenge, right? I admire writers who have young children and still manage to find time to write. Thanks for the peak into your life.

  4. God does have a plan even in the midst of so much domesticity. Thanks for giving a look into your life. Cute munchkins.

  5. Tiffany, your energy and organization amazes me. I've seen it in action. I can't imagine writing with young children underfoot.

  6. Oh my Tiff, we have more in common than I thought. The first few paragraphs could have been written by me. Love the pictures of your family, and I get goosebumps remembering I've been around long enough to remember when you and Stuart got together. It's been fun finding out unusual things about other writers.

  7. Okay, question: Do you go by Tiffany or Amber? It's nice to meet you and may I just say, your children are adorable! Welcome to the blog and God bless!

  8. Love the post and I love learning trivia in historical books it adds to the story. love your books also.

  9. Good evening, Ms. Stockton,

    Ahhh, another person who appreciates the little hidden mysteries and antidotes that come through as you research your passions!! :) I love finding the everyday antidotes and little fragments of people's lives that are most oft overlooked in proper history accounts! They tend to omit the human side of things, focusing more on specifics that remind me a bit of the boredom in History classes whilst growing up! I always begged for the teachers to teach something 'other than dates + names + battlements' as it was just this rush of 'infomation' but it was so clogging! You barely had a chance to get to know one of the historical figures much less anything about his or her lifetime!! I even wanted to know the little things,... how everday life would evolve during the hours of the day,... what was normal to see in their world, what would appear odd to them if they were in ours!?

    I had to chuckle when I read "the weird stuff" is my husband's forte!! I love science fiction, but I'll let that pass for now!! :) :) Laughs.

    I was nodding my head in agreement with everything you said when you cross compared yesteryear with the present!! What did happen to that baseline!? Where people interacted and helped each other, whether there was a natural disaster or whether you simply need a bit of extra flour or sugar!? Where dropping by unexpectedly was expected and where your neighbours were the friends you were looking forward to meeting!? This is a large disconnect between our past and our present lives... sometimes a bit too much! :/

    I fell head over heels for Mackinac Island after seeing "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeves + Jane Seymour! {by the by, Dr. Mike (er, Quinn) was a great show that showcased 'everyday life and tribulations' right alongside Little House on the Prairie & the Love Comes Softly Saga!)....

    I will definitely be tuning in come March!! Thank you for such a beautiful glimpse into your life and writing! :) I'm not on social media, but I am a new RSS feed subscriber to this blog, will be a regular reader/commenter, and will check out your website! :) Cheers!

  10. Delighted to meet you again. Your children are as cute as they can be. I hope the sound is off on those guitars! I'm looking forward to your posts.

  11. Thanks so much to everyone for your comments and feedback. Several of you have remarked about my energy and asked how I do it all.

    Surface answer: because I don't have a choice. No jobs out there to match my skills will pay enough to cover childcare, and I have to work to help pay the bills. My career began before husband and children, so it was either give up the career, or adapt. I adapted.

    Deeper answer: a drive inspired by a passion for history and for giving my children the best I can give them by staying at home during their formative years. It's not easy by any means, but praise God for a supportive husband who understands (he's an author too) and caffeine to help me stay awake when I have to pull all-nighters to meet a deadline. :)

    As for the other question, I go by Tiffany (or Tiff) but I publish under my middle name of Amber. When I first started publishing, Amber Miller (maiden name) flowed and sounded better than Tiffany Miller. Then, when I married, I changed to Amber Stockton. And so it will remain.

    Appreciate the compliments on my two munchkins. I agree, but I'm a bit biased. :) They definitely keep me on my toes. If only I were a decade younger with the energy to keep up with them!

  12. Dear Amber,
    I enjoyed getting to know you and your family. I am looking forward to reading about the history of New Castle, DE and also entering your giveaway.
    Janet Estridge

  13. Dear Amber,
    I enjoyed reading about you and your family. I am looking forward to reading about the history of New Castle, DE and also entering the contest.
    Janet Estridge