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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

#WednesdayWordsWithFriends Welcomes Amanda Wen!

Good Morning,

Fall is definitely in the air over here in SW Louisiana. Our area was hit with 3 tornados last week. Seems like Mother Nature will not give us a break! Prayers please for those people who'd JUST gotten back in their homes after last year's hurricanes and are facing repairs or rebuilds again.

Enough gloom and doom though. Hope you made it safely through the ghosts, goblins and other creatures haunting your home in search of candy. I miss those days but don't get trick-or-treaters where I live. Which is OK LOL!

Today's guest was in our spotlight in May to share a peek into her book, Roots of Wood and Stone so please welcome her back with some wisdom about fear standing in our way. Take it away, Amanda!

What Would You Do if Fear Weren’t Standing in Your Way?

What would you do if fear weren’t standing in your way?

To be honest, this question has always bugged me. As a naturally anxious person descended from a long line of naturally anxious people, fear has been a constant companion. Thanks to the aforementioned natural anxiety and my active writer’s imagination, I’m able to leap from zero to Worst Case Scenario in record time. 

But sometimes God forces you out of your comfort zone, like he did for me in 2014. That year, my brother-in-law married the girl of his dreams…in New York City. 

Now, NYC may be a dream destination for many of you, but for this lifelong denizen of smallish Midwestern cities, New York was someplace I would have been perfectly happy to never visit. Constant noise. Insane traffic. People everywhere. It’s like a different planet. And did I mention we’d be flying? With three children, ages 5, 3, and 15 months? If it weren’t for family, that trip would’ve been a hard pass.

But it was for family, so we went.

And yes, it was noisy, and stressful. None of us slept. We got claustrophobic in our tiny hotel room. Our baby was fussy most of the time, which meant I watched my sister-in-law join our family from the very back of the reception hall, frantically pushing our daughter in the stroller, hoping against hope a scream from her wouldn’t ruin the whole thing.

It was uncomfortable and hard, but we did it.

And when we got back home to Kansas, back to clean air and quiet streets and personal space, God and I spent a lot of time sorting out my fears of that trip and how, despite the hassles, He’d been with us every step of the way. It was then that I made a deal with Him: If fear was the only thing stopping me from doing something, I’d go ahead and do it anyway.

That decision led to several new-to-me experiences: running my first 5K and even a 10K (after being an avowed non-runner for my entire life), sending my kids to public school, and one decision a year and a half later that’d be the most life-changing of them all. 

I’d been writing for a while at this point, but not really letting anyone read my work except my best friend, herself a multi-published general-market historical romance author. After I got the guts to show her my work, she gently corrected my newbie writing errors, mentored me through the next couple manuscripts, and finally started suggesting/encouraging/nagging me to enter it in a contest.

I had heard horror stories about contests, though. Entries that got ripped to shreds by judges who might or might not have even read the guidelines. People who grew so discouraged by the negative feedback that they quit then and there. But another critique partner told me about the ACFW First Impressions contest, one that only required a five-page entry. I can do five pages, I told myself. If they rip apart five pages, that’s okay, because I’ve got another 300-ish they won’t see.

But to my surprise, that entry didn’t get ripped apart. I was shocked to final in the contest, even more shocked to win, and stunned literally speechless when one of the final round judges—a well-known agent in the Christian writing world—requested my full manuscript.

That agent ended up becoming my agent. 

And the book to which those first five pages belonged? It went nowhere. 

But that was okay, because the initial fear—letting someone in the industry read my work—was gone. I had an agent in my corner who believed in my talent and God’s plan for it even when I didn’t. And the next book I wrote? The one where I experimented with a totally different genre—split-time—that I’d never written before, but always loved? 

That one became my debut novel.

My seven-years-ago self would never have dreamed that the decision she made, the surrender to God’s plan regardless of her own discomfort, would have such far-reaching implications, nor that a trip to New York with three little kids would lead to becoming a published author.

So, I’ll ask again: what would you do if fear weren’t standing in your way?


Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple writing contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions contests. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

Wen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She also frequently interviews authors for her blog and is a contributor to the God Is Love blog. Her debut novel is Roots of Wood and Stone.

In addition to her writing, Wen is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team. Wen lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

To find Amanda Wen’s blog and short stories, visit www.amandawen.com. Readers can also follower her on Facebook (@AuthorAmandaWen), Twitter (@AuthorAmandaWen), and Instagram

Roots of Wood and Stone can be found at Amazon and where other great Christian fiction is sold.

It's amazing how God gets us out of our comfort zone, isn't it? Thank you, Amanda for sharing your story and what you learned from your trip to NY! Wishing you the best of luck and God's blessings in all things.

Hope you enjoyed today's post, friends and that you'll check back weekly for more Wednesday Words with Friends and Saturday Spotlight.

Until next time, take care and God bless.


D. V. STONE said...

Thank you for sharing. 2 Tim 1:7 are great words to grasp and hold. D.

Barbara Bettis said...

Fabulous post! But I must admit, travelling three tiny little ones takes great courage :) Wonderful that you did. And yes! on 2 Tim 1:7--a good one to have handy to refer to every day!

Alicia Dean said...

Great article. And your book sounds wonderful. Congrats and best wishes!

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you for sharing your heart with us Amanda. Congratulations on being a Christy Award finalist, too. For me, you will always be the conference cellist!

Carol James said...

Great post. I love that God uses our times of weakness to show His strength.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Lovely post! Best wishes.

Mary Preston said...

I think we all let fear stand in our way at some time or other.