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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

#WednesdayWordswithFriends Welcomes Amanda Wen @AmandaWenAuthor

Good Morning,

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how good for my soul that short trip to Bandera last week was for me. I even bought a T-Shirt that says Bandera is "Good for the Soul" LOL!

Back in June we got a peek into Amanda Wen's novel, The Songs That Could have Been and today we're being treated to the story behind the story. Take it away Amanda.....

Many readers who enjoyed my debut, Roots of Wood and Stone, fell head over heels in love with Grandma Rosie, the recently-widowed octogenarian who’s still sweet as ever despite her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. As I watched my contemporary hero, Garrett, and his sister, Lauren, butt heads over how to best care for their grandmother as her disease progressed—and what to do with her century-old farmhouse—I found myself wondering about Rosie’s past. Who was she as a younger woman? What inspired her love for listening to Garrett play piano? How did she come to live in the farmhouse? And what memories did she hold deep in her heart that even Alzheimer’s couldn’t strip away?

So, even without a contract for the first book in the Sedgwick County Chronicles series, I took a leap of faith and started writing the second one, which would come to be known as The Songs That Could Have Been. A confirmed pantser, I had no clue what Rosie’s past story might be, only that I wanted to write it so I could find out! And as I wrote, I discovered her secret:

Ephraim James. 

Witty, well-bred, and a bit of a flirt, Ephraim stole my heart as quickly as he did Rosie’s. He sprang onto the page fully formed, and writing him felt not like creating a character, but getting to know a real person. His likes, his dislikes, his hopes, his dreams, his fears. He quotes Shakespeare. He dreams of being a professional musician. 

He is also black. Rosie is white. And these two exist at a time—the 1950s—when the idea of more than friendship between the two races “just wasn’t done.” 

When I was young and first dipping my toes into the waters of boys and relationships and dating, my dad gave me a gem of advice that proved far more prescient than any of us could’ve guessed at the time: “I don’t care if he’s white or black or purple or if he has two heads, if he loves Jesus and he loves you, then he’s all right by me.” A decade or so later, when I fell madly in love with (and eventually married) a man of Chinese descent, both my family and his welcomed us with open arms. Nearly seventeen years later, our racial and cultural differences have proven not an impediment, but a rich tapestry upon which we raise our three children. 

Unfortunately, as we all likely know, mixed-race couples haven’t always been accepted. In fact, a member of my own family ran into this situation in her high school days; she and a young man of Mexican descent fell in love, but both families objected and the relationship eventually ended. Though the guy married and had a family, my relative never did, and I always wondered what might have happened had their families been more open to the idea. I suppose this was what inspired me to write Rosie and Ephraim’s story. Would love truly be able to overcome objections on the parts of both families and cultures? Would it even be wise for them to pursue a relationship in a time when the odds were significantly stacked against them? 

Writing an interracial relationship was definitely intimidating, and not something I’m inclined to try again anytime soon, but I’m grateful God called me to write Rosie and Ephraim’s story. My husband and I are both grateful to all the couples who came before us, who wrote their love stories when society was against them, and who raised brave biracial children in a world that wasn’t nearly as accepting of them as our world today is. My romance—and my children—might not be here today if it weren’t for them. 

Amanda Wen’s debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone, released to both reader and critical acclaim. The book was named a 2021 Foreword INDIES Gold Award winner and was a finalist in both the Christy and Carol Awards. In addition to her writing, Amanda is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist who frequently performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and her church’s worship team, as well as serving as a choral accompanist. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Amanda currently lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat. She loves to connect with readers through her newsletter and share book recommendations on BookBub. Get your copy of The Songs That Could Have Been at Amazon, B&N, Christianbook(dot)com and Good Reads! Check out the Saturday Spotlight for Amada's debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone & get the story behind the story on Here.

Sounds like another amazing novel, Amanda! We certainly wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it.

See you next time, Friends for Saturday Spotlight and Wednesday Words with Friends!


Barbara Britton said...

Hi Amanda! Great interview. Congratulations on another novel!

Carol James said...

What a great interview. Congrats on your new novel.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

So interesting! Congrats on your latest novel. Best wishes.