Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mastering The Short Story: Author Interview With Amanda Tero

I'm very excited to have my friend, Amanda Tero, here with us today! Amanda is the author of several books, including Coffee Cake Days and her latest release, Peace, Be Still. She is also a gifted musician and operates With A Joyful Noise, a Christian music resource company. Amanda, it's my pleasure to have you on Honey Rock Hills today!

(Kenzi) My first question is how long have you been writing and what sparked your desire to be an author?

(Amanda) Hmm...it is very interesting how the Lord works. :) I have been writing since I was about ten years old (at least) and when I was a teen, dreamed of being an author. However, as I got into my twenties, it wasn't a dream I seriously pursued. I had written several short stories for my sisters for Christmas gifts and when I was preparing to set up a table for my music business, With A Joyful Noise, Mom suggested putting my short stories up for sale as well. And...that's basically how it happened!

(Kenzi) What are some of the most important lessons the Lord has taught you in your writing journey?

(Amanda) Writing for His glory. Seriously. When I was in my mid-teens, I got wrapped up in the thrill of writing whatever came to my fancy. The Lord graciously led me to put aside writing for several years until my purpose was refocused.

(Kenzi) As you look back over the years you've been writing is there one habit, lesson, or decision that has helped you the most as a writer? And while we viewing in hindsight, what is one thing you wish you would have done differently?

(Amanda) This one is kind of tough to answer, as my writing "habit" is a little more sporadic (I write mainly when I have the inspiration). I guess, more in the content rather than the art, the main decision that I pray stays forefront is to write to share what God has taught me. I know that probably sounds "super spiritual" but it is indeed my prayer to keep that as my focus (and, going with question 2, what I wish I had done differently was to use my teen years--when I had more time to write--to write for God's glory rather than selfish pleasures).

(Kenzi) What is your favorite part of the writing process?

(Amanda) This is going to sound funny, but my favorite part is designing the cover. :) Okay, maybe not quite, but I do have to hold myself back from designing the cover BEFORE I write the story! :)
(Note from Kenzi: For you writers out there, Amanda does offer cover design as one of her services for authors. Please check out her site for details.)

(Kenzi) Let's talk for a minute about your books. Are your story ideas usually sparked by a real life event or something in your imagination?

(Amanda) My stories pretty much always come from something I have personally experienced. Sometimes, they come from a simple lesson God has shown me from His Word and other times, from a real life event. While I definitely use my imagination (so that the characters aren't all "me-replicas"), I have a hard time writing something that I have not personally experienced.

(Kenzi) I heard you say once that your short story, Coffee Cake Days, is your most autobiographical work thus far. Why is that?

(Amanda) Probably because Meg's struggle to serve her family is a struggle that I face daily. Much like Meg in the story, I faced the struggle of balancing my spiritual walk with my daily life (there shouldn't be a separation).

(Kenzi) I think we all need that reminder! So what made you decide to go the self-publishing route and what steps did you take to self-publish? What would you say to the young author considering self-publishing?

(Amanda) Since I have only self-published short stories thus far, my answer is exclusive to that. I'm still praying about what direction the Lord would have me to take were I to publish a full length novel.
Anyway, that being said, I chose to self publish because it was the easiest and cheapest route for me to take with my short stories (Because I could do all of the graphics and layout myself).
As for steps...I will cop out of that one as I do it differently every time! One tip I would say is make sure your story is GOOD and edited as perfect as possible before you release it. I haven't followed that rule for everything.

To the author considering self-publishing: be sure to pray about it and make sure this is the route God would have you to take! It's a lot more work and you have to be your marketer as well as publisher.

(Kenzi) What are some of the advantages and challenges of writing short stories?

(Amanda) The biggest advantage is that it is completed in MUCH less time than a novel! :) The challenge is to have a complete story that doesn't feel "unfinished" and also that doesn't get "distracted" with too many side plots.

(Kenzi) What is your favorite research method?

(Amanda) I would say reference books, probably.

(Kenzi) You and I have talked about several of your current projects which include both a novel and a historical series. Thus far, have you encountered any unexpected challenges with going from short stories to longer works or have you found the writing process to be pretty much the same for both?

(Amanda) *Laughs* Well, I had always thought of myself as a wordy writer. However, as I have  been working on a novella (goal: around 10,000 words) I have found that my short story writing has chopped off much of my wordiness. :)

(Kenzi) What defines success for you as an author?

(Amanda) If my short stories (or any other work) helps someone in their walk with the Lord, I consider that a success.

(Kenzi) A thirteen year old young lady comes up to you and says, I think God is calling me to be an author.What would be the most important advice you would give her?

(Amanda) Pray, pray, pray!!! Bathe every idea, every project, every step in prayer!! And be sensitive to God's leading. If He says "Wait," then wait. If He says "Move forward" then move forward.

Fun Questions :)

(Kenzi) What are a few of your favorite things other than writing?

(Amanda) M&Ms!!! (seriously, I have this strange radar for M&Ms)
Music, reading, photography, Bible study, spiritual discussions...those name a few. :)

(Kenzi) Could you share with us your salvation testimony and life verse?

(Amanda) As a young child, I attended a sign language class one of the ladies in our church did. One day, she asked all of the children who were saved to raise their hands. I was not one of them, so afterwards, she asked me to talk to my parents about salvation. I went to Dad and Mom that night and asked them what I needed to do to be saved, but I clearly did not understand what they were saying. I was only following the ladys request in talking with my parents. Later, when I was around seven, Mom had us doing daily personal devotions. As I read about the people who had strayed from God, my thoughts were They need to be saved.I remember writing that down as my thoughts on the chapter for several days. One day, God opened my eyes and I realized, that it was not They need to be saved;it was, I need to be saved!That night, I talked to Mom about my need for Christ, and she thoroughly explained the Gospel to me. I understood it that time, and accepted Christ as my Savior. A few months later, I was baptized as a symbol of what Christ did in my heart.

As for a life verse, I never really "chose" one, however Proverbs 3:5-7 has been an amazing guide in my life for many years!

(Kenzi) Favorite Bible character and why?

(Amanda) Ooh...I would have to say Joseph! Not only do I love his story about redemption and forgiveness, but his integrity is inspiring.

(Kenzi) Number one thing you love about your family?

(Amanda) I love that my family strives to serve the Lord. I can truly say that they are my best friends and that we encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There is truly no greater blessing!!

(Kenzi) Favorite dessert?

(Amanda) M&Ms! (wait, did I already mention those?)

(Kenzi) Least favorite subject in school?

(Amanda) I actually can't remember one...I enjoyed most of my schoolwork. :)

(Kenzi) Favorite books?

(Amanda) Really Kenzi? Of course, the Bible is my guidebook for life--it is amazing how much God has guided me through it and answered questions!
Biography...I'd have to say (for the time being) "Evidence Not Seen" by Darlene Diebler Rose
Fiction...and here I have several favorites, that it's hard to choose just one. :) I enjoy books by Janette Oke (note: many of them caused me to stumble as a teen girl but now that I have gotten older, I have been able to read them without my thoughts going into a fancy).

(Kenzi with a smile and wink)  I know, I know...the dilemma of choosing favorite books, but I just had to ask. Alright, what is one of your dreams that is absolutely crazy, but you'd still love to see happen? :)
(Amanda) Owning the largest library of conservative books! Like, a HUGE room of books!

(Kenzi) It's been a joy chatting with you, Amanda! Thanks so much for letting us learn more about you and your writing! Any thoughts you would like to share in closing?

(Amanda) Thank you so much for having me on HRH, Kenzi! I loved all of your questions -- they definitely made me think. :) Best wishes (and prayers) for you and HRH!!! :)

Find Amanda's books on:

Her Website 


 Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate whose desire is to provide God-honoring reading material. Her current projects include short stories and novels-in-progress.

When she was a young teenager, Amanda was obsessed with writing. However, the Lord helped her to realize that she was writing for her personal pleasures and purposes - not His. For several years, she put away "pleasure writing" and wrote mainly Biblical articles for several years (which she still continues). She found the time of writing silence beneficial in gleaning from God's Word and strengthening the focus of why she writes. Since 2013, the Lord directed her to begin writing fiction again. Her desire is to glorify and exalt God in all of her writing. She desires to challenge girls to focus on their relationship with God and grow in Him and His Word. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

To follow or connect with Amanda, please visit her on:

Her Website 

 Her Blog



Note: Interviews on HRH are for educational purposes only. Some beliefs and views expressed here or in the material of those who are interviewed, may not reflect those held by HRH. As always prove all things and hold fast to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)


  1. Thanks bunches for having me invade your part of the web. ;) I had a ton of fun doing the interview and found it helpful for me as well, to answer those questions. :)

    1. The fun was mutual, Amanda! :) I enjoyed interviewing you immensely; thank you so much for all you shared!