Friday, May 20, 2016

Interview with Amy Brock McNew + Review of Rebirth

I am thrilled to welcome Amy Brock McNew to Lands Uncharted today as part of the blog tour for her upcoming new release, Rebirth! I've gotten to know Amy a bit over the past few months, and she is so much fun, plus a very talented writer! She took the time to answer some questions for us about herself and her writing:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a transplanted Southern chick from Arkansas, now living in Indiana. In addition to being a writer, I’m a wife and mom, a musician and singer, and a martial artist. I don’t compete anymore, but I do still train. It centers me. I need caffeine for survival, and the survival of those around me!


What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?

I’ve written as long as I can remember, but it was always songs, short stories, and poems. Later, in college, I started writing articles for local publications. I batted around the idea of writing a novel, but never gave it serious thought. Then my world changed. I was a nurse. Loved my job. Then I was diagnosed with a spinal condition that required pretty extensive surgery. It put an end to my nursing career. I wallowed for about 4 years. That whole time, the story for The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles kept eating at me. I sat down one day and started writing. It’s taken on a life of its own and I couldn’t be happier. We all have more than one dream. I’ve just been lucky enough to live several of mine.

What fictional character (book or movie) do you most relate to, and why?

Abigail Whistler from Blade Trinity. She experienced world-stopping pain and loss. She was left with nothing. So she made her own family and she did the only thing she could do: she fought. Using her pain and heartache to help others.

Do you have any go-to foods or beverages while writing?

Cherry vanilla coke and coffee. They keep me moving and sane.

What advice would you share with an aspiring author?

Read up and learn craft. Ask for advice. Pick the brains of successful authors and absorb everything you can, then morph it into your own style. Most of all? Be teachable and be humble. As much as I study and ask questions, I learn something new every day. And I also realize how much I don’t know yet.

Since we're all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted, if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

For a fictional place? Rivendell. I have always been fascinated by it. The nature, the beauty, the peace. I love being outdoors and Rivendell is the perfect spot.

No visit to Lands Uncharted is complete without Top 3s! Give us a Top 3 list, in the category of your choice.

Ooh, I like this! I’ll go with:

My Top 3 Favorite Book Heroes! (I love a good Alpha Male hero!)

1.) Ryland Vaughn, my hero from Rebirth. I know, I created him. But that just means I made him exactly what I like! Plus, he gets a lot of his characteristics from my hunky husband. ;)

2.) Wynn Delaney, the hero from the When Calls the Heart series by Janette Oke. I know, not spec fic. But I’ve loved that character since I was about 12. Seriously, the dude’s a Mountie.

3.) Solomon Hawke from Nadine Brandes’ Out of Time series. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is, but this guy’s got it.

Your first novel, Rebirth, is coming out in 4 days!! We have to talk about that before we wrap up. You often refer to your writing as "guts on the page" - where does that show up most in Rebirth?

Guts on the page isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a way of life. It’s how I live. I have no desire to be all mysterious, and I abhor secrets. I’m an open book. I go all in and hold nothing back. In Rebirth, that is most evident in Liz’s personal struggles and her relationship with Ryland. The majority of her personal demons are mine; her history, even the darkest parts. I had to overcome the embarrassment, and strip away every fear and reservation I had. I had no choice but to write real, write raw, and bleed on the page. Otherwise, the character and the story wouldn’t have been true. How could I display redemption and victory without showing the battle and being true to it? Rebirth is my guts on the page. It is my struggle, my pain, my mistakes, and my rebirth in black and white. It was the most cathartic thing I’ve ever written.

How much involvement did you have in the cover design? (which is gorgeous, by the way!)

Thank you! I was involved in every step of the process. My publisher is very hands on and inclusive. We are a team-oriented company. Everything we do is a group effort and I love that.

I found the angels and demons in your story fascinating, both in appearance and personality. Where did you draw inspiration for the way they were depicted?

As far as their personalities, I read every verse in the Bible that had anything to do with angels and demons, and a plethora of other writings on the subject. What I noticed when I looked close enough was they seemed to have real personalities. They weren’t simply mindless soldiers following orders. I took this a step further and gave them each very distinctive speech patterns, personalities, and mannerisms. I would try to put myself in their heads and look at the world differently. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and had already given a lot of thought to these beings before writing a novel even entered my mind. So it was something that flowed organically. In choosing or creating their names and developing their personalities, their appearances naturally took shape.

Rebirth is the first book of The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles - what else do you have planned for this series?

The plan so far is to have five novels total, and three novellas. The novels will focus on Liz and Ryland, and the novellas will share the stories of two secondary characters, Nate and Ilona.

Finally, please share a favorite line or passage from Rebirth with us.

This is one of my favorite passages because it showcases Liz and Arie’s (her guardian) personalities so well. Their relationship is one of the highlights I think.

Liz barreled down the road to the barn. She didn’t care when mud from last night’s rain splashed inside her old Jeep. Yesterday’s events had her blood boiling. Arie had a lot to answer for.

The object of her anger waited out front as she pulled up.

Liz started in as soon as she parked. “Do you have any idea what happened yesterday?” She didn’t give him a chance to answer as she jumped out. “I was attacked! I coulda died! Where were you?”

Arie stared calmly, as if she’d said she was happy it was cooler today. “It was not the first time you have been attacked.” He scanned her. “You are still alive.”

Thanks for the update, Mr. Obvious.

“That’s not the point. I needed you!” Betrayal infused her words.

“I was occupied with other business.”

Liz glared.

Arie’s already stern face grew harder. “I am not omniscient, and you did not ask for help. If you had, it would have been sent.”

“Iwell, I was a little busy trying to survive.” Heat rushed up her neck.

“Yet again, you let your anger cloud your mind. You cannot let emotion drive you. It is critical. You must think, Elizabeth. Form a plan and use the tools available to you.”

Liz swallowed hard and focused on the Jeep’s muddy tires. “Sorry.”

Arie exhaled, irritation hardening his tone. “You cannot simply say you are sorry every time you make a mistake and think that makes amends. Make the required change.”

Thanks so much for visiting, Amy, and congratulations on your new release! Want to know more? Amy's next blog tour stop will be at tomorrow!

Here are some additional ways you can connect with Amy:

But that's not all! I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy of Rebirth and wanted to share a brief review:

Liz Brantley can see angels and demons and has been given the task of battling demons using her enhanced strength and senses. She returns home after running from her calling for years, but her hope for a taste of normalcy fades quickly as heaven and hell vie for her allegiance and she trains for her greatest challenge yet.

I really enjoyed Liz's character because she's tough, but easy to relate to. The tension between Liz and her ex-boyfriend, Ryland, as he tries to win her back really kept me turning the pages, and I was intrigued by the way the author explores the question of whether love is a distraction or makes you stronger in fulfilling God's plans. I would recommend Rebirth for any older teen or adult looking for an engaging, fast-paced story. 

Rebirth is available for preorder from the following retailers:
Barnes & Noble

And make sure to stop by the Facebook Launch Party for a chance to win awesome prizes and chat with Amy and other readers!


  1. I can't wait to read this! It is going on my list in first, as soon as I finish the two books I am in the middle of reading! Thanks, Laurie and Amy!

  2. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

  3. Sounds like a good one! Looking forward to reading!

  4. Thanks, guys! And thanks, Laurie, for having me today. I had a blast!

  5. Yes, this is great! I love learning more about authors as people, and seeing how their personalities shine through in their work. I can't wait to read this book having learned a little more about Ms. Amy. :)


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