Book & Author Spotlight – Librarians of Willow Hollow Series

Welcome to the first Book Spotlight post on Kylie Hunt – The Film Director’s Wife blog!

I had the blessing of being on the launch team for each of books in “The Librarians of Willow Hollow” Series earlier in 2020.

Even though each book is completely different from the next, they all fit together in the series so nicely and I enjoyed each of the Lady Librarians stories! The individual books were written by 4 fabulous Christian ladies: Amanda Tero, Faith Blum, A. M. Heath, and Alicia G. Ruggieri.

Each tale written by these talented Authors presenting their character’s story in such a way that it holds the reader’s attention and gets you excited for the next Novella in the series. If you are looking for a last minute gift for the readers in your life, a digital set of these Novellas would be wonderful! (I personally recommend them for readers 13 and up, due to some heavier subjects.)


Without further ado, here’s what the ladies behind this delightful series shared about writing and creating it together!

First up, we have the author of “A Strand of Hope” – Amanda Tero.

Amanda Tero grew up attending a one room school with her eleven siblings—and loved it! She also fell in love with reading to the point her mom withheld her books to get her to do her chores. That love of reading turned into a love of writing YA fiction. Amanda is a music teacher by day and a literary guide by night, creating stories that whisk readers off to new eras and introduce them to heroic but flawed characters that live out their faith in astonishing ways.

Check out below her experience writing her book in the series:

1. What was it like working with the other authors on The Librarians of Willow Hollow series?

It was such a great experience! As we worked together, we realized the different strengths and weaknesses we each have, and ultimately that worked to make us a solid team. Personally, I was buried in college work at the time of editing work, so I most often used everyone else’s knowledge of Willow Hollow as my cheat. If I couldn’t remember something, I didn’t have to dig; I just had to ask.

2. What was it like imagining and bringing to life the world and people of Willow Hollow?

For me, there was a mix of historical accuracy and fiction with Willow Hollow. I researched the different counties in the Kentucky mountains and settled on Whitley County for the location of our fictionalized Willow Hollow. Then, we all worked together to figure out which characters were needed for whose stories, and formed a town from that base.

3. What were the most enjoyable & challenging parts of creating the main character in your story?

Lena’s love for books was definitely the easiest. Even though I haven’t read all the books she supposedly had, I still found it fun to research the books that she would have loved—and figure out how it fit to her life. The most challenging part was getting in the mind of an emotionally abused girl. I tried to be accurate, yet also wanted her to be someone who came out of that life and not be battered down by it.

4. What were some interesting things you learned about The Pack Horse Library Project while writing this series?

In reading newspaper clippings, I discovered one Pack Horse Librarian who broke her arm, got it set, then the next day was out on the trail again. This is just one example of the gritty determination these women had (and yes, primarily women were hired for this job).

5. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

Lena’s story has quite a few themes threading through it, but the most important one I’d love for readers to be impacted by is the lesson of hope and forgiveness in the midst of difficulties—especially when someone else is involved, making life difficult for you.

You can connect with Amanda Tero at the following ways:

Email: amanda@amandatero.com
Website: amandatero.com
Blog: amandatero.com/blog
Newsletter: amandatero.com/newsletter
Amazon: amazon.com/author/amandatero
Facebook: facebook.com/amandateroauthor
Instagram: instagram.com/amandateroauthor
Twitter: twitter.com/amandaterobooks
Pinterest: pinterest.com/amandateroauthor
Goodreads: goodreads.com/AmandaTero
BookBub: bookbub.com/profile/amanda-tero


Next up we have the author of “I Love to tell the Story” – Faith Blum.

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl. She has independently published over 25 books in over five years. Most of her books are Christian Historical Fiction with an emphasis on Westerns.

Faith resides in Central Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their cat, Smokey. When not writing, you can find her cooking, doing dishes, sewing, reading, or spending time with her husband and son.

She gives the following thoughts on her experience writing the series:

1. What was it like working with the other authors on The Librarians of Willow Hollow series?

It was amazing! We were able to work out a lot of details together instead of having to figure things out on our own and everyone had great ideas.

2. What was it like imagining and bringing to life the world and people of Willow Hollow?

I would say it was both hard and fun at the same time. We each had to come up with our own characters and their families so we could figure out how to include them in the stories. But we also worked on the town set up and family trees together which was really fun.

3. What were the most enjoyable & challenging parts of creating the main character in your story?

The most enjoyable part was that I was able to connect Lillian with one of my other books. The most challenging part was figuring out exactly what she was going to be like with her personality and mannerisms.

4. What were some interesting things you learned about The Pack Horse Library Project while writing this series?

Honestly just the fact that they existed. I didn’t know that (or forgot) before.

5. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

There is no wrong way to share the Gospel with others as long as God is leading you to do it. Let Him help and guide you and He will give you the words.

She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her on her website: https://faithblum.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/faithblumauthoress
Instagram: http://instagram.com/faithblumauthor


Next in the line up is the author of “Hearts on Lonely Mountain” – A.M. Heath.

A. M. Heath says of her writing style: “As a Christian author, I write fiction that not only entertains but also feeds the soul. Whether I’m writing contemporary, historical, or a blend of the two, my characters always have a clean romance, a sense of humor, and a visible faith where repentance is clear and relying on Christ is a must.”

She says of writing the Librarians of Willow Hollow Series:

 1. What was it like working with the other authors on The Librarians of Willow Hollow series?
It was a new experience for me. I’ve never collaborated with other authors in a series before and had always wanted to.
We had a good, friendly working environment. Did we agree on everything? Nope. But we were always respectful to each other. Always kind and willing to listen or return to the topic later after we’ve had time to think and pray about it. 

2. What was it like imagining and bringing to life the world and people of Willow Hollow?
That was a blast! You can see our personalities melding together as we began creating our own librarians and other people throughout the town. 

3. What were the most enjoyable & challenging parts of creating the main character in your story?
Ivory was one of those natural characters on paper. She really didn’t give me much of a challenge. And a character who is ready and willing to present themselves on paper IS the enjoyable part. Lol  Ben on the other hand was more challenging to get to know early on. He’s so quiet and reserved. And he’s not just like that on paper, he was like that with me as well. It took a little more time to get him to open. 

4. What were some interesting things you learned about The Pack Horse Library Project while writing this series?
This wasn’t my first introduction to the project, so I’m not sure what I had learned while writing it. But I find the whole thing interesting. Just this concept of meeting a need, even in such a remote area. I love how nothing stopped these women, not even extreme weather conditions. 

5. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your story?
That we’re called to love and serve one another, no matter how we’re treated. It’s easy to find joy in serving someone when they accept you. But Christ said to bless those who curse you. That takes determining, before they respond to you, that you’re going to follow God’s leading and minister in this person’s life no matter what happens next. 

You can connect with A.M. Heath on her Website: https://christianauthoramheath.net/ and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AMHeathfanpage/


Last, but certainly not least we have the author of “The Secret Place of Thunder” – Alicia G. Ruggieri.

Alicia G. Ruggieri says of her writing:

“I write to present the love, grace, mercy, and holiness of my Savior and my God through stories of commonplace individuals who are sin-broken people in a broken world… and healed through an extraordinary, loving God. This God – this Savior – is Jesus Christ, the One who has proven sufficient to meet my every need, from salvation from my sin through His death on the Cross, to day-to-day struggles on my pilgrimage. My stories often whisper of times-gone-by, perhaps because that gives the encouragement that He who was faithful in times past will remain faithful today.”

She shares of her journey writing on The Librarians of Willow Hollow” series:

1. What was it like working with the other authors on The Librarians of Willow Hollow series?

Whenever I do a group project, it is an experience that helps me to grow, and not just creatively! For Willow Hollow, our group worked together, bouncing ideas off each other, adjusting our stories and timelines so that each story fit well with the others, creating characters that would cross over among the stories seamlessly. We had lots of big life changes that happened among our group members during the planning, writing, and releasing – everything from a baby being born to a college graduation to a few moves! Yet the Lord sustained our foursome and enabled us to work together well, growing together, I think, through it. It was a good experience, and I’m thankful to the Lord for the opportunity and for His grace and wisdom throughout the process!

2. What was it like imagining and bringing to life the world and people of Willow Hollow?

Really exciting! Not only were we each creating our own main characters and their settings and stories, but we also got to see the other authors’ characters, settings, and stories coming to life around us and add even more depth to each individual novella.

3. What were the most enjoyable & challenging parts of creating the main character in your story?

I loved imagining her backstory. That’s always a favorite for me – discovering what has made this person the way they are, what makes them tick, so to speak. A challenging part for me, with Edna Sue, was to make her realistic yet likeable. She’s had a lot of heartache and has responded to it by building walls and by trying to turn her heart to granite. I needed to carefully show what this kind of person is like on a day-to-day basis without making the reader want to close the book!

4. What were some interesting things you learned about The Pack Horse Library Project while writing this series?

One was the way that the librarians were often mountain folk themselves, not outsiders. Another was how the school and town were often involved in the library’s support; the town often provided electricity and heat to the library in exchange for services to the schoolchildren. I also thought that the scrapbooks that the librarians created from old books, magazines, and donated recipes, etc., were very neat!

5. What is the one thing you hope readers take away from your story?  

That even when God is silent, He is still there and has a plan and purpose for our lives. When we see Him, all our questions of “why?” will fall away because He is our answer. We will be comforted and satisfied “when we awake in His likeness”, to paraphrase the psalmist.

You can connect with her on her Website: https://www.aliciagruggieri.com/ and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri/


I hope you have enjoyed these interviews and I want to say thank you again to the 4 talented ladies behind the “Librarians of Willow Hollow” Series for taking the time to give us a glimpse into the work and love that was put forth to create this series.

– Kylie Hunt

6 thoughts on “Book & Author Spotlight – Librarians of Willow Hollow Series

  1. This was my favorite series of 2020. I was already familiar with Amanda Tero and A.M. Heath, but loved getting to “discover” Faith and Alicia and their work.

    Like

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