Seek and Hide

Today I'm excited to introduce you to my new friend, Amanda Stevens. She's going to share a little about her new book Seek and Find.

As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Amanda’s first novel, Seek and Hide, will be available September 15, 2014 from David C Cook.

Amanda, welcome to my back porch. Tell us a little about Seek and Hide.
Seek and Hide is a dystopian novel in which Christianity has been outlawed. The main character, Marcus Brenner, is a new Christian, a recovered alcoholic, and a man whose only family are fellow believers. Protecting those he loves is the most important thing to Marcus, and he plunges into a one-man fight to help others flee or hide from the Constabulary (agency that enforces philosophical crime).

What’s the setting for Seek and Hide?
Well, obviously, it’s a dystopian setting. I chose not to specify a year, but it’s clear that the place is the United States, specifically Metro Detroit, since I’ve never lived anywhere but Michigan.

How did you come up with the title for Seek and Hide?
This has been the working title for a very long time. I was prepared to say goodbye to it, but my publisher liked it, too. As I worked and reworked the book, different applications popped out at me over time. Of course, Christians worship in hiding and are sought by the Constabulary, but each character also seeks things and hides things over the course of the story.

Is Seek and Hide the first book you published?
Yes. It’s the first in a four-book series.

Why did you write Seek and Hide?
I had these two characters in my head, Marcus and Lee. I knew about Marcus’s alcoholism, about their backstories. I knew Marcus was in love with her, but she was resistant to that. What I didn’t have was a plot. It seemed these two stubborn people needed some kind of war to fight, and the storyworld was born from there. I didn’t have Aubrey (female point-of-view character)’s story until later. So I guess I would have to say originally, I wrote Seek and Hide for Marcus and Lee. I wanted to give them a voice. I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

What do you want readers to take away from Seek and Hide?
This is always the hardest question for me to answer. I just tell a story, for the most part. Readers bring their own life experiences to it and take away what they will. However, the storyworld of this series does demand some pondering, I think. What does God require of us as we live here, in a relatively free America, and what would he require of us if we lived in Marcus and Aubrey’s America, where being found in possession of a Bible means prison? Do my characters always respond with perfect Christ-likeness? No. I want them to resonate with the reader as real, relatable people. As such, they mess up all the time, and in their blunders, maybe readers will ask questions they haven’t asked before.

What is your writing process?
I hate to draft and love to edit. Because this is a series, I’ve needed a basic idea of where I’m going in future books in order to set things up properly, but I don’t outline the whole book. It’s more a knowledge of where the characters should be by the end, and then the book is one surprise after another as they show me how they get there. This applies to physical obstacles in the plot as well as emotional steps in the character arc. Wherever I am in drafting, I like to know what’s going to happen for the next couple chapters, but that’s about as far as I can ever plan anything. Editing is the place I sharpen the setups and conflicts as well as the prose. Oh, and I rarely have a clue what my themes are until I’ve revised and edited a few times. Sometimes, not even then. It’s not uncommon for a reader to point out the themes of my own book to me.

What are you working on now?
The fourth and final book in the Haven Seekers series.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found at my website, Amanda G. Stevens Books, and I’m active on Twitter and Goodreads.
Also, if you don’t mind, I’ll share a blurb for Seek and Hide:
Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment—including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.

Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she’s targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she’d never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.

When Aubrey and Marcus’s lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus’s life in a way he’d never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

I don't know about anybody else, but I can't wait to read Seek and Hide. Amanda, thanks for stopping by today.