Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Spotlight and Author Interview: “Making Faces” by Amy Harmon

We at Sizzling Pages are thrilled to chat and interview
Amy Harmon 
about her recent release, “Making Faces”

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

SP  What was your inspiration for “Making Faces”?  Was it from real life experiences, purely fiction, or a fabricated scenario triggered by events.
Amy  Definitely a fabricated scenario. My younger brother signed up for the guard with a group of friends and served in Iraq – so his experiences gave me the idea of Ambrose serving with his friends, but the story itself was purely fictional.

SP Fern was such a strong-willed character. Who was your inspiration behind her persona as well as Ambrose’s character?
Amy   She was strong. I think that is easy to miss because of her gentleness – but she was very comfortable with herself, even though she didn’t believe she was pretty. She had come to terms with who she was, and I loved that about her. I think it was what drew Ambrose to her, because he struggled with his place in the world so much.

Fern's writing ambition mirrors my own, so in that sense she was very similar to me. I had someone ask me the other day why Fern and Bailey were so "unambitious" because they didn't go to college. I was kind of stunned. First, Bailey was taking courses (he alluded to this when he talks about Cyrano de Bergerac to Ambrose) but Bailey couldn't have left home. Plus, college isn't for everyone. I graduated Salutatorian in my class. I was a smart, ambitious girl, but I wasn't really interested in attending college when I graduated. But I traveled and sang and eventually started writing novels. I didn't go to college beyond one semester in Spain and one semester at a local community college. I actually was hired to teach at a private school because a teaching degree was not required. My students scored incredibly well on their placement tests at the end of the year. (I think maybe this reader touched a nerve, HMM?) Not going to college does not translate to being uneducated nor should it equal a lack of ambition. I guess I pictured Fern to be like me in that regard. 

Ambrose was completely fictional. A man of my imagination, so to speak! 

SP   Ambrose is a kind and gentle soul.  He’s a gentleman, mature beyond his years, and has a strong moral compass.  The night of the prom, however, he refused to interact with Fern.  Was he still angry for the identity deception of the love notes, or his internal battle over feelings he was developing for Fern?
Amy   Both! He was still hurt, but the anger and betrayal stemmed from his own feelings of attraction for the “girl in the letters.” That girl was Fern. And he hadn’t come to terms with that fact yet. All he could do at that point was avoid his feelings…which meant avoiding Fern.

SP The boys, especially Beans, had fun at Brosey’s expense teasing him over Fern.  Were Brosey’s feelings those of embarrassment, conflict of his affection for Fern, or both?
Amy  No one likes to be snookered – and Rita and Fern tricked Brosey…and his friends knew about it! Not a pleasant combination, especially when his friends won’t let him live it down. But their teasing actually forced him to think about Fern and process his feelings, which he did. He came to the conclusion that he needed to pursue Fern when his tour was up.

SP The symbiotic relationship between Fern and Bailey was amazing.  The character of Bailey was, for me, the most enjoyable in the story and he has become one of my favorite characters.  (To all of us at Sizzling Pages) I agree with Pastor Taylor.  There is a reason for everything in this world – and it is not for us to say why.  Fern and Bailey existed for each other.  Do you believe Bailey’s destiny was predetermined, once Fern’s future with Ambrose was solidified?  
Amy Interesting concept! I don’t think much about predestination, surprisingly. Nobody likes thinking everything is already pre-determined and we are just pieces being moved about on a game board. (Are we human or are we dancers?) I would rather look at things with the understanding that there is purpose in all things - even terrible things - and I don’t always understand the whys, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t blessings in terrible things.

Bailey and Fern knew the future wasn't promised, and because of that had learned to live in the moment. Bailey's death actually freed Fern to move forward with her own life, as sad as that is.

SP  Was Ambrose destined to save Fern? Is that why he was spared?
Amy  These are interesting questions and fun to think about in a philosophical sense. Bailey, Fern, and Ambrose blessed each other’s lives in different ways. I don’t think one was saved in order to save another, rather, they all played a part in saving each other.

SP  What do you foresee is Becker’s fate? (Hope justice is served).
Amy  Becker has a long way to go, doesn’t he? He is going to spend a very long time in the slammer, me thinks.

SP  In a perfect world, where Ambrose returned unscathed from his tour of duty, would he still fall in love with Fern?
Amy  Yes! He had already decided he was going to see where a relationship with Fern would lead him but the depth and sweetness of their relationship would have been harder to achieve if Ambrose hadn’t gone through his own struggles. In a sense, his trials were a refining fire. He actually was a more beautiful person because of the things he faced and worked through.

SP Would Ambrose ever read Fern’s letters? (From when Ambrose was stationed overseas)
Amy  I think  Fern would have shared the letters with him eventually – but in some ways those letters would have been painful for Ambrose. They represented a time from ‘Before,’ when life included his four best friends. They would have been a bittersweet reminder of a time he couldn’t get back. 

SP  Is there any chance we would ever be able to get a glimpse of the 3 major moments in Fern and Ambrose’s life…wedding , honeymoon and finding out she’s pregnant along with birth of Bailey? 
Amy SPOILER ALERT!  Maybe…my problem with a story like Making Faces, or any of my books really, is that when I am mentally finished, I’m truly done. I have a difficult time putting myself back in the frame of mind to continue the story. It takes a lot of time to get into a rhythm with my characters, to set the tone, to tell a story. To get back in that place is sometimes difficult.

SP  Did you remove any scenes from Making Faces or did your plot change at any time? 
Amy  My plot always changes as I progress deeper in the story. But that happens as I write and I tweak and change things as I go to allow for the changes. But very few scenes were entirely removed. I did remove a scene where Fern’s mom is lecturing her about sex.  It was a good scene, but it didn’t really flow well with the story. I took it out. I am pretty certain Ambrose and Fern weren’t going to be able to wait until their wedding day…the feelings were too strong.

SP What is your next project about?

Amy  I can’t tell you much. It’s still coming together in my head. I always think about a new story for a month or two before I begin to write. And the story is still building itself in my head at this point. The only hint I can give is Bonnie and Clyde…are you intrigued?

SP  Would you be interested if you were approached with movie rights to Making Faces?
Amy  Hell, yeah. Are you kidding? I would love to see Making Faces on the big screen! I would love to see all my books on the big screen! I actually think my Purgatory series (two books) would make awesome movies. They haven’t been widely read because they are YA with a supernatural bent, but wow! They would be fun to watch!

SP   If yes do you have any ideas of who you’d want to play the characters?
Amy  I would love Emma Watson to play Fern. She is my only real pick at this time.

SP How would Ambrose or Fern answer the following:
To love or be loved – To love. Always to love. Because if you truly love, you’ll be loved…eventually.
Beauty or strength – Beauty isn’t always a strength, but strength is always beautiful.  So strength.   
Lucky in love or lucky on life – I’m a romantic. I don’t thing you can truly be lucky in life if you aren’t lucky in love. And I think luck has very little to do with it.
Singing or dancing- Fern: Dancing. Ambrose: Singing. Amy:  Dancing. I love to sing, but dancing doesn’t require skill, it just requires joy.

Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called "What I Know" also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Running Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue and coming October 20, Making Faces.

Our sincerest thanks to Amy for this opportunity. “Making Faces” really touched us and we are honored to have read and experienced it.

Books By Amy Harmon:


  1. Such a huge fan of Amy Harmon's - Recommend her to everyone! Making Faces is on my wish list :)

    1. Amy is amazing. And we all were such huge fans of this book. I really need to read her other books.

      My New Years Resolution is to win lotto and spend my whole year reading on a tropical island :)

  2. I LOVED this book! I really really want a signed copy! (:

    1. I still get emotional thinking about this story.....It was amazing,

  3. Any winners for this giveaway? I really want to win! (:

    1. Hi there Lindsey, Yes we did have winners and I didn't notice until today that the winners weren't showing on the widget. I have updated it to show. Can you email us at I have a question for you. Thanks


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