Amy Gaudette has been entering the challenge for just over two years, along with her daughter Hannah – and both have often found themselves in the Editor’s Choice. This year, however, one of Amy’s pieces did even better than that – she came in third place in the annual FaithWriters Writing Challenge Best of the Best. Read on to learn more about Amy, her family life, and how she came up with her compelling, poignant story.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your third place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as third place in Best of the Best?

AMY GAUDETTE: I’d have to say I was shocked. I then hollered for my daughter Hannah, who also writes for Faithwriters, to come quickly. I’d won twenty-five dollars! (I think she thought her mother had lost her mind.)

JOANNE: I understand that entering the Writing Challenge is a family affair. Tell me about Hannah – who started here first? Do you share your writing?

AMY: We started together at the same time. My daughter has wanted to be a writer since she was old enough to dictate her stories to me. She actually motivated me to get involved with Faithwriters. I hadn’t written since I was in high school. We both share our writing for critique, and at other times write “anonymously” in order to see if we can identify each other’s stories.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAJOANNE: Sounds like a perfect situation – and fun! Your winning piece, I Will Walk On Water, is incredibly poignant and real. To me anyway, it read like it came from someone with experience with people with these types of struggles. Did it?  Where did you get the idea for this piece? How did it come together for you? Any particular struggles getting it the way you liked it?

AMY: At first, I was simply trying to think outside the box for the topic “Entertain.” We have a small homestead on five acres, and I derive great inspiration and comfort from God’s creation around me. We do not have a TV or cell phones. Ultimately, for us, this is a blessing. As far as my MC’s struggles, I think we all have our own handicaps, whether inside or out, and at times, we need to dig way deep down inside to make the decision to walk a path of joy and thanksgiving no matter our circumstances. The decision to overcome fear and walk on water starts on the inside. Once I was able to put myself in the MC’s place, the story flowed.

JOANNE: That passion definitely came through in your story.  So powerful. You’ve been at FaithWriters for a couple years, and have been entering the Writing Challenge fairly regularly since then. How has FaithWriters, and the challenge, been helpful to you?

AMY: Speaking of overcoming challenges . . . I have wanted to write since I was in high school, but I have never been able to finish anything. I become frustrated and the writer’s version of tongue-tied. Faithwriters has enabled me to push through, given me the encouragement to keep pushing on, and the feedback is an enormous blessing. Those who frequently find themselves in the winner’s circle inspire me and call me on every week!

JOANNE: FaithWriters is wonderful that way, isn’t it? Do you have a challenge entry of yours that you would call your favorite? One that perhaps flowed effortlessly, or means a lot to you personally?

AMY: I would have to say I Will Walk on Water is my favorite. Even just speaking the title inspires me to overcome fears and identify the impossible things in my own life and, by the grace of God, walk on water.

JOANNE: Me too 🙂 Have you always enjoyed writing, or is it something that developed later?

AMY: I have always enjoyed writing, but have not had the motivation until my daughter challenged me to write! It is something we share together that I enjoy greatly.

JOANNE: Good for her! How about reading? What’s your favorite type of book to read? Who are your favorite authors?

AMY: In reading, I like everything from inspirational novels to devotionals to Christian drama . . . I even stretched myself and read Richard Evans’ Michael Vey Series! As far as favorite authors, Terri Blackstock, Karen Kingsbury, Janette Oak, Richard Evans . . . and Theresa Santy!! (To name a few.)

JOANNE: Some wonderful writers – and inspiration! Tell us a bit about you and your family.

AMY: My husband and daughter (15) and I live on a five-acre homestead in a small town in Maine. I homeschool, and we raise a few dairy goats, chickens, two feral cats, and we are extremely busy with our gardens. We put up food for the winters, as well as market some vegetables and cheese, and we try to grow extra for a local homeless shelter. Winter is a quiet season and I have more time to write as well as work on crafts such as knitting and weaving.

JOANNE: Sounds like a wonderful life. What are your hopes and dreams for the future, both personally and professionally?

AMY: My greatest hope is for world-wide revival! We need it. On a more earthly level, I hope in the next couple years to have prepared my daughter for her future dream of being a writer and an editor. For myself, though I’m not really sure how to get there, I hope to be able to write for gardening/ homesteading magazines as well as inspirational publications.

JOANNE: With your skills, I am sure you BOTH will achieve your writing  dreams. Where can folks connect with you?

AMY: Folks can connect with us through our farm Facebook page (facebook.com/lamplighterfarm). I do not have a blog at this time, but I hope to in the future.

JOANNE: Anything else you’d like to share?

AMY: I’d like to say, I can’t thank enough the people who have put Faithwriters together. It has brought us tremendous enjoyment, encouragement, motivation, and guidance. May God bless you all!

JOANNE: And you have blessed us FaithWriters folks – in so many ways. Thanks again, Amy, for sharing your story with us – and congratulations!

Be sure to enter the challenge again when it starts up again after a short break this coming Thursday. You could be a Best of the Best winner next year!

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