Author’s Roundtable: Amy Oscar


How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a pencil. My mother is a poet and a painter and encouraged us to read a lot – and to write. I have kept a journal since I was 12 – something I highly recommend if you want to develop a relationship with your inner self. 

Has writing always been something you wanted to do?

Yes – although I never thought that I really could do it. To me authors were important and powerful wisdom keepers. I never saw myself that way. I still don’t – and yet, here I am, writing. Perhaps those authors I admired felt a similar way.

What books or stories have you written? Published?

I’ve written two books – the first one, My Guardian Angel – which I co-authored with Doreen Virtue, was traditionally published by Hay House in 2009; when I finished my second book, Sea of Miracles, I decided to self-publish, as an experiment. It’s worked out quite well. Right now, I’m working on another book. (I won’t reveal the title until it’s finished.) 

Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?

My books explore self-empowerment, spirituality and miracles. I also write about angels. All of this can sound pretty woo-woo but it’s not – not really. After reading so many – thousands – of personal accounts of angelic encounters, I’m a witness for the reality of the presence of angels in our very real lives. 

How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?

I get inspiration from my real life and from the stories my readers send to me. 

Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?

  1. Write about real things. Real feelings, real places, real red apples sitting on the real wooden table with the chipped white paint. Even when you’re writing fiction. Bring your scenes to life with simple, sensory details: the scent of the woodsmoke from the fire, the snap of the branch as it falls to the snow, the bite of the cold against the skin.
  2. Quirks are interesting. Perfect people are boring. Try writing about weirdos and outsiders.
  3. Write to one person – make it a person who is VERY interested in what you have to say. Don’t know anyone like that? Make one up. Invent an avatar – an imaginary perfect reader. Write to that person. 
  4. Don’t try to figure out what the market wants. Create the new market and build a tribe around it.
  5. Write when your heart is on fire. When your heart isn’t on fire, write anyway. 
  6. There is an audience for every author. 
  7. Just say it – your way. But make your way as interesting as you can. Do this by delighting in language, texture, color, detail. Do this by entering the world of your story and looking around. What is that redhead in the corner up to? Where did that gentleman get that silly blue hat? As your lovers argue over custody of the cat, what’s going cold on the dinner table? 
  8. Let your characters tell you who they are – let them surprise and delight you. They know MUCH more about your story that you do. Ask them about the world they live in. Catch what they tell you on paper.
  9. Let us see you thinking. Let us see you feeling. You don’t have to open a vein but if you do, let us see and smell the blood.
  10. Take yourself seriously. Are you a writer? Grab a pen and write. 

Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?

The first time that I self-published, I did not have my work professionally edited. I received e-mail from several readers pointing out every grammatical error, typo, misspelling. My readers taught me that they do care – and quite a lot – about how the work is presented. Editing shows that you took the time – that you care about the reader’s experience. 

What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?

  • My inherent laziness. Given unlimited resources I suspect that I really would wind up lying about, reading luxuriously written English novels. I’d lie on a velvet divan in an island cottage. Can you see it? Wide open windows, overlooking a quiet sea; silk curtains blowing in the breeze; I’d rise only to be fed. A perfectly ripe pear. A runny French Brie. Cafe Creme. 
  • My shyness. I am often afraid to send out query letters or ask influential friends for help. I argue with this part of me every day.
  • My disorganization. I cannot figure out the proper structure for my books. I try and try and ultimately wind up asking the angels to slap them together for me in the proper order.
  • My allergy to doing things the conventional way. For example, it really irks me that, in order to get a book published, you have to write a book proposal. But you do. In fact, the first time that I hired a professional book editor, she took my book for four months and, instead of returning it to me edited, she gave it back to me just as I’d sent it to her – with a mile-long book proposal. THAT, apparently, is what a book editor does (unless you specify that you want line editing). (Honestly, I am still not sure about this.)

How did you find time to write your books?

I started writing professionally when I was a stay-at-home mom, penning essays about life with small children for a local parenting zine. Later, I self-syndicated the same pieces, selling them to dozens of other zines across the U.S. and Canada. That led to freelance work for Parents’ Magazine and Family Fun. 

I wrote from 4-6 a.m. I wrote again while they napped and while they played. I jotted notes in the car (not recommended). I wrote during vacations and holiday parties – in fact, my family will tell you that I skipped many holiday parties in order to write.

For my birthdays, my husband took the children to his parents’ house for a long weekend – for a writing mommy, this was the BEST present ever.

Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?

Writing doesn’t relax me – it transports me. When I write I enter another realm – a flow space where I am in the room of the work. Writing, for me, is probably like acting for an actor. I enter the work. If the piece that I’m working on is high-stakes, exciting, my heart is pounding and my breathing is quicker. If the piece is more mellow, I’m chill as a yogi. In other words, whatever the work is doing – I’m doing. Kinda.

Has writing made you a better person?

I don’t really know. What an interesting question. How would one answer that?

Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?

Reading is my passion, my true love (don’t tell my husband). I am often reading several books at once. Some for research. Some out of curiosity. Some for pleasure. Right now, I’m fascinated with the frontier between science and mysticism so I’m reading The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot (science) and To Hear the Angels Sing by Dorothy Maclean (the story of Findhorn Garden). At night, I don’t want to read anything but novels; my favorite authors are Julia Glass, Joann Harris, Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett, Joanna Trollope, Elizabeth Berg, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Franzen. Oh, and I love Dave Eggers.

Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?

Reviews help sell books – especially reviews on Amazon.com. So in that sense, they’re vital. However, the importance of, and impact on, the writer’s sense of her own talent and ability is a personal matter.  

Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?

No. Not really. If I had, it would hurt my feelings, of course.

Also, would you mind sharing an excerpt from your books?

I’d love to – thank you for asking.

Excerpt from Sea of Miracles: An invitation from the angels 

Years ago, before everyone had a cell phone, I ran out of gas on the Throgs Neck Bridge, a massive span of steel suspended over the Long Island Sound, 12 miles from New York City. As my car lost all its power, the steering wheel locked, and we rolled to a stop in the right lane, just after the curve. From this position, oncoming motorists couldn’t see us until they were 50 feet away. Approaching at 60 m.p.h., they swerved around us, brakes screeching. Several shouted rude remarks, shaking their fists.

I could make excuses: it was Thanksgiving, and we were running late. I had a terrible cold. My two-year-old daughter had been screaming on and off for two hours, upsetting her four-year-old brother and distracting me. Exhausted, overwhelmed, I’d missed the red fuel light on my dashboard. Still, it hardly mattered why we were stuck—I had to do something to protect my children, and my car, from being hit from behind.

My son was fast asleep. Pulling my wailing daughter from her car seat, I set her on my hip and walked behind the car. There, I began flapping my free arm like a broken windmill, warning approaching motorists away.

In the high November winds, with a guardrail only up to my thigh, Katie and I could easily have been blown right off the bridge!

God help us! I shuddered.

Instantly, a small red fire truck pulled behind my car, lights flashing. At the exact same moment, a Boar’s Head truck pulled in front of us. Provisions, read the sign, painted on its side. We were saved!

“I almost hit you,” said the driver of the fire truck. “I was looking down changing the radio stations and wham! There you were! Walking down the road with this baby in your arms. What a picture!”

As he went to search for the bridge’s emergency phone, the other driver spoke to me quietly. “Ran out of gas?” he asked. “Happened to me once.”

“Really?” I asked. I felt instantly better, calmer and a good deal less ridiculous. He told me to wait in the car for the tow truck, which he explained, would push my car off the bridge. “Get off at the Clearview and pull over first chance you get. I’ll drive ahead and get you some gas.”

“Bless you, thank you,” I said.

The tow driver arrived, barking instructions. He would push my car from behind. “Put it in neutral, stay off the brakes,” he said, and BANG! We were off. He pushed, I steered, doing some of the deep breathing I’d been saving for emergencies, and we made our bumpy, jerky way down the exit ramp. I pulled into a grassy embankment at the side of the highway and stopped to wait for the Boar’s Head driver to deliver the gas.

But, “You idiot!!!” the tow truck driver came running from behind. “You had an angel meeting you, you didn’t listen.”

“What? I don’t…”

“That guy, he was meeting you at the Clearview, the Clearview,” he shouted, his face red. “This is the Cross Island!” Then, storming back to his truck, he left us there.

I cried for a while. Then, I got out of the car. I put a blanket around Max’s shoulders and wrapped Katie inside my jacket. We began to walk toward some stores that I could see behind the embankment. If I can find a deli, I thought, I can get something warm for the children to eat. We could go to the bathroom. Maybe they’ll let me use the phone…

We’d gone only a few yards when…

“Mommy,” Max asked. “Who’s that man by our car?” I turned and there he was — the driver of the Boar’s Head truck, already putting gas in our car.

When I tell this story, I usually leave out the part where he lifted one end of my car and shook it, to make the gas run into the lines. It seems so outlandish that even I’m unsure sometimes if that really happened. I skip ahead to the part when my car was turned on, the engine humming, the heat warming my children’s hands, and I turned to thank our rescuer.

“Let me pay you for the gas,” I said, holding up a twenty, all the money I had. “Let me buy you dinner.”

He smiled, and I noticed, for the first time, his beautiful eyes. “You keep it, Ma’am,” he said. “You go home and live a good life and raise these kids. That will be thanks enough for me.”

“But,” I stuttered. “I want to do something… at least, tell me your boss’s name, I’ll send a letter.”

“My boss knows how sweet I am,” he said, smiling. “Go on home.”

As he walked away, I scribbled down the name of his company and the phone number painted on the side of his truck. Then, I put my car into gear and drove my children to their grandparents’ house. All the way there, I composed the letter in my head. I imagined the gift I’d send: an American Express gift certificate, tickets to a show…

But a few days later, when I called the number that I’d carefully copied into my journal, it was out of service. When I phoned the Boar’s Head company they told me there was no distributor in the town that had been painted on the side of that truck, nor was there one on record with its name.

Back then I didn’t know how to explain it. But I do now: he was an incarnated angel, sent, in a truck marked Provisions, to rescue two children and a frazzled mom from the top of a bridge, and to remind us: You are never alone.

Today, I am here to say the same thing to you.

No matter how lost or alone you may feel or how stressful your life, you are surrounded—right now—by a responsive, loving energy that wants you to be happy.

Though most people never see their angels, you’ve been feeling their presence—through intuitive hunches, ‘coincidental’ encounters, signs and synchronicity — all of your life.

Your every longing is heard, your every prayer responded to. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say that with such authority. But I can now — now that I’ve found myself swimming in a sea of miracles.

Since 2004, I’ve been reading stories about angels—stories from real people from around the world who’ve had direct, personal encounters with the divine: people just like you.

I’ve read stories of terminal illnesses that were instantly healed; disembodied voices shouting life-saving commands; mysterious nurses who appear beside hospital beds in the middle of the night to offer comfort; doctors who materialize at accident scenes to speak life-saving advice before emergency crews arrive and then disappear without a trace.

I’ve read stories about lost heirloom jewelry—watches, wedding rings, diamonds — suddenly found. I’ve read about children led home by gentle strangers no one’s seen before (or since); flocks of butterflies returning day after day to comfort the grieving; birds that visit the lonely, the frightened, the seriously ill — bringing the courage and hope they need to survive.

I have always believed in angels, people often begin or, I’ve never been sure about angels… but I am now!

I know just what they meant. Though I’d worked with spiritual materials for 25 years, as a spiritual counselor, writer and teacher, though I’d experienced many things that couldn’t be explained as mere coincidence I simply wasn’t prepared for the way that reading those stories would change my life. 

You see, I didn’t believe in angels. 

To me, the winged and haloed messengers were the stuff of myth — they were metaphors, I thought, an attempt for human beings to explain their interactions with something they couldn’t quantify, see or understand any other way.

I believed in that something — and I’d built a relationship with the presence that seemed to be everywhere, always available to listen to my prayers or read over my shoulder as I scribbled in my journal.

I just didn’t believe in angels.

Little did I know — a well-worn phrase, beloved by storytellers and editors that perfectly sums up my state of mind when this project began. For little did I know, as I opened the first letter and began to read, that these stories would deliver—drop by precious drop—an infusion of Grace straight to my heart.

Little did I know that this work was a response, sent to answer my most fervent prayer, Please fill my life. Give me something meaningful to do. And please, oh, please make it about more than just me.

That’s the thing about miracles; they rarely come as we expect them to. There’s no flutter of wings, no dramatic flash of lightning. Most miracles come gently, subtly, in a slow-moving wave of Grace only discernible when it’s over.

This is the story of how I was transformed from editor to witness, from student to teacher, and from being a person who wrote about other people’s lives to a person living fully at the center of my own.

This book is an invitation—and a guidebook. For after <nine> years of swimming in this Amy Oscar 1Amiracle sea, I can honestly say: angels are everywhere, every minute of every day—and all you have to do to bring them into your life is open the door, and welcome them in. 

About Amy Oscar

Amy Oscar is an intuitive spiritual counselor and the author of Sea of Miracles: an invitation from the angels. She offers The Soul Caller Training, a five-week online program. You can connect with her on Facebook, on Twitter and on #SoulCall, a Sunday morning chat about living a spiritual life in a material world. 

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