Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Changing Worlds by Amy Martinsen, Review, Author Interview, and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a gently read copy of Changing Worlds to a lucky reader. Leave a comment below or on Facebook under my post linking to this page, and you will be entered into the drawing! Deadline Sept 1st.

How does a nice Mormon girl get mixed up with the mafia? Easy—she falls in love with a gorgeous Italian hunk.

BYU student Anna Bennett takes a job with Kamp Keepers at Boughlynch, a girls camp in Kentucky, only to discover the camp is owned by a family of rednecks whose ways are strange and oppressive. She meets Daniel Santini, also a Kamp Keeper and a recent convert to the Church, who is from a powerful mafia family, but has repented of his past and is “laying low.”

After Anna escapes near death at the hand of the rednecks, Daniel takes her to meet his family in Chicago. Once again, she finds herself in an uncomfortable situation when his family not-so-subtly tries to get rid of her.

With great side characters such as Miss Ally, Fina, and of course the Boughlynches and staff, Changing Worlds is an enjoyable read full of romance and an overabundance of tender kisses. Anna and Daniel come from two different worlds, and this story will keep you guessing if their relationship can survive.


I'm happy to have author Amy Martinsen featured on my blog today. She so graciously answered these few questions:

How did a nice girl like you get mixed up with the Mafia? (or why did you choose to write about this Mafia family?)

Amy: I’ve always been fascinated by the Mafia and the Amish… not together, of course. We did all see that movie, right? [Witness] I have a fascination with very controlling families and lifestyles. 

Author Amy Martinsen
I’m also in awe at dramatic conversion stories: people who leave everything they know to join the church. This type of courageous faith is so inspiring to me…led me right to the Mafia’s front door.

What extent of research did you do to be able to write about the Mafia?

 Amy: I guess I’ve been doing research my whole life [reference answer above….ha!] I wanted to write from a place that made sense to the reader and didn’t want any “God Fathers” standing over my shoulder correcting me. So after reading several things that were true but didn’t make much sense—and were extremely frightening, I decided to go it alone.

 I had a powerful experience while writing the scene where Daniel leaves The Family. You don’t need much research to know you don’t just “leave” the Mafia; they kill you. I spent several weeks thinking about how Daniel would leave and finally wrote what made sense to me. A few days after I wrote this scene, I chanced upon Mario Facione’s book Mafia to Mormon.  Wondering how close I’d come to the truth, I stayed up late that night reading. About one in the morning I sat up in bed and screamed. Rick, my husband, about had a heart attack! 

The process that Facione went through to leave his Family was almost the same process Daniel went through. I still shake my head when I think about it.

What was your inspiration for Changing Worlds?

 Amy: I started writing CW while completing my Masters in English. At the time, I was so tired of writing academic papers and felt I needed a creative outlet. My daughter and her friend challenged me to write a book, so I took them up on it! In my mind I thought, “How hard can this be?” Little did I know it would be ten times harder than anything I’ve done academically. It’s one thing to pump out a twenty page paper where you’ve masked your voice behind a load of parenthetical documentations, but to take the mask off and write from your heart. That takes some guts.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Amy:  I don’t know if I ever really thought about being a writer. I’ve always worked very hard in school and have received a great deal of encouragement from professors, but it wasn’t until I actually sat down to create something from my imagination that I understood what it was to write and see myself as a writer.

What is your favorite part about being published?

Amy: Oh, hands down, walking into Deseret Book and seeing MY BOOK on the shelf! It is still very surreal to me.

Did you go to summer camp as a teen or have you ever been a camp counselor?

Amy: As a young girl I loved going to girl’s camp at Camp LoMia in Pine, Arizona. As an adult I’ve gone back to this same camp as a Young Women’s leader/counselor/cook… I’ve loved every minute of it! And those who are familiar with Camp LoMia will know that it was the inspiration for the girl’s camp in CW.

(Joan's note: I love Camp LoMia and went there to girls camp too!)

What is your next novel about? A sequel?

Amy: Many people have asked me if there will be a sequel to CW. I would love to write one and find out what would happen when Daniel and Anna start their family… and The Family finds out.

Right now, though, I’m working on a humorous novel that answers the question: What if obituaries told the truth?

If you could travel to anywhere in the world, or any period of time past, where would you choose?

Amy: It’s enticing to see 18th Century Scotland or Revolutionary New England or the Antebellum South… but my first choice would be to go to a small farm in west Texas and see my Great-Grandmother Johnson. 

I want to know her and understand some things about her. She had a passion for beautiful clothes. In the middle of miles and miles of dirt she always looked great. How did she pull that off? She made up a recipe for chocolate applesauce cake that is one of my favorites today. I want to be in her kitchen the day she decided to make a cake and didn’t have any eggs and came up with this gem. Who taught her to shoot a shot gun so well she could shoot the head off of a rattlesnake while hanging her laundry on the clothesline? 

And her husband, my Great-Grandfather Thomas Jefferson Johnson, was a train robber in his younger days. Did she know this when she married him? I would forego all my history travels to get to the bottom of this.

What is something most people don't know about you that you wouldn't mind sharing?

Amy: Well, there’s that whole “Mafia/Amish” thing I mentioned earlier…ha!

Thank you Amy for the interview. Your great-grandparents sound like an interesting couple--maybe the subject of another great novel! 

Read more about Amy Martinsen at her blog, Go Away I'm Reading
Buy Changing Worlds on Amazon and at Deseret Book

Thank you for visiting! Remember to leave a comment using your gmail account to be entered into the drawing to win a gently read copy of Changing Worlds! Deadline Sept 1st.


  1. Loved your interview with Amy! Would really like to win a copy of her book!

  2. Loved your interview with Amy! Would really like to win a copy of her book!

  3. This looks like a fantastic book! I am excited to read it!

  4. I would love a copy of Amy's book.

  5. Amy you are famous! Love you Peach!

  6. Great interview! I would love to won Amy's book!

  7. What an interesting story this promises to be.


  8. Thank you to everyone who entered!