A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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The Year of Thorns and Honey Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway


The Year of Thorns and Honey JustRead Blog + Review Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Year of Thorns and Honey by Amy Willoughby-Burle, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

The Year of Thorns and Honey

Title: The Year of Thorns and Honey
Series: Stand-alone follow-up to The Lemonade Year
Author: Amy Willoughby-Burle
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Clean Women's Fiction

Nina is a photographer who really appreciates control. She likes to set up just the right shot with the perfect composition, but life is not always as pretty as her pictures. The lighting is off, the timing is wrong, and the subjects just won’t do like she wants them to. 

She’s engaged to her ex-husband, her teenage daughter is testing all the boundaries, and her childhood memories have a For-Sale sign on them. She’s also keeping a secret about the chance of a lifetime, but what she’ll have to give up to get it might not be worth it. Just when she thinks she’s got it all figured out, an important someone resurfaces and forces her to take a hard look at what she really wants and why. 

Life can be as prickly as it is sweet. Will Nina be able to let go of the perfect picture she had in her head and let her heart find the sweetness that life has to offer.

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Amy Willoughby-Burle

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us.

Amy is the author of the short story collection, Out Across the Nowhere, and the novels, The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey. Amy says, "God didn’t give me the desire to understand algebra or the knowledge of exactly when and where to use a semicolon, and I’m not that great of a speller, but He did give me a wild imagination, the ability to string words together, and the desire to tell stories. I hope I can do Him proud."

CONNECT WITH AMY: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Hi Amy! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and giving my readers the chance to get to know you and your new book- The Year of Thorns and Honey a little bit better!  I like to start these interviews the same way with something fun to break the ice: can you share 5 random facts about yourself that we will NOT find in your bio?


  1. My left foot is bigger than my right and for years I always ended up with shoes that didn’t fit well because typically people try on the right shoe.


  1. I am notorious for burning cookies.


  1. I used to play the violin (like USED to, as a kid.)


  1. I wanted to be an actress


  1. I could eat sushi everyday


Let’s talk writing! When did you first discover that you had a love and talent for writing?


When I was a little girl, my grandmother would  tell me these elaborate tales of the extended adventures of Hansel and Gretal. I loved them so much that I wanted to read them on my own. When I asked her where I could get the book the stories were from, she said, “oh, sweetie, I’m just making these up as I go along.” My world blew wide open. I had always loved reading and I was a daydreamer extraordinaire, but I hadn’t considered that I could write stories or books like the authors I loved. I started right then. I took the diary that I had and stopped writing about my own day to day and started making up stories in my “book.” Since then, I don’t remember a time when reading, writing, and enjoying the poetry of our beautiful language wasn’t my passion.

What drew you to the inspirational fiction genre?


I got serious about writing in college and my influences then were mainly literary. That’s where I developed my voice and love of the language. However, as I got older my faith (which had never left, but had become less a part of my weekday world and was more just for Sundays) began to find its way into everything that mattered to me. Like it should have. Writing was one of those places that my faith began to show. The more I wrote, the more faith popped up in my stories, whether under the surface or as a focus. I began to write more hope into my fiction as well. Not knocking literary fiction at all, I will always love and be influenced by it, but hope isn’t literary fiction’s bag most of the time. I wanted readers to see the same hope in Christ that I had. I noticed that my voice was a little more quiet when it spoke of faith, not like some of the more overt fiction I had read. My agent is actually the one who told me what I was writing was inspirational fiction. I was happy to hear that, because that’s what I wanted to do.

How do you find the balance between an entertaining story and the faith elements… without coming across as religious fiction or ‘too preachy’?

Mostly I think I’m able to balance that because I always set out first to write an entertaining or moving story, and then along the way, the faith elements show themselves. I’m not trained in theology, I’m just me, so I try not to make statements that sound too much like my much more knowledgeable pastor might make. I just let faith find its footing in the story and let it run alongside the rest of the story, instead of trying to make it a focus. If a reader is seeking or needing to see it, the faith elements will be there and God will turn their eyes and hearts to them. I try not to worry about it. God’s got it under control.


In your day job, you teach writing to students in grades k-12, what encouragement do you offer to these young writers, and what encouragement would you offer to ANY aspiring writer regardless of age?

I love my job, by the way. I remember being young and falling in love with writing. I didn’t have actual classes in creative writing like the ones I’m blessed to be able to teach. So, it’s an honor to work with these students when the fire is just starting to show in their eyes. I tell them to believe in their talent. To make writing a priority. To take themselves and their gift seriously. I tell them to find a writing community and be active in it. To lift other writers up along the way. It’s not a competition. If God instilled a passion and a gift in them for writing, then He has plans for that gift. I tell them to enjoy the journey he has set them on. Love the writing, the editing, the searching for publication--all of it. Prepare to wait and to be rejected, but to keep pressing forward. To think about their own favorite authors and know that they all made that same journey and are still making it. I heard someone say that it’s not about making a living at writing, it’s about making a life of it. I loved that. I also throw a fictional character's piece of advice out. “Success is not a goal. It’s a by product.” Coach Taylor, Friday Night Lights.



Can you tell us a little bit about The Year of Thorns and Honey?

The Year of Thorns and Honey is a story about family, marriage, parenthood, and more. It’s funny and poignant at the same time. The main character, Nina, is known for making bad decisions for otherwise good reasons and then struggling to make things right. She’s got some trust issues and has a hard time letting Jesus take the wheel, so to speak. Fortunately for her, she got some good friends and some patient family that she helps as much as they help her. It’s a story about life as we know it and the struggles and triumphs we all go through--with enough laughs along the way to remind us that hope out there.

What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

I hope readers will find that even in the face of life’s hardships, there is still hope and plenty of it. There is happiness to be found in our families and friends, and there is comfort in Christ. I hope they will leave this story seeing that grace and forgiveness are blessings we can give to others and accept for ourselves no matter how badly any of us has messed up because God sets that example every minute of every day.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions. Before you go, are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can share?

I’m currently working on a contemporary romance set in a fictional version of the beach town I grew up in. A sort of suspenseful romance. My agent is also shopping two historical fictions. And I am thrilled after a long, pandemic induced dry spell to be writing something brand new. So new I’m not even sure where it’s going yet, just that I’m already in love with the characters. Thank you for letting me be part of your world!

(1) winner will receive a The Year of Thorns and Honey prize package!

The Year of Thorns and Honey JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

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  1. Hi! Thank you so much for having me and my book on your blog! I'll be checking in today to see if anyone has any questions or wants to chat. I love to talk about books, mine and others. I'm thrilled to get to know you and your readers. Thank you so much!

  2. The book mentioned is by a new to me author. The story sounds great!

  3. This is a new-to-me author. I love to read romance! Great covers!

  4. The Year of Thorns and Honey sounds like an engaging story. I'm eager to read it!

  5. Thank you so much! - JustRead Tours

  6. Very curious to see how the engagement to her ex works out... would love to read this one!

  7. This sounds like a great book. It's now on top of my TBR list.

  8. Try using Air Bake cookie sheets. You'll never burn cookies again!

  9. Thank you for being part of the book tour for "The Year of Thorns and Honey" by Amy Willoughby-Burle.

    Enjoyed reading the author interview and learning more about both book and author. Excited at the prospect of reading this book and can't wait.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  10. I think this will be a good book! Thanks so much for sharing!


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