About Amy

Amy Ullrich is an artist and author with a passion for all things true, good and beautiful.

Captivated by the wonder of storytelling at an early age, Amy Ullrich wrote her first “proper” book at six years old. What made it “proper” was that she typed it up on the computer (one key at a time). It was around then that she told her mom that she could never be an author because it would be “too much work.”

As the years have gone on, she’s found that writing is much more work than she even imagined! But somehow, she loves it and has kept doing it. Over the years, she has united her love for writing with her passion for history – “His story”. Now, her mission is to bring history to life through the eyes of deeply relatable fictional characters, creating stories that refresh the soul and renew the mind.

For those who like more detail . . .

Captivated by the joy of storytelling at an early age, Amy Ullrich wrote her first “proper” story when she was six years old. It took her hours to type the 100 words that told the tale of two poor sisters who went to a ball and ended up each marrying a prince. Amy remembers telling her mom after it was finished that she could never be an author because it would be “too much work.”

First pair of glasses!

Well, as time went on, she found writing to be even more work than she had imagined! But somehow, she loved it and kept doing it anyway.

As much as Amy loved writing, she never seemed to be able to produce anything really good. She wrote for fun, she wrote for school, she told herself stories whenever she had a chance, but always, the stories she produced were nothing like the many published stories she loved to read. Either the characters were flat, the plot was unrealistic, or (and this happened more often than not) her climax was an anticlimax.

Meanwhile, Amy’s own life story was unfolding. It was proving to be much more interesting than anything she could have invented! At four years old, she was diagnosed with a “lazy eye.” Her vision in her left eye was blurred. Consequently, her brain was slowly rejecting that eye. By the time she was diagnosed, her left eye was nearly blind. But, by God’s grace, her parents found an eccentric but brilliant eye specialist who slowly but surely corrected Amy’s vision with glasses. Though her vision in her left eye is still blurred, her brain is using it 100% and she doesn’t even need to wear glasses anymore!

On the way to Australia – a bit tired!

At six years old, (the same year she wrote her first story) two issues came up that would have a significant impact on her life for years to come. The first was that her parents discovered she had a major dental problem. Her adult teeth began to come through, but her baby teeth refused to fall out. This meant that her adult teeth grew in front or behind her baby teeth, creating a rather jumbled effect. It took fifteen years and many unpleasant (sometimes traumatic) dental and orthodontic appointments for this mess to be sorted out!

The other thing that happened was that Amy’s health began to decline dramatically. The most difficult aspect of this was that it affected Amy’s strongest point – her brain. Physical activities, like sport and dancing, had always been a weakness for Amy. Where she did well was in academics – especially reading and writing. But now, her ability to do what she loved was threatened by her health.

Several years passed, full of highs and lows. Amy began to discover the wonders of history and also started learning to paint.

Dressing up and reading with her sister

2008, the tenth year of Amy’s life, was one of the most unforgettable years of her entire childhood. That was the year that she and her family moved from South Africa to Australia. Amy will never forget flying over the country that was to become her new home. As the plane prepared to land, green, grey and brown rectangles spread out beneath them, looking bright and welcoming in the spring sunshine. After the move, life seemed to become more settled. Though her family moved around a lot and the struggles with her health continued, there were fewer major “adventures.”

Amy’s mom homeschooled her and her two younger siblings. Amy has always been grateful for the opportunity this gave her to develop her passions, get a good education, and spend plenty of time with her brother and sister.

About to do a sketch

Of course, writing wasn’t Amy’s only interest. She loved history and she loved studying literature. Being homeschooled meant that she had the opportunity to study these vital subjects from a biblical perspective. Amy can’t remember the specific moment, but she knows she committed her life to Christ at a young age. In these years of schooling, as she matured and discovered more about her world, she realised that if she wrote, she wanted to write for her Saviour.

And so she kept writing. Through the faithful and loving care of her mother, and by God’s provision and guidance, her health gradually improved. She also began to learn how to not let her health issues stop her from writing. She wrote fairytales, mysteries, short stories and all sorts, but still there was something about her stories that wasn’t right.

The year after she finished school, her family made another big move to a town 400km south of the city where she had spent her school years. Amy took a “gap year” to settle into the new area and to write her first full-length novel. It was as she struggled through this huge project that she began to realise what was missing.

Enjoying a tour of an historic train station

With her first novel finished, it was time for Amy to focus on other things. She got a qualification as an English Second Language teacher, set up a business to sell her artwork, and completed an English degree. Though she wrote very little fiction during these years, her writing skills were gradually being sharpened. And through these years, an idea was growing – an idea sparked by a new-found fascination with Alfred the Great and a desire to put into practice what she had learned in her gap year.

Throughout her writing journey, Amy had heard this advice over and over: “Write what you know.” She dismissed it. After all, she wrote historical fiction and fantasy. How could she possibly “know” (i.e. experience) what she was writing about? But as she wrote her first novel, she came to realise that, when it comes to a story’s theme, you absolutely can (and should) write what you know. And that was what had been missing for all those years. She had failed to write what she knew.

Outlining – with good ol’ pen and paper

Once her degree was complete, a string of circumstances enabled Amy to turn her attention to her writing once again. This time, she set out to write a story that she “knew.” So, she wrote about weakness, about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, about uncertainty, and fear, and doubt, and . . . hope. That story became Among the Great. And it resonated with her family, friends and the professionals who read it at various stages of its development. It was by no means perfect, but it struck a chord.

And so the journey began. Amy hopes that Among the Great will be the first of many stories that enable her readers to experience history through the eyes of deeply relatable characters. Her life has already been a very full one. Every day gives her more material to write about. Her life is also a testimony to the faithfulness of her Saviour, the great Ruler of time, who loved His people enough to step into history and die for them. Perhaps, more than anything else, this is the reason why Amy loves history and wants to share it with others. It tells a story more wonderful than anything a human mind could invent. A story that is still unfolding . . . Who can tell what lies ahead? (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Amy loves connecting with her readers, so if you would like to, please reach out to her here or consider signing up to her monthly newsletter. Above all, keep reading good books and keep loving history!

 

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