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born in Seattle, raised in Spokane, transplanted to a dreamy adventure sports town in Oregon. I love Jesus, adore most people, love my country but have no wish to idolize it, and am currently in a complicated relationship with the white evangelical church in America. If you can relate, you’re in the right place. (And if you can’t, stick around anyway. Just be nice.)


My latest book, The Judas Effect: How Evangelicals Betrayed Jesus for Power, is available here


I’m also the author of Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton; An Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in Vietnam, with a foreword by John McCain. It’s about my dad’s years of captivity as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. I wrote it under my hyphenated name, Amy Shively-Hawk, and you can find it here: Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton.

I tell my dad’s story here.



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my husband Steve and I met in junior high, at a school called, coincidentally enough, the Horizon Hawks. We’ve been married almost thirty years (gulp!) and have two young adult children who are the light of our lives. We also have a tiny yorkie named Vivi, who, as you know if you’ve read The Judas Effect, gets into all kinds of mischief.


We spend as much time as possible on or near the Columbia River, where Steve is considerably more hard-core than I am. While he is risking his life on the water, I can usually be found reading a book on the beach. If it’s sunny enough, and I’m fed, and the wind is not too fast or too light, and I’m not too hot or the water too cold, I may possibly go out once or twice a season. As I said, all the conditions have to be met.


My sister is a chef and she has all the cooking genes in the family, so. . . I don’t even try. That said, I do a mean load of laundry. I don’t mind telling you, I can get out any stain. If you come into my house with a dirty shirt on, I’m likely to rip it right off of you and throw it in the washing machine. My kid’s friends know this.

I have five younger siblings; three sisters I grew up with in Spokane, and a half-brother and sister who grew up in Seattle. As the only one of us who has ever attended church, I am used to fielding my siblings’ questions about Christianity with some degree of regularity. They are the main reason I wrote The Judas Effect. I felt they deserved my honest assessment of the disturbing and unholy political alliance the white evangelical church made in 2016.

My sisters and I are very close; possibly a tad competitive. We all live in different cities, but we share our Wordle and Connections results daily. Suspicious results are grounds for GIF fights. We also plan sister trips where we fly to a far-away city and then do virtually nothing but play Canasta. I may or may not have hotel notepads filled with Canasta scores hidden in my underwear drawer.

Which Shively sister is the more accomplished Canasta player is up for dispute, but my real claim to fame among my family of origin is not: when I aim to hit a fly with a dishtowel, I kill him the first time, every time. This is uncontested.



I’ve rocked babies, taught Bible class to 3rd and 4th graders, led Bible studies, led the women’s ministry, started a prayer and healing room, taught adult discipleship courses, and have occasionally traveled to preach and minister in a neighboring town.

Bible study is my passion and Jesus is my pursuit.  I think the word of God is the most powerful, penetrating force on earth. It will sharpen, humble, fortify, enlighten, heal, and guide us to our glorious destiny --- if we let it. I’m hopeful for the church in America in the days ahead. I’m especially excited for what God has in store as we follow him down a road characterized more by Jesus than by Judas. I’m learning as I go.

  • What (or who) inspired you to become a writer?
    My mom! From the time I was a very young child, I would write stories, illustrate, and bind them together using construction paper, crayons and staples. She always encouraged me, and said I would be an author someday. Even into my forties, before my first published book, she wrote me a letter that said, “write, write, write!”
  • What books are currently on your nightstand?
    I am always reading at least three books at once. Usually a novel, a memoir, and a bible study or book pertaining to spiritual growth. Currently it’s The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride, Professional Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and Romans by N.T. Wright.
  • If you had to credit one book for shaping who you are today, which would it be and how did it influence you?
    I credit the Bible with shaping me and influencing my life. It has taught me who Jesus is, who I am, what he has created me to do, and how to move forward in him. You wouldn’t believe how many verses there are pertaining to books and writing. Every time I tried to stop writing, God said, “Go!” I’ve found that when he wants to point me in a certain direction, he will use the Bible to do it.
  • Picture this: you're hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers, living or dead, would score an invite and why?
    Oh man, this is hard. I can think of about fifteen. But I would choose: Beth Moore, Martin Luther King Jr., and Laura Hillenbrand. Miss Beth is my favorite bible study teacher, and I think she is a vault of grace and wisdom. I’d love to pick her brain about current events, and what she thinks God is doing presently in his church and in the world. Martin Luther King Jr. because his writing is flavored by God, and I would love to ask him about his writing and preaching processes. Laura Hillenbrand is my writing hero. Her meticulous research and commitment to a project is unparalleled. Her book, Unbroken, inspired me to write my dad’s story of captivity in war, Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton.
  • Share with us a favorite fond memory from your journey as an author that still makes you smile.
    That would have to be my phone interview with John McCain, for Six Years. It was very special for me, because my dad had already passed. Even though I had my dad’s story on tape, and some of his journals, I still had a lot of questions about his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Not only did Senator McCain fill in some of the gaps I needed, he shared some of his own personal stories with me, which made my book all the richer. He was very kind-hearted during the interview, which gave me the nerve to ask him if he would consider writing the foreword. I thought he would say that he didn’t have time, but instead he said, “whatever you wish, dear.” I could cry just thinking about it.
  • Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers navigating their own creative journeys?
    Keep at it. And if there is a topic swirling around in your head at all hours, take that as your cue that you should be putting pen to paper. Get your thoughts down somewhere safe, like a journal, and see where it takes you! Also, read a lot!
  • Imagine you have the ability to time-travel through literature. Which era would you visit first and which author would you love to meet?
    Easy! I would go straight to 1815 and have high tea with Jane Austen.
  • If you could dive into the world of any book and live there for a week, which literary universe would you choose and why?
    It would have to be Emma. The characters are so creative and funny. I revisit this book every few years, and I laugh out loud every time. I always catch some witty remark that I’ve missed before. I’ve often thought that perhaps I was born in the wrong era, because there is nothing I would love to do more than to put on a fancy ball gown and dance an “irresistible waltz.”


Want to invite Amy to speak at your event or stay in the loop with her latest updates? Head to the Contact page and fill out the booking form or join her mailing list for exclusive news and insights.

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