“Be true to yourself.”
Welcome! My guest today is Amy Lillard. She writes incredibly fast (picture me, mouth still agape in shock) and with the great inspiration. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Gabriel’s Bride. And now, meet Amy…
Hi Amy! Thanks so much for visiting today. Where did you get the idea, as well as continued inspiration, for your novel?
It’s funny that you ask. I just did a blog post about my “Amish” muse. I don’t have constant inspiration for my work so I have to seek it out. I watch everything I can dealing with the Amish. I listen to the stories of others and read any non-fiction about the Amish that I can get my hands on. I would love to say that I visit the Amish often and my ideas come from my real-life experiences, but the truth is, I get a bit ‘fan girl’ when presented with real life Amish people and forget to ask them everything I need for my books.
How long did it take you to write this book?
The first draft was done in about seven weeks. That was hard writing—meaning writing everyday almost all day long. Lots of take-out and disgruntled, weirdly clothed family members. I really like to have a little more time to finish a book, but I’ve discovered that I’m ADD enough that I can’t leave myself too much time or it doesn’t get done.
Seven weeks?!? I’m in utter shock (and maybe a bit envious). LOL! Tell me a bit about your main characters. Who did you have the most fun creating? Why?
For those of you who have been with me through the series, I was especially looking forward to writing Gabriel’s story. He is a little on the crotchety side, a curmudgeon in the making. But when I actually started the book, Rachel Yoder exploded onto the page and into Gabriel’s life. Rachel is a little scatterbrained, a lot ADD, and has an enormous heart. She manages to overcome odds that most of us will never face. She tries so hard to be the housekeeper/wife that Gabriel expects her to be, but it seems the harder she tries, the more she manages to mess things up.
Are you planning a sequel? Please tell me a bit about it.
I would love to write more books in the Clover Ridge Series, but as of right now, this is the last in the series. Gideon, Katie Rose, and Gabriel have a younger brother John Paul. I’m itching to give him his own story. In the meantime, I have a new series starting in August.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received? The worst?
The best came from my agent. She told me, “You’re a writer…write it.” I don’t believe she remembers even saying this to me, but it sure resonated with me. It’s simple, but profound. And it made all the difference in my career.
The worst was to try to conform to the market. For years I tried to make my voice and ideas fit into a ‘pre-fabbed’ formula that I never achieved. Once I pushed that aside I was able to land a contract for the Clover Ridge Series.
What advice do you have for fellow writers (published and unpublished)?
This sort of goes back to the best and worst writing advice. The main thing is: Be true to yourself. Write something that you can be proud of, and stay true to your vision. And when the edits come (and they will come) don’t worry about the commas added and taken out, about the dialogue tags and other minor changes. Save your battle for those things that mean the most to your story.
Share your favorite Bible verse and the ways in which it impacts your writing.
At the risk of sounding trite and predictable, my favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 13:13:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I mean, I’m a romance author. I believe in love, I believe in the healing power of love, and I believe that if we all loved just a little bit more the world would be a better place. Hopeful romantic, that’s me.
Gabriel Fisher knows that as the oldest of the Fisher clan he has to set the best example for the family. As the widowed father of six he knows it’s time to remarry. He needs a wife to help him care for the farm and the children. What he doesn’t plan on is marrying a slip of a girl nearly half his age.
Rachel Yoder has two choices, marry Gabriel or move to Ohio. Both prospects are equally frightening to her. As an orphan, Rachel doesn’t have much to offer the man she marries and knows that any match she can make will be a good one. She just didn’t plan on that match being to Gabriel Fisher with his big hands and stern face and permanent frown.
Rachel has always considered herself to be plain and those around her consider her to be accommodating and malleable. But as Gabriel’s wife, she finds confidence in herself and her abilities as a mother to his brood. As she makes a new life with Gabriel, she starts to understand the feelings he held for his wife and the adoration he still holds for his children. Rachel wants a little part of that for herself—though love was never a part of their agreement. Still at times, she imagines what it would be like to have a real marriage instead of the arrangement that she has with her husband.
Gabriel understands all too well that the things you love the most are the things most likely to be lost. That’s why he doesn’t plan on falling in love with anyone—especially his new wife. But as time passes, Rachel blossoms and grows, and Gabriel finds himself thinking about a real marriage with his young wife. Yet despite the vows they have spoken to God and each other, can he risk his heart again with Rachel?
Amy Lillard is a 2013 Carol award-winning author. She attributes her writing to her love reading romance novels from contemporary to Amish. These two genres meet in Saving Gideon, book one of the Clover Ridge Series.
A transplanted Southern belle, Amy was born and raised in Mississippi. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband of twenty-five years and their teenage son. The family is rounded out with two cats (one of which is a Hemingway) and a lazy beagle.
Follow Amy at http://www.amywritesromance.com, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322?ref=hl, on Twitter: @AmyWritesRomnce, and at Clover Ridge Readers Group on FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/142388672600907/?bookmark_t=group.
Congrats to Rhonda Smith Shalifoe, winner of last week’s giveaway!
As always, thank you for hithering and venturing to another world with me. Please visit again next week for an appearance by Emerald Barnes, author of Entertaining Angels.