For my Amish Spotlight this month, I’m introducing you to Amish Fiction Author Kelly Irvin. Her first Amish novel, To Love and To Cherish, was released in February 2012 and is already a Christian Book Distributor Bestseller and received 4 stars from Romantic Times. Setting her novel in Kansas, Kelly gives her Amish characters a new environment to live in, love, and explore. It’s safe to say that Kelly will be a fixture in Amish Fiction for years to come! I’m please to have her as my first interview on the blog. Enjoy!
Amanda: Can you give a short blurb of the novel?
Kelly: It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal.
Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him…so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she knew only as a friend be the one to help her to heal?
In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, one woman must see beyond her pain, find strength in God, and open her heart to trust once again.
Amanda: What is the most interesting thing you learned about the Amish while researching To Love and To Cherish?
Kelly: When I first decided to try my hand at writing an Amish romance, I found I had a huge learning curve. I did a tremendous amount of reading. It surprised me to learn one size doesn’t fit all. Each district is different. They have their own Ordnungs or sets of rules. Different colors of buggies and clothes. Different styles of hats. Different restrictions regarding bicycles, rubber wheels, telephones, and many other aspects of their lives. It makes writing about Amish folks all the more interesting and challenging.
Amanda: Why did you choose to set your novel in Kansas?
Kelly: I’m originally from Kansas so I’m familiar with the geography, weather, and landscape so it made it easier to create my fictitious town of Bliss Creek and keep the details accurate. My sister and her husband farm in Kansas so they are able to give me correct information about what gets farmed when and so forth. While there are Mennonites in Kansas, I don’t believe there are any Amish districts currently. That allows me to avoid getting things wrong as the Ordnung or rules vary with the different districts.
Amanda: If you had opportunity to visit an Amish community, what do you look most forward to doing there?
Kelly: I hope to visit an Amish community this summer. I would like to be able to absorb the feel and look of an Amish community to better paint that picture for my readers. Observing the lifestyle while not intruding would be my goal. I’d love to eat some traditional Amish dishes as well.
Amanda: What’s something your fans may not know about you?
Kelly: I spent a year and a half of my college career as an exchange student in San Jose, Costa Rica, attending the University of Costa Rica. It was a time of great learning about other cultures, language, and literature.
Learn more about Kelly:
Where to buy To Love and To Cherish
Thank you Kelly for stopping by my blog! I wish you success and blessings on your writing journey!- Amanda