I am thrilled to have Laura V. Hilton on my blog today. Laura is one of my critique partners, and is the author of six Amish novels, her latest being Awakened Love. Leave a comment of a chance to win a copy. Winner will ba announced next Tuesday.
Tell me about the story of Awakened Love.
Katie Detweiler grew up Amish, never knowing she was adopted as an infant. Now an adult, her new job as cook at an Amish bed and breakfast doesn’t bring about the euphoria she hoped for. Just as she’s getting her menu perfected, the Englisch family and severely ill sister she never knew existed enter her life and strain her Amish relationships. Plus, Katie suddenly has two different men vying for her attention—one Amish, one Englisch—and she wonders if one of them could be the man of her dreams. But when her Englisch sister’s health worsens, Katie must find a way to balance her heart, her job, and her faith while risking her own life for the sister she never knew.
What’s next after Awakened Love?.
I’m working on one tentatively titled Snow Globe. The blurb is:
Victor Petersheim has left the Amish and works on a river boat on the Mississippi River, spending three months on the river then having three months off. During his off-work months he returns home to his Amish community and helps out on his grandparents’ farm. When he returns home after his most recent absence, he discovers his grossmammi has developed health problems and they’ve hired Esther Beachy to be a “mother’s helper.” Victor is unsettled by this woman living in their home, but has to accept it. Esther loves listening to Victor’s grandmother’s stories and while puttering around in a store while the grossmammi’s in the hospital, she discovers a snow globe that depicts an area where the Petersheims used to live. She buys it as a gift for the grossmammi to cheer her up during her hospitalization. Victor is touched by Esther’s gift and her care for his grossmammi, and strives to be friendlier. Will Esther’s gentle heart draw him back to the community? Or will he return to the river once again?
Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?
I’m not a plotter. I do however think about the book a while before starting it, so I have a vague idea of it, I know the characters, mostly, and then I pray as I go.
How did you choose your characters’ names?
I didn’t. They introduced themselves to me. I know, that sounds weird. But if they don’t choose their names they won’t tell me their story.
What is your favorite season of the year? Why?
Winter. I love snow, I love cold. I love snowmen and mittens, sleds and gloves, dog sleds, and laughing children coming in with red cheeks. And hot chocolate. J I also love Christmas, New Year’s, and my birthday – and one of my daughters was born in the winter.
How do you organize your writing day? How many hours per day writing? Use a word count to determine when to stop? Just write until you drop?
I like to get 1000 words a day or more. But my goal is just 500 words a day. That way I don’t get stressed. Some days I get close to 2000, some only 6. But I’m also a pastor’s wife, a homeschool mom, I have five children, and I have to do other things than write all day.
What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Free time. Hmm. Well, my family has routine Monopoly games. I also review books, so any free time is spent reading.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m in the living room, in my corner that my son set up for me. The piano is behind me, the love seat is in front of me, and a desk is on my right, a bookcase holding school supplies is to my left. I’m wearing blue shorts, slippers, and a green shirt. My hair is in a ponytail.
What do you love about writing?
Everything. I love the creative process.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Not much. They are who they are. I am probably most like Katie in Awakened Love in that I am quiet and shy. I am not however, suffering from low self-esteem, nor quite as naïve as she.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
Put your butt in a chair and write. And read, read, read.
What is the most important thing on your current ‘To Do ‘ list?
Um. Homeschooling the girls. Cuddling my husband who is off work today. And writing. In that order.
Share the first page of Awakened Love.
“Today I met the bu I’m gonna marry….” Patsy Swartz’s singsongy voice was too chipper. Bracing herself for an afternoon with the bubbly girl, Katie Detweiler climbed out of her daed’s buggy and turned to lift the cooler from the back. Her not-exactly-a-friend bounced up beside her, still singing away.
Katie’s heart ached with a stab of envy.
Would she ever marry?
Daed snorted, in apparent disbelief. “Bye, Katie-girl. Have fun at the frolic.” He clicked at the horse and then pulled the buggy around the circle drive.
“The new bu in town!” Patsy squealed, as if Katie had asked. “He is sooooo cute! I’m going to marry him. I’m thinking Valentine’s Day. Will you stand up with me? I’m asking Mandy, too.”
Marriage? The new bu in town? Why was she the last to know these things? Katie hadn’t even known that Patsy had a beau. Wait—she didn’t. Just yesterday, she was bemoaning the lack of interesting men in her life.
Katie shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. “Stand up with you? On Valentine’s Day? Jah, I can do that. What new bu in town?”
Patsy huffed. “Where have you been, Katie? There is a world outside that bed-and-breakfast, ain’t so?”
“When did you two meet? You didn’t mention him yesterday.” She adjusted her grip on the cooler handles and started toward the haus.
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and homeschools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love and Awakened Love, releasing September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. She is contracted for another three-book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport, releasing in April 2014, September 2014, and April 2015. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.