Friday, February 1, 2013

The Book Loft Welcomes Kelly Irvin

Good morning, Kelly! Thanks for spending time with us here in the Book Loft. 

Is there a story behind your book A Heart Made New?

In the first book in the series, To Love and to Cherish, Helen Crouch has a crush on Thomas Brennaman, but he chooses Emma Shirack to be his wife. It’s the right choice, but I felt sorry for Helen and wanted to give her a happy ending all her own. That’s how Love’s Journey Home was born. I wanted to have the chance to focus on characters who are little older. Both Helen and Gabriel found love, lost it, and have struggled to raise children on their own. I wanted to explore the theme of second chances at love and how love the second time is different, especially when you have children to think about.

 What started you on your writing journey?

As a child I devoured books from the time I learned to read. I always wanted to be a novelist. I ended up becoming a journalist because I was a realist and wanted to be able to support myself by writing. What I didn’t realize was that I would get so involved in writing nonfiction that I didn’t have the time or energy to write fiction. Then I married and had children and all the challenges that come with those blessings. When I turned 45, I realized I was running out of time to reach for my dream. I sat down a wrote a novel in my spare time. (That’s a little joke.) The rest is history.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

My children are adults now, but the ups and downs in their lives and worrying about them can make it hard for me to concentrate. Like any mother, I worry about them and tend to get distracted when I know they’re going through a hard time.

 What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 

I love romantic suspense and read both inspirational and secular authors. I recently received Dee Henderson’s new book, Full Disclosure, and can’t wait to start reading it. I still own her entire O’Malley’s series, which was published in early 2000’s. That series was what pushed me to become an inspirational fiction writer. Unfortunately, with my schedule, I have almost no time to read for pleasure!

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

It’s a close contest between Gabriel Gless and his oldest son, Isaac, but Gabriel wins, I think. He’s a complicated man. I admire his fierce determination as a widowed father of eight to raise his children in his faith and to keep them safe from undue influences. He moves them from Indiana to Kansas because he believes his former community has become too worldly. He’s willing to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of his children, yet he longs for love and companionship. He would never admit it, but he misses romance in his life. I love the struggle that goes on in his head over what his heart feels. He’s such a guy!

 If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

R&B. I listen to a lot of country and it’s probably me in a lot of ways, but emotionally I’m all over the place.

What is your strangest habit?

I’m addicted to chap stick. My husband gives them to me as stocking stuffers. I keep one in the living room, kitchen, and in my purse. You can never have too many chap stick rolls!

 What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My children. They’re adults now, but they do and say things that make me giggle—even when they don’t mean to do it. They so badly want to be all grownup, and sometimes they are, but sometimes they still sound like my little kids. They keep me young at heart.

 What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

I grew up in a small town in Kansas. We could walk to school, walk to the park, walk home from the ball game at night, and never worry about being the victim of crime. Everyone knew everyone. (Which can be good and bad, sometimes). You can still see the stars in the sky there at night. The air is fresh and clean, even now. People have front porches and big back yards. It was a good place for kids to grow up.

 Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

I love the beach. Having grown up in Kansas, I’m fascinated by large bodies of water. I first saw both the Atlantic and the Pacific as an exchange student in college in Costa Rica. My husband and I took the children to the beach on the Gulf Coast of Texas, including Port Aransas and South Padre, every chance we could. This spring he and I will travel to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I’m looking forward to exploring the beautiful beaches of Maui with him!

 Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

Last summer, my husband and I went to Jamesport, Missouri, and visited an Amish school auction. I loved being able to get a first hand view of the folks who came from all over the state for the auction. It really helped me have a better grasp of details as far as dress and buggies, etc. We visited a school house and some of the stores run by Amish folks. It was great research.

 What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

My husband is an outstanding cook. He makes fabulous pizza from scratch, including the dough and the sauce. His chicken and cheese enchiladas in green sauce are also a favorite of mine.

 Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

It’s tough for me to do this with a full time job and trying to keep up with my writing schedule, but I frequently turn off the radio when I’m driving and take the quiet time to think and say my prayers.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.

Who is a God like you who pardons sins and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance. You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19 (NIV)

I just finished writing a book which has this verse as its spiritual theme. It’s been one of my favorite for many years. I took a huge hike off the path in my early twenties, as many folks do, and it gives me peace to know God forgives me for the things I did then. His mercy and grace cover me. That’s one of the lovely aspects of writing about the Amish. They have a tremendous capacity for forgiveness worthy of being emulated.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My next book, Love Still Stands, will be the first one in a spin-off series, New Hope Amish, scheduled for release on September 1, 2013. It’s been so much fun to follow some of my Bliss Creek families as they move to Missouri and start a new district in a place called New Hope. The challenges they face as they leave behind family and friends to start over has resulted in some interesting storylines. Love Still Stands follows Bethel Graber as she endeavors to overcome an injury that left her partially disabled. She wants to be healed so she can be the wife and mother she believe God calls her to be. The story explores what happens when God gives us a different answer to our prayers than the one we thought we wanted or needed.

You can find Kelly's book for sale in the following locations:

Visit Kelly's website:

Kelly is giving away a copy of Love's Journey Home. The giveaway is only available to U.S. Addresses.

To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a good book. I'd love to win this book of Kelly's. Thanks carol Ann for this post and chance to win the book. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

cjajsmommy said...

I would like to enter to win a copy of this book. djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

Judy said...

I love Kelley's books and I would love to win a copy of, Love's Journey Home. Thank you so much for this giveaway!


HomePlace Gatherings said...

Love the Amish books and this one sounds good!

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

apple blossom said...

sounds like a nice book thanks for the chance to win

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Amy Campbell said...

Thank you for the interview. Congratulations to kelly on her release.
Campbellamyd at Gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I really enjoy Kelly's books. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of Love's Journey Home!


Library Lady said...

We have Kelly's books in the Church Library.
I would love to win, "Love's Journey Home" to add to our collection.
Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
Janet E.

ann said...

I like the cover of this book. Im a fan of any Amish book too. I would like to enter for it. Thanks for the giveaway.
amhengst at verizon dot net

KayM said...

I enjoyed the interview. Thank you for an opportunity to win Love's Journey Home. It sounds like an interesting book.

Jo said...

I would love to be entered to win this book. Sounds good!


Nancee said...

Kelly Irvin is an amazing author. I have read most of her books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. Thanks so much for wonderful interview with Kelly, and for offering this contest.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wendy Newcomb said...

I love Amish stories, thank you for offering one of Kelly's.


Bethany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bethany said...

I haven't read any of Kelly's books but I'd love to! cbus.blogger at gmail dot com


Anonymous said...

I would love a chance to win this book. It looks like a great book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Jo said...

I love hearing about new authors. I haven't read any of Kelly's books yet and would love to.


Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Teela said...

Thanks for introducing me to Kelly Irvin. I love to read Amish stories, so thanks Kelly for donating one to the giveaway.

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