Friday, August 30, 2013

Kansas Author Kelly Irvin

Congratulations on the start of your new series, Kelly! Is there a story behind Love Still Stands?

I wanted to give some of my characters from the Bliss Creek series a fresh start so I followed them to a new state where they started a new district. I asked myself this question: what is the thing Amish women most want, besides being faithful in following God’s will for them. They want to be wives and mothers. So what happens if I throw a big, fat stumbling block in front of them, something that keeps them from having this or being good at it. For many of us—Amish or not—being a wife and mother is entwined with our identity as women. For us, what happens when God says no? Or that which we long for becomes seemingly unattainable? When we pray for something and don’t get the answer we want. What happens then? How do we react? With whining or do we seek God’s will for us and follow the path he has set for us. That’s the story Love Still Stands tells.

You've published several books now. What distracts you from writing the easiest?

My children. They’re grown now, but I still worry about them, as all mothers do. When something is going on in their lives, it seeps into my thoughts all the time, making it hard for me to focus. I don’t expect that to change. Writing is important to me, but family is everything.

What characters in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

Bethel is a woman after my own heart. Her struggles reminded me of my own so she was really in my head as I wrote Love Still Stands. I didn’t get married until I was thirty, which is very typical now, but wasn’t so much in my youth. I began to think it was God’s plan that I remain single. I sought to have peace with that and be content as a single woman. Then I met my husband and three months later, we married. I was so relieved to think God’s intentions for me did include being a wife and mother. Then we lost our first child to a miscarriage. That’s the sort of thing that shakes your faith to its foundation. I had waited so long and I was so sure I was intended for motherhood. In those situations, you really learn that all you have is your faith to carry you through. That’s what Bethel learns from her trials. Exploring her journey reminded me of my own and I was able to draw from it.

Let's have some fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

In thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that it changes as I go through seasons in my life. I recently finished writing the third book in the New Hope Amish series (A Plain Love Song) and in it, the main character writes country music songs and wants to learn to play a guitar (not something the Amish do). I listened to a lot of country music while I wrote the book and it reminded me of my childhood. My dad is a huge Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings fan. I associate country music with most everything I did as a child. With all the soap opera going on in my life these days, I feel like I am a country music song and my life is good material for several more.

What is your strangest habit?

I know I’ve answered this question before so I’ll pick another one (people who know me, know about my addiction to lip balm.) When I’m really stressed about an event I’m working on for my job as a public relations manager, I tend to have these conversations in my head as I work out the details and worry about logistics. My husband knows when I’m doing this because he will notice me shaking my head or nodding. It drives him a little crazy. I don’t actually talk to myself aloud (not usually), but I’m obviously having a conversation with someone not in the room.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My husband. Even after 25 years of marriage, he still makes me laugh. I believe humor is the number one most important tool in making marriages work. He’s a funny guy and he’s his own best audience. Even at 50-plus, he’s like a little kid and he does things that tickle my funny bones. Sort of balances out all the times he makes me want to skin him alive for being such a curmudgeon.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

For our 25th wedding anniversary, we went to Maui, Hawaii. Our anniversary is in February so it was cool and sunny with daily bouts of light, windswept rain. We hiked all over the island, spent a day zip-lining and another whale watching. We rented a convertible and risked our necks on the road to Hanna. We loved it and hope to go back. I love to travel and there are many places I want to go, but there will always be a special place in my heart for Maui.

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

In preparation for writing the New Hope Amish series, my husband and I spent a week driving around the state of Missouri, visiting the locales where the three books would take place. What a great road trip. We stayed in Jamesport, which has a large Amish population, and attended an Amish school fund-raiser that brought in Amish folks from all across the countryside as well as “English” folks. It was 100-plus degrees and I thought I might melt or faint, but I learned a great deal just by observing. We went down to Stockton Lake and on to Branson, Mo., both which play important roles in books two and three in the series. I learned a lot and got to spend quality alone time with hubby, who did all the driving, and asked the questions when I was too shy.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

The one that seems to pop up the most often in recent years is “unanswered” prayer. Is there such a thing or are we simply not receiving the answer we wanted or expected. In Love Still Stands, Bethel is forced to wait and listen for God’s plan for her. We want God to take away our pain, to take away our problems, to make life easier for us and we want it now. God hones our character and teaches us patience, empathy, concern for others, compassion, and so much more through our experiences in life—especially when those experiences are hard. The two scriptures that are the underpinning of the spiritual theme in Love Still Stands are:
“. . . but He said to me my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 1 Corinthians 12:9
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

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

The second book in the New Hope Amish series, entitled Love Redeemed, releases on February 1, 2014. This is a book very close to my heart. Here’s the cover copy:
Love Redeemed
Strong Enough to Heal

Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she’s earned a break…and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They’ll find ways to spend time together—she’s certain of it—and their romance will have time to blossom.

But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they can be forgiven not just by their community, but by God.

A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.

 Thanks for sharing with us today! Best wishes on the new series.

Connect with Kelly Irvin at:

Kelly Irvin is giving away a copy of Love Still Stands. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


squiresj said...

Whow - first one to comment. I loved your interview. I know what you mean about adult children. Any grandchildren. I have two adult daughters and 5 grandchildren. I pray a lot since becoming a Mother. Prayed before but children keep us praying. Now it is grandchildren.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

apple blossom said...

thanks for another chance to win

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

KayM said...

Love Still Stands sounds like an intense read. I would love to win a copy.

Diana Flowers said...

Thanks for the chance to win this! I can so identify with what seems to be unanswered prayer right now. :( I would like to see how the author handles this topic. I have been going thru an illness and everyone including me has been praying and so far no results---just relief here and there. I know God has a reason but it still hurts my heart.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

Katie Johnson

Emma said...

Great interview.Love Still Stands sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Amy C said...

What a lovely interview with Kelly. I look forward to her new release.
Campbellamyd at Gmail dot com

Cindi A said...

Thanks for the chance to enter the contest. I enjoyed the interview.


Anonymous said...

Welcome Kelly. Sounds good. I never realized how close Amish communities were when I was living in KS. At that time I hadn't read about the Amish yet, nor ever heard them mentioned. Wish I had. I would love to Amish country and really have time to enjoy everything. Please put my name in for this drawing BDBL.
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Wendy Newcomb said...

Kelly Irvin and an Amish story, can't go wrong! Thank you for the chance to win "Love Still Stands".


Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

sm said...

I like how you come up with your plots and stories. You think of what women want and what happens when a roadblock comes up. Great plan, I think. Love to win your book. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lane Hill House said...

Thank you for your interview! We live in the Missouri Ozarks and I would like to win this new series opener! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

bonton said...

Hi, Kelly!

Of all the places I've toured, the Hawaiian islands are the most beautiful! I know all about that road to Hana - I was so glad that we took a bus tour instead of driving, & then had trouble with the brakes going out on the bus. The driver didn't tell us until we had gotten back down from the worst part of the road, & pulled over to a parking lot to meet another bus that had come to pick us up. He didn't want to worry us!

Enjoyed your interview & learning more about you & your books - haven't read any of your books & would love to have this one! Thanks!


bonton said...

P.S. My personal opinion is that God always answers prayer & the answer can be either "yes, no, or wait". As you mentioned - I think we sometimes mistake "wait" as a no. "Wait" can be hard to accept when we are suffering physically, or emotionally. But - I truly believe that it is for someone's benefit that the answer is "wait, or no".

Library Lady said...

My husband and I have gone to Hawaii and would like to go back, maybe one of these days.
Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
Janet E.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it sounds wonderful good!
God Bless!

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