Welcome back, Olivia. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I use the phrase “twisting through time, chasing the joy” to describe my books. More and more, I am drawn to the historical “understory” of any event or character’s story. In some way or another, the past has brought us all to the point where we are now, and it intrigues me to unpack that theme.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I remember when my son was just a few days old and I was with my mom, who had seven children, and we marveled over him together. I asked, “Does it feel like this every time?” “Every single time,” she answered. To my great joy, I got to feel that twice. No matter how children come into a family, parenthood changes you.
How has being published changed your life?
I have certainly seen what the interior of a writer’s life looks like! Rounds of editing. Being available for opportunities such as this
networks to help spread the
word about my books—it’s still true that most people choose a book because
someone they know recommended it. I find the greatest challenge is not so much
about having time to do everything—and still write—but about being a good
juggler. That means creating a rhythm of life that can respond to each project
as needed, catching it when it comes down and infusing fresh energy for
whatever is the next upward stage of its life. Q&A. Building
What are you reading right now?
Just finished: House of Mercy by Erin Healy
Almost finished: We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen
Half-finished: Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James (audiobook)
What is your current work in progress?
I am working on Taken for English, the third in my
books have thematically intertwined stories from two centuries. I write the
historical story first, and I’m just about finished with that. Valley
What would be your dream vacation?
Somewhere with a beach and a hammock where I can sway with the rhythm of the ocean. And I get there in an airplane.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Since I’m releasing two series, I have two basic settings right now. The Avenue of Dreams series, including The Pursuit of Lucy Banning and The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow so far, are set in an historic neighborhood of
Chicago. The Valley of
choice series, which began with the release of Accidentally Amish, is also inspired by events that happened in a
particular place. I have so many stories in my head! I read a snippet about a
place that sounds interesting, or perhaps I pass through a place on a trip to
somewhere else, and I begin to see the setting’s potential.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I live far away from my mother, who will soon be 87, and I don’t see her too often. I would love to spend more evenings with her because I treasure her presence. To me she is a remarkable person, and I love hearing stories of when she was young.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love some of the classic sit-coms, so I enjoy kicking back with a cast of characters whose personalities and quirks have become familiar and endearing. Sometimes a dose of Rob and Laura Petrie is just what I need. And I can easily make a hobby out of meeting friends for lunch or a meal and drenching each other in laughter and encouragement.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
People often say, “If I had more time, I’d write a book.” And I always think to myself, “You have the same 24 hours a day that I have.” Most writers have day jobs and families and all sorts of obligations. Writing comes at a price, and it’s a difficult lesson to learn to pay it. I make intentional choices and then focus on what I’ve chosen, rather than what I am missing because of my choice.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
With any ambition, it’s essential to set the right kind of goal. Make sure that your goals are specific and realistic, and recognize that you will make adjustments along the way as you learn more about your interests and the publishing industry. And don’t compare your goal to someone else’s. Everybody’s life is different.
Tell us about the featured book.
A serendipitous event spurred me to pull a family genealogy book off the shelf, and I read more closely than I ever had. One of my family lines traces to Jakob Beyeler, who arrived in
in 1737 on a
ship carrying Amish families. The twist that fascinates me is that Jakob had
ten children. The first five children remained Amish, while the second set were
raised as part of the general culture. What choices must Jakob have made? What
sacrifices? From there I went into the contemporary setting and came at the
same theme from a different angle. What values drive the choices we make, and
what happens when cultures clash? Philadelphia
Please give us the first page of the book.
His kiss was firm and lingering as he cradled her head in one broad palm. “Annie,” he murmured as he took in a breath. His hand moved to brush her cheek. He kissed her again.
Annie’s stomach churned while her lips went on automatic pilot. Kissing Rick Stebbins was nothing new and, frankly, less exciting every time. But in the moment, it seemed the safest choice among miserable alternatives.
She pictured where her blue Prius was stashed in the parking lot behind the modest glazed-brick office building. A small red duffel lay on the passenger seat and a compact suitcase on the floor. The denim bag she had carried since high school, on the desk she was leaning against, held her laptop in its padded case. Car keys hung from a belt loop on her jeans. Her cell phone was in a back pocket.
Annie Friesen was ready.
Rick would never admit to what she suspected. More than suspected. She was no lawyer, but she knew it would take more evidence to make an accusation stick.
And Rick was a lawyer. Her lawyer. Her intellectual property lawyer. If only he had not slipped that extraneous document between the pages of the last contract awaiting her signature in triplicate. Whatever she thought she felt for him dissolved with that test of her attention to detail. He was the one who failed. She would sign nothing more from Rick Stebbins.
This sounds like an interesting premise. I can't wait until my copy arrives. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Olivia. for sharing this book and peek into your life.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Accidentally Amish (Valley of Choice) - paperback
Accidentally Amish (Valley of Choice) - Kindle
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