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Welcome, Leslie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Welcome, Leslie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t consciously write myself into my characters, but honestly it can’t be helped. All of the emotions and flaws of my characters originate with me. Over and over, without meaning to, something I’ve struggled with shows up in my stories. Writing it out brings more healing to my own life and adds depth to my characters’ journey.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Traveling around the
U.S. in a VW bus with my hubby and
our first baby way back in 1987. We really weren’t hippies—but lots of people
we met along the way thought we were.
I first saw
while on that
trip. My husband lived in Lancaster
as a boy and would visit the area often. He wanted to share the experience with
me. I was hooked from that very first visit.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I clearly remember writing my first word when I was four: sky. It was an accident, I was simply putting letters together, but once my sister told me I’d written a word—and such an amazing word at that—I was hooked. I’m positive that was my most fulfilling moment up to that point in my very short life.
I still experience that sense of fulfillment, that feeling of harmony, on writing days when I’m in the groove and able to write four or five thousand words.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Unless I’m doing research for a novel, I enjoy reading mostly fiction. I love books by Ann Tatlock, Lynn Austin, and Jane Kirkpatrick and lots of other Christian authors. I try to read as many Christy and ACFW winners as possible, and I read a fair amount of Amish fiction too. I also read general market bestsellers and prizewinners too, and I especially love novels set in other cultures.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’ve kept a journal since I was thirteen. Taking time to write down my feelings and then scripture that speaks to what I’m going through helps keep me balanced. I’m trying really hard to pray immediately when something pops up that makes me feel unsettled too, instead of fretting about it for a while—or a really long time—first. I also take time to exercise, including walking with a good friend, my husband, and my sister, all at different times of the week. They’re three people, along with many other friends and family, who help me keep my sanity!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I used to use a baby name book, but now I look through online name lists. I never choose the name for a character until I know what the meaning of the names is. Even if I really like a name, if I don’t like the meaning I won’t use it.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My family. In September my husband and I will have been married 30 years. We have four children, ages 15 to 26. God has seen us through hard times, including my husband’s one-year deployment to
mother’s cancer and death, trying teenage years, and many other challenges. We
have sought wise counsel many times as we strive for both truth and grace.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cheetah. I used to run long distance, but I always admired the sprinters. A cheetah can run at 70 mph for nearly 400 yards. I think that would be amazing!
What is your favorite food?
It used to be chocolate, but I’m working really hard to not eat much refined sugar. So, there’s this as a second option: watermelon. Yum!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Time management—and I’m still working to overcome it. I usually do fine on writing days—it’s the days when I have marketing to do and proposals to write and research to tackle that I get off schedule. All of it takes longer than I think it will. And I’ll get distracted and end up on a rabbit trail leading to nowhere. I have to set the timer and challenge myself to stay on task—or else the whole day can disappear before I’ve gotten anything done.
Tell us about the featured book.
Adoring Addie is the second in the Courtships of Lancaster County series and was inspired by Romeo and Juliet. I loved all the research—both the Shakespeare angle and the Amish setting.
Please give us the first page of the book.
My parents were positive I’d met my future husband. They expected me to marry Phillip Eicher, the bishop’s son. And soon.
“He’s coming over tomorrow, for the barbecue,” my mother said, perched on one of our mismatched chairs at the end of the table, her plump hand gripping a pen that hovered over her notebook. She spent most of her days there, writing lists, giving orders, and babying her bad knee. “He wants to talk to your Daed—at least that’s what his mother told me.”
“Oh.” I wiped my sweaty palms down my just-starched apron.
A smile spread across her round face. “We’ll have a wedding to plan soon.”
“Mutter, please.” I’d always called her Mutter and my father Daed, the more formal terms, rather than the familiar Mamm and Dat that my Bruders called them. She seemed to prefer it. I don’t think my father cared.
Mutter continued speaking as if she hadn’t heard my plea. “That’s why you shouldn’t go today. We want the barbecue tomorrow to be—”
I strode out of the kitchen, my basket of hand-quilted potholders in my arms, hoping she’d think I hadn’t heard her. I’d already compromised by waiting to go to the farmers’ market until after I’d cleaned the breakfast dishes. It would be nearly eight o’clock, long after the market opened, by the time my cousin Hannah and I arrived.
As I turned the corner into our large living room, a space big enough to host our entire church, my brother Billy came sliding in his stocking feet across the polished floor. His eyes narrowed under his dark bangs, partially pushed up on his sweaty forehead. He carried a gallon jar of pond water and plants in one hand, while his other flew around in an attempt to keep his balance. Still, greenish water sloshed over the rim.
A grin spread across his face as he veered toward me.
I swung the basket around to my hip and stepped sideways.
It didn’t matter.
He plowed into me anyway.
I managed to stay on my feet, but the basket landed on the floor, the jar on top and tipped sideways. The murky water soaked my potholders that had been bound for the market.
“Billy,” I cried.
“My tadpoles!” he yelled, falling to the floor, stomach down, his ten-year-old body flailing toward my basket.
I righted the jar, which had a few inches of water remaining, and began picking through the potholders, rescuing the slimy creatures.
“What’s going on in there?” Mutter called out.
The tadpoles flopped this way and that. I rushed from one to the next, pinching each one tightly enough to hold on to but not enough to damage, dropping them the back into the green slime.
Billy crowded in too and began shaking out the potholders and tossing them onto the floor, his brown eyes wide.
“Addie?” Mutter yelled.
“Just a minute.”
“Nell!” Mutter called to her younger Schwester, who’d been holed up in the sewing room off the kitchen since breakfast. “Would you see what’s going on?”
“I think we got them all.” Billy grinned.
“One more.” I plucked the tiniest tadpole from the black border of a potholder still in the basket and dropped it into the jar. “Take them back and let them go.” I spoke firmly. “They’ve been traumatized enough.”
“Ach, Addie,” he groaned.
“Take courage and do as I say. Quickly.” I thought of him as Billy the Brave. At ten, although dabbich—clumsy—he was still eager to help and please, but he also stuck up for others, including me. “And take Joe-Joe down to the creek with you so he’s out of Mutter’s way.” I scooped up the potholders.
Billy slid to the staircase, called for our littlest brother, the youngest of seven children, and then headed to the front door to put on his boots. He tended to keep them there to avoid Mutter in the kitchen.
I lifted one of the wet potholders to my face and sniffed. I couldn’t help but frown at the swampy smell.
I lifted my head to Aenti Nell’s round face and alarmed expression. She was short, a little squat, and had still-dark hair, the same color as Mutter’s was a few years ago before it turned gray, but a kerchief partly covered Aenti’s head instead of a Kapp.
I held up the wet square. “Billy.” That was all I needed to say.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Please visit my blog, “like” me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and re-pin me on Pinterest! Thank you!
Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Adoring Addie (The Courtships of Lancaster County) - paperback
Adoring Addie (The Courtships of Lancaster County Book #2) - Kindle
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