Friday, August 22, 2014

A PLAIN LOVE SONG - Kelly Irvin - One Free Book

Welcome back, Kelly. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m now working on a new series for HarperCollins. The Amish of Bee County series is set in Bee County, Texas, where the only Amish district is located in the state of Texas. It’s tiny and conservative and you won’t see any lush landscapes and neatly kept flower gardens there. I’m enjoying the change of scenery, and it’s close enough that I can make a day trip for research as needed. I feel blessed each and every day for the opportunity to write fiction, my lifelong dream. A writer never knows when the next contract will come or even if it will come, so I try to stop and smell the roses and appreciate the road I’ve traveled to get here.

Tell us a little about your family.
My favorite topic! I’ve been married twenty-six-plus years to Tim Irvin, a former TV news photographer who now works for the biggest school district in the state of Texas. Tim is my webmaster, he does my business cards, orders my promotional materials, and takes my photo for book covers. He’s also a fabulous cook who does all the cooking on the weekends, giving me more time to write. We have two adult children. My daughter is married to a U.S. Navy sailor, and they have a baby daughter who is the light of her grandma’s life. I don’t get to see them as often as I like since my son-in-law is currently stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. We have the pleasure of still having our son at home. He works as a computer support technician for a large pharmaceutical company. As much as I know children are meant to grow up, spread their wings, and fly, it’s still hard to let them go!

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
It’s harder for me to read a book without mentally editing it. A novel has to really hook me into the fictional world or I find myself critiquing the craft or admiring the choice of metaphors and similes. That can be a good thing in terms of improving my own writing, but sometimes I simply want to sit back and be transported to another world. It takes a really well-written book to do that for me now.

What are you working on right now?
I’m nearing the end of the first draft of The Bishop’s Son, the second book in The Amish of Bee County series. It needs lots and lots of work so I imagine I’ll be working on it right up until the deadline in September.

What outside interests do you have?
I have a full-time job in public relations so I don’t have much time to do more than work and write. I love to read fiction, and I write poems and short stories when I have time. Entertaining my granddaughter is at the top of my list these days, but unfortunately we don’t get to see each other as often as I would like.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I set my first series, The Bliss Creek Amish, in a fictional town in Kansas because I wanted to be able to build the town the way I wanted it. With a fictional Amish district, I could decide on their ordnung or set of written and unwritten rules as I saw fit. Plus my sister and her husband have a farm in Kansas so they were able to help me with crops and growing seasons and other farming-related details in that region. The spin-off series set in Missouri, The New Hope Amish, allowed some of my families to move to a new location and start a new district with all the challenges that involves. The setting helps me add conflict to the stories. With The New Hope Amish, we have the fictional town of New Hope where the newcomers aren’t feeling welcome, and also Stockton Lake and Branson, Missouri. I had a lot of fun with setting in this series.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard choice, but at the moment, I think I’d choose Abraham Lincoln. So much has been written about what he thought, said, and did, I’d love to get the scoop straight from the horse’s mouth. He led this country at a time when change was bloody and heartbreaking and scary, but also inevitable. What was he thinking as he gave the Emancipation Proclamation speech? How did he feel about the toll his service to his country took on his family?

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I had known that I should wait longer to start submitting my work to editors and publishing houses. I needed to hone my craft to a much greater degree. I wrote a novel and immediately jumped into pitching it to editors at conferences. They loved my pitches, but didn’t buy my work because it wasn’t good enough. Writing fiction well takes practice and work and the willingness to accept criticism and rejection.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
There are so many. I’ve been in my day job for more than 20 years and suddenly I have a new supervisor with a completely different management style and set of expectations. I’m close to retirement and a new season in my life. Navigating these changes on a daily basis has been a trial at a time when I thought I should be experiencing smooth sailing. Add to that my daughter leaving the nest and moving across the country and I admit to floundering a bit. Did I mention that change is hard? But God is good and He’s teaching me to find joy in new, unexpected places.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Wait to submit your novel until you know it’s the very best work you can do.
Attend conferences and hone your craft by learning from others.
Take writing seriously. Make it your job. Write everyday as much as humanly possible.

Tell us about the featured book.
I have to say I had more fun writing this book than any other I’ve written so far. It’s about a young Amish woman named Adah who dreams of being a country music song writer, an aspiration her family and her district frown upon. While cleaning houses, she meets a young English man who is a country music singer with big dreams of his own. He teaches her to play the guitar and in the process, falls in love with her. The story takes us to Branson, Missouri, where Adah has the opportunity to live out her dreams—but only if she’s willing to give up her Amish faith and family.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Not having a pencil and paper handy made writing a song a challenge for Adah Knepp.

But then she liked a challenge.

Adah belted out the lyrics, the bob-bob of the horse’s head along with the clip-clop of his hooves kept time on the asphalt highway. The squeaking of the buggy wheels joined in. Her voice carried on the warm June wind across the wheat fields of Missouri. Sparrows preening on the power lines that ran along the road served as her only audience. They probably thought she’d gone crazy, talking to herself.

She closed her eyes for a second, listening to her own words. They weren’t quite right. They didn’t sound like the songs she heard on the radio while she cleaned the Harts’ house. Not like Miranda Lambert or Taylor Swift. She sounded flat. Of course, she didn’t have the benefit of steel guitars, fiddles, keyboards, and drums. She stomped one black sneaker, and then the other, against the floorboard, picking up the beat. “Love like sun-kissed apples ...” She shook her head. Nee, nee. “Love like a baby’s sweet kisses ...”

No, that wasn’t it either. Still mulling the words, she turned into the open gate adorned with a huge wrought iron H and onto the sunflower-lined dirt road that led to the Hart farm. She would clean the house lickety-split and use the rest of the afternoon to work on her song before she went home. That way she wouldn’t be late and Mudder wouldn’t have cause to complain. Stop mooning around, Adah, and get to work. Those dishes won’t wash themselves.

Which, of course, they wouldn’t. Having six brothers and sisters, Adah surely wished they would. How about that for a fanciful notion?

She could write her song, cook, clean, and still be ready to take a ride after dark if Matthew Troyer should happen to shine his flashlight in her window. Gott was good.

A horse whinnied, an uncertain, unhappy sound that carried on a breeze that kept the day from being stifling hot. A man answered in a soft, coaxing sing-song. The voice reminded Adah of the announcer on the radio the Harts kept tuned to a country music station. It was husky like sandpaper, yet smooth and warm like kaffi made with an extra dollop of milk and three pinches of sugar.

“Come on, sweetie, come on, it won’t hurt you, I promise. It’s fine, it’s okay, it’s fine.” The voice sang in a steady patter of sweet nothings. “Let me just do this one thing and you’re gonna like it, I promise.”

Drawn by the velvety words, she hopped from the buggy and approached the fence. The voice belonged to a tall, lean man with a shock of black hair, ruffled and sweat soaked under the rim of a dirty straw cowboy hat. He held a blanket in one hand while he used his other hand to hold the lead rope attached to a tawny Palomino with a long dark mane and tail. The man wore a T-shirt and tattered jeans faded to a blue-white. The sun glinted on a huge silver buckle on a belt that hugged his narrow hips.

“Sweetie, come on, come on, baby,” he crooned as he crept closer to the horse. “It won’t hurt you, I promise. Remember this blanket. We played with it yesterday. You remember.”

At that moment he looked across the corral and their gazes met. “Hey there, Amish girl.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Plain Love Song -
A Plain Love Song (The New Hope Amish) - Amazon
A Plain Love Song (The New Hope Amish) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Library Lady said...

We have Kelly's books in the church library.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win her book.
Janet E.

Amada Chavez said...


Blessings, Amada (pronounced: in New Mexico

Kelly Irvin said...

I love that you have my books in your church library, Janet. I keep my church library stocked too!

Melanie Backus said...

A Plain Love Song sounds like it would be a wonderful read. I would love to go on that country music, fall in love journey.

Melanie Backus, TX

Deanna Stevens said...

What a great 1st chapter, I'm thinking I need to read this one soon! thanks for the chance to win a copy~
d_stevens310 @

Linda McFarland said...

I loved the interview, Kelly. It's fun getting to know you better. I live near Lancaster, PA and love visiting the Amish. It makes for a very peaceful day trip. Reading the first page of A Plain Love Song makes this a must-read for me! Thanks for the opportunity to win! Linda

Karen G. said...

Another book that sounds really good. Can't wait to read it. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Karen G, NY

Anonymous said...

Great interview Kelly! Love to win your book! Shelia from Mississippi

Virginia Winfield said...

It was nice to read some of the interview. Hope to win your book.

Kelly Irvin said...

Thanks, folks, for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Good luck on the giveaway!

Granny's Attic said...

I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway. lisajcowell (at) cs (dot) com

Diana Gardner said...


Amy C said...

Sounds like Kelly has yet another book that's a great read
Amy C

Mary Preston said...

Loved the first page thank you. Very much looking forward to this.

Mary P


Kelly Irvin said...

All the way from Australia! Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I'm off to run errands, but I'll stop by again later. Have a wonderful Saturday!

Tiffini Long said...

Can't wait to read...
Ronks, PA

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this book giveaway. Looking forward to reading it. I am from Escanaba, Michigan ! Thanks, Crissy S.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly, sounds like another great book! If I don't won it will defiantly be on my read list. I live in west central Ohio. Ellen Wycuff.

Jackie McNutt said...

Hi Kelly, I enjoyed the interview and learning about you and more of your books. I would love to read A Plain Love Song ! I have always enjoyed your other Amish books so I am looking forward to reading this !
Ohio reader

Cindi A said...

Reading the first page of the story has me intrigued. I can't wait to enjoy the rest of the novel.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing.
~Cindi from PA

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Christy said...

So interesting that you would choose to spend an evening with Abraham Lincoln. I am from IL, so I hear a lot about him, especially living five miles from where he practiced law!

Kelly Irvin said...

My daughter is a history major, Christy, and interested in the history of the civil rights movement. We went and saw the movie The Butler together and I think that made me think more about how we have arrived at where we are today. Ignoring history tends to lead to repeating it, I've heard! Good luck to all of you on the giveaway!

Stephen Prickett said...

I have not heard of you until today but what I read sounds fantastic. I am going to get some of your books to read and share and I would love to have a free book. Have a blessed time writing your new book.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

EJ said...

Love Amish fiction & Country music - what a great combo. Elaine from Iowa

rubynreba said...

Amish books are a favorite of mine. The first page certainly makes me want to read the book!
Beth from IA

sm said...

I would enjoy winning and reading about Adah, her love of country music (one of my favorites also) and her music teacher whom she falls in love with and enters a decision process about her faith and traditions. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Linda Murray said...

Great author Kelly... really enjoy your writing style, characters and storylines. Your books are my getaway. Thanks

Kelly Irvin said...

Thank you, Linda. It's so good to know that readers are enjoying these stories. It gives me great joy to write them! Enjoy your getaways!

Jackie Tessnair said...

I would love to win and read this book.Thanks for the chance.Jackie Tessnair N.C.

Deanna Stevens said...

This sounds like a book I would pick to read. Thanks for the chance to win a copy :)
d_stevens310 at

Cindy W. said...

I would love a chance to win Kelly's book.

From Indiana.

Cindy W.

rubynreba said...

I really enjoy Amish books and I have not read any of Kelly's books yet. Hope to soon!
Beth from IA