Bio: Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of Bee County series. Kelly is also the author of several Amish series including the Bliss Creek Amish series, the New Hope Amish series, and the Amish of Bee County series. She has been married for twenty-seven years, and they have two young adult children, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.
Welcome back, Kelly. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
The themes vary depending on what’s happening in my life. What is resonating with me right now is understanding and accepting God’s plan for my life. The Amish believe, as most Christians do, that God has a plan for each one of us. We don’t know how it will unfold, only that He is in charge. In my most recent work-in-progress, I’m exploring the scripture that says we will have trouble in this world, but not to worry because Jesus has overcome the world. As frail humans, it’s almost impossible for us not to worry or to believe that we can be self-reliant. When bad things happen or we find ourselves suffering, we don’t understand. Relying on God for all our needs, even in the darkest of times when we can’t see our way, is often the biggest test of our faith.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Next spring the first book in my new four-book series will debut from Zondervan. It is entitled On a Spring Breeze.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person, who would it be and why?
Recently I was captivated by the Invictus Games created by Prince Harry to honor, support, and encourage wounded warriors from across the globe. I’ve never been a fan of royalty but I was so impressed with how warm and genuine Prince Harry was. I’d like to visit with him about the challenges of living life and giving back despite being born into a situation I really can’t imagine. I’d like to see what he puts into making those games happen and how he has been changed by them. I’d like to say thank you for being who he is despite what surely must be the temptation to simply let life be handed to him on the proverbial silver platter.
What historical person would you like to meet and why?
My Sunday School class just completed a study called Joseph: How God Builds Character. I’m so amazed by what he overcame and how he stepped up each time to do God’s bidding. He was thrown in the well, sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, thrown in prison, and yet, he never lost his integrity or his faith. I’d love to be in the room when he revealed himself to his brothers. I’d love to know what he was really thinking through all those experiences!
I’d love to be there, too. How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I remember that feeling. It took me seven years to earn a contract for my first novel. (And it wasn’t the first novel I wrote!). I truly believe that those who get published are those who persevere. They’re also the ones who are willing to hone their craft. They’re willing to embrace kind and uplifting critiques of their works. They go to workshops and keep learning, always keep learning. Never give up on your dream, but be willing to keep putting in the work.
It took me eight years for my first contract. Tell us about the featured book.
Rebekah Lantz feels imprisoned by circumstances she didn’t create. Tobias Byler is haunted by regret. Can two young runaways from half a world away teach them the healing power of true family?
Rebekah isn’t like her sister, but the watchful gaze of her family and small, close knit Amish community makes her feel as if she’s been judged and found lacking. The men avoid her and the women whisper behind her back. She simply longs for the same chance to be a wife and mother that her friends have.
Tobias Byler only wants to escape feelings for a woman he knows he should never have allowed to get close to him. Moving with his family to isolated
seemed the best way to leave his mistakes behind. But even a move across the
country can’t erase the past that accompanies his every thought. Bee County, Texas
A surprise encounter with two half-starved runaway children forces both Rebekah and Tobias to turn to each other to help a sister and brother who have traveled thousands of miles in search of lives of unfettered peace and joy.
In doing so, Rebekah and Tobias discover the key to forgetting the past is the one that will open the door to love and the future they both seek.
Please give us the first page of the book:
The Saddle Maker’s Son
Alone at last. Rebekah Lantz tugged the creaking shed door shut and leaned against it. The folded piece of paper from her sister Leila weighed heavy as a stone in her hand. When had she managed to tuck it into the two-seater Rebekah drove with Susan to and from the school five days a week? Did she slip in while Rebekah was helping Susan by listening to the younger scholars read aloud? Surely not. Leila had a baby daughter to think about now and a husband. She couldn’t be roaming the countryside delivering notes. The fact that she had made Rebekah’s stomach rock. Guilt swirled there, mixing with a swelling ache to see her sister and a baby niece who would see her aenti as a complete and utter stranger. A Plain woman such as herself should forgive. No matter how much Leila’s flight hurt. No matter how it left Rebekah with little chance of finding love herself among the young men who looked at her and knew exactly what Leila had done.
Just because Leila had given up everything to follow Jesse into the Englisch world didn’t mean Rebekah would leave too. She longed to scream out those words at the next singing. Put them to music. Write her own song. Still, it wouldn’t change the look on the faces of those boys she’d known her entire life. Deer caught in the headlights of an Englisch truck barreling toward them on the highway.
Still, she had to open the note, read it. Its weight seemed to increase as each second ticked by. The cracks in the weathered boards of the shed allowed afternoon sun to filter through in stripes like bars. The April sun was warm, as if reminding Rebekah
didn’t wait around for summer like the northern states did. Her eyes adjusted
to the dusky interior after a few seconds. The smell of mold, decaying wood,
and dirt floated in the air. Old egg crates, a broken desk, a stack of chairs,
a wooden door with white, peeling paint filled the small room. She wasn’t a
coward. Swallowing against the knot of apprehension that always choked her when
she did something of which her mudder would not approve, Rebekah unfolded the
single sheet of notebook paper and peered at Leila’s neat, block writing. Texas
Hope you are well. We must meet. I need to talk to you face to face. Come to where the school path meets the road Friday at lunch. I’ll be driving the green VW bug. Can you believe I drive? Give Hazel a kiss for me. Love Leila
I really want to know what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?http://www.kellyirvin.com
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.
The Saddlemaker's Son - Christianbook.com
The Saddle Maker's Son (The Amish of Bee County) - Amazon
The Saddle Maker's Son (The Amish of Bee County) - Kindle
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