Tuesday, January 30, 2018

BENEATH THE SUMMER SUN - Kelly Irvin - One Free Book

Bio: Two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of Bee County, Bliss Creek Amish, and New Hope Amish series. Her newest release is Beneath the Summer Sun, the second novel in the four-book series Every Amish Season from Zondervan Publishing. Her work has also appeared in four Amish anthologies, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. Kelly is a retired newspaper reporter and public relations professional who lives with her husband in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats.

Welcome back, Kelly. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I grew up in a small town in Kansas in the sixties and early seventies. My parents sent my two sisters, two brothers, and I to Sunday school without them every Sunday. We walked into town to the Methodist Church. At first it didn’t mean much to me. It was a place you were supposed to go on Sunday mornings. As I grew older, I started staying for the church service because I didn’t want to go home. We had an old-fashioned, two-tier sanctuary with wooden pews and a huge pipe organ. It was beautiful and peaceful. Something about it touched me and I kept coming back. In junior high, I had a Sunday school teacher named Mr. Red Ming. He gave us a paperback called The Good News. He reached out to me. Seeds were planted. There was no big, explosive moment, a gentle calling. I would hike far off the trail in college, but I found myself being tugged back as an adult. That’s why it’s so important for church to be a part of our children’s lives. Laying the foundation. My relationship with Christ continues to grow from those seeds planted long ago.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
So many possibilities, it’s hard to narrow them down! I would start by inviting Allison Pittman, who writes historicals and historical romances. She won a Carol Award for Stealing Home and currently has a novel, Loving Luther, on the CBA Bestseller List. She was ACFW Mentor of the Year two years ago, and she is a tremendous writer, teacher, mentor, and Christian. She would add her experience, expertise, wonderful writing talent, and wicked sense of humor to any gathering where writing fiction is the focus.

I have never met Christy and Carol Award winner Julie Cantrell, author of The Feathered Bone, Into the Free, and Perennials, but I admire her prose greatly. She sets the bar high with novels that delve into delicate women’s issues and terrible societal problems such as sex trafficking. I’d like to pick her brain, ask her advice, and learn her secrets.

I recently signed a two-book contract for romantic suspense novels, so I would want to invite two authors with whom I could converse about the challenges of writing these books. I’d like to invite Dee Henderson, who wrote the O’Malley series that led me to realize I wanted to write inspirational fiction and showed me that could include romantic suspense. I’d also invite internationally known forensic artist Carrie Stuart Parks, who won both a Christy and a Carol Award for her last novel, When Death Draws Near.

I would look for writers who have honed their craft, would work hard, and make the most of their time at a writing retreat while offering support and honest feedback to their fellow writers.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
No speaking ministry currently. I’ve had some health and mobility issues that I’m still learning to manage.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
I tend to be a klutz so there’s been more than a few, but one that stands out in my mind occurred when I was working as a reporter covering City Council meetings in Laredo, Texas, in the early eighties. Yes, that long ago, and it still comes to mind when someone says the word embarrassing. It’s very hot and muggy in Laredo most of the time, but especially in the summer. I wore a sundress to the meeting. About an hour into the session, my zipper broke and the dress gave way. The kind county tax assessor collector behind me grabbed the two sides and tried to hold them together. I slunk out of the meeting, raced home, changed, and raced back. Reporters have jobs to do and being embarrassed is no excuse for missing the story. But I’ll never forget how chagrinned I was.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I do hear it frequently. I try to be kind and encouraging, but realistic. Writing a book isn’t an easy task. Much blood, sweat, and tears are involved. I share with them my advice, which was the advice given to me: put your behind in the chair, place your fingers on the keyboard, and write. That’s the only way to find out how much you want to write that book. Nike had it right, when they urged, “Just do it.” Like a famous writer said, “If you can do something else, do it.” I encourage them to go to writing workshops, read writing books, and join a critique group, but most importantly, to get started writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Beneath the Summer Sun is a story of faith, hope, and second chances. Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Jennie Troyer knows it’s time to remarry.
Can she overcome a painful secret and open her heart to love?

It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward.

Mennonite book salesman Nathan Walker stops by Jennie’s farm whenever he’s in the area. Despite years of conversation and dinners together, she never seems to relax around him. He knows he should move on, but something about her keeps drawing him back.

Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return?

In this second book in the Every Amish Season series, three hearts try to discern God’s plan for the future—and find peace beneath the summer sun.

Please give us the first page of the book.
The smack of the baseball against an aluminum bat sounded like summer. At thirty-seven, Jennie Troyer hadn’t been a student in many years, but the end-of-school picnic still caused her spirits to soar as if she were ten and set free for the next few months. She might be old, but she understood how her children felt. That curious lightheartedness for this one afternoon on the last day of April.

Smiling at the thought, Jennie clapped as Cynthia smacked a blooper into what served as right field and scurried to the discarded rug that did double duty as first base. Micah hurled the ball to Celia at second base, and the chatter from the parents seated in lawn chairs on the sidelines reached a crescendo. Jennie’s children comprised almost half the players on the field. Their cheeks were red, their hair sweaty, and their clothes dirty, but they didn’t seem to mind that summer had arrived early in Missouri.

After all they’d been through—no matter how much time had passed—they deserved a few hours of carefree, childish play. Despite the heat Jennie shivered. She studied the rows of corn plants in nearby fields and tried to recapture the happiness she’d felt only seconds earlier. Raising her face to the sun, she begged it to burn away a pain that still barged into her day at odd, unexpected moments.

“Your kinner are on fire today, aren’t they? I’m surprised Francis isn’t out there too.” Mary Katherine Ropp plopped her dumpling-shaped body into a sagging lawn chair next to Jennie’s. Grasshoppers sprang in all directions in her wake. She smelled of charcoal and grilled hot dogs. “He’s Elizabeth’s little shadow these days.”

Afraid her perceptive friend would read her face, Jennie sprang to her feet and did a head count with her index finger. Matthew, her graduate and oldest son at fourteen, stood at third base, his hands on his hips, his usual sullen look on his face. Followed at various places on and off the field by Celia, thirteen; Micah, eleven; Cynthia, ten; Mark, seven; and Elizabeth, six and just finishing her first year of school. No Francis. At four, her youngest had a mind of his own, a penchant for trouble, and sturdy little legs to carry him there.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing this new book with me and my readers. We all are eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Beneath the Summer Sun - Christianbook.com
Beneath the Summer Sun (An Every Amish Season Novel) - Amazon paperback
Beneath the Summer Sun (An Every Amish Season Novel) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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.

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Library Lady said...

Our church library readers love Amish books, both fiction and non-fiction. We have Kelly's books in the library.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to win her latest book.
Janet E.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a terrific story. I'd love the chance to read it.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Wendy Newcomb said...

I sooooo NEED this book, loved the first one in the series! Kelly, I love your books, keep them coming.

Wendy in South Sioux City, NE

wfnren at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm in Austin, TX. You book sounds really good! Thank you formthe giveaway opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read Kelly's new book. Jennie sounds like an interesting character. I love reading Amish fiction.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in New York

Vivian Furbay said...

I enjoyed Kelly's account of going to church and how it's important that young children get involved in a good church. I've read a couple ok her books and she is a good writer. Vivian Furbay of CO

kim hansen said...

Love her books. Kim Lincoln Nebraska.

Jane said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Upon a Spring Breeze, and this sounds just as compelling. Thank you for the interesting interview. Jane in TX

Melanie Backus said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing. Melanie Backus, TX

Kay Garrett said...

Love Kelly Irvin books! Amish stories are my favorite genre to read. Love a story that's a good clean read that has a message. That way we can not only be entertained but learn from them as well. Kelly's books are just that.

I have been wanting to read BENEATH THE SUMMER SUN since I first read anything about it. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
Kay from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

I love her writing. Thank you. Tammie from Illinois.

VanG said...

Thanks for the interview. I have not yet read anything by Kelly and would love to win a copy of this one. It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway. 😍
VanG in NC

Kelly Irvin said...

Thanks for all your kind comments. Writing these stories gives me great joy. Thanks for reading them!

Trixi said...

Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a book by a n equally wonderful author! Loved the interview, always like getting to know writers more. :-)

Trixi in OR

Cherie J said...

I really enjoyed the interview.Your book sounds so good. Sorry to hear about your health issues. I will pray for you.

Cherie in Florida

Shelia64 said...

sounds like another winner! Shelia from Mississippi

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I always enjoy reading Kelly's interviews. Thanks for sharing.
Blessings to all!
Connie from KY
cps1950 at gmail dot com

Dianna said...

Love Kelly Irvin's books. She puts such an interesting spin on her plots!
Dianna (TN)

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Natalya Lakhno said...

I always find Amish stories so intriguing...
Thank you for the interview and for the chance to win!
Natalya from CA

Karen G. said...

Looking forward to reading your newest book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
Karen G. from NY

Pam said...

I love sharing my Amish fiction books in our church library. They are always among the more popular reads. I would love to read Beneath the Summer Sun. Kelly Irvin's books are always excellent and I'm excited to read this one!

Pam in OH