We have the privilege today of visiting with Rachel Good, whose newest novel (Change of Heart) released earlier this month. Rachel has some sweet things to share with us today, including a signed paperback copy of the story! But before we get to that, let’s take a look at Change of Heart.
Lydia Esh’s younger sister Emma is running wild during Rumschpringe, causing the family major heartaches. Although it means risking her reputation, her job as a schoolteacher, and her courtship with Jakob Zook, Lydia attends parties to watch over Emma and protect her sister’s virtue.
When Emma begins a relationship with Kyle, an Englischer, Lydia teams up with Kyle’s older brother, Caleb, to keep the couple apart. As Lydia and Caleb spend time together keeping an eye on their siblings, Lydia falls for this forbidden love. Will she stay true to her faith even if it means giving up the man she loves?
Welcome, Rachel! How about five fast favorites? What is your:
Favorite color? Blue
Favorite season? Spring
Favorite writing snack? Red licorice sticks
Favorite animal? Jaguar
Favorite movie? OK, confession time. I don’t watch TV or movies. I can count on one hand the movies I’ve been to in the past 10 year or so, none of which were memorable. The movie that made the greatest impression on me was the first movie I ever saw – The Sound of Music.
Honestly, I don’t watch much either. I have too many other things to do — like read great books! 😉 Let’s talk about Change of Heart. What inspired you to write this novel?
Many years ago I came face to face with the truth that what I criticize in another person is a flaw or a sin I’m overlooking in myself. As Matthew 7:3 (NIV) says: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
In Change of Heart, Lydia stays busy chasing after her younger sister Emma, trying to prevent her from ruining her life and reputation during Rumschpringe (a time when Amish teens have their “running around time”). Lydia believes she’s doing her duty, so she’s shocked when Emma points out that criticism and self-righteousness stem from hochmut, or pride. One thing the Amish try to guard against is hochmut, so Lydia needs to face the truth about herself and her deeper motives. I wanted Lydia’s journey to be not only a struggle between faith and love, but also a personal inner journey from self-righteousness to seeing with God’s loving eyes.
That’s not an easy truth to accept… What do you hope your readers take away from the story?
So many people look at doing God’s will as a trial or a sacrifice, and they believe they’re called to give up the things they most desire. I don’t see the Christian life that way. I believe we go from blessing to blessing, and often when we think we’re sacrificing or going through trials, it’s because we’re concentrating so hard on what we (with our finite understanding) want. I picture us like small children desperately hanging onto a broken toy, when a benevolent, loving parent is taking it away to replace it with a brand-new one. We’re so busy clinging to what we think we’re being asked to give up that we miss the bigger picture. Wonderful blessings await us when we surrender our desires and trust God for something better. I hope Lydia’s story will encourage readers to always expect God’s best.
That’s such a wonderful point. Our perspective makes such a huge difference! Speaking of perspectives… 😉 If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
My goal is to visit every continent. So far I’ve been to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America; I only have 3 continents to go: South America, Australia, and Antarctica. Of those three, my top choice would be Antarctica.
That would be an amazing (albeit COLD) experience! Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I work on multiple projects at one time because it helps my creativity. I’m busy editing my second Amish novel, Buried Secrets, and writing my third, Gift from Above. I’m also writing several picture books, an early-reader chapter book, a middle-grade historical novel set in the Ukraine in the 1900s, and I’m revising a YA set in ancient China as well as a contemporary romance. In my spare time, I’m illustrating two picture books.
WOW! I hadn’t thought about that variety helping your creativity, but that’s an interesting point. It sounds like you have projects in all stages right now. What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process?
I love dreaming up the ideas, visualizing the scenes in my head, and jotting down the exciting bits longhand. Once that part’s done, the hard work begins – plotting, shaping, struggling to get words on paper, deciding what to put in and leave out. When this part is flowing well, I love it. When it’s not, it can be frustrating and discouraging.
I edit as I go along, so I usually don’t have much revision to do after I’m finished with the first draft. That draft goes to my critique groups, and then comes my second favorite part of the process, which is hearing what other writers have to say about it. I’m so grateful for the suggestions my critique partners and beta readers provide. I have an ex-Amish woman as a beta reader; she spends a lot of time with her family and former community, so I enjoy talking to her about the various scenes in the book.
That sounds like a great way to keep your stories authentic to the Amish culture. We love to chat about sweets… What is your favorite dessert? Would you be interested in sharing the recipe?
I make a white chocolate candy that everyone loves. It’s quick and easy. Because the chocolate hardens quickly, it’s best to stir all the dry ingredients together while the chocolate is melting.
Melt 1 lb. white chocolate in the microwave or double boiler, and then stir in 1 c. peanuts, 1 c. mini marshmallows, 1 c. Cap’n Crunch cereal, 1 c. Rice Krispies, and ¼ c. slivered almonds. Drop tablespoonsful onto wax paper and let harden.
Mmm — that sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing, Rachel, and for taking the time to visit with us today!
Your turn! If you had an opportunity to go to Antarctica, would you want to go? Why or why not? (Share your answer in the comments below.)
More about Rachel:
Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heartfelt novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of Amish romances in the Sisters & Friends series. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 30 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. Sign up for her newsletter &/or visit Rachel at www.racheljgood.com.
You can connect with Rachel online:
Also by Rachel:
Feeling stressed? Why not relax with an adult coloring book? Rachel J. Good’s Amish Quilts Coloring Book takes you back to a time and place that’s calm. Immerse yourself in a world of peace as you color the 25 different patterns inspired by quilts seen in Amish country. Many of these designs are based on traditional quilts, but some have been reimagined or repeated multiple times to create more intricate patterns to color. Each quilt is printed on only one side of the page; facing pages contain inspirational Amish proverbs. And if the designs inspire you to make quilts of your own, the pages can be used as templates for quilt-making.
‘Change of Heart’ Giveaway:
Rachel has generously offered to give away a signed paperback copy of Change of Heart! Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy. If you are unfamiliar with Rafflecopter or have trouble entering, you can find help here: How to Enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway.
(Clicking the book covers in this post will take you to the book on Amazon. These are affiliate links, which means that while the price remains the same for you, a small portion of your purchase helps to keep this blog going. Thanks for your support!)