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I’m excited to have Kelly Irvin back with us today! Her brand new novel, The Saddle Maker’s Son, is the third book in the Amish of Bee County Series. Before we visit with Kelly, here’s a quick look at this newest story.
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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 Bee County, Texas, 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.
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.
Welcome back, Kelly! Let’s start with five fast favorites. What is your:
Favorite color: Royal blue
Favorite season: summer
Favorite writing snack: Wintergreen mints
Favorite animal: giraffe
Favorite movie: Tie between “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”
That would be a tough call, but I think I’d have to go with “You’ve Got Mail.” 😉 What inspired you to write The Saddle Maker’s Son?
It was a what would Jesus do/What would I do? moment. I live in South Texas and read constantly about the flood of young, unaccompanied minor immigrants into the country through our border with Mexico and the associated controversy. Thousands of them. Everyone has an opinion on it. I contemplated what would drive a parent or grandparent to send children to a faraway place where they don’t speak the language and know no one. What unthinkable conditions must exist to make it seem like the better option? For me this isn’t a political issue or question. These are children like my children were once children. For Christians, this is (or should be) a moral question. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions.
Rebekah and Tobias do just that. They have the ordnung of their district to consider as well as English law. They’re in a real pickle. They want to do the right thing and knowing what that is proves to be a thorny issue. Do we do what our government tells us to do or do we do what our conscience tells us we must do? So in a nutshell, I wanted to explore the issue of Scripture/God’s word as it relates to following the law of the land and whether those things are ever in conflict. If they are, what do we do? While adding a really good romance in the mix!
This sounds like a book that will challenge our own thinking! What do you hope your readers take away from the story?
I hope they are moved to think about what they believe. I hope they will see these children as human beings much like their own children instead of in a political context. I hope they will think about what they would do in Rebekah and Tobias’ shoes. It’s an issue of the heart.
It’s easy to remove ourselves from those issues, but what a great challenge to each of us as readers! Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I’ve recently finished the first book in a new four-book series. Its title is On a Spring Breeze. It will debut in Spring 2017. Now I’m working on book #2, Beneath the Summer Sun. They’re set in Missouri and follow the lives of four women who are different seasons in their lives in terms of their age and their loves.
More books to watch for! 🙂 Do you have a favorite dessert? Would you be willing to share the recipe with us?
When the kids were little and I stayed home with them I made cookies from scratch for my husband to take in his lunch. I used the gingersnap recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook we received when we married. We’ve been married twenty-eight years and I still use the same recipe. I love the spices and I recently lost my sense of smell which affects my ability to taste food. This is something that still tastes wonderful!
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup shortening
¼ cup molasses
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake cookies just until set. 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Yum! I think I need to go make some cookies! But after we finish our visit. 😉 Would you be willing to share something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
I’ve faced a myriad of health issues in the last two years. The Lord has been teaching me to take each day as it comes, to take nothing for granted, and to strive to hand control of my life over to him. Giving up control has been the greatest struggle in my life. I’ve been blessed with the ability to retire after twenty-two years on the same job, blessed with a loving husband, wonderful children and grandchildren, good health insurance and great medical care. I need only let go and let God. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing for us to do. I’m so blessed to write these books and know that they touch readers’ lives. I couldn’t ask for more.
We visited with Karen Witemeyer just a couple of days ago about that same thing — letting go and trusting God. It can be SO hard to do! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today, Kelly!
Your turn! ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ or ‘You’ve Got Mail’ — which would get your vote? And will you pray for Kelly today? Thanks, friends!
Kelly Irvin is the author of The Saddle Maker’s Son, the third novel in the Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. It follows The Beekeeper’s Son, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “a delicately woven masterpiece.” She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing. She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
A former newspaper reporter and public relations professional, Kelly is married to photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors.
You can connect with Kelly online:
Also by Kelly:
Sometimes it takes a barren landscape to see the beauty of God’s creation.
Phineas King knows better than to expect anything but shock and pity wherever he shows his face. Horribly scarred from the van accident that claimed his mother’s life, he chooses to keep his distance from everyone, focusing his time and energy on the bees his family raises. If no one sees him, no one can judge him. So why does he start finding excuses to seek out Deborah Lantz, the beautiful new arrival in town?
Deborah can’t get out of Bee County, Texas, soon enough. Once her mother and younger siblings are settled, she is on the first bus out of this dusty town. She is only waiting on the letter from Aaron, asking her to return to lush Tennessee to be his fraa. But that letter never comes. As she spends time getting to know Phineas—hoping to uncover the man beneath the scars—she begins to realize that she no longer minds that Aaron hasn’t sent for her.
As both Deborah and Phineas try to come to terms with lives that haven’t turned out the way they imagined, they discover that perhaps Gott’s plans for them are more extraordinary than they could have dreamed. But they need to let go of their own past sorrows and disappointments to find the joy and beauty that lies just ahead for them both.
Leila Lantz is in danger of loosing her heart to a Plain man until she discovers he’s not so Plain after all.
Leila has been drawn to Jesse Glick, the bishop’s son, since the first day she met him at his father’s store, and she knows he feels the same way about her. But she can’t understand why he seems to make overtures one day, then withdraw the next.
Jesse has a secret. He’s considering making a choice that will forever affect his family and his future. He knows it’s not fair to draw Leila into his life until he makes his decision, but his heart refuses to let her go. Will, Jesse’s cousin, has his own feelings for Leila, but he has remained on the sidelines in deference to his cousin for many months. He knows Jesse’s secret, but he promised not to tell. He can’t stand the thought of Leila being hurt so he urges her to ask Jesse one question: Where does he go every Wednesday night?
The answer to that question will force each of them to make painful choices. Leila can choose Will and know she will never have to leave her home or family. Or she can choose Jesse and the love her heart desires, knowing she’ll have to say goodbye to her entire community.
The day comes when Jesse, Will, and Leila all have to make their choices, choices that will forever change their lives and those of their small, close-knit community of Plain families.
‘The Saddle Maker’s Son’ Giveaway:
Kelly has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of The Saddle Maker’s Son. 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.