Did you have a chance to meet Kelly Irvin last year or the year before, when she released The Saddle Maker’s Son and The Bishop’s Son? I am excited to have her back today to share about her newest release, Upon a Spring Breeze. But first, here’s a quick peek at the story.
After a devastating year, a spring breeze promises more than new flowers.… It promises a new chance at love.
Bess Weaver, twenty and expecting her first child, is in the kitchen making stew for her beloved mann, Caleb, one minute, and the next she’s burying him after a tragic accident. Facing life as a young widow, Bess finds comfort only in tending the garden at an Englisch-owned bed and breakfast—even as she doubts that new growth could ever come after such a long winter.
Aidan tries to repress his guilt over his best friend Caleb’s death and his long-standing feelings for Bess by working harder than ever. But as he spends time with the young son his friend left behind, he seems to be growing closer to the boy’s beautiful mother as well.
When a close-knit group of widows in her Amish community step in to help Bess find her way back to hope, she begins to wonder if Gott has a future for her after all. Will she ever believe that life can still hold joy—and the possibility of love?
Welcome back, Kelly! Let’s start with some fast favorites. What is your:
Favorite color? Blue
Mine, too, but you probably couldn’t tell… 😉 Favorite season? Fall
Favorite writing snack? Peppermints
Favorite vacation destination? Hawaii
Favorite ice cream flavor? Chunky Monkey
Did you have a favorite story/book as a child? Harriet the Spy
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go? England
What are you reading right now? John Sandford’s Extreme Prey (my guilty pleasure is mystery/suspense – mainstream)
Paper or e-reader? There are certainly pros and cons to each. Which is your favorite? Paper
You’re in good company there! Tell us a little about Upon a Spring Breeze. What inspired you to write this series, or this novel in particular?
Upon a Spring Breeze is the first book in a four-book series entitled Every Amish Season. I wanted to do a series that features women in different seasons of their life. All four are widows, but one is a new mother, another is a mother of seven, one is a grandmother, and one is a great grandmother. I wanted to explore romance with older women and second-chance love. Amish women marry so young and sometimes the romance isn’t as nuanced as it is with older women who’ve loved, had children, have wrinkles and aches and pains. It’s different. Also being a widow in a community that values husband-wife family units has to be different. Finding your place in the community without a husband must be different. So I like exploring that aspect as well.
That’s true. The more the community values and encourages complete families, the harder it would be to have a piece of yours missing. Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
My favorite character is Aidan Graber. He’s such a guy, yet so loving and kind. He gives Bess flower seeds to plant to remind her that life will go on, Spring will come. He takes her baby for a buggy ride and talks to him about his daddy. He plants flowers around his best friend’s grave to draw butterflies and hummingbirds to it. He fixes up the bird houses so the Purple Martins will come back and Bess can enjoy them in the spring. He works hard on his farm so that he can find a new way to provide for his family when the old way is threatened. He’s not perfect, but he shows people how much he cares for them through every action.
I can see why he would be a favorite! Who is your favorite secondary character in this latest novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
I love Bess’s widow friends. I don’t know if I can pick one favorite one, though. It would be Mary Katherine or Laura. They’ll both get their own stories. Mary Katherine is a grandmother who loves to write—she’s their Budget scribe and she writes short stories. She’s also a bit of an entrepreneur. Laura is a great-grandmother and just retiring from being a lay midwife. She has so much accumulated wisdom. And she’s funny. They both are.
It sounds like they would be great encouragers for a young widow. Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
I chose Jamesport because I’ve been there. Also because it has a strong Amish tourist component. That allows me to give my characters jobs “in town.” One of the challenges of writing Amish fiction is that they have a limited world in many cases. I have to look for new dilemmas and new challenges. Setting the story in Jamesport allows interaction with the townspeople and working in stores and Bess’s job at the B&B. I’m familiar with the landscape and I’ve seen their schools, their phone shacks, and the Amish-owned stores. It helps fill in the details to give the story more richness.
You bring in some tough challenges in this story. Do you have personal experience with any of the events in Upon a Spring Breeze, and if so, could you share about that?
I’ve had some serious medical challenges in the last two and a half years that have caused me to confront my beliefs regarding suffering, chronic disease, and prayer. I think much of my experience with grieving the loss of my mobility and health went into the way I portray Bess and Aidan’s grief at the loss of a dear loved one. Confronting the fact that you don’t always get the answer for which you pray is something most Christians will have to do at some point in their faith journey. Scripture says there will be trouble in our lives in this world, but to take heart, because God has overcome the world. That doesn’t mean we’ll get what we so fervently want. I think of the thorn in Peter’s side and work on not being so whiny!
Yes! He truly knows what’s best, but it’s not always what we think is best… Have you given any of your own personality quirks to your characters? If so, would you be willing to share about it/them?
I generally think my characters are better people than I am. I don’t think any of them have my personality. I’m too much of an introvert, very set in my ways, I hate to clean, and I rarely bake anything (my husband is the chef in our house). I would make a terrible Amish wife. I can’t sew on a sewing machine—everything is crooked. I used to embroider but now my fingers are numb so I can’t thread the needle and my eyesight is going! I don’t work well in groups, preferring to work independently. Basically, I have hermit tendencies!
I’m glad that God gave you the skills He knew you would need for the life you would actually live! 😉 Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today, Kelly!
Your turn! Paper or e-reader. Which do you prefer, and why?
More about Kelly:
Kelly Irvin is the author of Upon a Spring Breeze, the first novel in the four-book series, Every Amish Season. Library Journal called Upon a Spring Breeze “a moving and compelling tale about the power of grace and forgiveness that reminds us how we become strongest in our broken moments.”
Kelly also penned the Amish of Bee County series, which includes 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. Kelly’s novella, A Christmas Visitor, appears in the anthology, The Amish Christmas Gift. Her novella, Sweeter than Honey, is included in the anthology, The Amish Market.
She wrote two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
A former newspaper reporter and retired 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:
‘Upon a Spring Breeze’ Giveaway:
Kelly has generously offered to give away a signed paperback copy of Upon a Spring Breeze. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.