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Novella collections can be a fun way to try new authors without committing to a full-length novel. If you haven’t yet read anything by Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, or Kelly Irvin, you’ll want to check out their new collection, An Amish Heirloom. I am happy to have Kelly Irvin visiting with us again today to share about her novella in the collection! Before we begin, let’s take a quick peek at her story.
Iris Beachy serves as a midwife in her district where she longs for a family of her own. When her friend’s brother Mahon Kurtz seeks her help in delivering the baby of two young teenagers who have sought refuge in their town, they begin to see each other in a different light. Unprepared for parenthood, the young couple leave their baby girl behind in an antique crib quilt resembling the one destined for Iris when she becomes a mother. Mahon and Iris come together to take care of the baby as they try to find her parents, and they begin to see new possibilities for their future.
Welcome back, Kelly! What inspired you to write this story?
Often when I finish writing a novel, I have a secondary character whom I really like and I wish I could have given him or her a happily-ever-after ending. So when I have the opportunity to write a novella, I build it around that character. In this case, I wrote about Iris, who was courting with Aidan in Upon a Spring Breeze, but Aidan loves another and eventually she sets him free. In A Midwife’s Dream, my novella in An Amish Heirloom, we see how Iris’s life is progressing and her chances for true love.
How fun to be able to revisit a familiar character and complete the story! Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this one your favorite?
I really like Iris, but my favorite character is Mahon. He’s an artist in a farmer’s body. His talent isn’t understood or appreciated, but he doesn’t let that make him bitter. He has waited patiently for Iris to notice him. He’s a good man and a good friend who knows when to stand down and went to step up.
He sounds like a patient, go-with-the-flow kind of guy. What do you hope your readers take away from this novella?
That God’s timing is perfect. Especially when it comes to love. As I approached age 30, I decided God must not intend for me to marry and have children. I was determined to be happy as a single woman. Right before my 30th birthday, I met my husband. We married after three months of dating and we’ve been married 30 years. I had to wait for the right man and God brought him to me at the right time in my life. Waiting is hard, but it’s worth it.
Wow—congratulations! So many times, His ways are not our ways…but for the better. Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I’m juggling several balls right now. I’m doing the line-edits for a romantic suspense novel entitled Tell Her No Lies. I’m super excited about having the opportunity to branch out into this genre. Romantic suspense is my favorite genre to read. I published two novels in this genre at the beginning of my career and I’ve always wanted another opportunity to try it again. I’m thankful to HarperCollins Christian Publishing for making this dream come true. The book debuts in January. I’m also finishing the substantive edits on the last book in the Every Amish Season series, which is called With Winter’s Frost. And I’m writing the second romantic suspense novel. So it’s a very busy time for me.
You weren’t kidding! How exciting, though, to have both romantic suspense and Amish books coming soon! Do you prefer writing one genre over the other?
Writing in two genres helps me stay fresh. Amish romances and romantic suspense are polar opposites. Amish romances have fairly strict parameters when it comes to story telling because the Amish lead very quiet lives and are restricted in dress, vocation, and geography. I love telling these stories and greatly respect the Amish faith. With romantic suspense, I enter another world that includes all the modern trappings, good and bad. With the two books I’m currently writing, I get to use my adopted hometown of San Antonio as the setting and that is so much fun. And so easy for me because I’m so familiar with it. Getting to write really bad guys and imagine crimes brings out the blood-thirsty in me. So it’s fun. The variety is good for me as a writer.
That is a huge contrast. As a reader, I enjoy changing genres for the same reason. The stories feel fresher when it’s a complete change. Now that you’ve been writing for a while, would you say it’s gotten easier or more difficult to write and publish over the years?
Writing has always been easy for me. It’s like breathing. I think I have a better grip on structure than I used to have. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I don’t outline, but I do a matrix after I’ve written the story and I look at character arcs, theme, and plotlines to make sure I haven’t left anything hanging. It’s been very helpful and I think it makes the job easier for my sweet editor. Publishing is hard. I think everyone would agree with that. Traditional publishing opportunities have shrunk. More writers are choosing indie publishing, but it has its own challenges because writers are responsible for all aspects of publication, including writing, editing, set-up, covers, and marketing. It’s a tough business, but the joy of seeing someone read and enjoy the story makes it worth it.
I certainly appreciate the hard work that’s gone into the books I love to read! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us, Kelly!
Your turn! An Amish Heirloom is a novella collection. What is your favorite story length? Do you like shorter, quicker reads, or do you prefer to dig into really long books? Maybe somewhere in between?
More about Kelly:
Best-selling author Kelly Irvin has published 13 novels and 5 novellas. She penned 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 novellas have appeared in anthologies such as An Amish Heirloom, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. She is also the author of two romantic suspense novels with a third scheduled for publication in 2019. Her next Amish romance, Through the Autumn Air, releases in August.
An Amish Heirloom Giveaway:
Kelly has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of An Amish Heirloom. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.