Kelly Irvin is a wife, mother, grandmother, and best-selling author. She has written more than 30 Amish romance novels, seven critically acclaimed romantic suspense novels, and novellas in eight anthologies with other best-selling Amish romance authors.
She has been a finalist in and won numerous awards and received a star review from Publisher’s Weekly. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.
A Kansas native, Kelly received a degree from the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She and her husband now reside in Texas.
Who is your writing hero?
So many! I think it depends on what day you ask me. Right now it’s William Kreuger Kent. I love his mystery series featuring Cork O’Connor, but I also really enjoyed his standalones Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land. His storytelling craft is beautiful and his characters memorable. I love that he shines a light on history in places that have been neglected. His research and concern for authenticity is apparent. I’ve been known to say I hope to write like him when I grow up!
Now that you have been writing for a while, what part of the writing life has most surprised you?
How all consuming it is. When I worked full-time, I still managed to write novels and do the marketing that needed to be done. Now I write full-time and there still never seems to be enough hours in the day. I love what I do and it never gets old—even when I forget to take a day off. I’m living the dream and the dream is everything I’d hoped it would be.
Let’s talk about your new novel, Every Good Gift (Zondervan, February 2023). Please tell us about it.
Every Good Gift is the third book in my Amish Blessings series, which explores adoption in Amish communities. The idea for the series came from a blurb in the Amish newspaper The Budget in which the scribe talks about a young Amish couple that planned to adopt a baby from a non-Amish woman who was giving him up. At the last moment she changed her mind. The scribe said the community came together to comfort and support the couple in their grief at this lost opportunity to start a family.
The article prompted me to think about how adoption might be different (and the same) in the Amish world. Each book explores a different aspect of adoption with Every Good Gift focusing on a young woman who discovers she’s pregnant after a now-ended relationship with an English man. She fears her hopes and dreams will never come true now. Her life as she knows it is over. She moves from Missouri to a small town in Kansas to live with her cousin’s family. There she’s befriended by an Amish man with his own difficult past. Every Good Gift explores the theme of how God promises to use all circumstances for good—no matter how impossible it might seem to us.
God often uses our stories to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
As a writer who doesn’t outline my stories, but rather allows them to take their own paths, I’m always amazed at how the underlying theme reveals itself. I often have to examine my own beliefs. I ask myself what I would do if it was my daughter in this situation. I’m careful to be respectful and try to paint a story that reflects Amish beliefs, which may not be exactly like mine. Living your faith can be hard and put your resolve to the test. I want to be compassionate and caring. I also want to live out my faith. Finding a way to do both seems hard sometimes. I’m reminded with Every Good Gift that with God all things are possible.
Your books encourage and inspire readers. What encourages and inspires you?
The example set by others encourages me. This includes people I know who are going through similar trials, but also the stories I read by other authors. I’m going through a long season of difficult health challenges, but I see others persevering and it helps me to hang in there. I have a great church family, particularly my Sunday school class. They encourage and inspire me regularly as well. My husband also encourages me and inspires me. He’s such a great caregiver and he has lived up to his wedding vows and way beyond!
Thanks, Kelly! It’s great to have you back at Divine Detour.
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