A former newspaper reporter and public relations professional, Kelly Irvin is the author of the Amish of Bee County Series (Zondervan/HarperCollins) and the Bliss Creek Amish Series and New Hope Amish Series (Harvest House). She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine. Kelly’s latest release is The Saddle Maker’s Son.
She is married to photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. Kelly and Tim live in Texas.
Those who create usually tap into a personal toolbox of elements to definite their style. For example, a painter may use color, light, or shadows in a specific way to ‘sign’ his work. Or, a musician may use syncopation, key changes, and/or vocal intonation to set herself apart. What two or three elements most define who you are as a storyteller?
I’ve been told I have a singular voice that is unique in the genre. The characters have a rich interior monologue that allows the reader to share in their dilemmas and their growth as their stories unfold. There’s always a strong connection to nature with details that place the reader in the setting through the five senses. I tend toward metaphors and similes to take the story deeper and help readers make broader connections to the story’s theme. I want readers to feel they are in the story, seeing it unfold through the eyes of the character so I strive for deep point of view throughout.
Great novels usually have a plot twist, making the story even better, more meaningful, and/or inspirational. Have you ever experienced such a real life plot twist?
I think I’m living in the season of plot twists. Two years ago I took a walk at my sister’s farm in Kansas and realized I was having trouble lifting my feet. I had back surgery to correct severe scoliosis and ended up with titanium rods in my back. I still couldn’t lift my feet.
In November of last year doctors finally diagnosed the problem as a motor neuron disease called primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) which is like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), but not fatal. Then in January I received the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, started chemotherapy, and had surgery. Two weeks ago my husband unexpectedly had quadruple bypass surgery.
My life has been utterly and completed changed. I retired from my job of twenty-two years as a public relations manager. I planned to write full time but spend a great deal of time in hospitals and doctors’ offices. I see life differently and in smaller, brightly lit increments of time. I try to live in today and not worry about tomorrow—much easier said than done. I value time. I treasure my writing time. I treasure my family. I don’t know the whys behind these plot twists, but I know God does. I hang on to that promise through it all.
Let’s talk about The Saddle Makers Son (Zondervan, June 2016). Please tell us about it!
The Saddle Maker’s Son came from a “what if” ripped from the headlines. Thousands of young, unaccompanied illegal immigrant children are flooding through the Mexico-Texas border. What if an Amish family in Bee County came across two of those children on their property, lost, scared, hungry, not speaking English. What would they do? What as Christians are we called to do in such circumstances?
Writing the story caused me to do a lot of soul searching as a Christian and as a parent myself. I hope the same will be true for readers. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Rebekah Lantz feels imprisoned by circumstances she didn’t create. Tobias Byler is haunted by regret. Can two young runaways from half a world away teach them the healing power of true family?
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.
Thank you, Kelly! May God bless your healing. Thank you for taking the time to visit.
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For more information about Kelly, visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
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Kelly, your current novel sounds like a great read! My heart has panged for you as I read this interview and I’ve lifted you and your family in prayer.
Kathy, another wonderful interview.
As always, Elaine. Thanks for your visit.
Thanks, Elaine. Your prayers are deeply appreciated!