Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to author Laura Hilton. As the mother of three, who can only write when she is alone in the house, I am always SO impressed with homeschooling authors — especially homeschooling authors who produce such great content as Laura. Please read on and meet this amazing woman — and, she is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016. She has indie published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.
Twenty–year–old Greta Miller’s daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers’ market. Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he’s back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta’s family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta get beyond her family’s distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community?
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, because that one person is important to God and He wants that person reached with His love and care.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No. I’m writing for God, I gave my life to Him to be used as He saw fit. I am not going to compromise myself to become more successful. He knows who He wants to read my books and will make sure the book gets to that person.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? In my case, they develop as I write. I might have a basic idea (paragraph length) in mind, and know the characters names, but that is all I know. God tells me the story as I write (I pray a lot.)
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Depends. The publisher generally gives me a maximum and minimum word count and I shoot toward that.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I write on the computer, edit as I write, and when I finish, the manuscript is ready to go to the publisher.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I was raised on my grandmother’s Grace Livingstone Hill books. I devoured them. But really, I read anything back then, even cereal boxes.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? I always wanted to be a writer. When people asked me as a child what I wanted to grow up to be, I said a wife, a mom to five kids, and a writer. They laughed, told me I’d never have five kids, and maybe I should become a librarian, because only certain types of people write (not sure about that!) I did marry, we’ve been married almost thirty years now. We have five kids. And I write.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Kill somebody. J Seriously, I pray a lot when I write. But I have been known to wander around the house muttering, “Somebody has to die.” My children assure me, “Nobody has to die, Mom.”
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? No, I don’t have a plot laid out. I know nothing except a basic blurb, maybe about three sentences, about the idea. I just pray and write.
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