Shannon here: Amish romance author, Kelly Irvin and her husband are in Hawaii celebrating their 25th anniversary. But I’ve got an interview with Kelly’s heroine from her latest release, Love’s Journey Home. Comment on any post dated Feb 11- 15 for a chance to win a complete set of Kelly’s Bliss Creek 3 book series. Deadline: Feb 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
An Interview with Helen Crouch – Love’s Journey Home by Kelly Irvin
Are you open to your own romance?
After my husband died, I was so busy raising our three children and trying to make ends meet that I didn’t really think about it. In my community, it is expected that widows an widowers will remarry. It’s better to have a complete family. But I’m not very good at all that courting. I’m a little bit of a klutz and not much to look at (not that Plain men judge women by their looks. They want a fraa who will share their faith and take care of their children.) Eventually, though, I started to realize how lonesome I was. Even with three kids and my father and mother in the house, something was missing. For a while I had a crush on Thomas Brennaman, but he chose Emma Shirack. That was God’s plan for them and for me. Those feelings I had for Thomas made me realize how much I wanted a husband in my life. It was hard to go on once again, alone.
What’s the number one quality you’d require in a mate?
It’s hard to name one quality, but I guess it’s most important to me that he be a Godly man who will raise our children according to our faith. It’s important that he be a hard worker and fair and loving, but he could be all those things and still not be the right man for me if I thought he would stray from our faith.
What’s the best place you can think of to find a mate?
In my community. We don’t marry outside our faith. I’m sure there are plenty of nice English men out there, but they wouldn’t understand our way of life. We don’t drive cars or have electricity. Our children don’t even speak English until they learn it at school. Only a Plain man who’s been baptized in our faith would make a good mate for me.
What type of character traits are you attracted to?
Thomas and his cousin Gabriel are two peas in a pod in many respects. They are hard workers. They’re men of few words, but when they do speak, they have something important and wise to say. They are loving fathers and they’re faithful to our Ordnung, the set of rules we follow. They would never lift a hand in anger to anyone. They are honorable men.
What types of features are you attracted to?
It’s strange. My husband George was not very tall, blond, a little round. Gabriel, like his cousin Thomas, is a tall, gangly man with dark hair and eyes. The contrast is striking. Which leads me to believe it has more to do with how a man acts and his character, the way he treats me, than what he looks like. It’s about what’s on the inside. Not his looks.
What would be a reason to end a potential romance for you?
If a man were cruel to me or my children, that would put an end to it. I don’t abide by men who are mean to the people they say they love. Of course, a man who sheds his faith in God would not be a man I could court. He must be baptized, be faithful, and be a good father.
Where do you dream of getting married?
In the home of my parents with all my family and friends looking on.
Where do you dream of spending your honeymoon?
We’ll spend it visiting family in Bliss Creek and our friends and family who have moved to New Hope, Missouri. It’s a wonderful time of sharing in our joy and setting aside work for a few weeks to enjoy just being husband and wife. We want to share that joy with our friends and family.
If you could order a carbon copy of an actor with the perfect character traits . . . who would it be?
I’ve never watched TV or gone to the movies, but Gabriel says he was once told by an English lady that he looks just like a man called Tom Selleck, who’s an actor on TV. He’s tall and dark and has those same dimples. He’s an older man whose hair is starting to gray, but the lady says the actors and actresses always put color on their hair to keep from looking old. I don’t put much store by looks, but I think Gabriel’s gray looks mighty fine in his beard. Wisdom comes with years and Gabriel has plenty of it. He was raising eight children alone after his wife died, two of them special little girls. He’s had plenty of hardship to earn those gray whiskers. I admit I like the way he looks. Even if looks do fade.
About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series, which includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, which released February 1. She recently signed with Harvest House Publishing for a three-book spin-off series entitled the New Hope Amish.
Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.
The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso, winning the Silver Star Award from the Texas Mental Health Association and numerous awards in news, feature, and editorial writing from the Texas Press Association and Texas Press Women.
Kelly now works in public relations. She and her husband of twenty-five years live in Texas.
About the books:
Book 1 – To Love and to Cherish: It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal.
Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him…so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she only knew as a friend be the one to help her to heal?
In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, this one woman must see beyond her pain and open her heart to trust once again.
Book 2 – A Heart Made New: Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who’s struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her.
When a homeless young woman named Charisma and her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, show up in Bliss Creek, Annie welcomes them into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can’t change the ache in Annie’s heart…or help her forget the man she loves.
Book 3 – Loves Journey Home: It’s been seven years since her husband died, but Helen Crouch is doing fine. She’s selling her jams at the bakery and making a living. But her whole world goes topsy-turvy when a new family moves to town. Gabriel Gless has brought his children to Bliss Creek to escape the worldly influences in Indiana. Helen and Gabriel have so much in common—the loss of their beloved spouses, the experience of raising their families alone, their rock-solid faith—so why can’t they speak without arguing?
And that’s not all that’s going on in Bliss Creek this summer. In the middle of a drought, the community is must decide whether to establish a new settlement. As families say goodbye, each one must find the faith to follow the Lord’s direction.
Come back Feb 15th for an excerpt from Kelly’s latest release, Love’s Journey Home!