Kelly Irvin – Romantic Real Life, Character Interview & Excerpt – Part 1 of 1

Kelly Irvin shares insight into her real life romance & her character romance from her latest Amish Romance, The Saddle Maker’s Son. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Sept  3rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:

Kelly IrvinKelly Irvin cover

  • What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has ever done for you?

We’ve been married for 28 years so there’s been quite a few. But my favorite is the manila envelope I received one day about nine years ago that contained an IOU to attend the Glorieta Writers Conference. I was an unpublished writer with one completed manuscript and big dreams. I knew we couldn’t afford the trip and conference registration, but he knew how much it meant to me to give my dream a shot. It was the beginning on a long, wonderful journey to publication and his act of faith allowed it. He also included a mock newsletter he’d designed himself with a headline that said Author Kelly Irvin publishes first novel. He is my biggest fan and he’s not a book reader. That’s very romantic.

  • What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your spouse?

I compliment him on the great job he does with the yard. You laugh, but in the languages of love, noticing the work he does (which is his way of telling me he loves me) and thanking him for it strengthens our bonds. He wants to be appreciated. To him the fact that I notice means I love him. He likes for me to go to Lowes with him and stroll the aisles looking for thingamabobs that I have no idea what he’ll do with. He likes me to listen when he talks computer jibberish and watch action movies with him (which I hate). Romance isn’t always about the big gesture, it’s about the day-to-day I love you’s.

  • Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?

We went to Maui for our 25th anniversary. It’s still gives me goosebumps to think about the Road to Hanna.

  • How soon after meeting your spouse did you know he was the one?

Tim proposed to me about a month after we met. We married after only three months so I’d say it was pretty much love at first sight. We’ve been married 28 years so it hasn’t worn off.

  • Who is most romantic, you or your spouse?

 My husband would probably say it’s me because he warned me before we got married that it wouldn’t always be so warm and sweet and romantic. He was right, but I think he’s done a good job of finding ways to express his feelings even if they aren’t huge romantic gestures. He cooks for me every weekend. As my health has taken a downward turn, he has taken over the grocery shopping, the litter box, the laundry, the trash to the curb, and other chores I can’t handle. When I found out I have primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), he said, “I’ll carrying you if I have to.” That was the ultimate gift. As I’ve battled ovarian cancer, he has been with me at the hospital on several occasions for long days, making me laugh when I get cranky and impatient. He works from his laptop while I read and just having him there makes me better. He takes his vows very seriously and that is extremely romantic.

Tim recently had quadruple bypass surgery and was in intensive care for two days. I had to keep him awake the first night so that he could breathe enough to let them take him off the ventilator. He wasn’t happy with me and he couldn’t talk, but I held his hand and we maintained eye contact and he breathed for me. It was my turn to be his caregiver. He couldn’t drive for six weeks so I chauffeured him about town and we spent a lot of time together. He went back to work on July 25, which is good for both of us. But I know I count on him and he knows he can count on me. We’re in this for the long haul. We’ve done for richer, for poorer, now we’re doing in sickness and in health.

Character Interview:

  • What is the most caring thing Tobias has ever done for you?

Rebekah: Tobias knew I wouldn’t rest until we found Lupe and Diego, our little Salvadoran friends. They’re so young and they speak almost no English. They ran away because they were afraid. They’re always afraid. Tobias went to Beeville and found Jesse, even though he is no longer part of our Plain community because he left the faith to become a minister. Together they roamed the streets on Fourth of July until they found them. He did that for me even though he was very uncomfortable with Jesse and riding in his car. We weren’t even special friends at that point.

  • What is the most caring thing Rebekah has ever done for you?

Tobias: She forgave me! I know that sounds a little high and mighty, but it was hard for her to know I had loved another woman before her. I didn’t even know her yet, but she had always been the third wheel to her sisters. She was so certain she would never find a husband because the few men in our little district all knew about what her sister Leila did, and they figured she’d do the same. She needed to trust me with her heart and that’s a big challenge for a woman who’s so prickly. She managed and so did I. Together we worked through our problems.

  • Who said, “I love you” first, you or Tobias?

Rebekah: We’re not much on saying the words, we mostly show it through the way we take care of the house, cook, clean, garden, and take care of our babies. No need to get fancy, but Tobias knows I love him. And I know he loves me.

  • If you marry Rebekah, where will you go for your honeymoon?

Tobias: Plain folks don’t go on honeymoons, but we do enjoy a good visit with family. The day after the wedding, we help the folks clean up the place and then we start on our trip around to stay with different family members. Usually, they give the newlyweds wedding gifts for the house during those visits, like quilts and table clothes and gas lamps. That can last as long as month depending on how much family you have. Then we either move in with family until we can get a house of our own or into the new place that’s waiting. Either way, a husband is ready to settle with his wife for the married life they’ve been waiting for all this time.

Excerpt from The Saddle Maker’s Son (Setting the scene. Tobias and Rebekah are looking for the two Salvadoran children they’ve been sheltering. The two children have run away and it has begun to storm so Tobias and Rebekah have to take shelter in an old shack, just the 2 of them.):

This time the lightning sizzled. A tree branch buckled and smashed to the ground.

“Ach, that is a little too close.” Tobias grabbed her arm and steered her toward a shack on the tree line. He hadn’t had a chance to investigate its purpose yet. It looked as if it might crash to the ground in a heap at any moment, but it had to be drier—and safer—than out in the middle of the elements. “Let’s get inside until it lets up a little.”

Rebekah tugged away. “Lupe and Diego are out there.”

“They’re not addled. They’ll find shelter too.”

Thunder boomed. Rebekah’s hands went to her head. “Fine.”


The shed smelled of rotted wood, but it was dry. Tobias longed for a kerosene lamp. Even a candle would do. He held the door open long enough to survey in the interior. A wagon wheel, empty egg crates, a broken chair. Junk. The floor was dirt, but dry. “Have a seat.”

“I’ll stand. There might be mice in here.” Her teeth chattered. He hadn’t been south long enough to find a summer rain cold. “Or snakes.”

He opened the door and took another quick look in the dim light of a stormy exterior. Nothing scurried or slithered. “I think we’re safe.”

“I suppose.”

“Are you always so contrary?”

“Depends on who you ask.”

Her light breathing was the only sound besides the patter of rain against the roof. He inhaled and tried to let the air out quietly. Rustling told him she’d decided to take his advice and sit. He started to lean against the wall, but thought better of it. The whole shack might tumble down under his weight. His eyes began to adjust to the dark. She sat scrunched up in one corner, her knees up, arms around them. “I reckon that’s true of everyone. Daed would say I have a stubborn streak a mile long and a tendency to get myself into trouble.”

“Really? I wouldn’t have thought you were the trouble type.”

“I hope I’ve grown up a little and learned from my mistakes. You?”

“What mistakes?”

He chuckled. To his surprise, she joined him.

He crossed his arms over his chest and tried to imagine what was going through her mind. She was stuck in a shack with a man with whom she spent most of her time arguing. She disliked him for telling Susan about her secret meeting with Leila. They’d gotten off on the wrong foot.

He couldn’t put his finger on why it mattered, but it did. He didn’t want her to be mad. It bothered him. The fact that it bothered him served to irritate him even more. He cleared his throat. She was just a girl. He didn’t need girl trouble. He’d had that kind of trouble.

She would be another person about whom he would have to worry.

Someone to lose.

“Maybe we should start again.”

He startled despite himself. Her voice sounded high and breathless. As if she’d been running. “What?”

“I’m Rebekah Lantz. I was new around here about three years ago so I know how it feels. To be new, I mean. So welcome to Bee County.”

He breathed in and out. A peace offering. A white flag. He couldn’t be so mean as to reject her attempt at patching up the rift between them. After all, he’d tattled on her, not the other way around. “I’m Tobias Byler, your new neighbor. Pleased to meet you.”

“Hello, Tobias.” She giggled. A sweet sound in the darkness. “We have lots of mosquitoes, huge horseflies, rattlesnakes, wild pigs, chiggers, many bees, and oh, don’t forget the alligators up at Choke Canyon Lake. If you like interesting pets, there are plenty to choose from.”

Her sense of humor was showing. He liked it. Gott help him, he liked it. “Can you forgive me?”

“Forgive you for what?”

“For being a stickler for the rules and telling Susan about your meeting with Leila.”

“You shouldn’t apologize for doing what’s right.” Her tart tone said he should know better. “It’s a sign of weakness.”

“I didn’t apologize. I only asked to be forgiven.”

“So you’re not sorry.”


Her sigh was exaggerated. “A fine new beginning this is.”

About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of The Saddle Maker’s Son, the third novel in the Amish of Bee County series from Zondervan/HarperCollins. It follows The Bishop’s Son and The Beekeeper’s Son, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “a delicately woven masterpiece.” She is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House. She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.

A former newspaper reporter and public relations professional, Kelly is married to photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Learn more and connect: Kelly’s Website       Kelly’s Twitter       Kelly’s Facebook          Instagram: Kelly_Irvin

About the book – The Saddle Maker’s Son:

Rebekah Lantz feels betrayed and abandoned. Tobias Byler is bound by regret. Can two young runaways from a world away teach them the healing power of a true family?

Rebekah isn’t like her sister Leila, but no one seems to believe that. Ever since Leila made a decision that has haunted her family and their small Amish community, Rebekah has been held to a higher standard under her mother’s watchful eye. Boys avoid her. She simply longs for the chance to be a wife and mother like the other girls.

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 stop the past from accompanying his every thought.

A surprise encounter with two half-starved runaway children forces both Rebekah and Tobias to turn their focus on others far more desperate.

In doing so, they discover the key to forgetting the past may open the door to the love  and the future they both seek.

Can’t wait for the drawing? Purchase now:        The Saddle Maker’s Son Amazon            

The Saddle Maker’s Son BarnesandNoble              The Saddle Maker’s Son Christianbook

Question for Readers: What is your favorite romance subgenre and why? In other words, what do you love to read most and why?

Come back Aug 25th for Amanda Cabot!  




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