Today Kelly Irvin is joining us on my blog. Kelly is very graciously giving away one copy of BENEATH THE SUMMER SKY to one commenter. Please include contact information. USA only.
Readers often ask me how I get my story ideas. Where do my characters come from? Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. After publishing more than a dozen novels and five novellas, I honestly don’t know. Like songwriter Leon Cohen, author of “Hallelujah,” said, “if I knew where the idea for good songs came from, I’d go there more often.”
I’d go to that enchanting world of good make-believe more often, and I’d stay long enough to figure out how the story is supposed to end. I don’t always know. My latest novel, Beneath the Summer Sun, is a perfect example. When Zondervan Publishing accepted my proposal for the four-book series, Every Amish Season, my editor asked me to provide a one-page synopsis for each of the books in the series. She knows I always agree to do this with the proviso that the manuscript I eventually submit most likely will bear little resemblance to the synopsis. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. In other words, I don’t outline. I usually don’t know exactly what will happen. In the case of the second book in the series, Beneath the Summer Sun, I speculated that Amish widow Jennie Troyer, mother of seven children, would make a certain choice at the end of the book. I was sure of it.
She didn’t. The choice between two men, one a Mennonite book salesman, and the other a reserved Amish bachelor who makes furniture, proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated. Without spoilers, it’s hard to share much, but suffice it to say, Jennie is terrified of making the wrong choice with good reason. Her Amish community expects her to marry again. Her children need a father. She understands her responsibilities, but she doesn’t want a second chance at love.
As I wrote her story, I fell in love with both the men who vied for her attention. They both are so worthy of her love. They both care for her. All three characters have their own personal demons to excise before they can embrace a healthy, loving relationship.
After reading the finished manuscript, my editor said she could’ve accepted either man as Jennie’s new true love. I’m satisfied both men are where they should be when the story ends, but it still surprises me. I’ve often said my characters have minds of their own. I love it when they decide to break out and determine their own destinies.It’s the best part of writing fiction, and it never ceases to give me joy.
All my stories teach me something. Jennie and Beneath the Summer Sun taught me to keep an open mind to the possibilities. I hope my readers will too.
Jennie Troyer knows it’s time to remarry. Can she overcome a painful secret and open her heart to love?
It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry againfor the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward.
Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return?
In this second book in the Every Amish Season series, three hearts try to discern God’s plan for the future—and find peace beneath the summer sun.
Kelly Irvin – Biography
Two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of Bee County, Bliss Creek Amish, and New Hope Amish series. Her newest release is Beneath the Summer Sun, the second novel in the four-book series Every Amish Season from Zondervan Publishing. Her work has also appeared in four Amish anthologies, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. Kelly is a retired newspaper reporter and public relations professional who lives with her husband in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats.