Q: Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What are your favorite hobbies when you’re not writing?
We are movie buffs in my house! In fact, our playroom is decorated with our favorite movie posters. My 10-year-old enjoys seeing “older” action adventure movies with me. I also enjoy listening to books. I download books onto my iPhone and listen to them while I commute to and from work. I savor traffic jams because I can enjoy my current book for a longer amount of time!
Q: What has been the “riskiest” thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Did it work? Was it helpful?
Last year, one of my Amish friends invited me to attend a church service at her home. My friend, Janet, and I drove up to PA to attend it. It was risky to me because I’m an introvert, and I get nervous when I meet new people. Thankfully, my friend Janet is very outgoing, and I followed her lead when we chatted with the Amish folks in the congregation.
Q: Tell us about A Gift of Grace.
A Gift of Grace is the first book in my Kauffman Amish Bakery series, and it originally debuted in April 2009. It’s had a makeover for spring. I love the new cover, and I hope that readers will also enjoy the new look! Since A Gift of Grace was my very first Amish book, it’s very special to me. The characters feel like old friend. Here is a blurb:
Q: In A Gift of Grace, when Amish Rebecca Kauffman gains custody of her English nieces, the term “blended family” takes on a whole new meaning. Tell us a little bit about that.
Rebecca Kauffman’s tranquil Old Order Amish life is transformed when she suddenly becomes guardian to her two teenage nieces after her English sister and brother-in-law are killed in an automobile accident. Instant motherhood, after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child of her own, is both a joy and a heartache. Rebecca struggles to give the teenage girls the guidance they need as well as fulfill her duties to Daniel as an Amish wife.
Rebellious Jessica is resistant to Amish ways and constantly in trouble with the community. Younger sister Lindsay is caught in the middle, and the strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as Jessica’s rebellion escalates. Instead of the beautiful family life she dreamed of creating for her nieces, Rebecca is frustrated by her new role and begins to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God. Will she be able to reconcile differences in her home—or will the clash of cultures tear her world apart?
Q: When you speak to groups about the Amish, what are the biggest misunderstandings people have about them?
Many people consider the Amish backward or ignorant because they don’t attend school beyond 8th grade. In reality, the Amish are informed. My closest Amish friend loves to read, and her favorite books are biographies. Also, reality television has sensationalized the Amish community. There isn’t really an Amish Mafia, and the youth don’t wild during rumspringa. The youth gatherings are chaperoned, and only approximately 10% of the youth leave the community.
Q: What do you think about the “downside” of being Amish? What do you see as concerns or red flags?
People often ask me if I’d like to be Amish. I’d have a difficult time giving up my laptop, movies, and music! Being Amish, especially living on a farm, is a very difficult life. My close friend has seven children, and they live on a dairy farm. Her daily chores are endless, and she often tells me that she’s exhausted. Since they run a dairy farm, they can’t travel or take vacations. The Amish are truly hardworking people, and they don’t enjoy the luxuries we do, such as taking time off from work and relaxing at the beach or another vacation spot.
Q: Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
Currently, I’m working on book #2 in my new series, which will be called the Amish Heirloom Series. Book #1, The Forgotten Recipe, will hit bookshelves in November. I’m really excited about it, and I hope I can visit Amish Wisdom again to tell you more about it.
Q: I know that organ and blood donation is something you are passionate about. Please share a little about this.
My husband, Joe, has endured two kidney transplants. Joe received a kidney from his brother in 2004, and it only lasted four years. In 2008, he went back on dialysis, and he was very ill. I was willing to donate to Joe, but I wasn’t a perfect match. Instead of donating a kidney to Joe, I found another way to help him.
I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband, Joe, received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and swapped kidneys with them. I donated a kidney to a woman, and in exchange, her husband gave a kidney to Joe.
Due to Joe’s kidney struggles, I’ve become an advocate for both organ and blood donation. My family and I are participating in the Kidney Walk in Charlotte, NC, again this year. Every year we walk as Team Clipston. This year, I teamed up with Zondervan Publishers to help spread the word about the Kidney Walk and also my team. If you donate at least $25 to Team Clipston, I will send you an autographed copy of my memoir, A Gift of Love, which tells our story of how we fought Joe’s kidney disease.
Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats. Her most recent release is the A Gift of Grace.
Purchase Amy’s books here.