A funny thing happened on the way to writing this fourth book of my Seasons of the Heart series: we had already titled it Breath of Spring, but in my original proposal, I didn’t have a heroine picked out. My editor mentioned that one of my existing characters, Annie Mae Knepp, would make a wonderful heroine, and her story quickly took shape in my mind.
At seventeen, Annie Mae has committed the ultimate “sin” by refusing to go with her father, Hiram Knepp, to the new colony he has started. Hiram got excommunicated from Willow Ridge in the previous book, so now everyone—especially Annie Mae—is looking over her shoulder to see what nastiness he’s going to cook up next.
Annie Mae is especially concerned about who’s caring for her four preschool-age siblings while her father gets his new community up and running. When she sees a strange young woman chasing after the kids with a paddle, Annie Mae snatches them back to Willow Ridge. Suddenly, she needs a place to live, a job to support them, and she sees a lonely future ahead when no sane man would want to court her, considering the “package” she comes with.
I matched her up with the boy-next-door, home-renovator Adam Wagler, who’s minding his own business when he meets her. But that doesn’t make for much drama! He’s also so short that Annie Mae literally looks right over the top of him. So while everyone agrees that Adam’s a great guy he really wasn’t shaping up to be hero material.
A few writer friends tossed out ideas that would make Adam more of a rebel, maybe with a secret or tragedy in his past that shaped his life in ways nobody knew about. Suddenly a motorcycle appeared—and because Adam has already joined the Old Order Amish church, a motor vehicle is strictly forbidden. It’s in the barn, hidden under a blue tarp, and because it’s a vintage Indian Chief, the stakes—and its story value—go way up! Of course Adam rides that cycle to rescue Annie Mae from a dicey situation when her father has her abducted, and of course, Adam gets caught by the cops and Bishop Tom Hostetler. But Annie Mae just might win a man for whom family is top priority, and who makes her feel worthy of love. Now that’s a hero we can all appreciate!
And now you know the story behind the story!
Charlotte Hubbard draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi to write of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.