Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What part of the country do you live in?
I live in the Midwest—always have. We lived in Missouri, Michigan, and northern Arkansas.
Tell us about your writing habits: how many hours a day do you devote to writing? What time of day? Where do you write? Any interesting work patterns…like a certain type of music? Or continual infusions of coffee?
I have my computer open all day long for whenever I have a moment to work. I do my best work in the afternoon so I usually devote my morning to marketing and housework and my evenings to reading and reviewing. I drink no more than two cups of coffee a day – and I drink unsweetened tea after I’ve reached my coffee limit. I don’t listen to music because it distracts me and I have enough distractions since I write in the living room, surrounded by my family (five children, a dog who thinks he’s a person, my husband, and a phone that demands attention whenever I walk away from it.)
Let’s talk about the Amish. Have you been influenced by the Amish in a positive way?
I know some Amish personally. Some of them are friendly and outgoing and once you become friends with them, they are willing to help out in some ways. I am friends with an Amish man who lives near me and he gifts me with vegetables and fruits occasionally and if he isn’t busy answers questions I may have.
What are your thoughts about the growth of Amish fiction? Why do you think it is such a popular sub-genre?
I love Amish fiction. I think it is popular because it is usually quiet. Calm. Even the Amish mysteries have a quiet peaceful tone to them. And that is lacking in most of our lives.
Tell us about your most recent book, A White Christmas in Webster County.
Wanting to relocate from Shipshewana to somewhere new in order to heal from losing her beau in a tragic accident, Mercy Lapp answered an ad in The Budget to work as a mother’s helper for Matthew and Shanna Yoder in Seymour, Missouri.
Meanwhile, her childhood acquaintance, Abner Hilty had fled Shipshewana to Montana to work on a ranch after he witnessed a murder. Now that the killer is safely behind bars, Abner decides to visit his brother in Missouri. Mercy is surprised to see Abner there, and equally surprised by how much he’d changed physically since she’d last seen him.
As Christmas approaches, an unexpected heavy snow lets Abner and Mercy spend a lot of time together. Abner hopes to interest Mercy in a more permanent relationship, but Mercy makes a potentially life-changing discovery. Readers will enjoy the tension as Mercy tries to decide where she will make her life.
What kinds of “Christmasy” things did you do to get in the mood to write a Christmas-themed book?
Oh, this was fun. I found some Christmas ornaments – one was a gingerbread man, one a snowflake, and set them in prominent view of my computer. I tried playing Christmas music, but that was too much of a distraction, so I loaded a snow picture as background on my computer. I also put a Christmasy-scented candle nearby. And I picked out Christmas-themed books to read for when I needed a reading break. It also helped that my son was on a baking spree right then and made cookies, homemade pretzels, homemade peppermint patties and more.
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author, a pastor’s wife, and a homeschooling mother of three children. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) and The Amish of Webster County series (Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love). Her non-Amish book Swept Away will release November 2014.
A White Christmas in Webster County, is her latest release, hitting shelves on September 15 2014. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. She makes her home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
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