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?
I love to crochet, and I always have an afghan in progress to work on during long car trips and when I’m taking a break from working with words—I’ve crocheted three prayer shawls and around 55 afghans over the years. I also love to cook and try new recipes, and because my Seasons of the Heart books have a recipe section in the back, I always try out the recipes before I put them into the story and the recipe section.
Q: What has been the riskiest thing you’ve done in the name of book research?
I did buy an accordion online and taught myself how to play it when I was writing Journey to Love (the hero was a Cajun fellow who played, so I wanted to have the feel and correct terminology for the story). I also learned I’d bought an accordion that was too large for a “shortie” like me—I had to stand up to play, and it was as much a weight-bearing exercise as it was a musical experience, so I eventually sold it.
Q: What do you think about the “downside” of being Amish? What do you see as concerns or red flags?
My Amish friends in Jamesport, Missouri, where my books are set and where I’ve done my research, are becoming more concerned about being able to support their families on their small farms without the father having an outside job, which takes him away from home more than those folks would prefer. And the Jamesport, MO Amish are also currently leaning toward allowing cell phones so they can better keep up with orders for their stores/businesses and keep more in touch with their customers—which also threatens their Old Order tradition.
I am amazed by the way this genre has burgeoned since I began writing for it. I was the first author at Kensington to write these stories in 2010, and now there 4 or 5 of us there—and the fact I was issued contracts for two new series that will keep me writing until early 2017 tells me my publisher is predicting these books will still be profitable for them far into the future.
I believe these books are so popular because our American culture perceives Amish life to be simpler and more serene, much like when our grandparents lived—more picturesque and idyllic. (I think our stories, being fiction and romances, tend to look at the Amish culture through rose-colored glasses, because the Amish certainly have their own concerns and stressors.) I also believe these books appeal to a growing demographic of women who prefer stories that don’t contain sex, profanity, or graphic violence.
Q: Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
I’m now working on Promise Lodge, the first book in a series of that name. The Bender sisters, two who are widowed and the youngest, who stayed at home to care for their parents until they died, have become so disgusted with their bishop’s refusal to discipline his teenage son they’ve sold their farms, pooled their money, and bought a large tract of land that used to be a church camp, in Promise, Missouri. They’re starting a new colony despite all the naysayers who believe they’ll never succeed (and who believe it’s wrong for women to take such an initiative). But can’t isn’t a word that has ever kept Mattie, Christine, and Marietta from following their dreams or going where they believe God is leading them.
Q: Describe your perfect day.
You know, every day is perfect in its own way! I think if we, like the Amish, believe that in the good times and not-so-happy times, God is working out His purpose for our lives, we’d be better able to maintain a balanced perspective about life. Any day I can enjoy a long walk with my dog, Ramona, create some pages in a story that take me by pleasant surprise, and enjoy a nice supper with my husband, is a fabulous day!
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. 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. Her latest title is Harvest of Blessings.
Purchase Charlotte’s books here.