Q. Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What stage of life are you in?
I am married to Joe, and we have two sons, ages 13 (Zac) and 9 (Matt). We also have 4 very spoiled cats, Molly, Lily, Rico, and Jet. Aside from writing books, raising two boys, and playing with my cats, I work full-time for the City of Charlotte.
Q. What is your “go-to” research when writing?
I have a friend who is a member of the Old Order Amish community in Pennsylvania. She answers all of my questions and helps me with my plots.
Q. Amish fiction authors are accused of romanticizing the Amish, of glossing over real problems. How do you respond to that concern?
I always include real problems like divorce, death, estranged family members, and even suicide in my stories, because the Amish have to deal with those issues just like we do. I always have my Amish friend review my stories and tell me her thoughts because I respect the Amish culture and do my best to keep my stories as real as I can.
Q. Your latest book, A Mother’s Secret, is a great example of that. Tell us more about it.
A Mother’s Secret is the second in my Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series. The heroine in A Mother’s Secret, Carolyn Lapp, dreams of marrying for love and longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she’s never revealed the identity of her 15-year-old son Benjamin’s father and struggles daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. She lives with her brother, who has arranged a practical marriage for her to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn suspects Saul is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter and doesn’t really love her. Things become even more complicated for Carolyn when she meets horse breeder, Joshua Glick, after her son has a run in with him. Carolyn and Joshua are drawn to each other, but Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth about her past, their budding romance will die. After years of loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention and she has to decide which man will be able to give her the family and the love that she’s longed for.
I’ve also just finished reviewing the final pages for book three in the same series, A Dream of Home, which will debut in December, 2014.
Q. What are your thoughts about the growth of Amish fiction? Why do you think it is such a popular sub-genre?
I think people enjoy Amish fiction because they long for the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle. Every day we’re driving here and there, and we hardly have time to sit down and relax. We crave a life that’s more focused on faith and family. I do think we can romanticize the Amish life style though. My Amish friend has told me that owning a dairy farm is very difficult work.
Q. What is something not related to writing that you’re passionate about?
I’m an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney through a swap for my husband in 2011. My husband, Joe, had received a kidney from his brother in 2004, and it only lasted 4 years. Joe went back on dialysis in 2008, and he was very ill. No one matched him, so I signed up to give a kidney through the paired donation program. Through that program, I donated a kidney to a woman, and the same day, her husband gave a kidney to Joe. We’ll celebrate our three-year “kidney-versary” on June 14. I wrote a memoir about our story. It’s called The Gift of Love.
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 with Zondervan, which is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy lives in North Carolina with her family.
Purchase Amy’s books here.