Happy New Year!!!!! We are thrilled to have Amy Lillard as our first guest of the year and on our blog’s birthday, too!!!! What a fantastic birthday present for us!!!
For those of you who don’t know Amy she writes Amish fiction and contemporary fiction. Amy was kind enough to let us interview her and we hope you find the Q&A as interesting and fun as we did. This picture of Amy was taken from her Facebook page. Doesn’t she look stunning and fun to hang out with? 🙂
Two Girls: When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you know you had “made it”?
Amy L.: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a pre-teen. I kept notebook upon notebook of original poems and musings, the writings of others, quotes and anything I found inspiring. I still have a few of them tucked back in a closet somewhere. But I didn’t think about writing as a career until I was married. So I guess you could say that I started writing seriously in 1992.
As for “making it” I don’t think I’m there yet. But that’s my nature, there’s always another goal to be met, another book to write, another challenge waiting.
Two Girls: What drew you to the Amish fiction genre and why do you think it is so popular?
Amy L.: I started writing Amish romance at the suggestion of my then agent, Mary Sue Seymour. At first, I thought she was kidding. Amish romance? I had never heard of such a thing! When I realized she was serious, I got serious too. I did my research and came up with a story that would fit the genre but would still reflect my writing style. Now I love the character traits the genre offers, the different outlook on life and God, and the balance that the Amish somehow find between their world and ours.
As for why it is so popular, I think most of us read to escape. What better place to escape to, than a picturesque farm where life seems a little slower, in a community where folks help one another? Of course, life with the Amish is not without problems, but it is so easy to imagine that it could be.
Two Girls: What is one myth or misconception about the Amish do you think most people have?
Amy L.: The biggest misconception I feel is that most people believe that all the Amish do x, y, and z. But if you dig around long enough you can find an exception to almost every rule. Also, a lot of people believe that they don’t have problems. After getting to know my Amish friends, they have the same problems we have…marriages struggle, children get in trouble…the grass isn’t always greener.
Two Girls: Your books are set in Oklahoma and some of the Amish drive tractors. Are there any rules about the tractors, i.e. color or type of tractor?
Amy L.: What a great question! I’ve never asked, but one thing you’ll notice is that the tractors are working tractors. None that I saw were shiny or new. The one solid rule that I know about tractors is that they shouldn’t be driven on Sunday. The Amish in Chouteau (the real town my Wells Landing is loosely based off of) drive their buggies to church.
Two Girls: Do you outline your stories or are you a “seat of your pants” author?
Amy L.: I outline my stories. If I’m feeling really industrious, I do a chapter by chapter outline. I used to make really detailed outlines-sometimes as many as sixty pages-but since then I’ve discovered that it’s best to get the basics of the story down then let the rest arise from the story itself.
However, I do outline my mysteries in a bit more detail in order to make sure that I get all of the clues where they need to be along with the red herrings and the suspects.
Two Girls: Can you briefly describe a day in the life of Amy Lillard?
Amy L.: So glamorous. My typical day starts with getting my teenager off to school. Then I come home, contemplate exercise, sometimes I even do it! Then it’s breakfast, email, a conversation with my assistant, then I write until lunch. I write after lunch until it’s time to get the teen from baseball practice. Dinner with the fam, TV with my husband, then he goes to bed and I write for another hour or so before I finally give in to the need for sleep. Then I get up the next day and do it all over again. See? I told you it was glamorous.
Two Girls: How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
Amy L.: I honestly don’t know. The ideas are just…there. Occasionally I have to sit down and come up with a story before my muse starts whispering in my ear about it. If this is the case, I like to get a pen and paper and start writing until the story becomes clear.
Two Girls: Do you approach your contemporary works differently than your Amish works? Is one easier to write than the other?
Amy L.: I do approach them differently. Mainly because I feel the reader wants something different from these two types of books. That said, they are still very much alike. My books from Amish to contemporary have a different focus though they carry the same tone. None of my books are dark, even my mysteries. Most have a small town feel and I do my very best to find characters that the reader will want to know and places they’ll want to live.
Two Girls: What can we expect from you in 2016?
Amy L.: I have a few projects coming out in the new year. Let’s see…
Not So Pretty Penny is a historical, inspirational novella and is part of the Lassoed by Marriage collection. This releases January 1, 2016 (today!!) from Barbour
More Than Friendship the first novella in the Wells Landing Quilting Circle comes out in February
Just Plain Sadie Wells Landing Book 4 is a March release
More Than a Promise Wells Landing Quilting Circle Series novella #2, comes out in December
Shoo, Fly, Shoo book #12 of the Guideposts Sugarcreek Amish Mystery Series (not sure of the release date yet)
Southern Charm book 3 of the Hot Summer Nights Series (this is an Amie Louellen book)
Loving A Lawman book 1 of the Cattle Creek Series comes out July 5
And I”m hoping to get a couple of indie contemporaries out as well 🙂
Two Girls: What is your all-time favorite book?
Amy L.: Without a doubt it’s To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it about every other year or so. I can’t get enough of Scout, Jem, Dill, and Boo.
Wow! Amy sure sounds like one busy lady. We would again like to thank her for taking time out of her schedule to visit with us. This has been fun!! For all things Amy Lillard click on the following links:
Amy Lillard author page on Facebook
Amy’s Amazon author page
Amy on Pinterest
Amy on Twitter
And now for the giveaway……Amy has graciously provided a print copy of Lassoed By Marriage (which releases today, so Happy Release Day, Amy!). For a description of this book, which includes 9 historical romances click on the title above. To enter the contest, simply comment with your favorite Amy Lillard book. It’s that easy!!! Winner will be announced January 7th. Good luck to all!!!!
Congratulations to Sheryl Dean!!!!! She is the winner of Lassoed By Marriage. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway and stay tuned for more!!!