Hi! Kristi here. I first discovered Kathleen Fuller’s books last year when I was sent a copy of A Reluctant Bride to review. Thankfully I was on vacation when I decided to start reading the book because I stayed up well past my bedtime reading. The story captivated me from the beginning and I just couldn’t put the book down. Cathy is a huge fan of Kathleen’s too and was lucky enough to meet her in May. When we were given the opportunity to interview her we jumped at the chance. We are grateful to Kathleen for taking time out of her crazy-busy schedule and answering our questions. We are beyond excited to share our “Kathleen Q&A” with you. So without further delay, here is our interview with Kathleen Fuller. Enjoy!!!!!
TG: Your Birch Creek novels~A Reluctant Bride and An Unbroken Heart~are wonderful books. How did you come up with the characters and storylines? (You caused some sleepless nights for your readers with those books 🙂 )
KF: Like a lot of my books, I thought about a scenario (an arranged Amish marriage) and then asked the question “What if?” dozens of times until the characters were fleshed out. I also knew I wanted to do a series centering on three sisters who had lost both their parents and how the fall out affected all three of them. I had the opportunity to set their stories in a fictional Amish settlement, and I enjoyed creating that.
TG: Your characters, while being Amish, face the same problems as non-Amish . Why do you think people assume the Amish lead perfect lives and was there one thing that surprised you as you did research for your books?
KF: I thnk sometimes we equate “simple” or “less complicated” with “perfect” since our society has become so complicated and rushed and it’s definitely imperfect. The Amish have a lot in common with us when it comes to faith and navigating the world. They are more separate from the world than we are but they still have to make a living, maintain healthy relationsips, and figure out how to exist in a technological world when they choose not to use that technology. One thing that surprised me in my research is that the Amish aren’t so serious and austere as people think they are–they can be laid back and funny, too.
TG: What’s your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
KF: Favorite part is creating characters and editing. I love the revision process. The worst part is writing down the story. It’s always been like pulling teeth without anesthesia while perched on the edge of a volcano. I really, really dislike the first draft process.
TG: What is a typical day in the life of Kathleen Fuller?
KF: A typical day is that I never have a typical day! I’m not a scheduled person, so each day varies. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate into anything exciting. I’m incapable of having a routine, which is both frustrating and freeing. Mostly, I eat, sleep, write , read, spend time with my family, hug my dogs, then do it all over again in a different order.
TG: Was there an author or book that inspired you to be a writer? Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?
KF: When I was in high school I thought about going into journalism. That lasted about ten minutes, then changed my mind. I never thought I’d be a writer, especially not a novelist because that seemed like such an impossible dream. Then I read The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers, and I was inspired to try my hand at writing. That also coincided with my asking God what he wanted me to do ministry-wise, so I fully believe that God planted the writing seed in me in his timing, not mine.
TG: Do you outline your books or just let the characters do what they want? Has a book ever taken a turn while writing that surprised you?
KF: I’ve written outlines, but I rarely stick to them. Each book develops differently, but ultimately the characters do whatever they want. Every single book has a turn or twist (sometimes several) that I never saw coming as I was writing. That’s the fun part of writing–when you discover the story much in the same way a reader does. A lot of times that happens during the editing process, at least in my case. Which is why I love editing–for me that is when the story really comes together.
TG: You have a novella in the upcoming book , An Amish Harvest. Can you tell us about the novella and your inspiration for the story?
KF: Oh, I love this novella because I love the main character, Amos Mullet. Amos first appeared in my young adult book, Hide and Secret. Then he was a secondary character in my novel A Faith of Her Own. Finally, he gets his own love story. Amos was inspired by my work as a special education teacher. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of teaching and getting to know a lot of wonderful kids, some who have autism. I wanted to show that people with autism have the same needs and desires as everyone else. Amos isn’t based on a particular person though. He’s definitely his own character, and I hope readers love him as much as I do.
TG: Amy Clipston and Amanda Flower are crazy about their cats while Shelley Shepard Gray and Vannetta Chapman are crazy about their dogs. Is there a pet in the Fuller household that gets special attention?
KF: Yep. We have two Shorkies, Mollie and Chief. They’re a little camera shy, though. Chief has gotten to the point of turning his head away when he sees the phone aimed at him! I’ve included a picture of them when they were being cooperative. They’re fun dogs and we spoil, er, love them a lot.
TG: You and your family are moving back to Arkansas soon. After having lived in Ohio near the Amish, will you miss spending time in their communities?
KF: Definitely! I’ve always loved going to Amish country, even before I started writing about the Amish. When my husband and I first visited, we enjoyed the peacefulness of the area, the friendliness of the Amish, and of course the food. 🙂 I’ll miss the easy access, but I plan to keep visiting–I’ll just have to travel a longer distance.
TG: Have you been able to write with all that’s been going on with your daughter graduating, packing, getting your house on the market and the countless other things involved in moving?
KF: Yes, but it’s been a challenge. Writing is my job, and right now I can’t take a vacation from it due to deadlines. The hardest part is getting myself into the headspace of the story and characters. With everything going it’s a big mental shift. But that’s life, isn’t it? There’s always something going on!
TG: What can we expect from you in the future?
KF: I’m working on the first book in a brand new series, Letters of Birch Creek. Written in Love features Jalon Chupp, Sol Troyer’s friend who was briefly mentioned in the Amish of Birch Creek books. Some other familiar characters make cameo appearances. I also have two more novella anthologies coming out–An Amish Home and An Amish Summer. All these books will be releasing in 2017-2018.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our interview with Kathleen. Don’t forget to pre-order A Love Made New (An Amish of Birch Creek Novel). This book releases September 13, 2016!