Shannon here: Amish Romance author, Kathleen Fuller shares insight on creating characters to fall in love with, along with an excerpt from her latest novella, Sleigh Bells Ring from the Amish Christmas Miracles collection with 13 other authors. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy of Amish Generations. Deadline: Sept 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kathleen:
My favorite thing about writing romance is creating characters that fall in love. My books all have happy endings, and it’s no secret that the hero and heroine will get together. It’s the journey that makes the romance interesting.
When I create my lead characters, I try to find something unique about that character, either their occupation, their issues, where they live or even how they speak. In my novella, Sleigh Bells Ring, which is a part of the upcoming Amish Christmas Miracles collection, my jumping point was a real-life story about an Amish man in Maine who used to be English and used to be a chef. He decided to become Amish and use his skills and knowledge to run his own charcuterie. Here’s a link to the story.
Once I had my hero, who I named Griffin, I needed to come up with a heroine. Enter Hope, a young woman with an open mind and a crush on her boss. Another romance trope I enjoy is the office romance/coworkers falling in love. I won’t spoil any more of the story, but I hope you fall in love with Griffin and Hope as I did when I wrote their romance. J
Excerpt from Sleigh Bells Ring by Kathleen Fuller:
Gatesville, near Holmes County, OH
The light ring of small bells filled Hope Miller’s buggy as she pulled into the parking lot of Lewis’s Fresh Meats and Deli. She bypassed the lot and headed for the small barn behind the shop next to Griffin Lewis’s equally small house, and then brought the buggy to a stop. After making sure her horse, Sunny, was snug in the stall next to Griffin’s fine-looking gelding, she went back her buggy and grabbed her purse. The source of the ringing was a string of tiny bells she had made last night, placed into a small bag, and put into her purse. The deli, which was her place of employment, needed some Christmas cheer.
She walked inside the back of the shop, which wasn’t much warmer than the outside. Like most Amish, Griffin took advantage of the cold weather to chill perishable food. She walked over to the small office, removed her coat, gloves, and scarf and hung them on the peg next to Griffin’s. Her heart jumped a little, just as it had a little more than a month ago when she had started working here. When she answered the Help Wanted advertisement she’d seen in the window of the shop at the beginning of November, she hadn’t expected minding the counter would change her life. It had, but she was the only one who knew.
On impulse she touched the sleeve of Griffin’s coat. The navy-blue wool fabric didn’t feel any different than any other Amish man’s coat, but she felt different. And foolish, especially since she was risking Griffin walking in here at any moment. She dropped her hand, grabbed her white apron, tied it around her neck and then her waist. She headed for the front of the deli, then stopped in the doorway of the office and hurried back to the strand of bells.
When she reached the counter, Griffin was already there, counting change into the drawer. He paused, his dark brown eyebrows forming a V above green eyes that were both serious and kind. “Is that you jingling?” he asked Hope as she moved to stand behind him.
She nodded as she pulled the bells out of the bag. Tiny round pieces of metal shone underneath the gas-powered ceiling lights, strung together on a red cord. “Where should I put this?”
His brow relaxed, but as usual, his expression was inscrutable. She didn’t mind that, though. She’d gotten to know Griffin well since she started working for him, and she was drawn to his solid strength—not to mention his punctuality and the way he took his business seriously. Her personality was a little more carefree, but when it came to work, she was as sober-minded as he was.
When he didn’t answer immediately answer her, she said, “I thought I could decorate a little around here…for the Christmas season.”
He eyed the strand of bells. “That’s a little decoration, that’s for sure.”
She chuckled. “I thought I’d start small.”
Griffin nodded and shut the cash drawer. “You can put that wherever you want. You’re right, we do need some decorations around here. I’m sorry to say I don’t have any.”
“I’ll take care of it,” she said.
“More Christmas bells?”
“Maybe one over the door so it will chime when customers walk in. But I was thinking more like some evergreen boughs trimmed with red ribbon.”
“What about a ribbon draped on the meat case? Would that be allowed? I’m not sure what the rules are here, since this is my first Christmas in Gatesville.”
She nodded. “Christmas decorations are all right, as long as they’re not too fancy. We don’t like to detract from the true reason for the season.”
“I don’t want to do that either.” He took the strand of bells from her. “I have an idea where these can go.”
Surprised, she watched as he took the small strand and wrapped it around the small miniature of an Amish horse and buggy business card holder that was next to the adding machine on the counter. “Perfect,” she said, grinning. Then she turned to him and her breath caught.
He was also smiling, his green eyes twinkling and lighting up his freshly shaved face. Dark brown curls touched the back of his neck, and his bangs, which were also curly, hung above his brow. He was the most handsome man she’d ever seen. Hope had never thought in her wildest dreams she would fall in love with a man who wasn’t born Amish.
About Kathleen: With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, the Amish of Birch Creek series, the Amish Letters series, the Brides of Birch Creek series, the upcoming Mail Order Brides of Birch Creek, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. She has also contributed to numerous novella collections.
She and her husband James live in Arkansas and have three adult children. When she’s not writing, Kathleen is avidly crocheting, reading, and traveling, sometimes all at the same time. She runs the Facebook group Books & Hooks, which combines her love of books, crochet, and collecting recipes that she’ll never have enough time to make. Learn more and connect:
About the Collection: Amish Christmas Miracles
Spend Christmas in Amish country.
As snow falls softly outside the window, curl up by the fire with this collection of 14 stories by your favorite Amish fiction authors. Let them transport you to Amish communities all across the country.
Travel to small towns where horses clip-clop down the road, farms dot the snow-covered landscape, and families gather to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.
Sigh over sweet stories that touch your heart. Laugh, cry, rejoice, and smile as couples renew their faith and find their perfect soul mates.
These heartwarming tales of faith, hope, love, and Christmas miracles are a special gift to you from Kathleen Fuller, Lenora Worth, Adina Senft, Laura Bradford, Jennifer Beckstrand, Jennifer (J.E.B.) Spredemann, Rachel J. Good, Serena B. Miller, Mary Alford, Loree Lough, Dana R. Lynn, Susan Simpson, Tracy Fredrychowski, and Ashley Emma.
May you be richly blessed this holiday season!
Pre-order your copy now! Amish Christmas Miracles is available for pre-order for only .99! Take advantage of this sale price; the price will jump up to 9.99 a week after the release date November 10. Amish Christmas Miracles – Amazon
Question for Readers: What is your favorite romance trope? A trope is a common theme or device. Some examples are: marriage of convenience, small town romance, friends to romance, enemies falling in love, etc.
Come back Sept 15th for Louise M. Gouge!