Shannon here: Amish romance author, Kelly Irvin shares her inspiration for her latest release, A Plain Love Song plus a chance to win a copy. Comment on this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: July 12th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
A Plain Love Song – The story behind the story By Kelly Irvin
I have to admit I had some selfish reasons for writing A Plain Love Song. A good portion of the story takes place in Branson, MO., a place I’d never been but really wanted to visit. When I started writing the New Hope Amish series, set in Missouri, I knew a research trip would be needed. What a great reason to hop on a plane with my husband and head to the Show Me state for a week of traveling around the countryside, gathering impressions and details and color for my stories.
Let me just get this out of the way. I love country music. My husband does not. He’s a classic rock kind of guy who shudders at country music. He agrees with my son when he says country music makes his ears bleed. Yet, Tim gamely submitted to a trip to Branson, MO., and not one, but two, shows filled with variations on traditional and contemporary country music. I’d say that counts as true love.
He also went with me to Jamesport, MO, home of the largest Amish district in the state, and spent two nights at a bed and breakfast that had no TVs in the bedrooms. He went to a huge Amish school fund-raiser auction in 100-degree plus weather. He took almost no photographs of the Amish folks throughout the visit despite being a professional photographer his entire adult life. It almost killed him, but he managed to keep his finger off the button.
I jest, but it was a fabulous working vacation from the perspective that Tim and I got to spend a week traveling together, just the two of us. Then I was able to write a book about a young Amish woman named Adah who dreams of writing songs, playing a guitar, and performing. She meets a cowboy who teaches her to play that guitar and in the process falls in love with her. She can’t help but have feelings for him, even though such a relationship is forbidden. Jackson is handsome, he’s lead singer in a band, and he’s a cowboy. I was half in love with him myself. That made exploring the theme of the book—what happens when your dream becomes more important than faith and family—all the more interesting.
Another perk of writing A Plain Love Song was trying my hand at writing songs. A few can be found in the book. I won’t be quitting my day job to move to Nashville, but it was great fun. I secretly have always wanted to be a musician. Unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I tried to teach myself to play the guitar, a failed experiment. The inexpensive guitar I purchased sits forlornly on its stand in my office, gathering dust.
One more thing I did with this book that I’ve never done before is write an alternate ending. My editor suggested it because she fell in love with the guy who lost out. I enjoyed it thoroughly because I too wanted to know how things would have worked out had Adah made a different choice. I urge readers to wait until they’ve read the book to check out the alternate ending on my website. Don’t spoil it for yourselves!
All in all, writing A Plain Love Song meant I spent morning noon and night thinking about country music, traveled to Branson, MO, with the love of my life, and wrote about some of the cutest heroes ever. I had almost as hard a time choosing between the two leading men as Adah did. I love it when that happens! So the story behind the story is that A Plain Love Song was just plain fun to write.
About Kelly: Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. Her latest release is A Plain Love Song, set in Amish country in Missouri, which debuted July 1. It is the final installment in the series, which also included Love Redeemed and Love Still Stands.
She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan/HarperCollins. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors. Connect with her: http://www.kellyirvin.com, Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin, https://www.facebook.com/Kelly.Irvin.Author
About the book – A Plain Love Song:
She had to find her way to him…but first she had to find her way to God.
Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to make music. It’s all she’s ever desired—to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That’s a dream that will never come true in the confines of her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and suddenly she sees the chance for a different kind of life…a real stage, a real guitar, and a real opportunity to sing her songs to a real audience!
But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her faith, her family, and her community—and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can’t get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she’s ever known to pursue her dreams?
Come back July 7th for Mary Anslee Urban!