Saturday, December 6, 2014

Looking for Christmas Reads...or Gifts?

Laura V.Hilton writes both Amish and contemporary stories that touch the heart. I have to admit, I never enjoyed Amish fiction until I read Laura's. She has three new books out, two Amish Christmas and one contemporary. 

The Snow Globe

Victor Petersheim has left the Amish and works on a river boat on the Mississippi River, spending three months on the river then having three months off. During his off-work months he returns home to his Amish community and helps out on his grandparents’ farm. When he returns home after his most recent absence, he discovers his grossmammi has developed health problems and they’ve hired Esther Beachy to be a “mother’s helper.” Victor is unsettled by this woman living in their home, but has to accept it. Esther loves listening to Victor’s grandmother’s stories and while puttering around in a store while the grossmammi’s in the hospital, she discovers a snow globe that depicts an area where the Petersheims used to live. She buys it as a gift for the grossmammi to cheer her up during her hospitalization. Victor is touched by Esther’s gift and her care for his grossmammi, and strives to be friendlier. Will Esther’s gentle heart draw him back to the community? Or will he return to the river once again? 

A White Christmas in Webster County   

Wanting to relocate from Shipshewana to somewhere new, Mercy Lapp answered an ad in The Budget to work as a mother’s helper for Matthew and Shanna Yoder in Seymour, Missouri. Mercy relocated from Shipshewana to give herself space and time to heal after the death of her beau in a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. Abner Hilty fled Shipshewana to Montana to work on a ranch after he and his twin brother witnessed a murder. Now that the killer is safely behind bars, Abner decides to visit his brother Abram in Missouri where he’d settled with his bride of one month. Mercy is surprised to see Abner there, and equally surprised by how much he’d changed physically since she’d last seen him. Even though the two live in different districts they occasionally see each other in town and form a fledging friendship. As Christmas approaches, an unexpected heavy snow lets Abner and Mercy spend a lot of time together in wintertime fun. Abner hopes to interest Mercy in a more permanent relationship. But then Mercy has a potentially life changing discovery. Will she return to Shipshewana to answer the summons of the past? Or settle in a new place?
Swept Away
He survived a life-altering event. She is facing one.

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her grandmother who doesn’t want to be cared for. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter.

It doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever. 

Purchase Laura's books:

Read More About Laura:

How has being published changed your life?   It has made life a lot busier, but has also made me more organized.

What are you reading right now?   I read fast, so what I’m reading today probably won’t be what I’m reading when I post this, but right now I’m reading The Christmas Star Bride by Amanda Cabot.

What would be your dream vacation?   My dream vacation would be an all expense paid trip to Michigan.  I’d like to take my family to all my favorite places throughout the state.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?  Sometimes, it is being able to focus. Like right now. Life is hitting and I am having a hard time thinking of much else.  I am praying a lot, mostly about the situation because I’m not on a deadline at the moment.  If I was on deadline, I’d be praying for my writing, too.
Where do you like to write?  In the living room, surrounded by my family.

If someone else were sitting at your desk right now, what would they see?  A mess. My son has rearranged the living room so I have my own “office.” He has the loveseat in front of my computer desk, a bookcase with the homeschool books and supplies beside me on one side, another desk with a printer and paper supplies on the other side. My computer desk is loaded down with newspaper clippings my aunt sent, a book review calendar, pens, and other miscellaneous junk.

Has there been a time in your own life where you could really sense God was putting you in a situation for a reason?   Yes. I think it’s because the rough situations cause me to grow as a person, as a writer, and as a Christian.
What’s on the horizon for you?  What will you be writing next? 
Right now I have started working on a proposal for another Amish series, also set in Jamesport. I have written about 200 words. I asked my husband to read over them to see if it “grabbed” him and he said “Can I read the synopsis first?” And I said “No. There isn’t a synopsis.”  He said, “Isn’t that supposed to come first?” And I laughed.  He did read my 200 words. And then went out to try an experiment to see if what I wrote actually worked.

How do you choose between ideas you’d like to write about?  I do have some ideas written down in a file, but for this particular series I came up with three new ones.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?   My family. Spending time with them, however. We have Monopoly tournaments that I usually lose, Scrabble tournaments where I can usually hold my own (depending on the letters I draw) and other things. 

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and three of their children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura also  has two adult children.

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard in April 2015, and The Bird House in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

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