and her Amish novel
What was a favourite childhood book of yours?
I’m the youngest of four so I tended to read ahead of my years. I read To Kill a Mocking Bird when I was ten, and I have to say that not only was it my favourite childhood book, but it’s still on my top-five list. It showed me at a young age, very clearly, how emotionally powerful a story can be.
Do you remember the title of the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
Before I could write, I made up stories about the letters of the alphabet. I gave each a distinct character, and there was also conflict between the letters next to each other. For example, “O” was a kind aunt and “P” was a bully. (Lol, I have no idea where I came up with all of that except that my siblings were off to school and I was probably bored.) Once I could write, I produced a lot of bad poetry, and it wasn’t until high school that I wrote my first piece of fiction. It was titled “Veterans’ Day” and was about a Vietnam War widow.
If you weren’t a writer, what career would you/did you/do you have pursued?
I’m fascinated by midwifery. It’s such an important job, and takes a really special person to do it. I’m not sure I have the depth of character it takes, but it’s definitely one of those “what if?” jobs for me.
Why do you write stories?
When readers read my novels I want them to know they’re not alone. But in writing the stories, I also feel less alone as I connect first with the characters and then with the readers. The process of storytelling builds community and I love that, but I also find it a healing process as I work out issues in my own life through my fiction.
Molly Zook Has Everything Planned Just Right. Or So She Thinks!
Molly Zook’s always liked being in control, so she’s struggling with her mother’s wish that, to save the family farm, she marry Mervin Mosier. Especially after Molly meets Leon Fisher. He’s from Montana but is now training horses at a nearby ranch. He’s tall and muscular and confident–Molly has never met anyone like him and she’s sure he feels the same about her.
Determined to let nothing get between them, Molly tries to coax Mervin into falling back in love with Molly’s best friend, Hannah. A weekend camping trip in the Poconos could be just the place…but things quickly go awry, and it seems Leon and Hannah might be falling for each other instead! Will Molly keep struggling to control everyone and everything around her? Or will she learn to let God handle the twists and turns of her life?
Describe Minding Molly in 5 adjectives
Please share a little about one of your main characters
Molly Zook is a young Amish woman facing all sorts of challenges in her life, including the possible loss of the family farm. She’s a go-getter and some think she’s controlling, however the fact is she’s a born leader, ultra responsible, and a take-charge person. She has to learn, though, to trust God with her future, her friendships, her farm, and her family—not to mention with the man she’s going to marry. She knows what she wants—but she learns God knows best.
What spiritual theme or question does your story deal with?
Minding Molly was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As far as the theme, I drew on this quote from the play: “The course of true never did run smooth” (1.1.134) and Christ’s command for us to “…love one another…” (John 13:34). Love is definitely the theme of the story. Molly suddenly finds all of her relationships difficult—with sister, best friend, and most unsettling, her romantic interest too. Through her difficulties Molly learns that love can be a lot of work—but definitely worth it.
Share a recent movie or tv show that you have loved, and why?
Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” (2013) was great—I’ve watched it three times in the last few months. It’s a contemporary take, set in Whedon’s California home, and filmed in twelve days. The acting is fantastic, making the play come to life in a magical way. I highly recommend it.
What novel are you working on now?
I’m so glad you asked because this ties into the previous question. J I just finished the revisions for Becoming Bea, inspired by Much Ado About Nothing. Becoming Bea follows Molly’s little sister’s story and releases in the fall of 2014.