Amy Clipston writes gentle Amish stories and feisty NASCAR novels! She has a sweet smile yet is ferociously fighting to save her husband’s life, who is desperate need of a second kidney transplant. I have no doubt you will enjoy getting to know Amy and her books in this interview.
My thanks to my friend, Tracy for her questions regarding Amy’s debut novel, A Gift of Grace.
Over to you, Amy:~
If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
I was born on November 27, and my nana (maternal grandmother) was born on November 26. If I had arrived 12 hours earlier, I would’ve been “Emily” after her. (Actually, her name was “Emilie,” which is German.) To this day, I wish my parents had named me after her even though I was a day late.
We had a fat, anti-social calico cat named Spooky when I was little. Although my parents tried their darnedest to keep her inside, she still roamed our yard. She would leave me “gifts” (dead rodents and birds) under my swing set to show her affection.
Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?
Christine. I’ve known her since Kindergarten, and we’re still like sisters.
Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.
My aunt and uncle gave me a stuffed white cat when I was little, and I named her “Kitty.” (How original!) Over time, she became ratty and torn, but I kept her until just a few years ago.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible)
What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?
Right now I’m hooked on Baskin-Robbins’ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups sundae. Yum!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through stages where I wanted to be a teacher, veterinarian, nurse, and dentist. Funny, I never dreamt of being a write until after college.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I hope to take my family to Disney World once my husband is well. My husband and boys have never been there, and it’s always been my most favorite place. I also want to see Hawaii. My father-in-law served in the Navy, and my husband was born in Honolulu. I would like to tour the places where my husband and his family lived.
Too many to list! I love a variety of books. Some of my favorite authors are Robin Lee Hatcher, Karen Kingsbury, Beth Wiseman, Melody Carlson, Robin Jones Gunn, Janet Evanovich, Kristin Hannah, and Stephenie Meyer. Most recently, I couldn’t put the “Twilight” series down. I read all four books in 14 days!
Again, too many to list! Just a few are — “The Story of Us,” “The Outsiders,” “Rebel Without Cause,” “Mystic Pizza,” “Pretty in Pink,” “16 Candles,” “Save the Last Dance” and “Twilight” (Can’t wait for the sequel!).
Little House on the Prairie, Fast and Furious or Cats & Dogs?!
The “Fast and the Furious” since we’re all NASCAR fans in my house. With two boys and a mechanic husband, I hear a whole lot about cars and trip over many, many Tonkas, Hot Wheels, and Matchboxes.
Scrapbooking, knitting, cooking or aerobics?
Where is the most interesting place you have been?
In 1986, my parents and I went to Germany and visited where my father was born. We met the most amazing people and had a wonderful time.
Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayers Rock) or Sydney Harbour Bridge?
Maybe the Great Barrier Reef? I love water. When I was a kid, I told everyone I was half mermaid and my tail came out in salt water.
What’s your most fervent prayer?
To find a kidney donor for my husband who needs a second transplant. His first transplant failed, and he’s back on dialysis. I’m not a match for him, however, I’m ready to donate to someone else in exchange for a kidney for him. We just need to find him that match…
What is your favourite Bible verse (or “one” of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?
My favorite verse is one that Elizabeth Kauffman, a character in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, quotes often, Romans 12:12 (NIV) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” While my character of Elizabeth drew me to it, it seems to be the theme of my life right now while we search for a kidney donor for my husband.
Besides God, who has influenced you the most?
My mother, who is my rock and my best friend. She has been my strength through my husband’s illness, and she’s a second mother to my children. She has taught me to believe in myself and never give up. She was my loudest cheerleader during my pursuit of my writing dream.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
While I haven’t donated a kidney yet, I’ve completed my testing, and I’m ready to undergo surgery as soon as we find a match for my husband. I’m on a mission to encourage folks to donate blood and organs. I tell everyone to give the gift of life!
What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?
I tripped and fell while getting off the school bus. Although I scraped my knee, Christine, the friend I mentioned earlier, and I laughed the whole way up her street to her house.
How did your husband propose?
It was our 3-year dating anniversary, and he gave me an ID bracelet with my name engraved on one side and the date on the other. (I’m wearing it right now.) Then he said, “I have something else for you, but I didn’t wrap it. How do you wrap a last name?” How cool is that? It still makes me smile.
What is the best advice you have received about marriage?
Don’t go to bed angry. If you’ve had an argument, it’s easier to work it out before bedtime, so it doesn’t fester over night. I don’t always follow that rule, but I can attest that it’s definitely true!
A Gift of Grace
What was your inspiration for the ‘Kauffman Amish Bakery’ series?
I’m half-German, and my father immigrated to the United States with his parents and siblings in 1929. He once told me the Amish speak the same dialect as our relatives, so I feel a connection to them. I’ve always had a great respect and fascination with their faith and simple lives. I began reading other Amish authors, and I was moved to create my own series.
Was it personal experience or stories from others that you drew from, when writing so authentically of Lindsay and Jessica’s grief?
Stories from others helped me describe the girls’ grief. However, I experienced grief in December 2008 when we unexpectedly lost my father-in-law. The book was already written when he passed away, but I have first-hand knowledge of that heart-breaking, all-consuming loss now.
Did you find it difficult or easy to write about the contrast between modern and Amish life?
It was difficult because I wanted to show the differences without giving the impression I was passing judgement. The Amish live differently, but that doesn’t make it “wrong.” My editor helped me illustrate the differences through Jessica’s eyes without making her seem too critical.
How did you find the Amish recipes scattered through the book?
They were given to me by friends in Lancaster County, PA.
NASCAR racing novels and Amish stories! Do you have a preference to write books about the gentle Amish life or the lives of people in car racing?
I’m a moody writer and enjoy both. Sometimes I crave fast cars, roaring engines, and hot guys in racing suits. Other times, I want to bounce along in a quiet buggy with a cute guy in a straw hat.
Thanks for the compliment! My editor gets credit for that.
What is in your writing pipeline?
My second Kauffman Amish Bakery book, A Promise of Hope, will debut in January 2010. Betrayed, my NASCAR romance, hits the bookshelves with Five Star Publishing in September 2009.
Thanks so much, Amy You and each one of your precious family are in my prayers as you face this battle with such bravery.
Relz Reviewz Extras
Tracy’s review of A Gift of Grace