Q&A: Amy Lillard (Katie's Choice)
Amy Lillard sat down to tell FamilyFiction about her newest book, Katie’s Choice (B&H Books), and what’s on the horizon to finish up the Clover Ridge series.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for Katie's Choice?
I kind of did it methodically, and I've never done anything like this before. Maybe that's why it worked better. I really sat down and dissected what I wanted to do. So I started with the series and I said, "I'm going to make this series and I'm going to write true romances. Romance by the genre, but they are going to be Amish characters." So I sat down with a list of 20 Romance plots and went, "Fish out of water, marriage of convenience, secret baby," outlined them all. Katie's Choice is the fish out of water with the Amish girl and the English guy. It grew out of the original; Gideon was the original (Saving Gideon) and Katie's his sister. He's a wounded hero. He feels responsible for the death of his wife and his son. He has pulled away and he's about as close to suicide as an Amish man can get. He sold his property, moved to the edge of the community, and has locked himself away. He's where I started. The dynamics of the story rose out from the actual series.
Q: Can you tell us about Katie, the main character?
Oh, I love Katie.Katie to me is the quintessential Amish woman. She has accepted her life for what it is. I wanted Katie to teach school and I wanted her to be happy in her life then have to make her decision on whether to go or whether to stay. And her beau has to deicide whether to go or whether to stay. Gabriel is her brother. His wife died in childbirth to her last child, Samuel, who has Down Syndrome. Katie moved in, like typical Amish, to take care of Gabriel and his brood of 6. Most Amish communities have the schoolteacher, and until she gets married, she teaches school. When she gets married, she moves on. So, Katie Rose has kind of settled herself into [the fact that] she will always be the schoolteacher. She had a beau before. He decided right before it was time to join the church and get married that he wanted to experience the world a little bit more. And he's the bishop's son, so it's big drama and she doesn't want anybody to pity her. She is a little bit proud. I think pride is one of those human frailties. It's something that everybody fights to overcome--some people more than others. I think the Amish do fight it harder than most, but I don't think they can totally weed it out of their make up.
Q: What can we expect for the third and final book of Clover Ridge series?
Gabriel's Bride is [about] a marriage of convenience. We know Romances have happy endings, so I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that Katie does find love. And she does move out from Gabriel's house. Mary Elizabeth, which is his oldest daughter, leaves. So Gabriel is left with five boys and struggling to make it. He hires a housekeeper and the bishop says he can't keep her as a housekeeper so they decide to get married. He gets into a bargain that he just never quite expected because she eats canned soup, forgets a burns things--she's Amish, but she's me if I were Amish. Then she has these five boys that don't really want her there. To me, it's the funniest of the three books, and I enjoyed it more.