Q&A: Hillary Manton Lodge
The author talks about her Plain and Simple series, and the future of her fiction.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS IN WRITING SIMPLY SARA?
I didn't have a lot of specific goals from the outset, other than the distinct desire to meet my deadline. I was still adjusting to the writing/publishing life after Jayne, so all I intended was to follow Sara through her adventure at the end of Jayne to its natural conclusion.
If that doesn't sound like a lot of direction, that's because it really wasn't. I knew I wanted her to go to design school, I knew I wanted a bookstore to figure in somewhere, and I knew the book would largely be a coming of age story. I had NO idea the book would end the way it did until a week before I turned it in. It took me a while to figure out which direction the book would go and how it would work out practically, but once I did I was pleased with the end result.
PLAIN JAYNE AND SIMPLY SARA ARE ALMOST FLIPSIDES OF EACH OTHER -- WILL THERE BE MORE IN THIS SERIES, OR ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING NEW?
To the horror of my readers, Harvest House and I only ever planned on two books for the Plain and Simple series. You're right -- they are very much flip-sides of each other. When they were done, I felt like I'd done everything creatively with an Amish storyline that I could -- anything else would be derivative of one or the other.
I'm working on a couple different projects, one of them about Gemma, who's a supporting character in both books. It's fun to get to mix things up and write something that's totally different!
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
So many ways -- my faith affects the characters I write and the kind of stories I want to tell. I like my characters to wrestle with their spiritual journeys in a way that is -- I hope -- honest and realistic.
WHEN YOUR BOOKS COME OUT AND YOU START GETTING FEEDBACK, HOW DOES IT AFFECT WHAT YOU WRITE NEXT?
Really, not much. By the time the book releases, my head is well into the next project, whatever that may be!
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
A good laugh, I hope! Fiction is, first and foremost, about telling a good story, about drawing characters who engage the reader in a way that evokes an emotional and/or intellectual response. I hope I make readers think, laugh, want to try something new, eat something delicious, and possibly get behind on laundry.