Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. Her latest Amish romance is the Christmas treat Her Amish Holiday Suitor (Love Inspired). In this exclusive interview, Carrie offers some background details about the novel, details how she researches the Amish, and reveals her favorite things about the Christmas season…
No spoilers, Carrie, but what can you tell us about Her Amish Holiday Suitor?
Her Amish Holiday Suitor is a romance novel about a young Amish couple who agrees to pretend they’re courting for the Christmas season, each for a different reason. Nick needs an excuse to go out at night without his parents finding out about it so he can make repairs to a cabin his brother damaged. Lucy is working on an embroidery project for charity, so she wants time away from her stepsisters, who are always pestering her to participate in pre-holiday festivities.
Nick and Lucy figure the pretend courtship will provide them a perfect cover to accomplish their goals, but what they don’t anticipate is that they’ll develop a genuine connection along the way, which complicates their temporary arrangement.
Tell us about Nick and Lucy. What about these characters made you want to tell their story?
On the surface, Nick and Lucy are polar opposites. He’s got a reputation for being irresponsible and fun-loving, while she’s considered uptight and kind of dull.
But over the course of the story, they discover surprising things about each other—and about themselves—that change their perspectives. I wanted to tell their story because one of the most romantic parts of falling in love is getting to know the other person better and allowing them to get to know the real you.
What spiritual themes run through Her Amish Holiday Suitor?
Both of the characters in this story have some growing up to do, so there are themes of forgiveness and grace throughout the book. Also, there’s the truth that only God knows what’s really in our hearts. And, without giving too much away, there’s a circumstance in which one of the characters demonstrates sacrificial love for another character, which of course is what Christ did for us in the most important way possible.
What kind of research or background do you bring to writing about the Amish?
My research comes from a combination of traveling to Amish communities and interacting with the Amish in person and from learning about them through websites, documentaries and books. There are so many great resources out there, but one of the best ways to get to know what’s important to Amish people is to subscribe to one of their newspapers.
Incidentally, while there currently aren’t any Amish settlements in Massachusetts, I happen to live on a road that’s sandwiched between two Mennonite farming families. (Which means I have easy access to fresh eggs and vegetables!)
What are your favorite things about the Christmas season?
I like baking and giving away special cookies and desserts because people are so appreciative when they receive them. I feel fortunate because my family doesn’t put a strong emphasis on gift-giving, so we avoid a world of holiday stress! Instead, we focus on spending time together, eating seasonal treats and worshipping—kind of like most Amish people do.
I especially enjoy our traditional white elephant gift exchange and playing games we make up ourselves. And if there’s enough snow, sledding is one of my favorite things to do. You’re never too old for fun!
Visit Carrie Lighte’s author page:
Her Amish Holiday Suitor