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
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.