Can young love conquer all or will the grudges of the parents destroy the joy of the young? Find out in Adoring Addie, the second installment in the Courtships of Lancaster County series by Leslie Gould.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN ADORING ADDIE?
Romeo and Juliet was my main inspiration. I’ve longed to explore the motivations of all the characters, both young and old, in more depth for years. I also wanted to play with the ending. When I was in high school and college I loved the tragedy of the story. But for the last couple of decades, I’ve felt so mournful every time I’ve watched it. “Don’t do it!” I’ve wanted to shout. “Retelling” the story using an Amish cast of characters was my chance to do just that.
Q: WHAT FIRST MADE YOU TAKE THE LEAP FROM “READER” TO “AUTHOR”?
Desert Storm. My husband is in the Army Reserve/Medical and was sent to Germany during the 1991 war. I was a 28-year-old wanna-be writer with two baby boys. Up until then I’d jot down plots and character sketches, but I’d been too afraid to finish anything, feeling that if I failed I wouldn’t even have my dream anymore.
So, even though I longed to be a writer, I was still afraid and signed up for a watercolor class to get me out of the house one night a week and feed my creativity. However, the instructor went on and on about the war ad nauseam, so after the course ended I signed up for a fiction writing class. It was the motivation I needed. I’ve been writing ever since although it took me 10 years from when I took that first class until I signed my first novel contract.
Q: WHEN WRITING FICTION, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I definitely draw on my own emotions when I write a story. I’m 50 now and have experienced lots and lots of joys and sorrows. Those feelings find their way into my stories. But I also weave bits and pieces of stories I’ve heard—all changed around and mixed up—into my fiction. Also, ideas generated by my onsite research of the Amish and from reading nonfiction books about the Amish find their way into my novels too.
Q: IN WHAT SPECIFIC WAYS DOES YOUR FAITH IMPACT HOW YOU WRITE FICTION?
Just as I’m on a spiritual journey, so is my main character in the story. There is something she needs to learn that only God can teach her. Amazingly, what she is learning is usually something God has recently taught me.
Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
I want my readers to know they’re not alone in their insecurities and doubts. I want them to know how much God loves and cherishes them. I want them, when they finish the story, to love themselves and their families all the more. And I hope they know, even if I haven’t met them (in person or online), that I care about them and would love to hear their story.