Recently I found a better way to conduct my author interviews and, to be fair to everyone I have already interviewed, I am going to re-post them in the same format. Since Beverly Lewis is the first author I interviewed, she gets to go first here too.
Fair Warning: The interview was given to accompany my review of The Last Bride – so, if you have not yet read the book, you may find information below that you consider to be spoilers.
A bit about Beverly via her WEBSITE:
Beverly Marie Jones (Lewis) was born in the heart of Amish country—Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the tender age of nine, she began writing short stories and poetry. Prior to that, she made up lyrics to the “little fingers” piano pieces she learned, at the age of five.
“My mother saved everything I wrote, even the stories I dreamed up during my grade school years,” Beverly says. One such tale is semi-autobiographical, about a young girl whose parents can no longer afford to give her piano lessons. The manuscript was 77 pages long and titled “She Shall Have Music,” penned under the shade of a lone willow tree. “Reading, writing, and playing piano have been top three on my list of favorite things,” she says.
Not until her own children were well into middle school did Beverly seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular Cul-de-Sac Kids series of chapter books—see list of Bev’s children’s books).
So here is my interview:
1- Is there any particular inspiration from your own life for ‘The Last Bride”?
The concept of close inner-marriage among a closed community has captured my interest–and my heart, especially more so lately with many Amish and Mennonited children being born with unique genetic disorders…some fatal.
2- Are you planning more books in the “Home to Hickory Hollow” series or are you moving on to a new series?
The Last Bride if the fifth and final book in this “stand-alone” approach to a beloved and popular series. I just finished the edit for The River, which debuts on September 2, this fall–it is a true stand-alone with no connections to any other character or series. I’m crazy about this story. My readers will love Tilly and Ruth’s story–I promise. 🙂
Also, Child of Mine, a novel I’ve co-written with my husband, David Lewis (best-selling author of Coming Home).releases soon, on June 3rd. If you loved Sanctuary, our first co-written novel, 12 years ago, you will love Child of Mine.
3- Is there anything you can tell us about your next project or is it still hush hush?
The River (my fall ’14 novel) is set in a most heavenly farmland setting in Lancaster County Amish country–”Eden Valley.” I fell in love with this area when I was a young girl growing up nearby…and more recently, while I was visiting there, following the Amish schoolhouse shootings in the fall of ’06. It’s the story of two young Amish women–one courting age, the other married–who left their Plain roots but have returned for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary celebration. There are serious family secrets to resolve, and several understandings to overcome. And the coming to grips with the younger sister’s first love, who still seems to care for her, even though she has gone “fancy.” I can hardly wait for my readers to take Tilly and Ruth’s story journey with me!
4- Do you still regularly attend conferences? If yes, is it for your own benefit or only to share your advice and experience with others?
I attend as keynote speaker or teacher, yes. Going to writers’ conferences is invaluable and I heartily recommend to anyone wishing to be published traditionally. Or simply to glean and hone their craft of writing.
5- Is there a piece of advice you have for new or aspiring writers?
Read the best literature. Write your heart. Don’t be hesitant to revise, rework, and re-do. Writers are re-writers, if they want to be published. Have a teachable spirit when you do land your contract and start working with editors. Think of yourself as the pencil and the editor as the eraser. Truly. Sometimes what/s on the page just isn’t working. And, oh, did I mention–the best writers are voracious readers?! Also, go to the local bookstore and visualize where your book will land on the shelf, once you’re published.
I hope you have enjoyed my review and Beverly’s interview.
THANK YOU Beverly for taking time out of what I’m certain is a very busy schedule to answer my questions. Your advice is especially inspiring to me and I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.
I pray God continues to bless your writing and I look forward to many more books in the future!
Beverly’s most recent release is: CHILD OF MINE – a standalone novel she has written with her husband, David Lewis. (a book that I will also be reviewing soon – I know…shameless plug)
Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents’ lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.
Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines’s baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile.
Can this be, at long last, Kelly’s beloved daughter?
And don’t miss her Home to Hickory Hollow series.
Amelia “Amy” DeVries, a 24-year-old violinist, is disillusioned with life and love after the collapse of her long-running romance. Weary of endless rehearsals and performances, Amy sets out on a road trip through the Pennsylvania mountains. She leaves her cell phone behind so life’s demands can’t intrude on her solitude. She doesn’t know, nor care, where she will end up.
When her car breaks down deep in the mountains, Amy realizes the flaw in her “no cell phone” plan. She abandons her car and walks the winding roads, searching for help. Following the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of music, she finds a rustic log cabin. There she meets a young Amishman–and through him a community–that will change her life forever.
Twenty-four-year-old Joanna Kurtz is so far proving the adage “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” Yet despite appearances, she has a beau who is secretly courting her from afar.
Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride–if he can ever leave his parents’ farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet Eben’s hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother’s return from the English world. Will her hidden passion for writing and his responsibilities to his family keep them forever apart?
When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can’t speak English. It’s as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow–and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish–in search of answers.
The Secret Keeper
Jennifer Burns shocks her family and friends when she bids farewell to her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world, settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp.
The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them–one handsome Amishman in particular–and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren set for her…challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.
The Last Bride
Of her Old Order parents’ five daughters, Tessie Miller is the last to marry. She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus King, but Tessie’s father opposes the match.
Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world, then return to Hickory Hollow to live as singles, trusting they’ll convince the Millers to give their love a chance over time. But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the almost-certain censure of the People. Will she find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?
THANK YOU for joining me for this special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!
I plan to post each author I have previously interviewed and a
SPECIAL NEW one! After that, I will post at least one a month.
And don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews –
there’s a new one up almost every day!