UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. Congratulations to Cindy Armstrong! Cindy has won an autographed copy of Adoring Addie, by Leslie Gould.
Today’s post is an interview shared by Leslie Gould. Leslie is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller The Amish Midwife (CBA and ECPA), co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. I think you’ll really enjoy reading about her story and her books. At the end of the post, she’s graciously offered to give away a copy of her newest release, Adoring Addie.
1. What led you to write Amish fiction?
I’ve been interested in the Amish since 1987 when I first visited Lancaster County and then started reading about them, but I never felt qualified to write about the culture until my agent asked if I’d consider collaborating on a series with Mindy Starns Clark. I thought it was a great idea and it just so happened I had an idea for a story about a midwife who goes to Lancaster County… The Amish Midwife was the very satisfying result of that collaboration.
2. What have you learned from spending time with Amish families?
I’ve learned that the “Amish” are impossible to define. They vary from community to community, district to district, family to family, and person to person. I realize that the families who have welcomed me into their homes may not be “typical.” Allowing me to observe their lives suggests they may be more open to outside ideas than some. I think that individuality is reflected in the fictional families I write about.
I’ve also learned that the Amish face many of the same challenges the rest of us do when it comes to raising children, and that we also share the same hopes and dreams for our kids.
3. Is there any one thing that stands out in your research?
I learned that the Amish originated in Switzerland, and some lived near the village where my paternal grandfather’s family came from and where relatives of mine still live. I’d visited that area over a decade ago and relied on journals and photos from that trip when Mindy and I co-authored The Amish Nanny, which explores the history of the Anabaptists, including centuries of persecution. It’s fascinating to think of my ancestors, too, during that time of upheaval.
4. If given the opportunity do you think you could live an Amish lifestyle?
I admire a lot about the Amish, but at this point in my journey I don’t think I could embrace their lifestyle. Besides not wanting to work that hard, lol, I value education too much to endorse ending it at the eighth grade or after a correspondence class or trade school. Although I know the Amish are big readers and continue to learn throughout their lives, I think anyone who desires more formal education should be allowed to pursue it.
However, I could easily live as a Mennonite. In fact, between my Swiss heritage and Baptist upbringing, I feel very much at home when I visit Mennonite churches.
5. What inspired you to “retell” Shakespeare plays in Amish settings in your Courtships of Lancaster County series?
Several years ago during my MFA program at Portland State University, my Shakespeare professor assigned retelling of plays in short-story form. I loved those assignments! When I started writing Amish fiction, it dawned on me that the patriarchal society would be a perfect setting to “retell” Shakespeare plays. Courting Cate was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew and the second in the series, Adoring Addie (which released this month), was inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
6. What is next in the series?
I’m currently working on rewrites for Minding Molly, inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fourth book in the series, which I’ll start soon, is Becoming Bea, inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.
7. Any closing comments?
Thank you, Cindy, for the interview! You are as wonderful as your stories!
The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer…until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie’s parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.
Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families…but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?
If you would like to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Adoring Addie, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.
If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway.
Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway.
The deadline for this contest is Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at noon. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.