Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve worked as a museum curator, bridal magazine editor, and adjunct professor but currently devote all my professional time to writing fiction. Yay! It really is a dream come true, not that I didn’t enjoy my other jobs. This is just extra special. As far as education, I have a B.S. in history and communications and an M.F.A. in creative writing.
I live in Oregon with my husband and our four children. We love to travel, watch soccer, and enjoy the beauty of our state, from the beach to the Cascade Mountains to the high desert. I also love to read (of course!) attend plays (including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and watch movies. We belong to a wonderful church and fellowship group, and my husband and I offer “old life” support to our local Young Life club.
What is your favorite Bible verse? (Translation too, please) Why?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
I realize it’s one of those oft-quoted verses, but I first came across it as a freshman in college in the middle of a night when I was panicking about my future. I randomly opened my Bible and pointed my finger, and it landed on that verse, honest! It brought me great comfort then, and it still does, including in the middle of the night when I still sometimes panic, now about my young adult children and deadlines.
What was your inspiration to write Courting Cate?
When I was in graduate school, my Shakespeare professor assigned retelling of plays in short story form. I loved those projects! When I started researching the Amish, it dawned on me that the settings and characters lent themselves to Shakespearean stories. Thankfully Bethany House Publishers agreed.
My character Cate, inspired by Katherina in “The Taming of the Shrew,” came to me quickly with a strong voice and super fun personality. Telling the story from her point of view adds new twists to a classic story.
The Amish inspiration came from the many books on Plain youth that I’ve read and the Amish families I’ve had the chance to meet and interact with.
Is there an Amish community in Oregon?
The last Amish community in Oregon dissolved in the 1930s. However, there is a large Mennonite community here. All of my children attended a Mennonite preschool/kindergarten, and I love to visit the church the school is affiliated with. I’ve met people from all sorts of Anabaptists backgrounds there, including ex-Amish.