Saving Gideon, Clover Ridge Series #1Saving Gideon, Clover Ridge Series #1
Amy Lillard
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Gideon Fisher wants one thing out of life -- to be left alone. This is not the Amish way, but he's devastated after the death of his wife and son to the point of losing his faith. He buys a farm on the outskirts of the district and pulls away from his community. But when a freak spring snowstorm brings a beautiful Englisher to his farm, what choice does Gideon have but to let her in?
     

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Amy Lillard is an award-winning writer who loves reading contemporary romance and Amish novels. Those genres meet in her first book, Saving Gideon. Born and bred in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma.

Favorite Verse: Philippians 1:3Every time I think of you, I thank my God for you.


 

 Our Interview with Amy Lillard


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a transplanted Southern Belle who grew up in Mississippi and moved to Oklahoma just after high school. I’m married to a handsome deputy sheriff, and we have one gorgeous son. Our family is rounded out with a very old Siamese mix cat and an overweight beagle.
 
What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

It’s so hard to pick just one. Sometimes it depends on the day which is my favorite. But everyday I love Philippians 1:3—Every time I think of you, I thank my God for you.

What was your inspiration to write the Clover Ridge Series?

I have always wanted to write a book with a ‘tortured’ hero. When I decided to try my hand at Amish fiction, I knew this was the perfect place for my wounded man. Though Avery’s character came to me first, it is Gideon who inspired me. Gideon who needed someone to save him from himself.

How much of the story comes from personal experience?

Not one bit. Except for the snowstorm. Oklahoma weather can be erratic at best. The rest is purely fiction, and I hope a great escape for the reader.
 
How involved are you with the Amish community?
 
Not nearly as involved as I’d like to be. Up until recently, I worked full time. Balancing a job with family barely left time over for writing. But I’m hoping this summer I’ll be able to be even more involved. I’m really looking forward to it.

How much research did Saving Gideon take?
 
Writing a book set in a different culture, be it historical or contemporary takes constant research. I feel like I’m always  ordering books about the Amish. I love to have those books at my fingertips when I sit down to write. I also interviewed anyone who’d sit down and tell me about their life, story, family, community. I love talking with people, so interviews are much more fun than books.

 

Why do you choose to write about the Amish?

I love the Amish culture and their peaceful way of life. As a debut author, I thought it would be fun to take a go at a topic that already has such a strong fan base. I had been watching the continued success of Amish fiction while struggling a bit with which path I should take in my own writing career. When this opportunity arose, I gladly accepted it. Now my writing has turned in a wonderful and very fulfilling direction.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Saving Gideon?

I learned so much about the Amish, but the variation between districts really intrigues me. As you may know, an Amish church district is home to about 200 members. Once the district gets bigger than that, they are usually realigned. So within each ‘community’ there can be several districts with their own ‘governing elders’. One district may have a bishop who allows bicycles while the next district over doesn’t. Cell phones, hat brims, the cut of the suspenders—all of these and more make each district unique.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
I have the same challenges as most authors, balancing family with writing is at the top of the list. Recent health issues have forced me to take extended time off from my day job, but I feel God has used this situation to bless me with this writing opportunity. I pray God will continue to provide opportunities throughout this life challenge, allowing me to write for my own pleasure and His glory.

 

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love taking the ‘what if’ and discovering who the characters are and what their story is. “What if a Dallas socialite wrecks her car in the middle of Amish country?” “What if an Amish man were so overcome with grief that what little faith he has left is all that’s keeping him going?”  Taking these questions and making a story is the most amazing part of writing.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I’m a member of RWA and ACFW. These organizations are a tremendous help romance/Christian writers. I also have a critique partner and good ‘writer’ friends (as my husband calls them) who help me with idea development and beta reading. A writing friend / critique partner who knows her stuff, who isn’t nit-picky, and can tell you the truth when something doesn’t work is the most valuable tool a writer can have. I’m lucky enough to have three.

What new projects are on the horizon?

Right now I’m working on the book about Gideon’s sister, Katie Rose, and her love interest, Zane Carson who is a freelance reporter. I also have some other ideas for the good people of Clover Ridge.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading the Clover Ridge series?
 
Love heals all, God is good, and He’s listening even when you think He’s not.

What is your greatest achievement?

My husband and I have been married for over twenty years. It seems like yesterday and yet I cannot imagine my life without him. We have a son who is wonderful and funny and the greatest joy in my life.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I love going to visit my family in Mississippi and Alabama. I love lying by the pool and swimming with my son and my nephews while at my mother’s house. Just being with family is enough vacation for me.
 
If I can’t do that, I love to ‘dig in the dirt’ and spend time outside playing with the dog, or my son, or sometimes just sitting on the porch drinking coffee with my husband.


 

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