Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Meet Hope Kesler Review and Interview. Author of The Journey Home

Hope Kesler is a relatively new author for me and I was excited to have a chance to review her book and have her share some of thoughts with us on my blog.  Her new novella is an interestingly different take on Amish fiction, showing that real life problems also exist in the Amish community. They are not immune from them anyone than other cultures.

My review:  

Her story is about Birdie Miller, a young Amish woman who struggles to find whether the Amish lifestyle is the one she wants or the English world. She finds herself in the English world, enjoying some of its freedoms and yet not comfortable with all of them.

She receives word of her mother's buggy accident and returns to her Amish community to visit her mother.

Her father tells her ailing mother that she has returned to the Amish community to stay and is joining the church.  Birdie finds herself still at odds with her father who governs his family with a strong hand.

She meets Caleb Troyer who comes to her community and who is a hard-working and kind Amish man.  Birdie does not seem to be the typical Amish woman who meekly follows the ways of her church or her father, a deacon in the Amish faith.

In this tale of Amish life, there is conflict, love, and trial.  A little of everything.  I enjoyed the story very much and hope to see more from Hope.

I am excited to have Hope on my blog today and happy to have her share a bit of herself with all of you!

Meet Hope Kesler

Hi Hope, so happy to have you on my blog today.  Please tell me a little bit about how you started writing, and especially how you started writing Amish fiction.

I've always written, ever since I was a little girl. I’d write stories for school or for myself. I had a fantastic imagination as a child, even when it got me into trouble. When I was in grade school, I wrote a story about a deer called “Buttons.” I concluded the story with Buttons going off to mate with a doe. I thought it was a rather nice ending. But my teacher, who was a rather severe, prim woman, objected to that part, and even used words like “inappropriate” to describe my adding anything about deer mating. She was really quite worked up about it, in fact.

Perhaps I should have been embarrassed, but I was secretly delighted that something I’d written could cause such a reaction from an adult.  I realized at that moment that there is a certain Power in the written word. And I was hooked, although I never wrote about deer again.

I eventually went into journalism and worked as a staff writer for a daily paper for years, and also as a columnist. I never considered writing a romance novel, let alone an Amish one, until I moved to an area where there was a thriving Amish presence. I was so impressed by the contributions of the Amish to our local community, and so fascinated by the culture, that I began researching them. The book evolved organically out of that research. That it’s been so well received has been as much a surprise to me as to anyone else.

What are some things you would like to have your readers know about you?

That my fascination with the Amish probably stems from the fact that I’m nothing like the people I write about. I’m very much a techie; if it’s shiny and electronic I have to have it, and I panic if I can’t get an Internet connection on my phone. 

Besides writing, what are some of your other interests?

I’m a voracious reader and obsessive book collector. We recently moved to Virginia and are nearly finished turning one of the large rooms into a library, which is kind of a lifelong dream for me.  The acreage here also allows me to indulge my equestrian pursuits (we have three horses) and gives me room for my cats. We have quite a few. I can’t seem to stop rescuing them.

Will this book be a part of a series or a stand-alone book?  Will you be writing more Amish fiction in the future?

I think this may be a series. When I started this book, I wasn't prepared for how much I’d like Birdie and Caleb. They both seem to have their own growth curves, and I’d like them to continue those curves together.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

It was by trial and error. “The Journey Home” wasn't the original title. In fact, at the eleventh hour I emailed the publisher in a panic because the original title turned out to be very close to the title of another Amish book I found on Amazon. The plots were very different, but the titles were similar enough that I’d have felt wrong using it, hence the change. I think it still works, though, since Birdie’s journey really did take her to where her heart resides.

Were you inspired by reading works from other Amish fiction writers?

I was more inspired by the Amish themselves than Amish fiction. I did a lot of research about the Amish, but didn't read any Amish romance because I wanted to find my own voice and not subconsciously parrot someone else. 

It was only after I was published that I started reading Amish fiction. I've read some of Beverly Lewis' books and Wanda Brunstetter's as well. I really liked them, and have bought a bunch of books I've seen recommended on the FB pages I've joined. Now it’s just a matter of finding time to read them. They all look so good, and I love supporting other authors.
Thanks Hope!  So happy to have you on my blog!

Thank you! I’m looking forward to being featured!

You can purchase Hope's new book here at Amazon.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment