Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016.
She has indie published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.
Where you can find Laura:
her blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/ & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/
The Birdhouse and a Farmer’s Market
For the past five years, our town has hosted a farmer’s market from May through October. The local Amish community comes out and they run a thriving business. There is an Amish lady who sells baked goods. I also heard she opened a bakery in Salem, Arkansas, but I haven’t been there. And another Amish man who comes with a trailer load of produce. Jams. Jelly. Honey. Apple butter. He owns a greenhouse and a large farm outside of Salem, where you can buy just about any kind of fruit or vegetable one can imagine. He doesn’t have a peach or apple orchard, but he does go to an Amish community in Missouri for peaches and to an Amish community in Illinois for apples.
I’ve gone every summer for the past five years, buying fresh vegetables and fruits from him, whatever I didn’t grow in my garden, or if my garden produced poorly. Like this year, the only thing I planted that did well was tomatoes. So I supplemented our diet with his peppers, egg plant, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, corn, pumpkins, onions, lettuce, cabbage… Unfortunately, he doesn’t grow carrots, celery, or rhubarb.
While there, I got the idea of writing about an Amish couple that sold things at a farmer’s market. I built the story from there. What if the heroine, Greta, had to work to support her family because her dad is disabled? What if the hero, Josh, had loved her forever, but thought he’d lost her for good? What would he do to win her love? I went into the story with the idea that God is a relentless lover. He’s willing to pursue those He loves to bring them (back) to Him.
God took the story from there in directions I never imagined. I am a “seat of the pants” writer, in that I don’t plot. I start with a basic idea and with a lot of prayer, go from there. Still, I was surprised when The Birdhouse took a twist I didn’t even expect. I found Josh on his knees praying for Greta, doing everything he could to ensure her safety and more. The Birdhouse is not a suspense, but there is some suspense in it!
The Birdhouse is symbolic and real in the story. Josh does sell homemade birdhouses in addition to his family’s produce, but there is a special birdhouse that he made and would never sell. Why? What happens to it? And what does it symbolize? Read the story to find out.
The Birdhouse is the third book in the Amish of Jamesport series, but it does stand completely alone. The first two books are The Snow Globe and The Postcard, just in case you want to read the books in order. They do have some continuing characters (Josh was a secondary character in both The Snow Globe and The Postcard) but the stories stand alone.
Do you go to farmer’s markets? What do you usually buy there?
More about The Birdhouse:
Twenty–year–old Greta Miller’s daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers’ market. Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he’s back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta’s family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta get beyond her family’s distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community?
Thanks for coming by, Laura.