Happy Labor Day, Readers! Today, Home Thoughts welcomes novelist Jennifer Beckstand to the blog. Jennifer writes wonderful stories about people who are near-and-dear to my heart: the Amish. I asked Jennifer first to tell us something about her latest release, Rebecca’s Rose: (book 2 in Forever After in Apple Lake series)
When his widowed mother marries an outsider, Levi Cooper’s family leaves the Amish community and Levi is raised Englisch. But Levi’s world is shattered when the only father he knows divorces his mother and turns his back on the family. In his anger, Levi causes an accident that alters his life forever and sets him on the path of self-destruction. Does the pretty Amish girl from his old community hold the key to his heart and his redemption? With her mother so ill, Rebecca Miller runs her household, cares for the small farm, and watches after her younger siblings while her father, unwilling to care for his wife, is absent for days at a time working out-of-town jobs. Even though she feels trapped in her dismal life, Rebecca is determined to fulfill the promise she made to a dying friend. Englischer Levi Cooper, with uncommon good looks and a mischievous glint in his eye, might be the boy who can help her do just that. But will his secrets tear them apart or will their growing attachment lead to the loss of everything she holds dear?
Next I asked her how she got started writing: My love for romantic fiction was born when my older sister discovered “Pride and Prejudice.” She often shared her favorite passages with me. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do. After hearing my sister read that, how could I not want to read the book myself? Jane Austen introduced me to the glorious world of romantic fiction. I jumped in with both feet. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years. (I am happy to inform you that all my children have entered the public school system, and I can now write a book in significantly less time.) I sent my manuscript to an agent, who asked me to try my hand at writing Amish fiction. After much research and travel, I fell in love with the people and the genre. The Amish way of life reminds us of a simpler time when faith and family were more important than progress and possessions. I think people love reading Amish for that reason.
Kate’s Song (book 1 in series) is about choices. Kate is torn between her Amish culture and her music. In the story, Kate realizes that “every choice involves some kind of pain. Choosing one path means rejecting another, along with everything down it.” We all face heart-rending, life-changing choices. How do we seek God’s will and move forward without looking back?
My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job.
You can find out more about me at jenniferbeckstrand.com or on Facebook at Jennifer Beckstrand Fans.
Here’s your question, readers: Leave your answer on this blog to be entered in a contest to win Rebecca’s Rose. Drawing in one week. Have you ever made a difficult choice? How has that choice affected the rest of your life?
Enjoy these waning days of summer!