Today I'm honored to have Olivia Newport visiting my blog. Olivia is the author of historical, Amish, and contemporary stories. She and I are also agent-mates with Books & Such Literary Management.
Welcome to my blog, Olivia! Thank you for stopping by to visit and talk about your newest Amish release, Meek and Mild from Shiloh Run Press.
Thanks! I’m so glad to be here.
For readers meeting you here for the first time, can you tell us a little about yourself and your publication story?
After growing up in Chicagoland, and living in California, Washington State and back in Illinois, I’ve lived in Colorado for the last 19 years with my husband and now-grown children. I’ve had a string of jobs where my role was wordsmithing in one form or another. In a sense, I cut my teeth on understanding the purpose and audience for a wide variety of organizational pieces and figuring out how to make them communicate for the desired result. But I've always been an avid fiction reader and wanted to write novels. A few years ago I decided to get serious about it. My first novel, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, released in 2012.
Can you give us a brief synopsis of Meek and Mild?
The books in the Amish Turns of Time series put fictional characters in the middle of true-to-history events that in some way affected the development of the Amish. In Meek and Mild, Clara Kuhn and Andrew Raber find themselves caught in the vortex of events that led to the Beachy Amish separating from the Old Order about a hundred years ago. They both have to decide when is the right time to take a stand that keeps them connected both to their consciences and to each other.
You write both historical romance and Amish fiction. How did your passion develop for these two genres, and do you see yourself writing in other genres in the future?
A few years ago a friend introduced me to the Prairie Avenue Historical District in Chicago, and the result was the Avenue of Dreams series, set in 1890s Chicago. Then I wandered into Amish stories when I discovered a family line that traced to the Amish, and the result was the Valley of Choice series. Now I’m bringing historical and Amish together with the Amish Turns of Time series. But I also had the opportunity last year to write Hidden Falls, a 13-episode serialization available in e-book and audio formats. Hidden Falls has a contemporary small-town setting. I’ve had a blast writing a variety of genres, but when it comes right down to it, they all have a historical element. That seems to be in my writer DNA.
Since you write historical fiction, I’d love to know your favorite historic site you’ve ever visited.
Oh, so many options! I love visiting small local museums, such as the home of a town founder or industry leader. It seems to me that these places always have enthusiastic docents who love to showcase their town’s history. On a larger scale, one museum that stands out in my mind is the Glessner House Museum in Chicago, which was the inspiration for the Avenue of Dreams books. Tours are open to the public, but a friend is a volunteer docent there, and a couple of times he got permission to take me on behind-the-scenes private tours where I got to see parts of the house most people don’t have access to.
I’ve heard that some authors need a special environment to write in (music, comfy chair, coffee shop, quiet room, desk, etc.). Do you have a special place you like to write?
I have a couple of different set-ups in my home that I can turn to depending on mood or ergonomic needs. In the summer, I’ve been known to get comfortable in the hammock on the patio. Sometimes on Saturdays if the house is too noisy I go to a coffee shop in the morning and the library in the afternoon. Now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound like I’m too particular, does it? Wherever I am, classical music is my style of choice. There’s something about the rhythms and pace of Vivaldi and Mozart, for example, that seem to keep my brain clicking along.
Any of those places would do for me, too! I can almost imagine sitting in that hammock...
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Olivia. It's fun to get to know you a bit better and to learn more about your writing.
READERS, IT'S YOUR TURN: What is your favorite historic site?
Olivia has been kind enough to offer a free copy of her new release to one lucky winner! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. She chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is. Meek and Mild is book 2 in the Amish Turns of Time set, which began with Wonderful Lonesome and will conclude with Brightest and Best later this year.
Suddenly shun has become a serious word for Clara Kuhn. As 1917 approaches, her Amish church’s aging bishop is coming down hard on members who dally in untraditional practices—like offering Sunday school for children—and Clara’s gift for telling Bible stories to little ones collides with new mandates. The young Pennsylvania Amish woman had always moved freely over the state line to visit family in the more progressive Maryland district, but now those visits are coming under scrutiny by some members of Clara’s church.
On the verge of accepting Andrew Raber’s marriage proposal, Clara is unsure what to make of his new hobby to rehabilitate an abandoned Model T. Just how ward can they push against the bishop’s wishes? As the chasm widens between Old Order Amish and the Marylanders, and tensions rise between longtime friends and close-knit family, Clara and Andrew must look inward to examine their own hearts and consciences and, above all, seek Gottes wille—God’s will.
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