Hey, readers! I have a treat for you today! Author Rachel J. Good is on my blog today sharing about her novels and her process. And is she ever prolific! I met Rachel through the ACFW Romance genre Facebook Page. That has been a wonderful place to make great connections!
Not only is she spending time sharing with us today, she is offering a GIVEAWAY to every reader that visits my blog today. How can we thank her enough? So, I won’t keep you. Let’s dive in, but keep reading to find out more about how to enjoy that giveaway.
Thank you for joining us today, Rachel. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?
After Kyle Miller’s older brother joined the Amish, the two of them became estranged. Bitter and resentful, Kyle is determined to avoid the Amish at all costs. Medical school and a demanding residency fill his lonely hours. The last thing Kyle wants is to return to his hometown and relive the guilt and pain of the past.
But when the family doctor retires and invites Kyle to take over the practice, he can’t refuse. To his dismay, he discovers Dr. Hess not only has many Amish patients, he serves as emergency backup to Leah Stoltzfus, the Amish midwife. Kyle finds his resolve tested as he works with Leah; he’s attracted not only to her but also to her strong faith.
Although the handsome new doctor catches her eye, Leah pays more attention to her work than to this Englischer. As a midwife, she has much to learn and a deep desire to help others. She senses Kyle’s loneliness and welcomes him warmly, but he mistakes her friendliness for interest – an interest she does her best to discourage.
Then late one night, Kyle and Leah struggle to save a mother and baby during a blizzard. The bond between them deepens, and they realize how much they care for each other. But how can they be together when neither of them is willing to sacrifice their beliefs?
What a gripping introduction to the novel! I think I’m already hooked! What was the inspiration for The Amish Midwife’s Secret?
I went to a presentation by the Clinic for Special Children on diseases inherited only by Amish and Mennonite children, and then toured the clinic where we got to see the gene research and hear success stories of babies they’d cured. That touched my heart, and I knew I wanted to include it in one of my novels.
Then while I was in an Amish natural products store, I saw the herbal blend my Amish midwife had me drink before she delivered my sons at home. Suddenly, all the pieces came together. I’d have an Amish midwife whose family owned a natural products store and a doctor who believed only in science and medicine. He’d be angry at God, and she’d be true to her faith. That would lead to sparks between them in many different ways, including romantic ones. Once I had the two main characters and their underlying conflicts and the added complication of a baby with a deadly disease needing to be saved, I couldn’t wait to start writing the story.
Wow! I’m even more intrigued!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved reading, but I never considered writing until I had 5 children under the age of 8. I needed to do something to keep my sanity. I began writing for children’s magazines, then went into educational writing for children before ending up writing inspirational novels.
That is quite the journey. Glad you found your way through to your passion. But we all know it’s got it’s upsides and then there are things we don’t love so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?
Deadlines. I’m the world’s worst procrastinator, so when the deadline seems far away, I keep busy with many different things. Then suddenly it’s looming, and I wonder if I can possibly write 90,000 words in such a short time. A few times I’ve had to ask for extensions this past year, but part of that was overcommitting to writing 12 novels in a year.
A woman after my own heart! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
I think writers need to work on their craft – attending conferences, lectures, and classes as well as reading books. Even after you’ve had multiple books published, I believe you should still keep learning. I now have 40+ books in print under various different pen names, but I have 4 writing books on my bedside table to read.
The most helpful thing I did besides taking classes and reading books was to join a critique group. Having a group of writers who are learning and growing gives you a support system and provides you with valuable feedback. I joined several critique groups, and my writing skills grew as I heard others’ responses and suggestions for my stories. Critiquing other people’s work also helped me improve my writing because I had to analyze why their writing wasn’t working or why it drew me in.
I also found joining professional organizations helped me a lot – SCBWI for my children’s writing, RWA for romance, and ACFW for Christian writing. There are other organizations, too, that are genre-specific. Those are great places to find critique partners, and the conferences and classes are helpful. They also give you opportunities to get your work in front of editors and agents.
One final tip: They say you need to put in 100,000 hours to become good at your craft. I think that holds true in writing too. Keep putting those words on the page and setting aside time for writing. That dedication will pay off.
All sounds like good advice. Thanks! What are you currently reading?
The craft books Verbalize: Bring Stories to Life & Life to Stories and Story Genius by Lisa Cron.
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I prefer to write from 10 pm to 3 am. I can’t always do that because I have a 3-year-old to take care of during the day, but it’s my most creative time. I prefer to write in bed. It’s comfy, and when the house is dark and quiet, I can more easily slip into that almost dreamlike state where writing flows.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. I’ve written 60,000-word books in 2 or 3 weeks when I’m under deadline. Usually I like to have several months for novels, but often I’ll procrastinate until I have little time left. On the other hand, I have one novel I’ve been working on for 10 years. That one’s not under deadline, so it gets pushed aside.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I’m always working on more than one novel at time. Right now, I’m busy editing the third book in the Love & Promises series, The Amish Widow’s Rescue. Grace Fisher’s husband dies, leaving her pregnant and with two small children. Her neighbor, Elijah Yoder, offers to do her farm chores. A loner and a bachelor, he keeps his distance from the pretty widow and especially her children. Ever since his childhood family fell apart, he’s been convinced loving leads to heartbreak. Then he saves Grace’s son from drowning, and holding the little one makes him realize how much he needs friendship, and possibly even love. But can he overcome his past hurts and open his heart to a ready-made family?
I just signed a 6-book contract with Kensington, so I’m also busy writing the first book in the Amish Blessings series. In Book 1, His Unexpected Amish Twins, Micah Miller becomes the guardian to seven-year-old twins and struggles to help them with their grief. Hope Graber, the owner of a horse therapy farm, might have the answers and the healing touch, not only for the twins, but also for Micah. But working together may be impossible because she and Micah have so many hidden secrets.
I’m also working on Book 4 in the Sisters & Friends series, Big-City Amish. Rebecca is courting Abner, but when he’s blackmailed into working on a TV series during Rumschpringa (the Amish running-around time), their relationship becomes rocky. Rebecca’s ready to join the church, but Abner is angry at God after his father’s death and mother’s cancer diagnosis. Although Rebecca promises his mom she’ll take care of all her boys –Abner’s four younger brothers and Abner too — Rebecca’s not sure how she can do that when Abner seems enamored of the big city and possible stardom.
Wow! You are busy! Well, I’ll let you get back to it and let my readers dive into The Amish Midwife’s Secret…
The Amish Midwife’s Secret
Enjoy an Excerpt
Kyle sought Dr. Hess’s eyes before he announced, “Pneumonia.”
Dr. Hess nodded.
“I know.” Leah, who’d been stirring the stinky onion-and-lavender mixture in the pot, motioned for the mother to hold out the nylon bag so she could spoon the mush into it. “That’s why we’re making this poultice.” With a quick motion, she wrapped the nylon in a towel and hurried to the table.
She practically elbowed Kyle out of the way as she reached for the baby. With deft movements, she placed the stinking mixture on the baby’s chest, quickly redressed him, and swaddled him in warm blankets. “This should help.”
“Help?” Kyle’s eyes burned from the sharp stench rising from the infant’s body, and he choked. “That child belongs in a hospital.”
“Hospital?” Leah shot him an incredulous glance. “How could his mamm be with him? She shouldn’t be jolting all that way to the hospital so close to delivery, and who’d care for the children?”
Kyle couldn’t believe his ears. “Children under age two are at the greatest risk—” He broke off when Dr. Hess jiggled his arm. Snapping his mouth shut, Kyle waited for the doctor to speak. This was still Dr. Hess’s case, after all. Just because he’d allowed Kyle to offer a diagnosis, it didn’t mean Kyle should take over.
“I’ll put the baby in the cradle.” Leah looked at the mother, who nodded.
Dr. Hess held out a hand to stop her, and Kyle released a pent-up sigh. The doctor would explain the need for hospitalization. Instead he gestured toward Kyle. “Before you go, Leah, I’d like you to meet my assistant. I’m hoping to convince him to take over my practice.”
Leah ducked her head and mumbled a brief greeting. She refused to meet his eyes, which might be just as well, because his face likely would reveal how upset he was about the home remedy. Pneumonia wasn’t something to fool around with, especially not in infants.
“Kyle, you’ll be working closely with Leah. She’s in training to be a midwife, and she makes many effective herbal remedies.”
Kyle managed to say, “Pleased to meet you,” but he wasn’t sure how true that was.
Dr. Hess might trust Leah’s homemade brews, but when Kyle graduated from medical school, he’d taken an oath promising his patients’ health would always be his foremost consideration. So how could he stand here and let her smear a stinky concoction on a baby’s chest when that child should be taken to the hospital?
He could never allow anyone to harm a baby. Never.
More About the Author
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging stories of faith, hope, and forgiveness. The author of several Amish romance series, she grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.
Rachel’s Amish series include Sisters & Friends (Charisma House & Harlequin), Love & Promises (Hachette/Grand Central), Hearts of Amish Country (Annie’s Book Club), and the forthcoming Surprised by Love and Unexpected Amish Blessings (Kensington). She also has several anthologies in print as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Book. To learn more about Rachel, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter.
Connect with Rachel and her books
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-J-Good/e/B019DWF4FG
Newsletter sign-up: http://bit.ly/1qwci4Q
Author Rachel J. Good is offering for every reader, an e-copy of Gift from Above. Here’s a link to get a copy: https://bit.ly/2zmV40u