Welcome to my blog, Naomi - I am happy to be a part of your ongoing tour! Look forward to learning more about you and your work…let's get started with the questions :)
1—Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?
My first reaction to this question was really? I’ve never given that a thought. But I suppose there are folks whose lives haven’t turned out the way they’d hoped, so I’m thrilled to be me.
I have a wonderful husband, we live in a beautiful home with Ramona, our border collie, and writing these stories keeps me busy doing what I love to do. I often tell friends that when I die I want to come back as Ramona—because she seems to live an even more pampered, wonderful life than I do! But for right now, my life is a good and perfect gift and I’m grateful to God for that.
2—What did you do for your last birthday?
For my most recent birthday, I was delighted to celebrate by going to a performance of Garrison Keillor’s radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. When he and his show are in the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, we’re only minutes away—and while it might not sound too exciting to watch a live radio performance, what you see on the stage is a lot more exciting and interesting than what you hear when you listen at home! We try to make a show every time A Prairie Home Companion is in town.
For the big birthday before that, we cruised to Hawaii! What a wonderful trip—two weeks aboard a ship with nine days at sea and some really interesting visits on the various islands. I believe birthdays are meant to be celebrated, so my husband and I make a point of getting out to do something special as each year rolls by.
3—What are you working on right now?
As you read this, I will be writing THE CHRISTMAS CRADLE, which is #6 in my Seasons of the Heart Amish series, which I write as Charlotte Hubbard (my real name). I love writing Christmas stories, and in this one, Miriam and Ben Hooley welcome their first child—as well as an unmarried young couple who are having a baby, much like Mary and Joseph did in Bethlehem. This will be the final book in that series, and I’m currently noodling on ideas for a spin-off series called Simple Gifts, which is also set in Willow Ridge.
If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be?
Tinker Bell! Before Disney brought her to life on the screen she was in J.M. Barrie’s original play about Peter Pan, way back in 1904 (so that makes her a literary character, not just a cartoon).
I love Tink. She flits around looking fabulous in that short, strapless dress—no wardrobe malfunctions—and she gets to sprinkle pixie dust on people and situations to make them turn out happier. She has her own special glow and wants everything to turn out for the best . . . although she gets a little feisty at times. I resemble that remark!
And Tinker Bell can enable people to fly! While I can’t wave a wand that will allow people to soar through the air physically, I like to think that my stories do indeed transport readers to the Amish communities and homes I’m writing about these days. It’s a special kind of magic to be an author, creating whole worlds that readers often tell me feel real to them, peopled with characters they want to meet in person (or feel like they already know). So in my way, I’m a lot more like Tinker Bell than you might think!
What are four things you can’t live without?
I had to think about this one for a while. I’ve always considered myself rather independent and somewhat self-sufficient, but when push comes to shove, I really would not be who I am today without my husband Neal. He’s my total fan and supporter . . . has never once told me to get out and get a real job, even when my writing wasn’t earning me any money. I live the nice life I do because he’s taken it upon himself to be the breadwinner and has allowed me to work from home, keep him fed and clothed, etc. It’s a plus that he feels he couldn’t get by without me, either!
And, much as I hate to admit the need for electronics, I could not be the writer I am now without my Mac. Back in the day, I was writing confessions stories and my early book manuscripts on a portable electric typewriter, but these days I’d be hard-pressed to stay published without the ability to email editors and my agent—because now, instead of having to mail in a big bulky finished manuscript (about the size of a ream of paper) I can hit the Send button. I’m also expected to maintain a website, engage in social media, and do other forms of online promotion. So I have to keep up with all that tech stuff even though a lot of it baffles me. The things I can’t do myself (such as designing and updating my website) I pay someone to do.
I also realized several years ago that without a two-year purse calendar, I’d be a lost soul. I know, I know—most people keep their calendars on their phones nowadays. I still prefer to have paper pages to write my appointments and trips on, both for my purse and on the wall in my kitchen and my office.
And without a sense of optimism? Might as well hang it up. I’m blessed that I’m wired to be mostly a happy person, a can-do person with many creative and problem-solving abilities. Without that creativity thing, how could I concoct my series or write even one story? And if I didn’t believe I could write two different series under two different names for two different publishers, I’d have fallen out of this Amish genre a long time ago.
Emma Blooms at Last
by Naomi King
Romance is in the air during the fall wedding season in the Amish community of Cedar Creek. But while one loving couple prepares to tie the knot, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker’s large family faces a threat from outside their happy circle…and must learn to pull together.
Recently wed Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their children from previous marriages have blended together to form a strong family. But when the construction of Wyman’s new grain elevator is delayed, making the project more expensive than anticipated, Amanda’s determination to rally the kids into taking on work to improve the family’s finances comes into conflict with Wyman’s sense of responsibility as head of the household….
Meanwhile, as James Graber and Abby Lambright prepare for their long-awaited nuptials, folks gather from far and wide. Amanda’s nephew Jerome has long been smitten with James’s sister Emma and wants to seize this chance to woo her. But Emma’s been burned once and is twice shy of trusting the fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As Emma and Jerome struggle to understand each other, and find the courage to make a leap of faith, the Brubakers face a bigger challenge than they first anticipated and begin to discover just what it means to fight…the Amish way.
“Shall we get some lunch?” Jerome asked when they were seated in the rig. “There’s a vintage-style diner just down the road—”
“Or we could go back to Cedar Creek,” Emma remarked in a hopeful tone. “Between what Mamm and I fixed and what Amanda brought, there’s plenty enough for us to join them.”
Jerome smiled. “But you’ve spent your morning with me and saved me from making a lot of mistakes,” he said gently. “I’d like to treat you to a meal you didn’t have to cook yourself. Will that be all right?”
Emma smiled as the color rose in her cheeks. “Well, since you put it that way . . .”
He was thankful that once they were seated in a red leatherette booth with a chrome-edged table between them and a miniature jukebox on the wall, Emma took off her black coat and bonnet. In her honey-gold cape dress and a cream-colored apron that fastened behind her neck, she looked much more attractive and . . . inviting.
Jerome was pleased when she ordered a patty melt with fries and a side of tomato soup. At least she wasn’t going to be finicky about her food, like some girls were. After he ordered the blue-plate special, which was meat loaf, he tapped on the wall-mounted juke box. “Pick a song, Emma. We can listen while we wait for our lunch.”
As she flipped through the selections, Jerome fished out a quarter and put it in the slot. “F six,” she murmured.
In a few moments, “See You Later, Alligator,” filled the small diner. As Emma tapped her fingers on the tabletop, keeping time to the old rock-and-roll song, she looked as happy as Jerome had ever seen her. At last, he’d found something they both enjoyed, even if the church didn’t allow them to play such music at home.
“Dat took James and Abby and me to a horse auction once, when we were around ten or eleven,” she recounted. “We ate lunch at a place similar to this one, and Dat played this record on the jukebox—and it’s stuck with us ever since. Even on days when he can’t recall what he ate for breakfast, he knows every word to this song.”
“It’s a snappy tune,” Jerome agreed, tapping his toes. Just for fun, he wanted to catch Emma’s feet between his and give them a quick squeeze, but he thought better of it. “It’s nice to have that memory from when your dat was younger and stronger. My mamm and dat died when our house burned to the ground, when I was just ten.”
Emma’s eyes widened. “And how was it that you didn’t—I mean—”
The concern on her face coaxed Jerome to grasp her hand. “I was staying overnight at a cousin’s house,” he replied. “The firemen said the old furnace exploded, and because the house was built of very dry wood they’d saved from a barn they’d torn down, my folks were gone before they knew what hit them. That’s when Aunt Amanda and Uncle Atlee took me in—and probably why I get such a kick out of your dat.”
“You didn’t lose any brothers or sisters, I hope?” Emma murmured. “If something happened to James, I’m not sure I could bear it.”
Jerome felt comforted by her concern, even if the accident happened more than half his lifetime ago. “No, it seems they broke the mold when they made me,” he said with a chuckle.
For a moment, Emma’s gaze lingered on his. Such an unusual shade of brown her eyes were, similar to a mixture of honey and cinnamon. Too soon, she eased her hand away. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “That was a horrible thing to endure when you were so young.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Home at Cedar Creek/One Big Happy Family series. Like her series heroine, Abby Lambright, Naomi considers it her personal mission to be a listener—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls—and to share her hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and frugality are hallmarks of her lifestyle: like Abby, she made her wedding dress and the one her mom wore, too! She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, Naomi loves to travel, try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Naomi, whose real name is Charlotte Hubbard, now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie, Ramona.
One Big Happy Family, Book 2
NAL Trade (November 4, 2014)
ISBN-13: 9780451417886 •• ISBN-10: 0451417887
The Book Depository •• http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780451417886
IndieBound •• http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780451417886
Powell’s •• http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9780451417886
Prizes for the tour are as follows:
• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: