What is it about Amish fiction that draws so many non-Amish readers?

The perennial question! We all have theories, but I’m not sure there’s one right answer. My first agent, who set me on this path, told me she believed it’s because readers are searching for a more idyllic, peaceful world. They long for simpler times.

The Amish often farm, garden, make quilts, and can food. They live their lives at a slower pace. Their faith seems unshakable. That’s appealing in today’s world of 24-hour news cycles, Internet, work pressures, and financial stress. That’s a simplistic answer, but the best one I can produce!

You write Amish romances, but you also write romantic suspense. How do you decide which type you want to write each time?

I’ve been blessed with a publisher willing to support my efforts to branch into a second genre. I’ve always wanted to write romantic suspense (my first two published novels were in this genre). It’s a bit of an experiment. Will my Amish readers jump over to the second genre? So far, so good.

Being able to write in two genres allows me to stretch as a writer. It keeps me fresh in Amish romances, while allowing me to research and write something completely different in my crime stories. I love both.

I’m finishing a romantic suspense story right now. From there I’ll jump into writing an Amish novella.

The next romantic suspense novel, Closer Than She Knows, debuts in June. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m truly living my lifelong dream.

Are you writing for two different audiences? Or do you find that the same readers are reading both?

A little of both, I think. Some Amish romance readers are purists. They enjoy reading stories with central characters who are Amish. However, other readers are open to the suspense stories as long as there is a strong romance involved.

The cross-over is important because publishers expend substantial resources to help authors build their audiences. Switching to another genre requires more resources to again build an audience. I recognize the leap of faith made by Thomas Nelson in publishing my romantic suspense stories. I hope to make them proud. In the meantime I’m having a blast!

What do you hope readers take away after reading A Long Bridge Home?

I hope Christine and Andy’s story causes readers to think about what they believe and why long after they close the book. That they are open to gentle discourse with those who hold different beliefs.

There’s so much ugliness in the world right now. We can learn from each other. We can even be friends with folks who are different than we are. Be grounded in our faith while still loving each other. That’s my hope.

Visit Kelly Irvin’s Author Page:

A Long Bridge Home

Amish of Big Sky Country
Kelly Irvin

When the Mast family is forced to evacuate their home in the West Kootenai region of Montana, Christine chooses not to move with her family to her father’s childhood home in Kansas. Instead, she wants to stay closer to home and to her beau, Andy Lambright, who has yet to ask for her hand in marriage and who seems to be holding tightly to secrets from his past.

Now, living with her aunt and uncle in St. Ignatius, Christine is on her own for the first time in her life. While working in her uncle’s store Christine meets Raymond Old Fox, whom she befriends, and he introduces her to his rich native culture with strong ties to the earth and nature. Despite the warnings of her aunt and uncle, Christine is inexplicably drawn to Raymond, and her mind is opened to a history and heritage far different from her own.

With her newly expanding horizons, Christine wonders if she can return to the domestic life that is expected of her. Her heart still longs to be with Andy, but she isn’t the same person she was before the fire, and she wonders if he can accept who she is becoming. Has too much distance grown between them? Or can they bridge the gap from past to present and find their way back together?

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About The Author

Kansas native Kelly Irvin is an author who writes in the Amish and suspense genres, and been writing nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. She retired in 2016 after working 22 years in public relations for the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. She is a member of ACFW and Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers. In her spare time, she blogs, reads fiction, and loves her family.