Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, Amish Homestead, and Amish Marketplace series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including Christian Book, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina.
In this interview, Amy talks with us about her latest book, Building a Future, which is the second book in her current series, An Amish Legacy.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
My Amish Legacy Series features the Bontrager family, which includes Duane Bontrager, a widower, and his three grown sons. When a friend suggested I write about a widower and his sons, we tossed around ideas of what the family could overcome in each book. I was excited to write about a family and the complicated relationships that siblings can share.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
This book features Tyler, the eldest of the Bontrager sons, and he’s focused on keeping his family’s roofing company on track now that his father has remarried. He dreams of running his own roofing crew and someday inheriting the company. He’s hardworking and loyal, but he’s so engrossed in the work that he doesn’t believe he has time to date. When he realizes he’s falling in love with his brother’s girlfriend, he tries to deny his feelings in order to save his relationship with his brother.
Michelle Lantz is the middle sibling of three daughters, and she’s artistic and loves to draw. She has been dating Tyler’s younger brother, Korey, for more than a year and is convinced that he is going to propose soon, but Korey seems more distracted than ever. As she and Tyler continue to run into each other, she begins to realize that she has a stronger and deeper connection with him. She doesn’t want to hurt Korey or betray him, but it soon becomes apparent that her feelings for Tyler are stronger than her feelings for Korey.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Tyler surprised me the most. When I plotted out the story, I knew that Tyler wouldn’t want to hurt his brother. As his character started developing, I realized that he is a really, really good brother! When my editor sent her notes on the book, she wrote, “I really don’t have much to say about him except I love him. That’s all.” I thought, “I agree!” Tyler has such a good heart. He’s loyal to Korey and so concerned about his relationship with his brother that he tries not to fall for Michelle. Tyler’s main focus is his family, but his heart can’t deny his feelings for Michelle.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
I believe everyone loves a good story. We all struggle as humans and we can relate to stories about people who fall down and then recover by holding onto our faith. We can weave our inspirational messages through our stories.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
I’m currently writing the third book in the series, which is titled Breaking New Ground. This book is about Korey, the middle brother. The last book in the series, The Hearts Shelter, will feature the youngest brother, Jayden. I can share that there will be more family drama and lots of twists and turns. I hope readers enjoy my Bontrager family.
FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
With all of my Amish books, I talk to my dear Amish friend, who lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I always share my stories with her and ask her any questions I have. I enjoy visiting her and learn something new about the Amish way of life every time I go to Lancaster County. I do my best to keep my Amish books as true to the culture as possible.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
My books always have the theme of faith through hard times. I hope that readers will find a deeper faith in God’s grace and will also walk away believing that love is always possible.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
An Amish Legacy is my sixth Amish series. Since I have written more than 40 Amish books, one of my concerns is keeping my stories fresh and interesting. I always look for a new way to tell an Amish story. The Amish struggle with the same problems the rest of us do—hard times, grief, broken relationships, etc. My Amish Legacy Series features a new family with new problems, and I hope readers continue to enjoy these books.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
I read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders in elementary school, and it had a tremendous impact on me. That was the book that inspired me to want to write my own stories. I read the book fourteen times (I kept track inside the front cover), and I knew the movie by heart. I also consumed all of S.E. Hinton’s books, and I dreamt of seeing my own name on the cover of a book. As an adult, I love books with a good story that also include a romance thread. Some of my favorite authors are Kathleen Fuller, Robin Lee Hatcher, Becky Wade, and Melissa Ferguson.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
Since my husband has struggled with chronic illness and two kidney transplants, I feel compelled to always include the theme of faith through hard times in my books. When my husband was very ill and suffering on dialysis while awaiting his second transplant, I relied heavily on prayer. There were days when I worried that he would never be well again. God carried our family through that time, and I’m so grateful that my husband is well now. I try to share that message in my stories, and I hope that my books are an inspiration to my readers.
Building a Future
An Amish Legacy Series #2
Genres: Amish, Romance
Release Date: August 2, 2022
They both had different plans for their futures . . . until their hearts led them to each other.
Michelle Lantz dreams of marrying and starting a family, and now that she’s been dating Korey for over a year, she thought it was only a matter of time before he proposed. But lately, Korey has seemed distant and is far from the attentive boyfriend she once knew. They’ve spent so much time together that she feels she can’t give up on their relationship, but she begins to question her own feelings as his seem to cool.
Tyler Bontrager is focused on expanding his father’s roofing company so he can take over one day. He throws himself into his work and thinks he’s too busy to worry about finding a wife. He and his brother Korey find themselves continually arguing: Tyler doesn’t approve of how Korey treats Michelle and Korey thinks Tyler is out to take anything that’s his. When Tyler happens to be around when Michelle needs a listening ear, he is startled to realize that he has feelings for Michelle, so he denies them because his relationship with his brother is too important.
But when there’s an accident and lives are at stake, true feelings come to the surface. Is it possible for Michelle and Tyler to put aside their feelings for the sake of their relationships with Korey, or will they find a new foundation on which to build their future?
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