Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Books & Writing -- Meet Author Laura Hilton

Welcome Laura. It's a pleasure to have you as my guest here on Books & Writing. 

Thanks, Bonnie, for having me.

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor's wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. 

Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. 

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. And the Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love and Surrendered Love. The third book will release September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release September 2014 from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online sites.

Laura, you have a lot going on--pastor's wife, cancer survivor, still homeschooling three of your children, and writing and reviewing. I'm impressed.

Can you describe yourself in one word?


What do you like to do when you're not working?

When am I not working? I'm a mom of five, I home-school, I'm married to a pastor, and I'm a book reviewer. So when I'm not writing, I'm teaching, ministering, reading, and doing house-wife duties.

Your schedule makes me tired just reading about it. I could use some of your energy.

Can you share a bit about your writing journey--how you became a writer? Is it something you always wanted to do?

Yes, ever since I was old enough to read, I wanted to write. I stayed "in the closet" afraid to tell anyone my big secret for a long time. About the time I decided to get serious about my writing Lynn Coleman started American Christian Romance Writers - I was one of the first few to join! Now it is American Christian Fiction Writers - but ACFW has been invaluable to me as a learning tool, connecting with other authors, providing books for me to learn to craft, and conversation with others who have the same mental thought process.

ACFW is a wonderful organization. I recommend it for all fiction writers.

You've written a good number of Amish novels. What is it about the Amish that drew your interest and keeps you writing Amish fiction?

My maternal grandparents came from the Amish in Lancaster County, PA. I've always been interested in the Amish since it was part of my heritage. I planned the stories in Seymour, Missouri, because my aunt-in-law lives in the community (she is NOT Amish) and it was easy researching since it was only a couple of hours away. She also keeps me up-to-date on Amish news in the area. Also, I met a formerly Amish woman online who joined a Christian Mom's group I was in - and she said she could tell me stories about the Amish news in the area. Also, I met a formerly Amish woman online who joined a Christian Moms group I was in - and she said she could tell me stories about the Amish I would never believe. She was from the southern Missouri Amish community . . . Having relatives who came from the Amish, I had no trouble believing her stories.

It sounds like your books might surprise us as we learn more about the Amish. I'm intrigued.

Laura's most recent book!

Janna Kauffman enjoys her job as a personal shopper for the homebound in her Amish community. But when Janna's niece, Meghan, comes to live with her family--part of a plan by Janna's sister to rid her daughter of her rebellious ways--Janna spends less time shopping and more time explaining Meghan's erratic behavior to local police officer Hiram "Troy" Troyer, who was raised Amish but left the faith after a fatal accident that killed his brother and also a brother of Janna's. Frequent interactions draw Janna and Troy together, rekindling an attraction they first experienced in their youth. What will become of their relationship? And will headstrong Meghan ever tame her ways?


Aside from writing novels, you also review books. How does one become a professional reviewer? And what are some of the highs and lows of the job?

I have NO idea how one becomes a professional reviewer! And yet it happens.

Many years ago, before my eleven year old was born, I was approached by fellow writer Vickie McDonough about reviewing for a site she reviewed for - Dancing Word - and it grew from there. I review for most major Christian publishers and several publicity groups, as well as private reviews. And I'm on two launch teams so far. Highs of the job - I am very well supplied in books. I learn best from reading what is published and seeing what works for me and what doesn't. Telling me how to do something, doesn't work, and I never watch TV or movies so using them as examples don't work. But reading it and seeing how it is done - has really honed my skills. Plus, I am discovering new to me authors all the time! And I get to "travel" through the written word. Your books have taken me to historical Alaska.

Lows of the job - sometimes I get very very tired of seeing books and reading. It is rare now for a book to grab me, draw me in, and keep my attention so I HAVE to keep reading and reading to see where it's going. Most books - even mysteries and suspense - I have figured out before I'm one-third of the way in. I think like a writer - because I am one - so I know the secrets and I can figure it out. My house has more books in it than the town library. Well, not quite. I think I've donated enough to equal it out . . . People KNOW who to go to for the latest and greatest in Christian fiction . . . The crazy book lady.

Reviewing sounds like a lot of work. I fear it would ruin my pleasure reading. I'm grateful to you and the reviewers out there who help writers promote our work. Thank you.

Surrendered Love released in April, and you have another that is coming out in September called, Awakened Love. What can we expect from you next?

Well, I am currently writing a contemporary romance for Abingdon Press for their Quilts of Love series. I don't know what they will title it, but it's tentatively titled The Appalachian Ballad - It's about an older woman who has dementia, her granddaughter, and the grandmother's desire to make a "song quilt". It was a non-writer's story idea, so I named her as "co-writer." Her name will be on the book cover with mine. She agreed to do most of the research, especially quilt related because I know NOTHING about quilts. Except what they are used for. Since I only write romance, and her idea was women's fiction, I added a hero who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail - and let's just say it's taking some really fun twists and turns. I also met an interesting exAmish person in the story briefly who is intriguing me and I see a story there . . . And, I just signed a three book contract with Whitaker House for another Amish series, this time set in Jamesport, Missouri. The first book is presently titled "The Snow Globe" and it will release in April 2014. The first book isn't very far in the development state, but it involves a man who left the Amish and went to work on the Mississippi River as a "river rat" and a girl who is promised to another Amish man, and working for our formerly Amish river rat's grandparents. He has some hidden, painful secrets and she has a major decision to make. Keep what is safe, tried and true? Or throw it overboard for the unknown?

I can't wait to write this series!

These sound interesting. I'll be watching for them.

Where can readers find you online?






  1. Anonymous8:38 AM

    Thank you for writing
    Thank you for being you
    God bless you
    Chris Granville

  2. I enjoyed reading this interview. Thank you for sharing! I have shared it on my Facebook. :-)


  3. nice interview, Bonnie. Always a good thing to find a book that doesn't make me cringe at the language, the lurid sex, or the raw plot. Love the photo of you.

  4. I'm not sure if first comment I typed went through, but I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview and getting to know Laura. Thank you for sharing. I have passed this along via Facebook.

    Blessings in Christ,

  5. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I recently read Healing Love and would be so excited to win a copy of Surrendered Love. Please enter me in this contest.
    Brittany McEuen

  6. Anonymous11:28 AM

    Great interview! The book sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing with us. Please enter me in your giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  7. Thanks for the interview ladies! I would love to win a copy of Laura's book.


  8. I love Amish books and would love to win this give away thank you

  9. Anonymous4:34 PM

    Laura Hilton sounds like a great author! Please enter me in the drawing for her novel! Thank you both,

  10. This sounds like a great series and I love the covers.


  11. I'm quiet too. I wonder how many of us writers are introverts.

    This series sounds like wonderful reading. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Best of luck and success w/ this new book.

  12. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Wonderful interview. Would love to win a copy of one of her books.

    Ann Ellison

  13. Very interesting interview -- I enjoyed reading it. Nice to "get to know" the authors. I would love to have this book. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you.

  14. Great interview... Hope to get your books to reads real soon.

    Rebecca Gonzales

  15. Hope to get your books real soon. Havent read your books yet. Hope to win.

    Rebecca Gonzales

  16. Ooops !!! I forgot to leave my Email address in my previous post. So sorry,