Interview by Brock Eastman
Featuring the Amish Heirloom Series
After losing her fiancé in a tragic accident, Veronica Fisher finds solace in the old recipes stored in her mother’s hope chest—and in a special visitor who comes to her bake stand to purchase her old fashioned raspberry pies.
Veronica Fisher is devastated when her fiancé, Seth, is killed in an accident at work. Seth’s friend, Jason Huyard, was with him and blames himself for Seth’s death. Although Jason has never met Veronica, he feels as if he knows her because Seth talked about her constantly. After the accident, he can’t seem to get Veronica out of his mind.
Two months later, Veronica is cleaning the attic and comes across her mother’s old hope chest. She finds an old recipe and soon discovers that baking helps her cope with her grief, so she opens a bake stand to sell her pies.
Jason starts visiting the stand weekly and their friendship grows, but Veronica isn’t ready to court again. And Jason harbors his secret regret of not being able to save Seth.
Veronica’s mother must convince her that she can’t completely give up on love. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive Jason for not telling her he was there on that fateful day?
Brock: What was your inspiration for writing this series?
Amy: The Amish Heirloom series features the fictional Fisher family, who live in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. The series was inspired during a visit to my publisher’s offices located in Nashville, Tenn., for a meeting. While there, I had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with my amazing agent and also the talented members of the Fiction team. Daisy Blackwell Hutton, Vice President and Publisher, suggested I write a series about a family with three daughters, located in Bird-in-Hand, and the series was born. I’m really excited about this series, and I look forward to hearing what my readers think of it.
Brock: Tell us about the main characters. Who are they? What makes them unique?
Amy: Veronica Fisher is the eldest of the three Fisher daughters. She has known since she was a teenager that she wanted to join the church and marry her fiancé, Seth, who passes away in an accident at the beginning of the story. She’s grieving and tries to find solace through cooking her grandmother’s recipes, which she finds in her mother’s hope chest in the attic.
Jason Huyard is lost after his friend Seth is killed in an accident right in front of him at work. He blames himself for not being able to save Seth. He becomes obsessed with apologizing to Seth’s fiancée, Veronica, but then finds himself falling in love with her when he meets her. He wants to be with Veronica, but he knows she’ll be devastated when she finds out the truth – that he was there when Seth died – since he wasn’t up front from the beginning. He needs to both forgive himself and be honest with Veronica.
When they meet, sparks fly, and they are attracted to each other. The situation becomes more and more complicated as Jason falls in love with Veronica, but is afraid to tell her that he knew Seth.
Brock: Give us one fact about each main character that no one else knows.
Amy: I always have mental models for my characters and I imagine them when I write the book. My mental model for Veronica was movie star Jennifer Lawrence (from “Hunger Games”), and my model for Jason is British actor Theo James (from “Divergent”). That means readers can imagine Katniss (from “Hunger Games”) and Four (from “Divergent”) together in this book!
Brock: In three sentences, what is this book about?
After losing her fiancé in a tragic accident, Veronica Fisher finds solace in the old recipes stored in her mother’s hope chest– and in a special visitor who comes to her bake stand to purchase her old-fashioned raspberry pies.
Brock: Do you outline the entire book before starting, or do you write as you go and let the characters take control of the story?
Amy: I outline each chapter scene by scene and use my outline as a roadmap while I’m writing. The book changes and grows, but the outline keeps me on track.
Brock: How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?
Amy: I believe we’ve all suffered from loss in our lives, whether it’s from losing a family member or a friend. Those of us who have lost someone knows what it feels like to try to have to rebuild our lives and figure out how to pick up the pieces and go on after that loss. Veronica struggles with both overcoming her grief and then dealing with guilt as she feels herself falling for Jason.
Brock: What is your favorite genre to write for?
Amy: I love writing Amish books. I have an Amish friend who helps me with my research, and I enjoy sharing ideas with her and getting her feedback. I enjoy finding new ways to tell an Amish story. I learn more about the culture with every book I write.
Brock: How many books are planned for this series?
Amy: The Forgotten Recipe is the first book in my 4-book Amish Heirloom series.
Brock: Any certain research required for the book, or is it all from your imagination?
Amy: I have an Amish friend who has been helping me with my books since my first book, A Gift of Grace, debuted in 2009. I talk to her on the phone frequently, and she answers my questions. I’m so thankful she takes the time from her busy day to help me with my books.
Brock: How do you strike the right balance in your book?
Amy: I outline the story, but it sort of flows on its own. I write what feels right to me and let my editor do her magic to make it better.
Brock: Why did you choose to focus on a male protagonist?
Amy: I enjoy writing from both the female and male point of view, and I’ve been told I do a good job with the male POV. I enjoy watching people and listening to how they speak and react to things, and I try to bring that out in my writing.
Brock: Are you working on the next book in the series?
Amy: Actually, I recently completed the first round of edits The Courtship Basket, which is book #2, and I’m feverishly writing the first draft of book #3, which doesn’t have a title yet.
Brock: Can you give us a