by Naomi King
New American Library, 2012
ABOUT THE BOOK
Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri, that for everything there is a season.
Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe…and is unprepared for the changes that are coming…
Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreoever, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek…and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life?
See here for my review of the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my new Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my new Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.
To find out more about Naomi, please visit her at http://www.naomikingauthor.com/.
Visit her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King
On Goodreads at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5163868.Naomi_King
What is the 'story behind the story'?
The idea for ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART came about in an off-hand sort of way when I first saw the cover for ABBY FINDS HER CALLING. Alongside Abby are some sheep...although sheep had nothing to do with her, I was tickled to see the Border collie, because I have one! The sheep belong to her nephew Matt, who is plenty old enough to be looking for a wife. And because my editor had nixed the plot for book #2 in my original proposal, it seemed like an opportune time to find Matt a girlfriend for this new story.
He's just not crazy about Emma Graber across the road, even though she has her heart set on marrying him. So once Matt meets Rosemary Yutzy at Zanna's wedding—taking up right where ABBY FINDS HER CALLING leaves off—the heartbreak with Emma begins. Rosemary wants nothing to do with Matt, either. Thank goodness for those Border collies who watch over Matt's sheep attract little Katie Yutzy over to play, because then Rosemary has to come chasing after her toddler, who is both entranced by Matt and effortlessly wrapping him around her little finger.
Kids and dogs. An unbeatable combination! So that picture on ABBY FINDS HER CALLING was worth more than a thousand words!
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Even though I write out a fairly detailed synopsis for each book before I write it (partly because I work better with a roadmap, and partly because my editors require one) I still have about 330 pages to fill, and the words don't necessarily flow from God's lips to my fingers. What makes the slower writing days worthwhile, however, are those sparkly ideas that come at me out of nowhere—or, in this book, it was the way three-year-old Katie just reached out of the page and grabbed me, and then took over her scenes. Soon as that kid opened her mouth (or stuck her finger in it to gaze up at Matt) she was telling her story her way. It made my job a lot easier because she brought Rosemary and Matt together whether they wanted to be or not!
Where do you like to do your writing? Do you have a particular schedule you like to follow?
My office is in the third bedroom of our home, where I have a nice desk with a Mac on it, my library of research books, and two windows looking out over the back yard. Quite often, however, I get a lot of pages written out on the deck in summer, or in the kitchen when it's colder, using my iPad and the wireless, full-size keyboard it hooks into. I like to work in the kitchen while I’m making soup or have something in the oven, so I don’t forget about what’s cooking! When I compose on the iPad, I can then email the pages to my Mac and edit them there to copy/paste into the main manuscript.
Ideally, I do my day's writing right after breakfast and walking the dog—otherwise, it's waaayy too easy to get caught up in email, social media, errands, you name it, and the day gets past me before I get my pages written. Writing two different Amish series for two different publishers means I have a deadline about every four months, so I can't afford to get behind on a book. I don't write very fast, so I have to keep at it nearly every day, sometimes even on weekends if I'm behind after a planned vacation—or an unplanned family situation, etc. I keep a week-by-week schedule of how many pages I need to write so I can tick each week's section off as I complete it.
While I'm writing the main draft of one book, I almost always have to do copy edits on a book for the other publisher. Right now I have three books in the pipeline: two books in my Charlotte Hubbard series are on my Kensington editor's desk, and I'm writing the #3 book for my Naomi King NAL series—and yes, because I'm doing this Virtual Tour for ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART (#2 of Naomi's series) I have these interviews and blog posts to keep up with, as well. Add in the time for both of my Facebook pages (you can Friend me as Charlotte Hubbard and LIKE my Naomi C. King author page), a newsletter, the occasional speaking gig/bookstore signing, and I don't have time to get bored. Or behind!
What is the best thing that has happened to you since being published?
Gee, I have to think about that one, as we're spanning a 22-year period since my first book came out—and 2013 will mark the 30th year since I first sold stories to mags like True Confessions! It's gratifying indeed to have survived that long in this crazy, unpredictable publishing business, even though I've never hit any of the major bestseller lists.
I will say, however, that it's a wonderful thing when not one but two major publishing houses invited me to write these Amish series for them. Usually, when you're not a big name, you have to write up proposals on spec and submit them, hoping an editor somewhere will be interested. This wave of fascination with the Amish culture has created quite a demand for stories about them, and for once, I was in the right time and place with the right writing style.
While I understand the advantages of all the self-publishing that can be done now, I feel truly honored to be writing these books for two of the most respected editors in the business, and to be working with an agent who has been such a compassionate, hard-working partner in my career.
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
You know, I never met an ice cream I didn't like...but sometimes it depends on the brand! When we lived in Jefferson City, MO, Central Dairy (local dairy, that makes the best ice cream and has an ice cream parlor in town) flavors like cinnamon, peppermint stick, and bear claw (dark chocolate ice cream studded with chocolate-covered cashews) were my choices. If I'm buying it in the store, here in Minna-Soda, I choose Blue Bunny's "Homemade" vanilla flavor. Otherwise, when brand isn't an issue, I go with cookies and cream or chocolate brownie. This is more than you wanted to know about my taste in ice cream, isn't it?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Dad worked for TWA, so the travel bug bit me early and often! These days I really to love to cruise—you unpack just once, yet you can visit a bunch of ports on the same trip (and I love being on the water). We've been to Alaska, the Panama Canal, and other neat places. Got one booked for Hawaii in March to celebrate my birthday. One of these days I'd like to visit England and Italy/the Mediterranean, and I'm sure we will! Would love to visit Australia, as well, but wish it didn't require an 18-hour flight.
Why these places? Because they’re out there! Anymore, I don’t care where the cruise ship’s, going…I just want to be on it!
Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
As research for one of my earlier books, I bought an accordion and taught myself to play it. Got it online—a beautiful Sofia Marie instrument, along with how-to-play books. I've played a lot instruments over the years, so taking up the accordion wasn't all that much of a stretch, musically. It was, however, a weight-bearing exercise because I unknowingly bought one that was too big for me! (Ok, I'm short.) So before we moved to MN, I sold it. This summer I bought a nice classical guitar and am taking lessons, building on the chords and stuff I learned when I got a guitar for Christmas in junior high. Gets me away from the computer and out of the house to take the lessons, and gives my brain something non-verbal to work on.