About Charlotte Hubbard
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
Right now I’m pleased to be debuting two books in two Amish series for two different publishers! My February title, SUMMER OF SECRETS, kicks off my Kensington series by introducing Miriam Lantz and her twin daughters, Rachel and Rhoda—but wait! Enter a third young woman all decked out in Goth black and tattoos, who turns out to be the long-lost triplet, Rebecca, and the little town of Willow Ridge, Missouri, gets turned on its ear! Since this series is set in an Amish bakery/café, it also features recipes for the foods featured in the story.
My March title for NAL, ABBY FINDS HER CALLING, has a different texture to it, and I wrote it as Naomi King mostly so my books won’t compete against themselves. Abby Lambright, the mainstay of this series, is a seamstress who also mends broken hearts/broken lives—and whose unrequited love for carriage maker James Graber provides some Plain romantic tension from one book to the next. Abby’s younger sister, Zanna, shocks all the folks in Cedar Creek, Missouri when she disappears on the day she’s to marry James. When she admits she’s pregnant, the Lambright family and everyone in town have a few lessons to learn about the nature of our love for one another and the love of God for all of his children.
Who is your biggest supporter?
While my family and friends have always been excited about my writing career, and wonderfully supportive, the award for Best Supporting All-Around Good Guy goes to my husband, Neal. When I walked away from my school librarian job more than 25 years ago to start writing for magazines like True Confessions, with the dream of someday writing books, all the bread winning landed on his shoulders. He has never once suggested I “get a real job” or insinuated that I should be making X amount of income to consider myself a real writer. Even during the seven-year dry spell that came after I had sold my first six books, he insisted I would sell again and that I should keep sending out proposals and trying for a new agent. He always has bookmarks in his briefcase and talks me up among his colleagues. I always advise wannabe writers not to quit their day jobs unless they have another household income and someone else to provide health insurance, so Neal has truly been the main reason I could afford to be a writer.
What are you currently working on?
I’m about halfway through Book #3 of my Seasons of the Heart series, entitled WINTER OF WISHES. This book isn’t slated for publication until the fall of 2013, but meanwhile the second books of both series will appear in September and October of this year (AUTUMN WINDS and ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART).
And these days, promotion is a project in itself (and being on a Virtual Tour is, too!) Because it’s a unique challenge to be writing series for two publishers under two names, I created a website specifically for my Amish titles at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com to keep readers current on my books. You can also access this site via www.CharlotteHubbardAuthor.com.
Is there an author that inspired you to write?
I have to tip my hat here to longtime friend Phoebe Conn! While I was deciding to get into the game by writing romances, I learned right away that contemporary series romance (Harlequin/Silhouette, namely) just wasn’t where my heart was–nor did I enjoy Regency romances, where it seemed a bunch of silly social butterflies spent their days gossiping in drawing rooms. I read one of Phoebe’s historical Westerns and decided to “paint my wagon” and roll along that action-adventure path where there’s never a dull moment. I loved vacationing in the West, especially in Colorado, and as a former librarian I also loved doing the research for those books. It was a win-win, and it got me my first book contract, back in 1990.
Along the way to my present projects, I’ve devoured books by many authors to get a feel for a new genre: when I was invited to write these Amish series, I came to greatly admire Cindy Woodsmall, Marta Perry, and of course Beverly Lewis.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
While I haven’t made any big bestseller lists (yet!) I’ve managed to stay in the writing/publishing game for more than 25 years now! Many of the writer friends I had when I was first published haven’t been as fortunate, or just got overwhelmed by the many major changes that have happened in publishing since then. The two Amish series I’m writing now are a perfect example of how I’ve reinvented myself yet again, by saying “Yes, I can write Amish books! Yes, I can do that research!” and by taking another pseudonym to accommodate the opportunity to write for two publishers who want my work. I have a total of four full-length Amish books out in 2012, and I had to commit to a lot of hours at the computer to accomplish that goal.
What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
My two Amish series are set in Missouri, where I lived most of my life before we moved to Minnesota for my husband’s new job. Most folks don’t think about Missouri as having a large Plain population but little pockets of Amish and Mennonites are tucked away in lots of rural areas because farmland there is still relatively affordable. Rather than being tourist meccas like Lancaster County, PA or Holmes County in Ohio, most Plain settlements in Missouri are farmsteads located near a small town and families might have a furniture store or a pallet factory or a quilting shop out by the road on their property, or they raise animals to sell, or the women bake and sell their goodies and garden produce at farmers markets in town. I did some intensive research for these books in Jamesport, which is the largest Old Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River (and when you consider how much of the U.S. is west of the Mississippi, that’s saying something!)
You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?
I sorta chuckle at that question every time I hear it: if you get stuck on an island, in most cases you don’t have the luxury of choosing what you’ll bring beforehand! However, I think writers have a definite advantage here—whether or not they “get stuck” someplace remote for a while, or they choose to isolate themselves in a place away from cell phone signals and internet hookups—because this is a perfect opp to WRITE that book you’ve just never gotten around to putting on paper! The act of concocting a plot and creating characters is a fine, fine way to occupy your mind when you’re stuck in a situation with no known end time, or even when you have a specific length of vacation time and retreat from Real Life to write.
However, if I had the chance to choose reading materials beforehand, I would select something from my ever-increasing TBR pile and relish the chance to just read someone else’s fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. I don’t really have any pithy, life-altering choices in mind here. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and I could use a long stint on an island—or a cruise ship!—to truly bury myself in it.
What is your favorite past-time?
Like Miriam Lantz in SUMMER OF SECRETS, I love to cook and concoct new recipes, and like Abby in ABBY FINDS HER CALLING, I have sewn since I was a child. I also love to read, I love to travel and go on cruises, and I crochet afghans.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you so much for allowing me to chat about my new books! It’s gratifying to get this chance to share myself with so many new readers, and I love it when people take the time to send an email or a note saying they enjoyed my book! What a gift, in this day and age, to hear from someone you’ll never meet with whom you share the love of a story.
About Summer of Secrets
Book 1Summer of SecretsBy
“And what shall I bring for your dinner, Micah?” Rachel Lantz grinned at the broad-shouldered blonde seated at the back table of the Good Seasons Bakery Café. “We’ve got an order or two of Naomi’s meat loaf left, and Mamma’s chicken and noodles—and jah, those stuffed peppers ya like so well.”
Although he knew their daily menu by heart, he pretended to study the specials she’d written on the dry-erase board this morning. His hair showed a slight ridge from his straw hat, now hung on the nearby wall peg, and she felt the heat of his sturdy body after his morning of building cabinets with the other Brenneman boys in their shop. It was his steadfast strength that appealed to her, even if he took his sweet time deliberating over decisions. “I’m thinkin’ I had the hash browns Tuesday at lunch and Thursday for breakfast . . . hmmmm . . . kinda warm for those heavy slabs of meatloaf . . .”
Rachel stood as close to him as she dared, watching her twin sister Rhoda set two plates of the meat loaf in front of Bram and Nate Kanagy at a table across the way. “The stuffed peppers, then? Leah picked us a basket of red ones, fresh this morning. They look mighty gut, smothered in all that cheese.”
Micah glanced at his brothers, Seth and Aaron, who piled their plates high at the salad bar. “Jah, but I’d rather have a double order of hugs with a side of your kisses, Rachel. When can you dish me up some of those?” he murmured.
When his deep green eyes sparkled up at her, Rachel’s cheeks tingled. He’d finally proposed to her last week! Would they hint at their pl