This is your first Christmas novel. What sparked the story? I wanted to write a Christmas story, and my publisher suggested one that revisits my previous characters would be great. I wanted a new story and a new romance, so I had an Amish young man visiting his brother who recently married (a previous book) – and he finds love with a girl from his hometown who is in the area as a mothers helper (to a character in a different previous book).
Would you please share a bit of your journey to publication? I wrote, I thought I was a good writer, so I submitted. I was rejected. I am somewhat stubborn so I kept trying. I eventually landed an agent, got lots of interest in my books, but unfortunately, historicals were hot and contemporaries were not. I decided to try Amish and to my surprise, that sold on a proposal.
Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook? I write in my living room with my family surrounding me. I have five kids, I homeschool, and I have to be available.
What would you do if you didn't write? Go insane? Writing is my sanity.
What issue makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it? I struggle with writing with the kids get loud with either fighting or extreme silliness.
What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Join a critique group and develop rhino skin.
Then what 3 things would recommend not doing? Don’t submit to publishers before you are ready. Don’t self-publish before you are ready. Don’t think that you can go it alone. You need others. Don’t throw away old ideas. You may need them someday.
Some say a writer is born and others say anyone can learn. What do you think? I beg the fifth. I knew I was called to write from an early age, but I had to learn. Whether you are called or not, you still have to learn.
What's the strangest or funniest experience you've had in writing? Sometimes life mirrors fiction… and you learn lessons from the characters.
Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research? I create and edit simultaneously. I love the writing process and learning about my characters.
What are your writing rituals? No rituals. Everyday is different.
Do you work best under pressure or do you write at a leisurely pace?? Both. The deadline makes me adhere to more of a schedule like I must write X amount of words a day to meet the deadline. I’m not one of the must stay up all night for two weeks and write the whole story then writers.
What are your thoughts on critique partners? MUST HAVE.
ABOUT A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN WEBSTER COUNTY
Wanting to relocate from Shipshewana to somewhere new, Mercy Lapp answered an ad in The Budget to work as a mother’s helper for Matthew and Shanna Yoder in Seymour, Missouri. Mercy relocated from Shipshewana to give herself space and time to heal after the death of her beau in a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. Abner Hilty fled Shipshewana to Montana to work on a ranch after he and his twin brother witnessed a murder. Now that the killer is safely behind bars, Abner decides to visit his brother Abram in Missouri where he’d settled with his bride of one month. Mercy is surprised to see Abner there, and equally surprised by how much he’d changed physically since she’d last seen him. Even though the two live in different districts they occasionally see each other in town and form a fledging friendship. As Christmas approaches, an unexpected heavy snow lets Abner and Mercy spend a lot of time together in wintertime fun. Abner hopes to interest Mercy in a more permanent relationship. But then Mercy has a potentially life changing discovery. Will she return to Shipshewana to answer the summons of the past? Or settle in a new place?
ABOUT LAURA HILTON
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 and the Amish of Webster County series. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.