Let’s Chat! Author Kelly Irvin

Welcome, Readers! And Welcome, Author Kelly Irvin!

Prepare to be blessed. Multi-published author Kelly Irvin writes Amish stories that never fail to surprise and delight. Gather ’round for tidbits about her latest release, Beneath the Summer Sun.

**Kelly is offering a print copy of Beneath the Summer Sun to someone who joins our chat below. **

When a Character Has a Mind of Her Own by Author Kelly Irvin

Jennie Troyer, the heroine in my new release, Beneath the Summer Sun, took me by surprise. She had the audacity to have a mind of her own. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so it’s not unusual for me not to know what happens between the beginning and the end of my stories. That’s part of the fun. But Beneath the Summer Sun is different. I thought I knew how Jennie’s life would go. She’s a thirty-seven-year-old widow raising seven children on her own. I thought I knew what was best for her, but Jennie had other plans.

The Birth of Author Kelly Irvin’s Every Amish Season series 


First, here’s a little backstory. This series, Every Amish Season, will encompass four books, one for each season—of the year and of life. The series had its birth in a blurb in The Budget newspaper in which an Amish scribe listed the annual statistics for her district: births, deaths, baptisms, graduations, weddings, etc. She included the number of widows and widowers with these other important statistics. She singled them out.

Author Kelly Irvin Imagines 

This made me try to imagine what life would be like as a widow in a community built around husband-wife-family. (Click to Tweet!) So from my fevered imagination came Every Amish Season. The series focuses on four widows in Jamesport, Missouri, who become close friends and support each other in this unexpected season in their lives.

Upon a Spring Breeze begins with twenty-something Bess, a pregnant newlywed who faces a terrible tragedy. I knew where the story would go when I started writing.

Same with Jennie in Beneath the Summer Sun. She would have her second chance at love. At first, she wants no part of it. That’s understandable. She harbors a terrible secret from her first marriage. (Click to Tweet!) Snake-bitten, she’s afraid and feels guilty. Jennie wants to make it on her own, even though the district elders and her family want her to marry again. She’s still young. Her children need a father. Although she understands these facts, her heart is dead-set against it.

I knew all this when I started writing. But I didn’t know how much her story would affect me. The choice she has to make is as hard for me as it is her. Both men who profess to love her have good hearts. I also see a lot of myself in Jennie. I didn’t have good role models growing up and distrusted love. As a child, I watched difficult relationships limp along on the verge of shattering, but never quite exploding. (Click to Tweet!) I didn’t want to live like that. As I wrote Beneath the Summer Sun, I found small details from my childhood slipping onto the page. They’re woven into the tapestry as Jennie’s troubled marriage is revealed.

From Beneath a Summer Sky by Author Kelly Irvin

“The kinner were afraid of him. They were always tiptoeing around him. They never knew what might set him off. A rip in their clothes, a kapp not properly starched, a chore not done to his satisfaction.” Jennie’s stomach lurched just as it used to do when the thunderclouds gathered, dark and fierce, in Atlee’s face. She put her hand to her mouth, willing her stomach to settle. She breathed and let it drop. “Too much noise at the supper table. The clicking of the fork on the plate when they cut the skin on the sliced tomatoes bothered him. I started peeling them before I served them. Chewing too loud bothered him. Cold food and food too hot or meat too tough set him off. Crumbs on the floor that didn’t get swept up.”

Author Kelly Irvin’s Own Love Story

Early memories of not so blissful matrimony colored my view of love and married life. (Click to Tweet!)  I wanted both, but I made terrible choices and they never worked out. When I turned thirty, I decided God didn’t intend for to me to marry. I should be happy in my single status. God had other plans for me. That year, 1988, I met the love of my life. Next month we’ll celebrate thirty years of marriage. The things I learned as a child about the complicated dance between men and women, I’ve applied to my marriage, to parenting, to loving, and to my stories.

Author Kelly Irvin Beneath the Summer Sun

Jennie Troyer’s Time of Suffering

Jennie can’t understand why she had to suffer. Likewise, I often felt the same way. God could have given me a “normal” childhood. However, the question is whether we believe God is good. I do. Also, do we believe Scripture that says in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him? (Romans 8:28) I do. As hard as it is to go through these experiences, they give us character, empathy, and compassion.

Author Kelly Irvin
See. I have refined you. Isaiah 48:10

“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

As Jennie learns, God knows what He’s doing. I’m reminded often of the saying, “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” Because of life experiences, I know He is the God of all comfort. I’m able to give comfort to others through Jennie’s story. (Click to Tweet!) In the end Jennie makes her choice. It’s not the choice I thought she would make, but maybe she’s even more like me than I realized.

Final Thoughts from Author Kelly Irvin

Finally, I hope Jennie’s story will resonate with readers. It wasn’t an easy one to write. But Beneath the Summer Sun is a story of second chances and hope. We can use both.

Author Kelly Irvin
Taste the Lord and see that He is good. Psalm 34:8

Lord, You invite us to taste and see that You are good. Only You can blend the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tart that makes us Your unique creations. As readers and writers, we ask You to utilize the avenue of Christian fiction to communicate Yourself in myriad ways and to make You sweet on our tongues.
Bless each word Kelly writes for You. ~ For Jesus’ sake

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32 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Kelly Irvin

  1. Lucy Reynolds

    I’m so looking forward to reading this. I enjoy Kelly’s books so much. I was a single parent of two, I can’t imagine raising seven. Blessings

     
     
    1. I was also a single mother of two. In photos those years I look so thin, haggard, and worn out 🙂 I can’t imagine rearing seven by myself either. Kelly has hit the bull’s eye on this series. Thanks for dropping by. God bless you and yours!

       
       
    2. Me neither! My parents had five kids and that was tough!

       
       
      1. Lucy Reynolds

        My parents each came from families of 11 children. They were each the 10th child.

         
         
        1. Gasp! But then when I look back at the records on Ancestry.com, I’m dumbstruck by the # of kids people had. EEEEEGADS!

           
           
  2. Brenda Andrezeywski

    Enjoyed reading this post about Kelly Irving! Haven’t read this one yet; but it’s being added to my list!! Kelly, once again ya cracked me up!! So she has a mind of her own…picture popped in my head of ya sleeping & she’s sitting at your computer typing her own story!! God bless ya sweetie

     
     
    1. Love the picture you painted, Brenda. Now I’m cracking up! Thanks for stopping by. Please come again. God bless you and yours real good!

       
       
    2. Sometimes I wish that were possible–especially when I’m not sure where my story is going. Some times characters say the darndest things! LOL

       
       
  3. Ellen P

    I can’t wait to see what happens in Jenny’s life. I like that Kelly says Jenny has a mind of her own!

     
     
    1. 🙂

       
       
  4. Kelly Irwin’s comments about her character Jennie’s own idea of how to live her life made me laugh. I’m not considered a “pantser,” so I’m often surprised when one of my characters has the nerve to step outside my outline and to stand up for themselves. This series is on my list! Thanks Kelly and Linda.

     
     
    1. Hi, Clarice, my friend. So good to see you in our circle today. Kelly and her writing are completely delightful. Don’t you just love the idea behind this series? You and many other women can relate. Many others of us will relate in the future. I’m grateful I can slip this series onto my bookshelf and return to it in days to come. God bless you real good!

       
       
    2. It’s so exciting when they speak up for themselves, isn’t it, Clarice? I love it when a new character shows up out of nowhere. I’m astonished and tickled pink!

       
       
  5. Ellen P

    I recently finished reading Upon A Spring Breeze and am looking forward to reading Beneath the Summer Sun! I absolutely love Kelly’s writing! I just discovered her books a month or so ago and have already read several. Makes me feel like I’m in Amish Country, my favorite people and places to visit. Thank you for all your hard work Kellie ❤️God Bless you❤️

     
     
    1. Ellen P

      I know your name is spelled Kelly, I have a friend Kellie and auto correct changed my spelling and I didn’t notice 😊

       
       
      1. 🙂

         
         
    2. Hi, Ellen P. I’m so glad you joined us today. I’m totally with you in loving Kelly’s writing–especially the idea that undergirds this series. Please visit again. New author each week, beginning on Wednesdays. God bless you!

       
       
      1. Ellen P

        Now that we’ve met, I look forward to seeing the new authors you will be hosting. See you on Wednesday 😊God Bless

         
         
    3. Thank you, Ellen. You’re so sweet. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my stories. I love hearing from happy readers! God bless you too!

       
       
  6. Donnia Duane

    This was beautiful

     
     
    1. Hi, Donnia. I agree. Kelly’s posting is beautiful. I loved working with it, adding the photos, etc. It gave me such pleasure and fulfillment. That’s the Holy Spirit at work. I know you’ll love Kelly’s latest release. God bless you!

       
       
    2. Thank you, Donnia!

       
       
  7. Jean Dixon

    This sounds like Jennie is alot like myself I would truelly love to win this book and see how God works in her!

     
     
    1. Hi, Jean. The names Jennie and Jean not only look and sound familiar, but apparently, you share even more in your hearts and minds. Isn’t it cool how God does that through a writer like Kelly? I know you’ll enjoy this latest release of Kelly’s. God bless you!

       
       
  8. Jackie Tessnair

    I loved reading this blog post.Thanks Kelly for sharing.As I was reading your words I kept thinking this is another example of it is all in God’s timing . I wanted to read this book from the beginning but now after this post I am ready to read it right now.Thanks again!

     
     
    1. Hi, Jackie. Welcome, new reader friend! So happy the post inspired you to read Kelly’s latest as soon as possible. Her books—like Kelly—are full of wonder and joy and realness. God bless you and yours!

       
       
    2. You’re right, Jackie. It’s all about God’s timing. I hope you enjoy the book!

       
       
  9. Marilyn

    Beautiful interview with Kelly Irvin with her sharing personal tidbits and behind the scenes to pen Beneath the Summer Sun.
    Thank you for sharing. Blessings to both of you.

     
     
    1. Seeing you here always makes me smile, Marilyn. We simply MUST meet someday 🙂 Thank you for joining in and encouraging Kelly and me. God bless you real good!

       
       
  10. Deana Dick

    Beneath the Summer Sun sounds so good. I can’t imagine being a widow with seven children. I love reading about second chances. I was given a second chance when I divorced my hubby and we remarried a year and a half later. Being shown what what unconditional love and forgiveness is helped me find my way home. It is now 34 years later and we are still like newlyweds. I look forward to reading your new book.

     
     
    1. Kelly Irvin is wonderful—both as a person and a writer. So glad you’re getting an opportunity to get to know her. God bless you and yours!

       
       
    2. My parents married, divorced, and remarried a year later. They’ve been married more than 60 years total now. It’s not easy for them, but they certainly show us what the meaning of the vow is. You don’t give up and walk away when it would be so much easier. I’m so glad you received your second chance at love and a beautiful marriage.

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Crystal Joy

Welcome, Readers!

Crystal JoyI‘m very happy to re-introduce you to author Crystal Joy, who labels her contemporary sweet romances as deep-rooted romance.

Crystal is guest blogging this week about her new release, Shackled Heart

**Crystal is offering an ebook copy of Shackled Heart to someone who comments below!**

Take It Away, Author Crystal Joy!

I’m so excited to talk about my latest release, Shackled Heart! It’s a contemporary romance novel that took me seven years to write and publish. Sharing this novel with readers is a dream come true! (Click to Tweet!)

Crystal Joy’s “What Ifs…” That Birthed Shackled Heart 

Charlie Grimm was in my head for a long time before I wrote the first draft of Shackled Heart. At first, I wanted him to be a man who had to go back to his small Iowa town, but didn’t want to. I wondered, what would make him not want to go home? Here was my thought process: Maybe he’s haunted by the past mistakes he made when he’d last lived in Maple Valley. What if he committed a crime there? If he committed a crime, then he would’ve gone to prison. If he went to prison, what kind of crime did he commit

Shackled Heart and Author Crystal Joy

The novel begins when Charlie is still in prison, waiting for his parole meeting. It took a lot of initial research to develop Charlie’s perspective. I’ve always been a rule-follower, or in other words a goody-too-shoes. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to commit a crime and live in prison for several years. (Click to Tweet!)

Shackled Heart Gets Personal for Crystal Joy


T
hen life intervened. After I wrote the second draft, someone I love went to prison. Suddenly, I had a close-hand look at what a person goes through while incarcerated. As a result, I put Shackled Heart away for a while. I couldn’t separate my life from Charlie’s story and it hurt too much to write the book. (Click to Tweet!)

Eventually, as the shock and pain lessened, Charlie’s story still tugged at my heart, and I knew it was a book I wanted to publish. (Click to Tweet!)

The Story Takes Shape

Enter Mackenna Christensen (nicknamed Mac). She’s the heroine of the novel and Charlie’s parole officer. Thankfully, the research for her character was much easier because my dad was a parole officer. I could call him at any time and ask him questions. Fun story—I was talking to him on the phone and asking him a question about parole when I went into labor with my son. I’ll never forget that moment!

Even though the research was easier, Mac’s character was initially hard for me to relate to. She grew up with two alcoholic parents who didn’t love her. Her idea of love is very jaded and she believes love can’t possibly exist; otherwise, why wouldn’t her parents love her? In her mind, to believe in love would mean that she is unlovable. (Click to Tweet!)

Author Crystal Joy’s Journey to Understanding Her Characters

Mac is very different from me, but when the person I love went to prison, I grew to understand her character arc—experiencing her anger, compassion, and love for Charlie (not that she views it as love, at first). Once I understood both characters, I wrote two more drafts and went through multiple revisions and edits.

Like I said earlier, sharing Shackled Heart with readers is a dream come true. Charlie and Mac’s story is very dear to my heart because of the personal experiences I’ve had over the last few years. This may sound odd, but writing those initial drafts truly prepared me for real-world experiences. (Click to Tweet!)

From the very beginning, Charlie’s story was meant to be about loving someone despite their past mistakes. I hope that readers can see and feel this as they read the novel. All too often, society quickly labels someone once they’ve made mistakes. They are a prisoner, criminal, liar, thief, murderer, or a “bad guy.” But they are so much more. They are a person, they are human, and just because mistakes landed them in prison doesn’t mean they are unworthy of our love and compassion.

I hope Charlie and Mac’s story shows the stilting power of guilt, the necessity of forgiveness, and the beauty of falling in love. (Click to Tweet!)

A Synopsis of Shackled Heart

 After losing his wife in a horrific car accident, Charlie Grimm believes that he deserves to pay for the life he stole. Haunted by his irreversible mistakes, Charlie vows he’ll never fall in love again, and who could see past his criminal conviction anyway?

MacKenna Christensen strives to support all of her parolees. But when she discovers Charlie is her client, she refuses to help him. She can never erase the gruesome images of his wife’s death. Yet when she sees Charlie’s anguish, she realizes he’s not the reckless monster she imagined.

As the disdain between Charlie and Mac turns to desire, guilt tears them apart. Is Mac willing to take a chance on a client at the risk of losing her job? Can Charlie forgive himself and open his heart to Mac, or will she become one more regret?

About Author Crystal Joy

Crystal Joy lives in Iowa with her family. She has two young children, who love playing with dolls, building blocks, and riding bikes. When she has a free moment with her husband, they love to dance awkwardly, watch reality TV, and visit real locations from their favorite books.

You can learn more about Crystal Joy at her website www.crystaljoybooks.com. If you want to sign up for her newsletter, “From My Heart to Yours,” you’ll receive exclusive giveaways, opportunities to enter contests, and noteworthy news. Click on this link to sign up: http://eepurl.com/cHgfZ9

You can also connect with her at:

Crystal@Crystaljoybooks.com

facebook.com/profile.php?id=14817699

twitter.com/CrystalJoyBooks

pinterest.com/crystaljoybooks

~ ~ ~

Lord, how marvelous are Your ways in all of Earth. You promise to straighten our crooked paths and remove the rocks along our way. Crystal Joy serves as a beautiful example of a young woman who has held to Your promises. We pray You will expand her territory and bless every single word she writes for You. 

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Crystal Joy

  1. Ann Ellison

    A new to me author and her book sounds like a good one.

     
     
    1. Yes! Her personal connection to the “shackled” concept makes it very special. Thanks for stopping by, Ann. 🙂

       
       
    2. Thanks, Ann! I hope you enjoy reading my books!

       
       
  2. Susan Snodgrass

    Sounds good!

     
     
    1. Yes! Thanks for joining us, Susan!

       
       
    2. Thanks, Susan! I hope you enjoy reading Shackled Heart!

       
       
  3. Crystal, may I live with you? You are so lovely, inside and out. I just want to be around you 😊 Maybe some of you will rub off on me—like angel dust. Can’t wait to read Shackled Heart!

     
     
    1. Yes, of course, Linda! Please join me in Iowa. Thank you for your kind words. I’m excited for you to read Shackled Heart! Thank you again for hosting me on your amazing website.

       
       

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