Linda Brooks Davis

Join Our Chat With Author Kelly Irvin

Welcome, friends!

Today we’re visiting with multi-published, two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, Kelly Irvin, who pens Fiction Punctuated by Faith

Author Kelly Irvin

Kelly has a rich story to tell, so gather ’round as she tells us a bit about her journey. Join the chat below and you’re eligible for a signed copy of Kelly’s latest Amish romance, The Saddle Maker’s Son.


Pre-Author Life of Kelly Irvin

Home Town Roots
Kelly with her sister and mom in Kansas

I was born and raised in the small rural community of Abilene, Kansas, which has as its claim home of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Library and Museum, the Greyhound Hall of Fame, and being the county seat. I’m one of five children in a working class family. We lived on “the wrong side of the tracks,” and we learned to stick close together.

A Close Family

My dad taught us all sports and I have good memories of playing sports growing up. I wanted to be a professional baseball player. Or a writer. My sister and I had a “newspaper” in grade school and I wrote poems, plays, and short stories. In high school I served as editor of the newspaper and then of the yearbook.

I was a shy kid who dressed funny. (My dad was very conservative at a time when the sixties and seventies fashions were in full swing.) So I lived in books and found my niche in journalism.

College Years

In college I spent a year and a half at the University of Costa Rica as an exchange student, learning Spanish and acquiring a larger world view. A friend and I returned to the States via bus with our big red backpacks that identified us as a gringas everywhere we went. It was a wonderful, surreal experience.

Adult Life

newspaper-973049_1280Eventually I graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and began working as a newspaper reporter. I always wanted to write fiction, but as a working class kid I was also very aware of the need to be able to support myself. For years, writing nonfiction satisfied me.

Getting Started

Then I married a TV news photographer and we moved to San Antonio where we proceeded to have two children back-to-back. The dream of being a novelist seemed farfetched. I worked full-time in public relations, went to volleyball and basketball games, and science fairs, and sold Girl Scout cookies. I loved being a wife and mother living in the ‘burbs, but as year forty-five arrived, it dawned on me if I didn’t make my move soon, I would never realize my dream.

So I sat down and wrote my first book in 2003. It took another two years to find an agent and five years to publish my first book.

Debut Experience of Kelly Irvin

A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin_booksigning2
A Deadly Experience, Kelly’s debut

Now I feel as if I had two different “debut” experiences. My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, worked hard to sell my romantic suspense novels early in my career. It took three years, but she never gave up. She sold A Deadly Wilderness to mainstream publisher Five Star Gale in 2008. They publish library quality hardbacks sold primarily to libraries. There’s no widespread circulation to bookstores or much marketing, but I was over the moon. I spent many, many happy hours in my hometown library as a kid. To have my book in a library was the thrill of a lifetime. A perfect circle. 

Opening that box of books and seeing my name on a hardback was an incredible high. So was pulling the book off the shelf of my local library. Having one of my co-workers tell me she’d checked it out, read it, and loved it, blew my mind. Publisher’s Weekly called A Deadly Wilderness “a solid romantic suspense debut novel.” Sales were good. I was ecstatic.

No Child of Mine

Then Five Star Gale bought the second book, No Child of Mine. I learned so much from the experience. For example, try not to put much stock in reviews. Publisher’s Weekly panned No Child of Mine, saying it was “full of unhappy Christians. The only likeable characters were the children.”

Hurt would be putting in loosely. Sales weren’t great because librarians refer to magazines like Publisher’s Weekly to help them choose what to buy. I learned it takes a tough skin to be a published author. (Tweet That!) 

I love those books and I’ve proud of them, but nothing more was forthcoming in terms of romantic suspense sales so Mary Sue suggested I step outside my comfort zone and try Amish romances.

Amish, a Change of Direction for Kelly Irvin

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To Love and to Cherish, a different kind of debut

Although I was reluctant at first, I eventually took it as a challenge and gave it a shot. Mary Sue sold my first manuscript to Harvest House Publishing before I finished it. I finally broke into the CBA with the The Bliss Creek Amish series: To Love and to Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home. To Love and to Cherish was the beginning of a new writing direction for me and one that has been wonderful.

Kelly Irvin_saddle-maker-final
Kelly Irvin’s latest novel

Then came The New Hope Amish series: Love Still Stands, Love Redeemed, and A Plain Love Song. And now The Amish of Bee County series: The Bishop’s Son, The Beekeeper’s Son, and The Saddle Maker’s Son.

Realization of a Dream

Seeing my books in bookstores. Having The Beekeeper’s Son and The Saddlemaker’s Son final in the ACFW Carol Awards Contest. Signing on with HarperCollins Christian PublishingBecause I took a chance. It just shows you never know what doors will open for you. You simply have to take a leap of faith.

A Determined Journey

Since I sat down to write that first book thirteen years ago, so much water has passed under that bridge. My kids were in middle school then. I remember Nicholas standing on the stairs, calling, “Kelly, Kelly,” because he couldn’t get my attention with “Mom,” I was so engrossed in my writing. It was so hard to balance a full-time job with motherhood, being a wife, and having my writing dream.

I arrived at work at 6:30 in the morning so I could write before my work day started. I ate my lunch at my desk so I could squeeze in some writing time. Nights, weekends. My husband and my children gave me the space to do that. They sacrificed so I could go to writing conferences. So I could reach my dream. I was and am so blessed.

Now I’m retired and write full-time. The kids are grownup and married. I have two grandchildren and my daughter Erin lives in Virginia with her sailor husband. I miss those days when they were close and all the fun we had as they grew and became who they are today. 

Encouragement and Advice from Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin_family-1150995_1280
Hug your loved ones.

My advice? Never lose sight of what’s important. Reach for those dreams, but don’t forget to hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them every day. Strike a balance. Persist. Believe in your dream. And never lose sight of the One who has blessed you with the words.


Lord, we stand in awe of You, the Great Storyteller. We writers and readers of faith-driven stories bow in humility at Your blessing of words. And the privilege of sharing Your story. Let us never lose sight of the One who has blessed us with words. ~ For Jesus’ sake …



54 thoughts on “Join Our Chat With Author Kelly Irvin

  1. Thank you, all who participated in this chat. How wonderful to know readers out there in far-flung places are sharing in the words Kelly writes and gleaning from her messages.


    Cynthia Fernstaedt Martinez! Congratulations, Cynthia!

    P.S. Cynthia, please send me a message through this site’s Contact Linda form.

  2. The Amish Bee County series really looks like a great Amish read. I’m so glad that you”drifted” to the Amish fictional novels and now include them in your writing genre.

  3. So interesting to read this about you Kelly. Everyone has a background and now I know a little about you 🙂

    Please enter me, would LOVE to read your book.

  4. What a lovely blog post and interview! I gobbled up both of the previous Bee County novels, and they were absolutely wonderful. I love reading books where I learn something new, about a new area of the country, and you deliver. thank you for the chance to win!

  5. Kelly,

    You are an amazing woman! I had not read about your road to publication before and to know that you are now writing while battling health issues is even more astounding. Your heart, strength, and humility all radiate through your writing and social media presence.

    Bless you!

  6. I enjoyed this post!I love Kelly’s books.I am looking forward to reading this book.Keep on writing these awesome books Kelly.

  7. I was hesitant to read Amish stories but Kelly’s are so well written I can’t put them down. I was on her yearbook staff at good old AHS but I picked the pages with pictures so I would not need to write very much. This is the one book left I gave not purchased so I would love to win.

  8. It was very good to read a bit about you, Kelly. I imagine that you are happy that you are retired so you can devote as much time as you wish to your writing. I would love, love to have a book written by you.

  9. I have the first two, so it would be wonderful to have an autographed copy to complete my set. Thank you for the chance. Love reading Kellys books and following on FB. Have a blessed evening ladies.

  10. You are so blessed, Kelly with your family and fulfilling your dream of becoming an author of some wonderful books. Thank you for the chance to win. Have a blessed day.

  11. Reading about Kelly Irvin’s path to publication reminds me that God has laid out a different route for each of us. It’s fun seeing how he works in our lives. Well, most of the time. Sometimes patient is a challenge. But I’m glad Kelly was patient because now, through her stories, we’re in on her reward!

  12. I love Kelly Irvin’s books! It is so neat to learn her history. I would love to win an autographed copy of her book. Her books have helped me to grow to love and respect the Amish community.

  13. I was a tomboy played all the sports as well as the boys but no teams for girls back then. I loved reading books in the crook of a tree which I was told wasn’t lady like. In high school I took a Journalism class, loved writing and became editor of our school paper and a weekly page on Saturday in the local paper. I would love to win an autographed copy of your book. I enjoy your books alot.

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