September 24, 2013
Winter of Wishes by Charlotte Hubbard
I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Winter of Wishes by Charlotte Hubbard
Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 3, 2013
Season of the Heart #3
5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: As another year draws to a close in Willow Ridge, life seems to be changing for everyone but Rhoda Lantz. Her widowed mother is about to remarry, her sister is a busy newlywed, and Rhoda will be alone in her cozy apartment above the blacksmith's shop. An ad posted by and Englischer looking for someone to help with his mother and children may offer just the companionship she's looking for, but if she falls for the caring single father, she may risk being shunned by her community. Certain she can only wish for things she cannot have. Rhoda must remember that all things are possible with God and nothing is stronger than the power of love.
My review: I have this whole series and have enjoyed each one. I would recommend reading the books in order but if you don't have that opportunity you will be just fine reading this as a stand alone book. This book will keep you going right up until the end. I like Charlotte's Amish books as they are fun and quick to read as well as she really makes you feel a part of the Lantz family. With this book as was the same with the rest of the series I found myself looking forward to finding out what each of the family members were up to. Willow Ridge is a community I would love to visit. I also like how Charlotte describes the differences between the two worlds - Amish and Englisher. Winter of Wishes is full of strong but lovable characters, well described scenes to make you feel as if you are really a part of the story. I highly recommend this series.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Charlotte and thought I would share it with you.
1. What inspired you to write your first book?
Waaayyy back in the late 80's, when I was beginning to sell stories to confession magazines like True Confessions, True Love, etc., I was also reading Western-set romances that were very popular then. When I read one featuring Jesse James that contained a lot of faulty research (I had a special interest in Jesse because my dad's family KNEW him), I decided to try my hand at book-length fiction. It took a few false starts and rejections to learn my craft—back in the day before just anybody could self-publish books on the Internet—but COLORADO CAPTIVE came out in 1991, followed by five other romances set in the American West.
2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Because I'm writing two Amish series, with back-to-back-to back deadlines, I have to very careful about clicking into Yahoo "news" stories, Facebook, emails, etc. While maintaining a presence on social media is a must for BOTH of me (I write as Charlotte Hubbard and as Naomi King) and I love hearing from readers and interacting in several different Amish-interest Facebook groups, before I know it, I can lose a lot of time I had intended to spend writing.
3. While you are writing, do you ever feel as if you are one of the characters?3
Oh, I WISH I could be as resourceful and funny and industrious and faithful and unselfish as the Amish women I create. It would be such a gift to have the perfect come-backs and answers, as they do, exactly when I need it . . . instead of taking all day to get the words just right, as it does when I'm writing them.
4. Who is your favorite character from your books and why?
Miriam Lantz Hooley, the anchor character of my "Seasons of the Heart" series, is a favorite of mine because she's so practical and down-to-earth and funny. She's the mom all of us want, always believing the best in the folks around her, always having faith that God will work things out the way they're supposed to be. Yet she won't tolerate Hiram Knepp's underhanded ways, and she dares to stand up to him even though he's the bishop, and even though her outspoken independence flies in the face of Amish expectations about female submission.
My OTHER favorite character, however, has to be Hiram Knepp! He's so arrogant and self-centered, I get a big kick out of the way Miriam and her daughters—not to mention the two Hooley aunts, Jerusalem and Nazareth—outfox Hiram despite his intentions of putting them in their places. I'm getting a LOT of reader mail about Hiram, insisting that he get what's coming to him. In WINTER OF WISHES, and my next book, BREATH OF SPRING, those readers will see this happen . . . even though Hiram will never totally disappear. He's just too interesting and devious—a character readers (and my editor) love to hate.
5. I know this is an often asked question but I would like to know where do you get your ideas for what to write about?
Short answer: ideas are everywhere. The trick is to open your mind's eye so you can recognize the good ideas, the useful ideas, when they come to you. Often, for these Amish stories, I run across interesting real-life nuggets as I read THE BUDGET, the national Plain newspaper. When I'm devising a new premise for a book, or for an entire series, it's a little tougher to select characters with "good bones" for ongoing stories and layers of personality. And sometimes—as with the old-maid Hooley aunts—they come at me from out of nowhere. When those two gals showed up with their four little goats in AUTUMN WINDS, I knew immediately I was going to get a lot of good story mileage out of them. And they get their own romances next month, in AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, too!
6. What book are you reading now?
When I heard that author Barbara Michaels had died, so many of my writer friends raved about her books that I decided to read some. I enjoyed THE WIZARD'S DAUGHTER and am about halfway through THE CRYING CHILD now. While I occasionally read Amish romances, I prefer other types of stories for recreational reading—partly because I don't want to unintentionally copy ideas from other Amish novels, and partly because, after all day of living with my imaginary Amish characters, I like to visit other types of lives and settings when I'm not working.
7. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
My Border Collie, Ramona, is about as unique as you can get! I'm a herded woman, and she's my office manager and constant companion. She's 10 now, so it's nice that we're about the same speed and the same temperature—Minnesota winters are no big deal to us. We love the snow! I'm also taking guitar lessons, and I guarantee you that I'm my 20-something hottie guitar teacher's oldest (but most musically knowledgable) student. Also, I collect—and wear—vintage clip earrings and jewelry, because I'm too chicken to get my ears pierced.
8. Tell us five random things about you?
Several years ago I taught myself to play the accordion as research for a book.
My cousins from Pittsburgh, PA (where I was born) tease me about having a Southern accent. Hah—THEY have the accents.
I grew up in Kansas City, MO.
I sing in my church choir.
I love to cruise, love being on the water. (Yeah, I'm a Pisces.)
9. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
THANK YOU, dear readers, for buying my books, recommending my stories to your friends, and for taking the time to contact me via email or snail mail to tell me you enjoy my work. Writing two Amish series means I often write for several hours, six or seven days a week—especially when I'm nearing a deadline. Hearing that my stories entertain you or touch your lives makes my time at the computer worth the effort.
You can visit Charlotte at her website here to read about all her books.