Welcome to my stop on the Forever tour where Karen Ann Hopkins has kindly responded to my questions.
G’day, Karen, it’s lovely to have you as guest on my blog today.
Firstly, A few quick fun questions:
Please describe yourself in 5 words.
Persistent, perfectionist, stubborn, equestrian, loyal
Tea or Coffee?
Neither. I don’t like hot drinks at all.
White or Dark Chocolate?
Cats or Dogs?
I have four dogs, six cats, fifteen horses, seven goats and an assortment of chickens, ducks, peacocks and rabbits. I guess you can say I love all animals.
Sun or Snow?
Sun, especially right now in the middle of winter! It’s very difficult to do farm chores in the snow, mud and freezing weather.
Bad Boy or Boy-Next-Door?
In the past, I would have said bad boy, but I’ve become wiser with age and I’m definitely a boy-next-door type of girl now.
Most anticipated release this year -aside from Forever 😉 ?
I’m excited to say that I’ve written an adult Amish mystery that will be available on Kindle this year! Lamb to the Slaughter is about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest. Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate. At first glance, the case seems obvious. The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious. As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting. Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up. Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.
Favourite reading spot?
In bed when the kids are all outside playing.
Favourite accompaniment to reading (eg. Chocolate, coffee, etc)?
I like to have a fat candle lit and one of the cats purring in bed beside me. But, if it’s a good enough book, it doesn’t matter if I’m catching a few paragraphs here and there while sitting on a cold, aluminum bench at the kids’ soccer field in the drizzle.
I understand that many of your neighbours are members of an Amish community. If you’ve not always lived there, what was your first reaction / thoughts about the Amish community?
I moved to the community about six years ago and it was real a cultural shock. What I wasn’t at all prepared for was the way my life became immediately immersed with my Amish neighbors. Amish teens were hanging out at my barn/arena, Amish girls were babysitting my children, my now ex-husband was working on an Amish building crew and I was driving Amish families to town for shopping. I quickly found myself having more interactions with Amish people than non-Amish ones. It’s been a wonderful learning experience though. Even though I don’t agree with all aspects of the culture, like finishing school in the 8th grade or marrying at eighteen, I have a lot of respect for the group of people and can honestly say that they’re the best neighbors I’ve ever had.
As you got to know them, especially the youth, quite well, has any of your original perceptions changed? Were there any particular Amish belief / attitude that struck you? If so, please share one you’d agree with and one that you disagree with.
I was a little disturbed as I witnessed the first group of Amish teens coming to my farm on a regular basis go through a very drastic transition of personality and emotions between sixteen and eighteen years old. At sixteen, they were more carefree and rebellious. They had thoughts of traveling and were interested in experiencing the outside world. I listened to their venting, but didn’t offer much guidance on their choices, feeling that it wasn’t my place to encourage or discourage their decisions about their culture. You see, Amish communities have different rules governing themselves based on their Ordnung. My community for instance, is very strict and doesn’t have Rumspringa, which is the practice of allowing the young people to have a period of time to experience the outside world before they make the decision to join the church. The complete lack of freedom in my community alienated many of the young people I talked to. Things like wearing actual riding boots for horse-back riding, painting on clear nail polish to strengthen nails or sewing the sleeves on a dress a little too short are against the rules and those disobeying are punished. The teens become frustrated and talk about leaving the Amish or they break the rules by sneaking around. What’s shocked me is how all their disgruntlement immediately disappears when the teens begin courting. The lure of marriage isn’t always about falling in love. It has more to do with the teens’ belief that once married they’ll have a lot more freedom, which isn’t the case at all. They are still governed by strict Church laws, only now they are a married couple. Imagine being seventeen years old and it being against the law to simply hold your boyfriend’s hand. That sort of restriction troubles me, because I believe it pushes young people into early marriage. Many of the couples then become overwhelmed by the responsibility of children, households and farms at an early age, but have no recourse to change their circumstances.
Would you ever consider adopting the Amish way of life?
That’s a great question, but no. I admire their simpler ways and the devotion of the men to women, but it’s a religious based society and unless a person agrees wholeheartedly with interpreting the bible in its strictest form, they would not be at peace in the society.
And IF your ‘Noah’ was Amish, would that change your response above?
No. I wouldn’t be attracted to the type of guy who didn’t feel comfortable with my independent nature, and the Amish don’t hold independent thinking in high value. Rose lost her mother at a young age and has a father who is always busy with his career. She wants an intense partner whose whole world revolves around her, so Noah is good match. Noah has a lot of desirable attributes. He’s hard working, sweet natured and gorgeous to boot, but his beliefs would not sit well with a lot of non-Amish women for the long haul. That’s why it’s great that we’re all different.
As part of your writing mode, do you doodle or draw particular scenery / characters / scenes or listen to particular music? Could you share with us a snippet of your drawing or your playlist? If you do neither, please share anything that helps your creative juices going
Actually, I like it pretty quiet while I write and I leave the artwork to my kids, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to write. My head is cleared and my creative juices flow when I’m out hacking through the fields and woods on my favorite horse, Cisco. A few hours in the saddle each week does the trick for me.
Do you have a favourite writing spot? Would share the view with us, please?
There’s a large window in my bedroom that faces the barnyard and paddocks. I can glance up and easily see the horses grazing and the ducks enjoying the sunshine while roosting on the wood board fencing. If the wind picks up, the large oak trees near the house begin rustling and the sound is very calming.
Please share a couple of your favourite quotes…
- From the book: I picked a quote from Belonging, but it’s one of my favourite ones from the series.
Summer Sage speaking to Rose: She gazed at me with steady eyes and said, “That if you give up your spirit, who you really are, for a guy, you won’t have much left to love him with.”
- Of life / writing: I have the following quote on Forever’s acknowledgment page and it’s very appropriate for the Temptation series. Sometimes people need to step back and think about what freedom really is, before they pass judgment on others.
“There can be no assumption that today’s majority is ‘right’ and the Amish and others like them are ‘wrong.’ A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no rights or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different.” Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court Justice, USA.
Thanks for having me on your Blog, Tien!
I love to hear from my readers! Please contact me on Facebook with your thoughts on the series or any questions about the Amish you may have. Thanks!
Karen Ann Hopkins
Wow, Karen sure sounds to be super sensible! Thanks for your time, Karen, and for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂
Forever (Temptation #3) by Karen Ann Hopkins
All I want is my happily-ever-after.
That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller.
From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation.
If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose and Noah; a family, forever.
But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.
Belonging – Book 2 on Goodreads
Do check out the rest of the tour:
Monday, January 20th – Absorbing the Content – Review
Tuesday, January 21st – Sassy Book Lover – Review
Wednesday, January 22nd – Mangamania Cafe – Character Interview
Thursday, January 23rd – Ramblings From This Chick – Guest Post
Friday, January 24th – Andi’s Young Adult Books – Author Interview
Monday, January 27th – Literary Me – Author Interview
Tuesday, January 28th – Crossroad Reviews – Review
Wednesday, January 29th – Books I View – Review
Thursday, January 30th – Actin’ Up with Books – Review
Friday, January 31st – Books Complete Me – Review
Monday, February 3rd – No Bent Spines – Character Interview
Tuesday, February 4th – Paranormal Opinion – Review
Wednesday, February 5th – Bittersweet Enchantment – Review
Thursday, February 6th – Curling Up With a Good Book – Author Interview
Friday, February 7th – Behind A Million and One Pages – Review
Monday, February 10th – The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Guest Post
Tuesday, February 11th – Jenuine Cupcakes – Review
Wednesday, February 12th – Jeanz Book Read N’ Review – Review
Thursday, February 13th – Deal Sharing Aunt – Guest Post
Friday, February 14th – Lost Time Reading – Review
Monday, February 17th – Into The Hall of Books – Review
Tuesday, February 18th – Swoony Boys Podcasts – Review
Wednesday, February 19th – My Favorite Things – Guest Post
Thursday, February 20th – Reading Lark – Review
Friday, February 21st – Tien’s Blurb – Author Interview
Monday, February 24th – Kimberly Faye Reads – Guest Post
Tuesday, February 25th – Book Whales – Guest Post
Wednesday, February 26th – A Bookish Escape – Review
Thursday, February 27th – That Girl Reads – Review
Friday, February 28th – Books Marks The Spot – Author Interview
And… Enter the super-awesome giveaway at Rafflecopter