ABOUT AUTHOR: Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of seventeen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner The Amish Midwife, co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Leslie’s novel Beyond the Blue was the winner of the Romantic Times Book Club Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2006. Courting Cate (inspired by The Taming of the Shrew), made the ECPA bestseller list for December 2012. Her latest release is Adoring Addie (inspired by Romeo and Juliet).
Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from
University in 2009 and has taught
fiction as an adjunct professor at . She lives in Multnomah
with her husband and four children. Visit her at www.lesliegould.com Portland, Oregon
How did you come up with the idea for this series, The Courtships of Lancaster County? What inspired you?
A few years ago, during my MFA program, my Shakespeare professor assigned retellings of plays in short-story form. I loved those assignments! When I started writing Amish fiction, I realized the settings and characters lent themselves to Shakespeare-inspired stories. An Amish Taming of the Shrew immediately came to mind, including a sassy Plain girl as the lead, and the title “Courting Cate.”
If you were able to live in an Amish Community for 6 months or so what would you look forward to experiencing the most? The least?
I would look forward to experiencing community without the interference of modern life. It’s hard to imagine living on a multigenerational farm and interacting with others without the competition of a computer, cell phone, and car, but I like the idea of it.
What would I look forward to experiencing the least?
Not having a computer, cell phone, and car, lol, plus all the hard work involved in an Amish life. The older I get, the more I’d honestly rather write about the hard work than actually do it. (I do think there was a time, say in my 20s, when I would have embraced it.)
Have you been to an Amish community? If so, what surprised you about it? If not, how do you gather your information in order to write about this community?
I've visited two different communities in
toured a couple of others in western and central Pennsylvania,
and spent time with an Amish family in . I’ve also read
extensively about the Anabaptist culture, and I’ve interviewed people who grew
up Amish or had relatives who did. I also have several Mennonite contacts who
answer my questions about Anabaptists in general. Nappanee,
I’m always surprised by how much I have in common with Amish women, and they've been surprised by our shared interests too. (Gardening, midwifery, nutrition, organic food, chiropractics, and parenting, mainly.) I asked one Amish woman what her dream for her children was and she answered, “That they have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.” That is exactly the same dream I have for my children.
You wrote The Amish Midwife, the first in The Women of Lancaster County series, with author Mindy Starns Clark. Can you describe how you all came up with the idea for that series?
I’ve been interested in midwifery for years and fascinated with the practice of midwives in Amish communities. Because it was my first experience writing an Amish novel (thank goodness I had Mindy to collaborate with!), I wanted the main character to be a non-Amish person arriving in Lancaster County for the first time, seeing it in much the same way I had years ago.
After I came up with a basic plot, Mindy and I met in
Lancaster to expand the
story and then worked back and forth by e-mail through the entire process. We
just finished our fourth and last novel in the series, The Amish Seamstress. It
releases this summer.
You and Mindy won a Christy Award last year for The Amish Midwife. Can you describe how that felt? What was that experience like for you?
|Leslie & Mindy at Christy's with husband Celebrating 2012|
(Peter and Leslie Gould and Mindy and John Clark posed together after the Christy Awards' ceremony last July)
Nora: Congrats Leslie and Mindy!! What fun!
It was such an honor to be a finalist for a Christy. Just being at the banquet with my husband, Mindy and her husband, our publisher, and our agent was so much fun. The evening was magical and perfect…and then we won! It was an amazing moment. I felt an absolute, overwhelming sense of gratitude.
In Courting Cate you had Cate leave her Amish community and go to
I enjoyed that very much. What made you have Cate visit New York?
|Leslie's Daughters in N.Y.|
Cate needed to spend time in an Amish community very different from her own but within driving distance of
. So off to Lancaster County New York state she went, where she had to not only survive in a more rural and less wealthy area, but she also had a chance to visit New York City.
The second time my husband and I visited
together, we took our two daughters with us and then went on to Manhattan. It was their
first trip back east. It was so fun to see their reactions to the two very
different places. I played with those reactions as I imagined what it would be
like for an Amish young woman like Cate to visit the City.
Nora: I really liked Cate's trip to N.Y. I like it every more now that I've learned more about you and your family's travels and the inspiration for Cate's journey!
I wrote Courting Cate while my Army Reservist husband was away, commanding a field hospital in eastern
Afghanistan. I poured my love and
my longing for him into Courting Cate.
That said, first of all I want readers to know they’re not alone in their insecurities, doubts, and woundedness. Next I want them to know that only God can truly tame, or better yet, heal them. Finally I hope the story inspires them to love more deeply and truly.
FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK
What three things would you rather not live without? (Besides friends and family)
1. A good book to read 2. Something to write with and on—a pen and lots of paper will do 3. A beautiful place to walk
Can you tell us about two jobs you had that would surprise people?
When I was just out of college, I curated a historical museum in
. One of the great things about it was
that I was able to collaborate with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on exhibits
and living history performances. Ashland, Oregon
Years late, I edited a regional bridal magazine out of
(where I continue to live) for eight years. I am not a fashion-aficionado kind
of girl—but I do love a good wedding story. Portland, Oregon
Nora: Fun! Thanks for sharing this Leslie!
What movie affected you most when you were young?
I was absolutely terrified by “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!” So terrified, still, that no other movie even comes to mind!
Nora: OhMyGosh! How wild. I was terrified by The Wizard of Oz and Snow White. I still don't like them! Grin!
A friend of yours has a time travel machine and will let you have it for a while. What would you do with it? Where would you go and what would you do.
I’d be tempted to go to the past where I’d at least have an idea of what to expect, but I would force myself to go into the future, say two hundred years from now. Wouldn’t it be great to find a New Earth?! If not, I’d love to find any descendants I might have and see what their lives are like.
You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?
I would have that paper and pen I can’t live without. So naturally, I’d be the one taking notes, keeping track of our ideas, daily happenings, and who said what, lol. I’d also make lists of what resources we had and what we wished we had. And I’d write down prayers and praises. Then, because I wouldn’t be able to help myself, I’d start writing a story based on our experience. (Note to self—pack a lot of paper and extra pens next time I visit the tropics.)
LESLIE, ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS?
|Leslie receives Master of Fine Arts Degree|
(Leslie's family celebrated with her after she received her master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Portland State University)
My next book in The Courtships of Lancaster County series is Minding Molly, inspired by a Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m working on rewrites now! I'm excited to share it with everyone soon!
THANKS Leslie for stopping by and sharing your heart and photo's with us. It was great to get to know you, your family and your books! I'm Excited about the 10 book giveaway Bethany House is giving away right now. I'm also THRILLED that you are having a great discussion going on as well at TBCN!!
JOIN THE BOOK FUN TODAY at The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org and interact with Leslie Gould. Enter 10 book giveaway!
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