Stick around with us today to find out more about this new tale, read a favorite scene of Laura's, and maybe even win yourself a copy. (Stay tuned for details...) Here we go, folks...
Welcome back to Stitches Thru Time, Laura. Tell our readers a bit about yourself.To make it simple, here’s my bio: Award-winning, multi-published author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay- at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.
Congratulations on your newest release! What is The Amish Firefighter about?Can they overcome their past?
Abigail Stutzman’s life is about to change – whether she wants it to or not. Her mamm is getting remarried to a widower with a large family. Abigail is sent to live with her aenti and onkle in Jamesport because she and her new step-brother had dated and their parents anticipate problems. (Her step-brother is needed on the farm.) Abigail launches a full-scale plan to return home to her family—and Mark—when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Abigail and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble, her punishment includes helping a collection of crazy old maids with housekeeping. In the midst of her atonement, Abigail uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Abigail must decide if she’ll continue her messed-up legacy or embrace a new beginning with the man who’s stolen her heart.
Sam Miller has trouble of his own. When Sam and his close friend Ezra Weiss are in a drug/alcohol-related car accident in Pennsylvania, Ezra is killed. Though Sam survives, he is deeply affected by the tragedy and vows to help other victims. Now a new Christian, Sam is a volunteer firefighter and a college student working to earn his EMT and paramedic license. But Sam has a past. When it comes time to confess his crimes, he finds that the truth may set him free—but it might also land him in some uncomfortably hot water. Will Sam and Abigail be able to find a future together?
Sounds like a very intriguing tale. Where did you get the inspiration for your story?I saw a picture of an Amish man running with a fire hose, and I thought, oh, how fun! Then I started asking questions and discovered that Amish do volunteer as firefighters, and some even get EMT and paramedic licenses to volunteer on ambulances.
How interesting! I did not know that. What do you hope folks will take away from your story?I will leave that up to God and the reader. There are many different things that can be taken from the book—both from Sammy’s personal faith growth and Abigail’s personal faith growth.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?Oh there are several favorite scenes. One of them is:
Later that nacht, Sam tapped on Abigail’s closed door. The haus had been quiet for about an hour, but he couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep. Instead, he’d been bothered by her personality shift. She seemed to have done a complete turn-around from the girl arguing with him in the school-haus. The girl telling him off at McDonald’s. Even the girl he’d held when she started falling down the stairs. He was probably more worried than he should be, all things considered, but he wanted to fix it if he could. He didn’t know Abigail well enough to believe she’d want to talk to him, but he had to give it a shot, even if she slammed the door in his face and locked it.
Not that he’d open a closed door. Not in this case. Not with her.
He held up the lantern and glanced at the knob. Jah, there was a lock. An odd thing in an Amish haus. But then he’d noticed the light switches on the wall, too. Even tried one. They didn’t work, of course, but at one time this had been an Englisch haus.
Quiet steps came from inside the room. He raised the lantern higher as the door opened a crack. Abigail peeked out and her eyes widened. “What do you want?”
“Can you talk?” He tried to match her whisper.
She hesitated a long moment. “Jah. Just a second.” She shut the door. A rustling followed, then the door reopened. She came out, a robe mostly covering her long, white nacht-gown.
Her beautiful golden-brown hair fell over her left shoulder in a long braided rope. A pink band secured it. Sam’s hand twitched, in a sudden urge to finger her hair, to see if it was as soft as it looked. He curled his free hand to keep from touching her.
A girl like her… light years away from how he’d have reacted toward PJ. There were girls guys dated, and girls guys married. Not necessarily the same girl.
“Where?” She shut the door behind her.
Sam glanced over the upstairs railing at the dark first floor. “Do you think it’d disturb Ruthie and Darius if we talked in the kitchen?” They’d have a table between them. Because even though Abigail seemed the marrying type, he was still a red-blooded male and she a beautiful woman.
Abigail frowned. “Maybe the sewing room would be better. The way their whispered conversation carried the other nacht, coming through the floor vents…” She slapped her hand over her mouth and looked toward the open staircase. “Maybe the barn.”
He grinned and swallowed his laugh. Ice still pinged against the bedroom windows, and with her in her nacht-gown and bare feet… they’d probably make more noise trying to sneak out than they would talking in the kitchen. “The sewing room it is.” He went down the hall and set the lantern in the middle of the sewing table.
She quietly shut the door, probably to bar their voices, and went to the opposite side of the table. Wise girl.
“What’d you want to talk about?” She folded her arms across her chest and hugged herself. Her voice shook a little. Wobbled. Her brows creased.
He hesitated. In his tired but sleepless state, it’d made sense to him to just ask her what was wrong and she’d tell him. He’d fix it. End of story. But now, with her standing there, arms locked, lantern light creating shadows all around…
If she were his sister… Well, he’d tease her until she got upset with him and did a verbal spill. And then he’d fix it. Or ignore it, but she would feel better having had her say.
He looked down. Abigail wasn’t his sister. He unclenched and clenched his fists. “I’m sorry I teased you so much. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Abigail blinked. “I would’ve let you know if you had. I can hold my own.”
Jah, she’d proved that already.
He scratched his neck. “You seemed a little sad at supper. Depressed, actually. And—”
He couldn’t see her feet, not with the table between them, but he imagined she tapped her foot, judging by the slight bouncing movements her shoulders made.
“You think it’s all about you. That the only reason I’d have to be sad is because of something you did.”
Put in those words, it sounded rather egotistical. He hadn’t meant it that way though. He opened his mouth, but no words came to mind. He shut it again.
“I’ve got news for you. It’s not all about you.”
Waking her to talk had been a bad idea. He didn’t mean to put himself under attack. And he still didn’t know what to say. He frowned. “I just wanted to help. In case you want to talk. That’s all.”
“By apologizing for upsetting me? Why not simply ask what is wrong?”
Would that have worked? Really? He raised his eyebrows. “Was ist letz?” He braced himself in case it did turn out to be all about him. For his shameless flirting, maybe. For giving in to Ruthie and Darius and staying the nacht even though Abigail clearly didn’t want him there. For something.
Her pink tongue peeked out as she moistened her lips. His mouth dried as he watched her. His heart rate increased and he forced his eyes shut so he couldn’t see her. Gut thing there was a table between them.
A chair scraped across the wooden floor. It was followed by a slight huff. That didn’t sound good. He opened his eyes. She sat across from him, plopping her elbows on the sewing table, her palm supporting her jaw, and stared at him.
“You’re not my best friend.”
“Nein… but I’m a gut listener.” Or, he could be, if he set his mind to it. He listened to lectures at school, took notes, and retained enough to carry A’s across the board. Not that his academic skills would impress her. “Talk to me, Abby.”
She looked away. Lowered one of her hands and traced a figure eight on the table. And stayed silent. But he could imagine the gears in her head turning. If he got her to open up, it might be information overload.
He still didn’t know what to say, so he pulled another chair away from the pedal sewing machine and sat across from her. And waited.
“You can’t put a bandage on this wound, even if you are an EMT.” Her voice was so quiet he could barely hear it.
Ach. Maybe it was about being abandoned at the bus station. Or possibly the forced breakup with her boyfriend which his text breakup probably rubbed the wrong way.
She traced another figure eight. And then a third.
Would it help if he shared something about himself? He was hardly an expert at relationships. PJ would dump what bothered her without the slightest encouragement. If she was mad at him or upset at her mom or just life in general, she ranted. It made it easier to figure things out. And he could usually tease her out of it if she was mad at him. Engaging in a heavy make-out session worked for everything else…but left him feeling guilty. Neither of them were options now.
He didn’t know what to do, what to say. So he watched her trace figure eights. Over and over and over.
He wasn’t the comfort he’d imagined he’d be.
But… but he could pray. Gott knew her thoughts. He knew what troubled her. And… and…
He bowed his head. Closed his eyes. Lord Gott, I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know how to fix it. But You do. Help me to be a friend…
She needs to hear the words.
Sam’s prayer stumbled to a stop. What? Silence. Both in person and in his head. But he knew what he heard.
Now to obey.
But still he hesitated. Praying out loud was discouraged as a rule. A man’s conversations with Gott were personal. Not public.
He scratched his neck again.
Swallowed. Cleared his throat. And reached for her hand. His fingers brushed against hers. He left them there. Barely touching. She didn’t pull away.
Guide my words, please.
“Lord Gott, please reach out to Abigail and comfort her in a way that only You can. Help her to know she has friends here who care for her. Heal the hurt that she feels over being forced away from her home, away from her family, away from her beau, and help her to embrace the future that You have for her. And… and we give You all the glory and honor and praise. Amen.”
Thanks so much for that sample. What do you plan to work on next?I am working on the book that will release in Spring 2017. It is a stand-alone novel, but the heroine is Abigail’s best friend from Ohio who comes to Jamesport, Missouri, to help out a Mennonite aunt.
Where can readers connect with you? Where can readers buy your book(s)?You can connect with me by:
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