We are delighted to welcome Karen Ann Hopkins, author of Temptation (read Lesley’s review here) and the continuation of Rose and Noah’s story , Belonging Your heart misleads you.
That’s what my friends and family say.
But I love Noah.
And he loves me.
We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms.
It should be
ROSE & NOAH
But it won’t be.
Because he’s Amish.
And I’m not. What inspired you to write Temptation, a story of forbidden love between Rose, an ‘English’ girl and Noah who is Amish?
When I bought a farm in the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky five years ago a steady stream of Amish teenagers began arriving to hang out at my arena. They enjoyed watching the non-Amish (English) kids ride horses and practice drill team maneuvers. Soon enough, all the teens were riding together and the interactions I witnessed among the mixed group stirred my imagination with the ‘what if’. Soon after Rose and Noah’s story was born. Reading temptation, I was certainly able to feel Noah and Rose’s pain so deeply!
Have you seen this situation happen in real life or heard of other’s experiences?
Although Rose and Noah’s affair is strictly fictional, there have been a couple of young people who left my community to be with outsiders. In both instances they were girls and were subsequently shunned by their families. If Temptation was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?
So many people have told me that they’d love to see this story on the big screen! It’s unique, yet has all the passion and action that most young adults are looking for in a movie experience. I would hope if that came to pass, they’d cast unknowns, although I envision Rose being similar to Selena Gomez in personality and cuteness. What was the most challenging aspect of writing Temptation?
Researching the Amish culture was the most difficult aspect of writing Temptation. I wanted to keep it as accurate as possible to my own neighbors. Amish groups differ in rules, traditions and lifestyle from region to region. I was careful to incorporate only information that I personally observed or asked about in my own community. What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Where do you write?
Some of my best writing comes when I’m sitting in my car waiting for my Amish neighbors to finish shopping. I drive the Amish sometimes and these are the moments when they open up and talk about their own feelings and experiences. I also do a lot of writing while at soccer practices and late into the night when the kids are in bed. I usually begin in a frenzy of writing and continue to the end without doing much editing. Then I go back and begin the painstaking job of fine tuning. Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
If I’m in the house I’ll have a scented candle burning (usually an autumn scent, like pumpkin spice). A bowl of ice cream helps stimulate the creative juices too! When you are not writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Horseback riding! I try to ride every day, but sometimes business gets in the way. Do you have any secret ambitions?
I’d love to be in the position to open a riding stable that provided free riding instruction to kids who can’t afford the hobby and incorporate an equine rescue/adoption into the program. Horses have such a positive influence on young people’s lives and I really enjoy making a difference through the equine experience. The Amish are known for plain living and shunning the use of mains electricity, cars and other forms of modern technology. What piece of modern technology would you find the most difficult to give up/ live without?
My SUV. Even though I LOVE to ride horses for fun and even enjoy riding in a buggy on occasion, the freedom that an automobile gives is one thing I’d truly miss. Otherwise, as far as basic comfort and entertainment goes, there are ways to get by without most modern technology. In some Amish communities teens are allowed a period of time, prior to their baptism, when they are permitted to “run around”, taking part in activities and behaviors that would ordinary result in being shunned by their community.
You’re referring to rumspringa. My own community does not allow the practice and most others have a restricted version. I’ve seen how my young neighbors get around their lack of freedom though—they become very good sneaks. There have been many nights where Amish teens show up late in the night at my house to play video games or watch a movie with my sons. What were you like as an adolescent? Did you give your parents sleepless nights or were you the model daughter?
I was a horse crazy girl, with a mild penchant for getting into trouble. Luckily, my parents provided me with a large amount of freedom at an early age, which gave me the ability to experience life fully and learn to make important decisions. The Amish philosophy is centered on the rejection of pride and arrogance and the promotion of humility, calmness and composure.
What would you consider to be your best and worst personality traits?
My best and worst trait is the same—stubbornness. There are just certain things I don’t budge on and I’ve had both difficulty and success because of it. The rejection of pride, including vanity and the high regard placed on modesty is manifested by the regulated clothing and hairstyles, recognized the world over the world as distinctively Amish.
In the UK the majority of schools impose a uniform policy, the purpose of which is to avoid distinctions among children and promote equality.
What are your thoughts on the importance of this verses a teen’s right to express their own individuality?
It’s beneficial to many families for an imposed uniform policy since it gives equal footing for all students, especially the ones who can’t afford to buy trendy clothes and shoes. But for my own children, I’d rather they have the freedom to express their individuality. When teens leave their school days behind, they are thrust into a world full of distinctions among people. Discovering themselves earlier on is the key to confidence, direction and success. I’m a homeschool mother of five children and my personal convictions about parent and student freedom is paramount in my world. I can see the advantage of this regulation and eschewing of modern technology- No embarrassing photographs featuring disastrous haircuts and questionable fashion sense. Mine include an unfortunate perm from the 90’s!
What is disastrous for one child might be amazing to another. Teaching young people tolerance of everyone’s tastes is important in developing a kind and understanding populous. Please describe (or better yet share the pictures!) your most cringe worthy fashion faux pas
In the early morning when I go out to the barn to feed the horses and other farm animals, I’m usually wearing sweatpants, muck boots and an oversized flannel jacket with too many holes to count. I wouldn’t allow anyone to photograph me in such a state, but I’m quite comfortable. What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m writing the third book in the Rose and Noah series and also working on an adult Amish mystery. The mystery shows a much grittier, darker side of Amish society. A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.
Karen has kindly provided a copy of Temptation to give away to one lucky international reader. a Rafflecopter giveaway