Every so often I have the privilege of being asked to read books for author friends.
The privilege comes when I get to read a book I really enjoy and then I get to tell others about it.
This time, I want to sing the praises of author Olivia Newport and her new novel, Accidentally Amish.
I used to read Amish fiction, years ago, but I sort of got away from it because I fell into the belief of “you’ve read one, you’ve read ’em all.” At least that’s how it seemed to me.
But then I saw a copy of the cover of Olivia’s book, and I was intrigued. A novel about a woman who somehow ends up “Accidentally Amish.” Interesting.
Plus, I’d already had the pleasure of reading her previous release, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, so I knew that I enjoyed her writing.
When I got my hands on Accidentally Amish, I was thrilled! It was just what I thought it was going to be– a novel set in contemporary times about a regular woman (Annie) in a contemporary job (software creator) who somehow gets mixed up with the Amish (namely, a handsome Amish man!).
Sounds intriguing, yes?
Oh yes, it was that and SO much more. The story grabbed me from the first page. But here’s the coolest part– and I was unprepared for this– the book jumps back and forth in time, following one Amish family line from the time they came to America to present day, and how it wraps into Annie’s story.
As a history lover, I devoured the historical parts of this novel and found them fascinating. Definitely some of my favorite chapters.
So, in short, this book is for everyone– contemporary romance readers, Amish fiction readers, and historical readers. Basically, everyone on your Christmas list.
And there’s more good news– Accidentally Amish is the first in a new series from Olivia, called the Valley of Choice, so we’ll get to enjoy a continuation of Olivia’s focus on the Amish in today’s America.
Fun Christmas Giveaway– See below for your chance to win a copy of Accidentally Amish from Olivia Newport!!
I asked Olivia if she’d be willing to answer some fun holiday-themed questions, and she sweetly obliged. (Seriously, people, Olivia Newport is such a funny, kind, quick-witted person. I’m lucky to count her among my author friends!)
You can learn so much about someone from their holiday traditions, so enjoy learning a little about Olivia and some of my responses to her traditions.
1. What is your favorite Christmas song/carol and your least favorite?
Olivia: I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music. I love the carols from the hymnal. “Once in Royal David’s City” is a certain favorite. Least? That would be “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Jennifer: I didn’t think it was possible that there was a Christmas carol I haven’t heard, but I’m not sure I’m familiar with “Once in Royal David’s City.” I’m going to have to rectify that ASAP.
2. What is your favorite holiday treat?
Olivia: That’s a tough one. Over Thanksgiving I was introduced to white chocolate lemon truffles. I may have to learn to make those.
Jennifer: Yummy. Send me the recipe.
3. Favorite holiday movie?
Olivia: It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m a sucker for James Stewart.
Jennifer: I think that movie is a Christmas-viewing requirement.
4. Which ornament on your tree holds the most special meaning for you and why?
Olivia: Does a set of ornaments count? Years ago I cross-stitched a set of symbols of Christmas in gold thread on white fabric—a star, a stable, an angel, a lamb, and so on. Then I set them in little round gold frames. When I bring them out, I’m always surprised at how many I did in one year!
Jennifer: My mom has some ornaments like that on her tree! She taught me to cross-stitch when I was a kid, but I haven’t done it in years. I’m impressed with your ornament-making talents.
5. White lights or colored?
Olivia: White, as of last year when the ancient blinking colored ones gave out.
Jennifer: White are so classic. Always beautiful.
6. Open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Olivia: I’m the one who tries to persuade my adult children that we could exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and all sleep in the next day. They refuse. Will. Not. Budge.
Jennifer: I’m a Christmas morning traditionalist, too. 🙂
7. What three items are on your “grown up Christmas list”?
Olivia: I would love some cozy winter boots, a fleece-lined corduroy shirt, and a new computer monitor. (I may or may not have been looking at catalogs lately.)
Jennifer: Seems like you have your list all set. I hope you’ve written your letter to Santa!
8. Do you do holiday baking? If so, what do you usually make?
Olivia: Not much of a baker at any time of the year. My oven is too old and cranky to cooperate, for one thing. But a family tradition is chocolate covered shortbread squares.
Jennifer: I’m gonna need that recipe, too.
9. What is your favorite childhood Christmas memory?
Olivia: It’s a recurring one, actually. We always went to a late Christmas Eve service as a family, and I still remember the wondrous sensation of coming home past midnight knowing it was Christmas! I’ve tried to give my own children that same memory.
Jennifer: That is a very cool memory. I think those sorts of traditions are neat, and what makes each family special.
10. Do you spend as much time on the wrapping as on the gift?
Olivia: Nope. Not even close. I do try to have a variety of papers so that gifts look cheery under the tree.
Jennifer: I’m with you on this one. Why spend tons of money on something that gets trashed as soon as the gift is opened?
**You can connect with Olivia via her website, or follow her on Twitter.
If you’d like to win a copy of Olivia Newport’s Accidentally Amish, leave a comment below answering one of the same holiday questions I asked Olivia. You’ll want to read this book yourself, but it also makes a great Christmas gift!! Good luck! Winner will be announced next week, so check those posts!
40 responses to “Accidentally Amish– The Author’s Traditions and a Giveaway!”
ACCIDENTALLY AMISH sounds like a book that I will thoroughly enjoy reading.
I love hearing about the different family traditions.
It’s so fun to hear people looking forward to reading my book!
You WILL love it. It’s so much fun and very, very interesting!!
OOoh, I can’t wait to read it. What a fun interview! We’re Christmas morning traditionalists, too…I love Christmas Eve being a little reverent and calm before the craze of multiple family celebrations and presents.
I also love going to church on Christmas morning, even if I have been on Christmas Eve. It just makes the day perfect.
Sadly, our Christmas Eve has been quite hectic for the past few years, and we’re trying to change that this year. Family events have kept us from being able to attend a Christmas Eve service, and we’d like to see if we can re-arrange a few things. Good luck to us! 🙂
Fun interview! I love the cover of this book and the story sounds interesting. 🙂
I’m totally a Christmas morning person, although now we go to my dad’s on Christmas Eve because my stepmom raised her family to open gifts on Christmas Eve. It’s a bit of a mental shift but I chose to be flexible and go with the flow. It makes Christmas day nice, though, because Mike and I do our own thing Christmas morning and then go to his parents’ in the afternoon/evening. It’s good we don’t have to split the day in two or choose to be with only one family. I know we’ll appreciate this even more when we have kids!
When we had kids was when we both felt we wanted to have our own Christmas morning at home. My family’s big extended gathering happens at Thanksgiving, so it worked out well for us to develop our own rhythms for Christmas morning.
You will be SO thankful once kids come along. It’s our biggest problem at the holidays– my husband has lots of family and they all do their own celebrations, so we end up being over-scheduled every year. It can be hectic, but joyous!
I read Lucy Banning a few months ago and fell in love with Olivia’s writing! Can’t wait for the sequel. I have never read any Amish fiction, but since Olivia wrote it I would love to read it. Really enjoyed the interview and both your answers.
Cool! Your name is Banning! Now I’ll think of you as related to Lucy.
That was what first caugh my eye. That and the fact that my mother grew up Oak Park, IL, burb of Chicago. Loved it and now discover we are neighbors, I live in Aurora CO!
I was born in West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, though my family lived in Cicero at the time.
Can you say small world?
My favorite Christmas song is, Mary Did You Know. I just love that song! My least favorite Christmas song is, Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer!
I would love to win a copy of Accidentally Amish. Olivia is a new author to me and I enjoyed this interview. It gave me a chance to get to know a little bit about her. (By the way I prefer colored lights to white!) 🙂
That is a touching song. Isn’t there a line about kissing the face of God? It’s so tender.
We only eat sausage balls at Christmas (I have no idea why – it’s something we did growing up and I’ve continued it!). My favorite song is Away in a Manger and A Baby Changes Everything. We have white lights but I have colored lights on the mantel. I have several special ornaments and could never pick just one 😉 And I make a good pecan pie – and an even better pecan pie cake 🙂
Isn’t it funny how some foods get associated with holiday meals, even though they would be perfectly good at other times as well?
I definitely do not spend as much time on the wrapping as the gift. Put lots of thought and then shopping to pick out the perfect gift and then wrapping…well, let’s just say I love gift bags (and the dollar store)!
I don’t even have to buy gift bags. I have enough Christmas gift bags to last a lifetime. Unfortunately I cannot trust my family members to keep their noses out of any packages that are not sealed!
I love to bake, bake, bake…the required Bon Bons, Pink Cookies, Sausage Balls, Cheese Balls, Gingerbread Men & Cinnamon Hard Candy.
You sound like my neighbor. One of the reasons I don’t have to bake is because she makes so much and sends so much over to my house!
thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel…
to answer your question…i enjoy listening to amy grant christmas cds 😉
Isn’t it great that we have such a wide variety of Christmas music to choose from? Something for every mood.
This looks like a great book! I have The Pursuit of Lucy Banning in my TBR stack!!
I bake year-round, but the holidays give me an excuse to bake a ton of stuff!! My favorites would be peppermint bark and any Christmas cakes, cookies, or cupcakes!
Mmm. Peppermint bark. I hope you can enjoy Lucy and Annie!
I have a lot of really precious childhood Christmas memories, but at some point during the holidays I always think back to cookie decorating with my friend Jenny, her sister, and her mother. I think it is the only time I remember putting chocolate icing on a cookie and those silver decorating balls.
🙂 Those ARE some really good memories!!
I always loved spending time at your house. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t wear shoes (eventhough I don’t wear shoes in my own house now) but I loved playing in the garage playroom, outside in the back yard, riding around the neighborhood. Christmas was especially magical at your house and I was blessed to have been able to share in some of that magic.
It is SO weird what other people remember. I don’t remember us not being allowed to wear shoes. Did my mom do that?? If she did have that rule, she must have given up on it eventually.
I’ve gotten away from reading Amish too except for Cindy Woodsmall, but like you Jenny, this novel intrigues me! Have been wanting to read more since I saw the synopsis on it. Fun twist on a tired genre. 🙂
“Amish” is a word that seems to either interest people or make their eyes glaze. I never know which reaction I’ll get when I mention this book.
This book sounds interesting. If I don’t win I think I will certainly purchase it. To answer one of your questions we only have white lights on our tree. I grew up with thee huge multi-colored lights that would burn you if you touched them. Once I married my husband (who grew up with the same kind of lights) we decided to go with the white lights. They are so pretty!
We haven’t put our tree up yet, but all this talk about white lights is starting to get me in the mood!
I usually make peanut butter balls and chocolate no-bake cookies. By the way, my grandmother on my dads side was raised Amish in Lima, Ohio
I’ve never made peanut butter balls but I’ve always thought I’d like to.
I just began reading Christian Fiction novels. I thought that they would be boring, but I was wrong. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! I am glad that I re-discovered my love of reading now that my kids are older.
There’s such a wide variety of Christian fiction available, isn’t there? Many writers and publishers committed to creating great books. There’s something for everyone looking for any genre from a Christian worldview.
I finished reading “Accidentally Amish” last night. Wow! I loved it. Thank you so much Jenny for introducing me to my new favorite author!
Glad to hear this, Tiffani.