Friday, May 24, 2013

Being Open to Change on the Road to Publication by Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard
We’re told to write the stories of our hearts, but also be aware of market trends. Can we have it both ways? Author Amy Lillard shares how being open to change helped her become a published author—and how she found fulfillment in that change. 
~ Dawn

Being Open to Change on the Road to Publication

If you had told me five years ago that today I would be writing Amish romance I would have scoffed. “Amish? Well, they are interesting and unique, but romance? I write contemporary romantic comedies. Not books about the Amish.”

And yet here I am. I just signed my second contract for a trilogy of stories all about the Amish. And romance of course. Even though this is where I have landed, it’s not where I started.

So how did I get from contemporary rom-coms to sweet-sweet Amish romance? By being open to change.

It all started one fall day about a year after I had signed with my agent. She had read my screwball romantic comedy set in Tennessee. She shopped it around with no buyers even as I started a new book, a new series.

It had been a while that she had been trying to sell my novel, long enough that I had lost track to all the places where she had sent it, all the editors and houses that had turned us down. Trying to get a handle on the possibilities that it might have, I called her office to find out which, if any, houses still had my book.

Honestly, I expected to get her assistant on the phone. She would tell me that she would have my agent get back to me. But when I made contact, my agent was on the line. We talked for a while, then she finally said, “There’s nothing wrong with your writing; it’s what you are writing. I’ll tell you what you should be writing, but you’ll laugh.” I promised her emphatically that I would not laugh. She said Amish romance. And I laughed.

But after a trip to the local Christian bookstore, I stopped laughing. Women were nudging me out of the way to get to these books all written about the Amish. So I bought a few for myself to see what the buzz was about.

Two weeks later, I started my series. A year after that, I signed my first contract.

I won’t tell you that it was easy. I shifted sub-genres and went from mainstream romance to Christian stories. Was the change worth it? Absolutely! I still write romance—my one true writing love. I still work humor into my stories.

But my writing has become even more fulfilling to me. Now my stories can be read by generations. I write about God-loving people who live a simple life that most of us can only imagine.
I can’t say that switching genres is right for every writer. And certainly, I can’t recommend that everyone stop all projects and begin a book about the Amish. But I will say, be open. You never know what’s waiting around the next bend.

Five years ago I could not have imagined writing Amish romance, but I am so glad I took a chance and did.

Katie’s Choice
Katie's Choice

Katie Rose Fisher loved Samuel Beachy with an intensity that shook their Amish district. No one doubted they would one day marry, until Samuel turned his back on the church and joined the world of the English. Alone now in Clover Ridge, Katie Rose dedicates her life to God and the school children she teaches each day. Although she secretly longs for more, Katie knows God’s hand is at work, and she is happy.

News correspondent Zane Carson never even knew Oklahoma had an Amish community until he got the chance to live among them and learn about their day-to-day activities. Their simple way of life is intriguing, but not half as much as the young teacher.

Katie Rose is flattered over the attention she receives from Zane, but she has resolved to never marry. Even if she were to entertain the idea, it surely couldn’t be with an outsider like Zane. Never one prone to the restraints of organized religion, Zane finds a comfort in the rituals and blessings in the day to day righteous living of this small Amish community. He finds himself, God, and love with Katie Rose.

But as Zane draws closer to Katie Rose, Samuel comes back to repent his ways and return to his place at her side. Can Zane convince Katie Rose that he is committed to adapting to her way of life, or will Samuel win her affec- tions back for himself once again?

From Amy Lillard . . .

I'm a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son--a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course! I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels—not necessarily in that order. I'm a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I'm shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

To learn more, please visit:

Amy Lillard ~ Author