Christmas Comes to Morning Star
by Charlotte Hubbard
Founded by five unmarried and enterprising Amish maidels, the new Morning Star Marketplace in small-town Missouri is preparing for a joyous Christmas season. But will the holiday also bring
unexpected tidings of love?
Twin sisters Molly and Marietta Helfing are eagerly anticipating Christmas, with Marietta fully recovered from cancer and their noodle making business thriving. But Molly clearly misses having former tenant Pete Shetler and his rambunctious dog, Riley, around. Marietta can’t ignore Molly’s feelings for Pete—or the anxiety it stirs within her. Convinced her illness has made her unmarriageable, Marietta wonders what kind of life she’ll have if her sister marries—despite Molly’s promise never to leave her behind. . .
Then a fire destroys the home of Amish neighbors and Molly and Marietta graciously make room for widower Glenn Detweiler, his dat, and his two young boys. When Pete returns to help the family rebuild, Molly relishes her reunion with the handsome carpenter, while Marietta delights in mothering Glenn’s boys—and is surprised by her poignant bond with their quiet, brooding father. Soon everyone is wondering if this season will bring the blessing of a merry double wedding to Morning Star . . .
When she glanced at her sister, who was placing a strip of noodle dough into the roller, Marietta noticed a rare frown on Molly’s face. “Penny for your thoughts, sister.”
Molly shrugged. “Sure is quiet without Riley and Pete around.”
Marietta’s eyes widened at her sister’s wistful remark. For several months, Pete Shetler and his golden retriever, Riley, had rented one of their two dawdi hauses. Pete had done some much-needed maintenance around their farm—while his active young dog had mostly dug up Mamm’s flower beds, chewed the belts on their noodle making equipment, and found other trouble to get into.
Pete had moved into his uncle’s house, however. Although Marietta appreciated the return to a quieter routine without their renter, she sensed Molly had secretly adored the muscular blond carpenter and his rambunctious dog.
“Maybe you should pay Pete a visit,” she suggested. “I bet he’d be tickled if you took over a pan of noodle pudding—”
“Why would I do that?” Molly blurted. “It’s not as though anything would come of a relationship—even if Pete took the hint and asked me out.”
“Why not?” Marietta paused, hoping to express her concerns carefully. “Just because I’ll never marry doesn’t mean you should forfeit a potential romance. Sure, Pete’s clueless most of the time but he seems trainable. And he’s awfully cute.”
“Let’s not forget that Pete refuses to join the Amish church, so a romance would be pointless—even if he knew the meaning of the word,” Molly shot back. “Truth be told, I like Riley better than Pete, anyway. I intend to remain here on the farm with you, sister, like we’ve always agreed upon. We’re turning thirty-five next month, so why would I want to change my life—and my attitude—to accommodate a husband?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.
Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR:
Are you a Plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of the writing process) or Pantser (one who writes by the seat of his/her pants)?
Both! My publisher requires a fairly detailed synopsis of each new book when it’s time for a contract—these are probably 20 pages long. From that synopsis, however, I have to write about 300 pages of story, so getting from one plot point to the next and creating the characters to move the story along means I also have to pull quite a bit of stuff “out of thin air” as I go. Because I write my Amish stories in series, this process is a bit easier because I don’t have to create a whole new setting or cast of characters for every book.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
Heh, books and books have been written on that subject! New writers nowadays—especially if they are self-publishing—are working in such a totally different world from the one I started writing in more than 30 years ago, but the basic question remains: Are you writing a story that’s worth your readers’ (and/or your publisher’s) money? A traditional publisher/editor will turn you down flat if they don’t think your story is salable. But if you’re indie publishing, and a beginner, chances are pretty good YOU believe you’ve written a gazillion-dollar bestseller…but maybe you could use some professional editing and some classes on the craft of writing good fiction. Anybody can put words on a page. It takes work and practice to create a story that’s worth reading.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Once I have my main draft of a book done, I go back to page 1 and start revising. Because I do some of the nit-picky editing as I write the main draft, the revising is fairly easy. I rarely change anything major—the scenes and characters are already the way I want them. This final polishing process mostly allows me to delete “deadwood” (words and phrases that add nothing to the story) to whittle the story down to the word count I need, and it’s a chance to switch out so-so words for spot-on active verbs and descriptions. Once I’ve finishing this revising process, I hit the Send button so the book is off my desk and in my editor’s email box. I won’t read it again until my editor and a separate copy editor send the file to me with their comments and questions in the margins, for my further corrections.
What is your favorite part of this story?
In CHRISTMAS COMES TO MORNING STAR, Glenn Detweiler’s house burns to the ground in December. I really loved writing the scenes where the carpenters of Morning Star build a new house for Glenn, his dad, and his two young sons—and then the entire Amish community slips in to completely furnish it for them, as a surprise. We’re talking rooms full of furniture, bedding, kitchen stuff, a pantry re-stock, curtains—everything! And they were so organized they got it all done in less than a day, and Glenn didn’t have a clue until he walked in and discovered it a couple days later!
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
CHRISTMAS COMES TO MORNING STAR is a double romance because the heroines are twin sisters who are vastly different in temperament. Molly Helfing, the more humorous, outgoing sister was a lot of fun to write—but her hero, Pete Shetler, made me laugh while I was writing his scenes—especially the ones that include his goofy Golden retriever, Riley. When Pete talks to Riley, the dog has his ways of answering—and Pete’s pretty good at translating, especially when they are discussing Pete’s strategy for winning Molly’s affection. Pete has had a lot of growing up to do in this Morning Star series, so it’s particularly gratifying when he takes on a more mature mindset as he recovers from a fall off a house that might’ve killed him.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
The other Helfing sister, Marietta, presented more of a challenge because after undergoing chemo for a double mastectomy—and losing her hair—she feels like “damaged goods” that no man could possibly want for a wife. It was so difficult for Marietta to watch Molly flirt with Pete, knowing that if a romance bloomed, she would most likely spend the rest of her life alone…except that Glenn Detweiler, after losing his wife, his mother, AND his home in the span of about six months, has even more angst to deal with than Marietta does. Fortunately, their faith and their friends support them to the max—and a deep devotion develops after Glenn loses everything except his dat and his two boys in the fire. It was a challenge to write about this couple so the book felt uplifting rather than depressing!
Charlotte Hubbard be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. In addition to the GC, the author would like to select one female reader's name to use in her upcoming book, HIDDEN AWAY AT PROMISE LODGE.
a Rafflecopter giveaway