Friday, November 14, 2014

Characters: Who ARE These People? by Naomi King | EMMA BLOOMS AT LAST Book Tour & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Emma Blooms at Last by Naomi King, an Amish/Inspirational romance book released November 4, 2014 from New American Library. This post is part of a tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour.

Drop by tomorrow and check out my review of the book!

Characters: Who ARE These People?

by Naomi King

Who are these people in my stories? Short answer: characters come from an author’s personality and/or experience.

This means that as you are reading a story—in this case, EMMA BLOOMS AT LAST— the people you meet in Cedar Creek, Missouri are all a part and parcel of my imagination, my reality, and stuff that has happened to me or to folks I know. You might not be able to separate what’s real from what’s fiction, but you’re getting a bit of my biography as you immerse yourself in my characters’ lives.

I’ll admit that my characters are often “ramped up” a bit so they’ll be more interesting in their story arc. While truth may be stranger than fiction, I admit to manipulating events and personalities to suit my story’s purpose. I will also tell you that I sometimes have my characters behave the way I wish I could.

For instance, although I am an eternal optimist, Abby Lambright, the anchor character of this Home at Cedar Creek/One Big Happy Family series, far outdoes me in her ability to find the rainbow in every stormy situation. When her brother Sam announces that she will no longer be working in the Cedar Creek Mercantile, a job she’s loved all of her adult life, Abby handles it with much more grace than I possess. And when Sam asks inexperienced Emma Graber to take Abby’s place in the store—during the Christmas rush, no less—Abby bites back her nagging certainty that her best friend Emma isn’t cut out to handle the constant demands of running the check-out and dealing with snippy customers’ complaints. Like me, Abby is a peacemaker and she doesn’t enjoy conflict, but she’s learned to ride out the storm and handle herself with quiet acceptance of the circumstances that come her way.

Emma and Jerome—as different as night as day—also embody some of my own personality traits. Although Emma is probably the shyest, most unassuming homebody I’ve ever created as an Amish heroine, she’s probably the most true-to-life Amish heroine, as well. I drew upon a reserved, less-than-confident side I sometimes experience in the face of major change when I created Emma and put her through some major heartbreak in this series.

Poor Emma is always the bridesmaid and potentially never the bride—she has lost Matt, the man she’s always secretly loved, to another young woman, and then when Jerome Lambright comes on to her like a fire truck, she runs the other away. I’ve never been fearful of guys’ advances, as Emma is, but I have been known to avoid undesirable situations by making excuses to stay home! Emma also experiences some of the grief I felt after my mother died—and I expect readers will mourn Eunice Graber, as well, because she’s been such a persnickety yet humorous old gal as she’s dealt with her husband Merle over the course of this series.

Jerome, on the other hand, embodies my tendency to do things in a bigger-than-life way with outspoken enthusiasm. Jerome acts first and repents later—until he realizes that he must curb his over-the-top tendencies if he’s to win Emma’s tender heart. Like Jerome, I tend to trot my successes out in front of everyone—the way he shows off the mules he trains—and I sometimes have to ask myself if I’m a little too proud of my accomplishments!

Often, my characters say things I have always yearned to hear. Bishop Vernon Gingerich is the ultimate spiritual leader, knowing when to praise and encourage folks and when to warn them that they’re heading down the primrose path. Of all the bishops I’ve created in this Amish series or in my Seasons of the Heart series, Vernon is the man I wish I had in my real life—a leader I could believe in during times of discouragement or when I felt deeply hurt/betrayed by people in my family. I’m glad Vernon has fallen in love with Jerusalem Hooley, a funny and joyfully “correct” maidel schoolteacher from my other Amish series, because it means Vernon will continue guiding and counseling folks now that this Cedar Creek series is coming to an end.

So there you have it, my take on where characters come from. It amazes me that I have created so many characters that readers tell me they admire (or deplore, in the case of Bishop Hiram Knepp in my Seasons series . . . who has been inspired by the difficult sociopathic dad I had). I’ve already begun concocting new characters and situations for a series that the editor of my Seasons of the Heart series has invited me to write—a spin-off series called Simple Gifts—to continue the Willow Ridge community I’ve created. 

I hope you’ll enjoy the characters in all of these series—and you’ll feel like you have “the inside story” on who Charlotte Hubbard/Naomi King really is!


Romance is in the air during the fall wedding season in the Amish community of Cedar Creek. But while one loving couple prepares to tie the knot, Amanda and Wyman Brubaker’s large family faces a threat from outside their happy circle…and must learn to pull together.

Recently wed Amanda and Wyman Brubaker are thrilled that their children from previous marriages have blended together to form a strong family. But when the construction of Wyman’s new grain elevator is delayed, making the project more expensive than anticipated, Amanda’s determination to rally the kids into taking on work to improve the family’s finances comes into conflict with Wyman’s sense of responsibility as head of the household….

Meanwhile, as James Graber and Abby Lambright prepare for their long-awaited nuptials, folks gather from far and wide. Amanda’s nephew Jerome has long been smitten with James’s sister Emma and wants to seize this chance to woo her. But Emma’s been burned once and is twice shy of trusting the fun-loving, never-serious Jerome. As Emma and Jerome struggle to understand each other, and find the courage to make a leap of faith, the Brubakers face a bigger challenge than they first anticipated and begin to discover just what it means to fight…the Amish way.


“What do I need to know to work in the store, Abby?” Emma grabbed the handle of the pull cart, which was loaded with dirty tablecloths, and the two of them started across the Lambrights’ yard. “I hate to waste Sam’s time if I’m not qualified. And everyone knows it’ll take three people to accomplish what you do in the store.”

Abby waved her off, considering her answer as they went around to the back of the tall, white house. “Can you figure change and count it back?” she asked. “We’ll teach you how to run the cash register, of course, but sometimes I find it just as easy to total the small orders on paper—especially if the line’s getting backed up,” she replied. “There are times we really could use a second cash register, but Sam won’t hear of that.”

Emma considered her reply. “My math’s pretty solid. I’ve been keeping our home checkbook—and James’s business account—for a long time. If we practice making change, I think I’ll be all right with that part.”

“Jah, I think so, too.”

They entered the mudroom then, where Abby ran water into the ringer washer while Emma checked the tablecloths for stains. She was grateful for this time to discuss these details while it was just she and Abby, because she trusted her best friend to tell her the truth about the job. While Emma was flattered that Sam thought she was capable and competent, there was no denying that working in the mercantile would be a big responsibility. “So . . . what’s the worst part about running the store? What do you think I’ll have trouble with?” she asked.

Abby’s eyebrows rose as she thought about her answer. “It’s really important to greet people when they come in. You’ll want to ask how you can help them, of course,” she continued as the washer began agitating. “But you have to look them in the eye—especially the folks you don’t know—so they realize you’re aware of their presence. It cuts down on shoplifting.”

Emma’s hand flew to her mouth. “You mean people steal from the store? What should I do if I see that happening?”

“Do not go up to them and accuse them of anything,” Abby warned her quickly. “The best thing is to let Sam know that you suspect something, and he’ll handle it. During the Christmas shopping season, a lot of little items get stuck into purses and coat pockets. It’s best to keep circulating, to keep talking so everyone knows you’re around.

“It’s mostly English,” Abby continued above the noise of the agitating washer. “They tend to think that we Plain folks aren’t bright enough to figure out what they’re doing, or that because we don’t keep our inventory on a computer, we won’t miss the merchandise they take.”

As Abby tucked the ends of the first tablecloth into the wringer and began to crank, squeezing out the excess water, her expression became more serious. “Your trusting nature might give you some problems, Emma. It’s like the Scripture from First Corinthians, which Vernon preached on during the wedding,” she went on in a thoughtful tone. “You’re patient and kind. You bear all things and believe all things—and when you work with the public, you need to question more and accept less. You’ll have to stand firm when folks dish up their attitude, too—and when they try to return things without a receipt. I suspect that part won’t come easy for you.”

Emma sighed. Abby made it sound like she’d need to cultivate a whole new personality. But at least she was being honest. “Mamm and Dat have told me a time or two not to be such a doormat,” she admitted. “I’ll have to work on that.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Home at Cedar Creek/One Big Happy Family series. Like her series heroine, Abby Lambright, Naomi considers it her personal mission to be a listener—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls—and to share her hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and frugality are hallmarks of her lifestyle: like Abby, she made her wedding dress and the one her mom wore, too! She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, Naomi loves to travel, try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Naomi, whose real name is Charlotte Hubbard, now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie, Ramona.


One Big Happy Family, Book 2

NAL Trade (November 4, 2014)

ISBN-13: 9780451417886 •• ISBN-10: 0451417887

Buy Links:

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Prizes for the tour are as follows:

• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Tallulah, thanks so much for featuring EMMA on your blog today!

  2. Thanks for the little info about the book.

  3. You're welcome, Kim! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Emma sounds like a really lovable character

  5. Thanks, Shannon! Emma has been such a patient, kind, character all through this series, I was happy to give her a nice happily-ever-after in this book! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. interesting to read about your character and the basis for her

  7. I love the whole concept of the book