Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview + GIVEAWAY: TEMPTATION by Karen Ann Hopkins

When I first heard about the book Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins, I knew it would be one I'd have to read. I'm fascinated by other cultures, especially ones that are completely unlike my own yet so close - something I think the Amish fall under pretty well! And then when you find out it's a romance, and pubbed by HarlequinTeen (if anyone knows a good romance, it's them)...I mean, that just has to be good. Today I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Karen and discuss what the Amish culture is like and her experience writing Temptation. Check out the awesome photos she sent, too!
First, can you explain how you came to know the Amish culture?
In 2008 I moved from Tennessee to a farm situated in the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky. Immediately upon my arrival, the local Amish teens began coming to the farm to ride in the arena and participate with equine related activities. I got to know many of the Amish young people through the horse business, but I also drove Amish families as a part-time job. Amish girls babysit my younger children and my own teens have struck up close friendships with the neighborhood kids.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the Amish culture?
That their lives are cozy and quaint compared to their non-Amish neighbors. The Amish have many of the same problems that everyone else has. Marital difficulties, financial stress, issues with disobedient children and disagreements with other families in the community are common among the Amish. But adding to those common problems is a lot of hard work to do basic chores, such as laundry, dish cleaning and mowing the yard. The Amish also face the daily dilemma of having to pay a person to drive them to town or deal with the aggravation of catching and harnessing a horse to do the same task. There is a real possibility of accident and serious injury every time they take to the roadway with their buggies.

What stereotype about the Amish culture is true?
They are very religious.

Amish, Karen Ann Hopkins
Was the inspiration for your novel from a real life story you knew or witnessed?
I was inspired to write TEMPTATION from observing the interactions between the Amish and non-Amish teens at my farm. Although, Rose and Noah’s story is fictional, I’ve witnessed several Amish youth leave their community to be with outsiders. In all cases, they were shunned by their families.

What surprised you most about the Amish culture?
I’m constantly surprised at how technology-savvy some of the Amish teens are. They carefully sneak behind their parents and the elder’s backs to use cell phones, video games and computers. Whenever one of the local Amish teens pops up on my FB page requesting friendship, I chuckle, but unfortunately, it’s not a laughing matter at all. These kids will eventually get caught and face punishment for using the same items that every non-Amish teen takes for granted.

Was anyone hesitant when they heard you were writing a novel involving the Amish culture?
My entire community was uncomfortable with the idea, especially since the subject is about their biggest fear—a forbidden romance between one of their own and an outsider. Overall, they have looked the other way and treated me and my children well nonetheless. I was especially pleased when one of the Amish girls who left the community a year earlier to be with her non-Amish boyfriend contacted me to say she loved the book. She told me that she cried while turning the pages, admitting that her own situation was similar to Noah’s. She married her sweetheart a month ago, and her family didn’t attend the wedding. I believe Rose and Noah’s story needed to be told as their situation happens in real life and is an unknown struggle to most people.

Amish, Karen Ann Hopkins What other books or music inspired you while writing Temptation? (If any.)
I primarily read fantasy and paranormal myself, but I find the Amish lifestyle has its own surreal quality that makes it extra interesting and fun to write about. I was careful not to read any other Amish stories throughout the process of creating TEMPTATION. I wanted my book to be completely drawn from my experiential knowledge of the community that surrounds me.
The Amish aren’t allowed to listen to music, but one Amish boy in particular would sing the lyrics to Second Chance by Shinedown when he came to hang out with my sons. He related his own life to the song, and whenever I hear it, I think about Amish teens.

While writing, were you ever worried about a reaction to how you portrayed the Amish culture?
Yes, as stated above, I knew the Amish would be concerned to have their secretive world put into the pages of a book. I was careful to set Meadowview in Ohio and not Kentucky where I live and I tried not to use the names of my closest neighbors. Several former Amish have praised the book as accurate and fitting, making me feel confident that I portrayed the Amish fairly and honestly.

Have you experienced any backlash because of your novel/content?
Nope. I’m lucky to have wonderful neighbors. I know some of the Amish teens and their mothers have purchased copies of TEMPTATION in secret, but most won’t read the book. Overall, my relationships in the community haven’t changed much.

I know this is the first in a series - are the following two books continuations of Rose and Noah's story, or more companion novels to them?
They are continuations of Rose and Noah’s story. BELONGING, the second book in the series, will be available in May, 2013. (Ashley's note: It's on Goodreads already! Add it!)

What advice would you give writers who may be considering tackling a culture completely unlike their own?
They must live it to write about it. I actually went to my neighbor’s house to help with laundry for a day so that I’d get the real idea of what it’s like to hand wash with an old-fashioned ringer. I took an Amish family on vacation with my family to the Smoky Mountains and my younger children are babysat by the Amish on a regular basis. I’ve attended five Amish weddings and numerous church events. For the first two years that I lived in Kentucky, I spent more time with the Amish than anyone else. Through all these experiences I developed the knowledge to write accurately about not just the obvious differences between the cultures, but also all the little nuances that most people don’t know about.

Did anything surprise you about the Amish culture?
Tell me!
**My review of Temptation will be up near the end of the month!

Karen has also generously donated a copy to give away!
Open WORLDWIDE! (how awesome is that?!)
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Ends 9/3, good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.
Goodreads | Facebook
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Indie Bound
(bio & photo taken from Goodreads)


  1. SamanthaAugust 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I'm surprised how excited I am to check out this book! I know very little about Amish culture, but I grew up in a community with a lot of Mennonites. I'm curious to see some of the differences between the two.

  2. ElliceAugust 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    I have visited a couple of Amish communities in Tennessee that are close to my hometown, and I am so intrigued by their culture. I am anxious to read this book!

  3. KimAugust 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I have read other reviews about the book and wanted to read it. The only thing I know about Amish people are they don't use electricity.

    I am a new GFC follower. Thanks for the giveaway.

    My blog -

  4. Carrie at In the Hammock BlogAugust 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    the most interesting part of the interview to me was that some of the members of the amish community had to buy the book in secret. it's something i hadn't thought of the amish living without before. thank you for the contest, the book has been on my to read list for a long time.

  5. UnknownAugust 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I remember as a child driving through the "Amish Country" in Pennsylvania. We were watching Amish bale hay and the baler broke. My dad, being the farmer he was, decided to help. I remember getting to drive the team and wagon back to the barn and seeing the house. As a child, I knew there were differences, but I didn't realize how many until I was much older. They had no phone, no electricity, no TV, but they were happy and that is what I remember most- how happy and content they were. My mom got recipes for Mint Tea and Whoopie pies and we still enjoy them. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  6. Emily PumphreyAugust 13, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    The most surprising thing to me in the interview was that some of the Amish teens have their own facebook pages!

  7. UnknownAugust 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    I really don't know much about Amish culture, it surprises me that an Amish family wouldn't attend their childs wedding because they didn't marry another amish.

  8. UnknownAugust 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I saw a documentary recently I think it was done by the BBC but I found out about a sort of split off sect that have gone so far as to be re-baptised. They are still part of the normal community but they will socialise with excommunicated members which is strictly forbidden. They live in fear of discovery themselves as they would then be excommunicated and loose ties to their families. I think it is good to have a certain degree of spirituality and I admire them for doing what they do but there is a darker side to the church that I don't like.

  9. ~Jennifer~August 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    I live in Ohio about two hours west of what is known as "Amish country." I went there with my family for a weekend and bought some of the crafts they had made. My in-laws bought what is now my two end tables in the living room from the Amish. In southern Ohio where my mom grew up, you'll often see the Amish on the road with a horse and buggy. There's a new show that'll be on soon (I forget the channel) about young Amish people leaving their community to move to NYC. I plan on watching the show and think it'll be really interesting. I've also seen a documentary about the Amish.

  10. VeronikaAugust 23, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    I'm not familiar with the Amish culture. It suprised me the most the story of that girl whose parents didn't attend her wedding.

  11. ZinoAugust 25, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    The first (and only) book I read about the Amish was Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult and I learnt a lot about the Amish community with her novel and some of the facts Karen Hopkins gave were included in the story. But one thing that surprised me in the interview was that they aren't allowed to listen to music. I love my music and I guess I'm just used to the lifestyle I live to ever live like they do.

  12. Crystal B.August 31, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I love watching Amish documentaries.When I learned that they don't take pictures of themselves I was taken back.I love a good picture and some nice music! If asked if i could live like them, I would if that was all I knew but to go from life now to Amish life would be SUPER difficult.

  13. Lexi EdwardsSeptember 1, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    It would probably be easier to live like that if I were born to it. But to be thrown into it while knowing what else is out there, I don't know if I could do it!

  14. ZemiraSeptember 2, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    There are no Amish people in Bosnia,so no I don't know much about them except what I see watching documentaries. I wouldn't be able to live without my laptop and ereader.

  15. UnknownSeptember 2, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    I don't much about the Amish but I know here in the US there are some beautiful quilts made by the Amish people. thanks!

  16. Gaby PendragonSeptember 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I really don't much about the amish, that's part of what this intrigues me so much.


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