Gentle readers, this is the first of a series of character interviews I am conducting. Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Becky Troyer, the heroine of Patchwork Dreams (Amish of Seymour V1) (April 2011, Whitaker House) by author Laura Hilton.
POV Boot Camp(PBC): Becky, what do you love most about being Amish?
Becky Troyer: I love that my family is all right there. My sisters and I are upstairs, I sleep in the same room as my sister, Katie, and my grandparents are right next door, so I see them all the time. Plus my dad works at home, he has a blacksmith shop, so he’s always around too. My big sister, Naomi Joy, has married and moved away, but she is still only a 30 minute drive with a driver. I love that my best friend is just down the road. And I love that the whole community is so close. We all know everyone and are related by blood or marriage for the most part.
PBC: I think most of us find that aspect of Amish life greatly appealing. So, any drawbacks or challenges? Any failings you’d be willing to admit?
Troyer: Well, the biggest thing I’ll admit is that I was shallow enough to like a guy because he drove a flashy red car. And that is all I’ll say about that.
PBC: All right, fair enough. What are your greatest hopes and dreams?
Troyer: I always wanted to find a special man who would love me and want to marry. And I must say that seems really impossible. That is what every good Amish girl has been raised to want. A husband and a family. But I want love, too. Not just someone who’ll have me.
PBC: Good for you. I hope it works out for you. Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
Troyer: I love to read. My dad goes to the library and brings home books all the time. And I love to bake. Everyone around here says that I’m the best cook in the area. But they say it quietly, and not very often in my hearing, so I don’t grow prideful.
PBC: How about pet peeves? What annoys you? What do you value most?
Troyer: I hate people whispering behind your back. What, do they think you don’t know they’re talking about you? Why can’t they just say it to the persons face instead of whispering and gossiping?
PBC: Oh, that one definitely tops my list, too. Gossip is so poisonous to the Church. Anyway, tell me a bit more about your family. What do you like about them?
Troyer: My dad has really been supportive of me, even when I made a horrible mistake and ended up shunned for six weeks. He hasn’t said much, but he’s been a strong shoulder, and he put his foot down about a bad decision he thought I’d make. And he was right. It would have been bad.
PBC: Becky, in your own words, could you tell us a bit about the author of your novel, Laura Hilton?
Troyer: Laura? She’s kind of a quiet person. Very busy. I just don’t understand driving an hour to sit with a computer and write every day for two weeks. But in her defense, she has five children and they all had things going on in those other towns during those weeks, so she took her computer and wrote while she waited. Kind of smart actually. But I’d hate to have that kind of schedule. I like to stay home. Laura says she looks forward to “at home days.”
PBC: So, Becky, what do you think of Laura Hilton? What do you like or admire about her? Anything you dislike?
Troyer: I like that she cared enough about me to go digging for my story, because I never would have told it and, once word got out, it really made a difference in my life. I like that she is a very caring person and she loves her family as much as I love mine. I don’t like her busyness. She is all the time going, in spite of having electric and all those modern “conveniences.” Like yesterday, she spent all day getting her car worked on at the garage, and car tags renewed, and other things related to the car, she had to drive to the county seat to do all these things, and how is that convenient? I tell her a horse and buggy is a much better value. And then she’d have no need to ever go to the county seat.
PBC: We’ve had a whole string of days like that recently at the Graham household ourselves. Becky, if you had one question you could ask Laura, what would it be? If you could ask Laura to change one thing in Patchwork Dreams, what would it be?
Troyer: Patchwork Dreams is my story. It’s the way I told it and Jacob told it. Maybe I would have changed the way that things happened, but that is my life, not the way it was written. I guess, I would ask Laura, why did you pick me to write about?
PBC: That’s very mature of you, Becky, to take responsibility for yourself like that. Now, this Jacob, is he a friend of yours? Could you tell me a bit more about him?
Troyer: Jacob Miller is a man who was swapped from a Pennsylvania Amish community to bring new blood to our Missouri community. He was the first one to ever accept me unconditionally, and to want to be friends with me, but he has a girlfriend back home in Pennsylvania that he intends to marry. Some days, I want him to stay…and others I wish he’d leave, sooner rather than later.
PBC: Becky, if you could spend a whole day with Laura, where would you go and what would you do?
Troyer: We’d go to McDonalds. I love their cappuccinos and I’d get a large one. Laura would have either a hazelnut iced coffee or one of the new McCafe chocolate milk shakes. She likes chocolate as much as I do. And then we’d probably sit and talk, or go and browse through the bookshelves at the library, or maybe I’d teach her how to make a pie crust. She tells me that hers never turns out right and I tell her she’s not patient enough with them.
PBC: Sounds fun. Becky, what do you think of the cover of Patchwork Dreams?
Troyer: It’s very pretty. The quilt on the bottom looks just like one I made for my hope chest. But the landscape isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen. Where I live in Missouri is hillier. Its part of the Ozark Mountains, and I’ve heard that they are nothing compared to the Rocky Mountains, but it is still hilly around here. And we live in the woods. Lots of trees. I see the picture and I wonder where it might have been taken. Somewhere flat and without trees. It’s hard to imagine someplace like that.
Thanks for stopping in and chatting with us, Becky! Readers, it’s your turn! Got any questions for Becky Troyer about the Amish or anything else on your mind? Comment away. If one of your characters would like to chat with us here, send me an email and we’ll set a date.