Have you ever had one of those rare friends who is so stinking awesome that when you take her places and introduce her you’re excited because you know how much everybody is going to LOVE her? Well, if so, then you’ll understand how I feel today! Ya’ll–this is my very dear friend–and critique partner–Amy Grochowski! Come on–isn’t she adorable?

And–cue the happy dancing–this is a HUGE day for her because her fabulous Amish romance Forever Home is officially released! This is Amy’s very-first-ever book, and trust me–you’re not going to want to miss this one! It’s already won the Georgia Romance Writer’s coveted Maggie award–and was also an ACFW Genesis Semi-Finalist. This girl believes in starting out with a bang!

I had some questions for Amy about this wonderful story—and I’m also giving away some digital copies! Read on to find out more!

Amy, I loved this book so much–it really stands out! What makes Forever Home unique within the Amish romance genre?

Now that’s an interesting question because I didn’t try to write outside the Amish genre. I simply found my voice from my own personal experience of years living in a Mennonite/Amish community, added a significant amount of research, and poured the story out of my soul. If readers find my story unique and enjoy my perspective, I’ll take that as a huge compliment!

There was definitely an authentic feel to this book! In fact, you have a very personal connection to a young character in Forever Home. Can you tell us a little about that?

My youngest son has ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. The little girl in Forever Home came to life in my imagination with the same challenges as my son faced in early childhood.

I wouldn’t say this story shines a bright light on what it means to have autism, but I pray it allows for some understanding. Spoiler Alert: This character will continue to appear in the rest of the series, so readers can watch her grow up surviving with autism throughout the different phases of her life. I like to believe that readers will cheer her on to the end.

I’m sure they will! Speaking of characters who grow up in a series–I’m a huge Anne of Green Gables fan! I love the fact that you’ve set this story on Prince Edward Island. Can you tell us how you chose this setting?

Let me tell you, this setting chose me! In June of 2016 I had the tiniest idea to write an Amish story set in Canada. Now, I’m talking the barest inkling of when a story idea begins to take form. I typed “Amish in Canada” into a Google search button. BAM! First Ontario Amish move to Prince Edward Island, March 2016. The headline pops up with a photo of a newlywed couple driving down an island road in a horse and buggy. The article was like dumping Miracle-Gro in the soil of a romance story-teller’s mind. Anyone who’s experienced God-moments knows that was one.

Seriously, how could I resist? The land of L.M. Montgomery was calling for a new story to be told. I couldn’t believe I’d been given such a great chance from the place where my entire book-loving adolescence had been spent in day-dreams.

I bet this book inspires some daydreams of its own!

Come on–doesn’t Forever Home sound awesome? I’m so excited about it that I’m doing something I’ve never done before–I’m offering digital copies to TEN lucky readers! This is a newsletter subscriber exclusive giveaway–but no worries! If you’re not currently a subscriber, you can sign up here. To be entered into the random drawing, just leave a comment on this post. And–here’s a bonus–if YOU have a question for Amy, she’ll gladly answer it! Fire away!! (Winners will be announced here on Friday morning June 12, at 10:00 EDT–so be sure to check back!!) Note: Amazon says that the digital books are limited to U.S. readers–so unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to U.S. subscribers!

In the meantime, if you’re impatient like me, you can buy the book right this red-hot minute on Amazon!

(Oh–and the way the website is set up, I have to approve each comment, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t show up right away! I’ll see it, and I promise I”ll get it up as quick as I can!)

69 Comments

  1. Patti Jo Moore on June 9, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Hi Amy (and Laurel)! I am SO happy for you, and your book sounds amazing! I loved reading about your God-moment – – Wow! πŸ™‚ Sounds like this story was definitely meant to be written.

    No need to enter me in the drawing, as I’m getting ready to purchase a copy right now!

    Blessings on your writing, and I have a feeling you’ll be writing many more stories.

    Hugs, Patti Jo

    P.S. My oldest daughter is named Amy, and I know you’re a sweetie like she is!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Patti Jo, you are such a dear, dear person–and you have been blessed with the gift of encouragement. Whenever I see your name, I smile! And Amy definitely is a sweetie just like your wonderful daughter. Thank you so much for happy dancing with us today–and you’re going to love this book!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 11:49 am

      Patti Jo!! Hello, it’s so nice to hear from you. πŸ™‚
      I do hope you will enjoy Lydia and Joels story and the PEI setting.
      I’ll be right back, Pattie! My books just came! Woohoo!! I gotta go open that box and hold my book in my hands for the first time. Glad you were here for the special moment!

      • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 12:12 pm

        Phew, that box was heavy. The UPS man was so sweet and wouldn’t let me carry it. πŸ™‚ I’ve opened it, video and all, and am heading over to my Facebook page to post the pictures and the video.
        https://www.facebook.com/amygrochowski/

  2. amoore3596 on June 9, 2020 at 11:26 am

    I bet this book is gonna be amazing! My daughter has Spina Bifida and is also on the spectrum so I’m definitely interested to watch this little character grow.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 11:39 am

      Yes! The book truly is amazing! And yes, this character snagged my heart right off the bat–I can’t wait to follow her through the series!! Thanks so much for dropping by!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you for being here! Your daughter has some unique challenges ahead. I’m stopping now to pray for encouragement for your mama’s heart as you navigate those waters with her. How we love our children! I try to also remember that for as much as I love them, our Heavenly Father loves them even more. I hope you will enjoy this young girl’s journey throughout the series. πŸ™‚

  3. Jane Casey on June 9, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Amy’s smile in her picture makes you want to smile along with her and just be happy. The book sounds wonderful. Thank you.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 11:38 am

      You summed Amy up perfectly, Jane!! Her joy is contagious–and the book truly is wonderful!! Thanks so much for helping us celebrate!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      What a sweet compliment, Jane! You just made that smile much bigger. πŸ™‚ I hope Forever Home and the characters of the fictional New Hope community on PEI bring you many big smiles too!

  4. Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Thank you so much for having me here today, Laurel! It’s an honor to be able to chat with your readers. I’m a huge fan of all of Laurel’s books, and an even bigger fan of Laurel. Her friendship on the author journey is invaluable. I’m looking forward to answering any and all of your questions… or just shootin’ the breeze.

  5. Trudy on June 9, 2020 at 11:48 am

    This book sounds awesome! I’ve always wanted to visit Prince Edward Island! And, a book with a child with autism? Awesome!!! What a wonderful way to teach those of us that don’t deal with it everyday, and to give encouragement to those that do!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 11:50 am

      Trudy, this book definitely doesn’t disappoint. And on Prince Edward Island–me, too!! It’s been a dream of mine to visit there ever since I read Anne of Green Gables!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you, Trudy. I pray Forever Home will do all you just described. And, I hope you will enjoy this trip to the island. Of course, right now it’s the only way to go! πŸ™‚

  6. Melissa Pettersen on June 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    I’m so excited to read this book!!! I want to visit Prince Edward Island so bad. I love Anne of Green Gables. I own the entire book series. Going on my TBR list. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Hi, Melissa!! I want to visit PEI, too. Wouldn’t that be FUN?? I think we need to organize a trip for all us Anne fans! Amy, that would give you a chance to do more research for your series, too!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      *swoon* Gilbert Blythe, my first crush. LOL. Funny thing is I tried to infuse a little bit of Gil into my hero, Joel. You’ll have to let me know if you think so or not! πŸ™‚

  7. Lisa Sapp on June 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Hi ladies,

    I’m so happy to see the beginning of your amazing books adventure. I can’t wait to read along with your characters.

    I’ve seen pictures of PEI and would love to one day visit. I have relatives in Ontario and we visited many years ago. Beautiful country. I have autism in my family so its nice to see characters who reach out to all challenges and uniqueness.

    Thank you Laurel for the give away and the opportunity to win a copy.

    Blessings ladies to you and families!

    Lisa

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm

      Hi, Lisa! So happy to see you here!! I pulled out my St. Mary’s packet just the other day and did some daydreaming about taking a road trip. My husband agreed that we need to do it as soon as it’s feasible! I’ve never visited Canada, but would absolutely love to–especially PEI. (That trip may be a little harder to talk my husband into, though!!)

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Lisa! Glad to meet you. It seems we have a few things in common, including family in Ontario. My brother married a very sweet and wonderful Canadian. They live in Ontario with my three beautiful nieces. The girls are so excited this book takes place on Prince Edward Island.
      It’s so encouraging to hear such an interest in my character with autism. So may families are affected by this disability and sharing our experiences helps!
      I hope you enjoy this series. I’m so glad you getting started from the very beginning. πŸ™‚

  8. Dorothy Lance on June 9, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    This book sounds awesome. I love reading books about the Amish/Mennonite communities. There simple life fascinates me. I wish you well on your new series. It sounds like it will do really well.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      I feel the same way, Dorothy–I’ve been fascinated by the Amish lifestyle for many years, and I love to read books about them. Amy lived and worked with a Beachy Amish family for six years, I believe, so she has a great background to write about these interesting folks!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you for the sweet well wishes, Dorothy. I hope you will enjoy this series. too! Every community has it’s unique aspects. My New Hope community is completely fictional, but I hope true to the essence of the Amish and Mennonite faith and way of life.

  9. Lisa Sapp on June 9, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    My mom’s family is in Sault Ste Marie on the Canadian side (the US side is in Michigan). We went up there when I was in 7th or 8th grade to visit aunts/uncles/millions of cousins and my great grandmother. We camped on 3 of the 5 great lakes, visited Mackinaw Island. It was so much fun. The water in June or July was so very cold. I am definitely used to our temps down here. But the land up there is so amazing.

    Come on down here anytime. Most of the hotels and B&B’s are open and looking for visitors. I’m not sure if Cumberland Island is open back up yet for visiting but our downtown by the waterfront has lots of unique shops (antiques, books, and a fun store that has fudge and ice cream- a definite favorite of mine). Bring bug spray, mosquitos are missing the visitors. But the sunrises and sunsets are so pretty.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      In the pictures, the scenery up there looks breathtaking! That sounds like an amazing trip you had–and to see your family–even better.
      Oh, my…antiques? Books? Fudge and Ice cream? I’m about ready to WALK to St. Mary’s!!!! (With my bug spray in hand!!)

  10. Darlene M on June 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Hi Ladies,
    This new book sounds intriguing & I can’t wait to curl up. & read it! Amy, do you work outside the home, in addition to writing? What are your hibbies? Thanks for the chance to win. πŸŒΊπŸ“šπŸŒ»

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Oh, it is definitely a great curl up and read book, Darlene! You’re going to love it!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Darlene, so glad to meet you here, today!
      I was a nurse for over twenty years. However, when the time came for us to homeschool our boys, I couldn’t do justice to both jobs. That’s actually when I really began to go full throttle at my dream of being a published author.
      Aside from lots and lots of reading, my favorite hobbies are cooking (Wintertime, mostly) and gardening. My boys are getting to be great helpers in the garden, so we have a pretty large veggie garden this year. Lots of fun. Lots of work, too!!

  11. Jan Stetson on June 9, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    This sounds like it will be a special series! I have loved Prince Edward Island ever since reading the Anne books to my daughters years ago and watching the series on television. I am excited to read about the Amish in this part of Canada. Thank you for sharing your heart, Amy!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      I agree, Jan–I loved the combination of the Amish community with a setting that has fascinated me since I first picked up Anne of Green Gables in middle school! It’s going to be a special series for sure!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      Jan, I love that you read Anne of Green Gables to your girls! What a wonderful memory to cherish. I was so fascinated by the whole Anne of green Gables series when I was in middle school. I read them over, who knows how many times. And then, the PBS miniseries came out! I have such wonderful memories of watching those with my mom over the years!

  12. Susan Zollmann on June 9, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    I am excited to read Amy’s debut novel as I love Amish Fiction and I love Prince Edward Island! Sounds like a win-win to me 😊

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      That’s exactly what I thought, too, Susan! Perfect combination!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      Yay! Susan, those were my sentiments exactly! I hope I deliver a story to fit your expectations. πŸ™‚ I really tried!!

  13. marilyn on June 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Wishing Amy good luck on her new book. Looks like it is my kinda of book. Wishing much success.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Hi, Marilyn! It’s a great book–can’t wait for the rest of the series!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Aw! Thank you, Marilyn. I so appreciate your kind wishes.

  14. Linda McFarland on June 9, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Definitely sounds like a must-read! Love the cover, too. Do you have input? If so, good choice! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm

      I love the cover, too, Linda!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you, Linda! The creative artist at Ambassador International, Hannah Nichols, does a fantastic job. I thinks he nailed this cover too. She asked for input, but there was little to give. She’d already knocked it outta the park. I’ll pass along your praise. πŸ™‚

  15. Debra Pruss on June 9, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I love to read about the Amish life. Thank you for the opportunity.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      I love to read about the Amish, too, Debra! So fascinating!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      Best wishes, Debra! So nice to meet you here. I hope you will get the opportunity to read Lydia and Joe’s story. πŸ™‚

  16. Carol Dykhouse on June 9, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I am reading this book now and LOVING it !!!!!

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      Isn’t it great, Carol?? I loved it too!!!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 9, 2020 at 5:42 pm

      Hey Carol! πŸ™‚ I love to hear you are enjoying Joel and Lydia’s story. Yay!

  17. Linda Palmer on June 9, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I find myself reading more stories set in Canada and I love it. I like Amish and historical fiction, so the book sounds like the best of both. Since I’m retired I have a lot of time for reading.

    • Laurel Blount on June 9, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      I may have to search out more books with Canadian settings, because I sure enjoyed Amy’s! Right now I’m in a season of life where my reading time is limited–I miss being able to sit down and lose myself in a book for hours! Reading time is such a blessing!

  18. Megan on June 9, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit Prince Edward Island, so this book sounds good to me! Thanks for sharing and foe the chance to win.

    • Laurel Blount on June 10, 2020 at 6:35 am

      Oh, me too, Megan! Prince Edward Island is at the top of my dream trip list. One day I’m going to go and see all the places I’ve read about! And yes, this book is really good!! You’ll love it!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 10, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Hi Megan, nice to meet you here! When I wrote Forever Home, I thought it would be fun to take an American (Amish) woman, who loved reading Anne of Green Gables as a girl, all the way to Prince Edward Island to find love. It’s a subtle part of the story but intentional. πŸ™‚

  19. Martha Troxel on June 9, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    This sounds like a unique book! It would be neat to win a copy!

    • Laurel Blount on June 10, 2020 at 6:33 am

      It really is unique, Martha–which is another thing I loved about it! There’s a freshness to this story that I really enjoyed!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 10, 2020 at 8:40 am

      Yay! Best wishes to you, Martha. I hope you find Forever Home to have just the right amount of uniqueness mixed with the familiar things we love about romance, the Amish, and the dreamy setting of Prince Edward Island.

  20. Lynette on June 9, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I have a child with autism, so I’m definitely putting this book on my TBR pile. I love stories with realistic characters!

    • Laurel Blount on June 10, 2020 at 6:32 am

      Me, too–and that’s one of the things I loved most about this book, Lynette!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 10, 2020 at 8:37 am

      Bless you, Lynette. I’m so thrilled that you want to read Forever Home. Please let me know your thoughts, especially as a mom of a child with ASD. Hearing from readers on this topic will help me make that thread of the series even stronger, so I’d truly value your perspective. Most of all, I hope you enjoy the story and find a little mom-get-away time between the pages. <3

  21. Natalya Lakhno on June 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful post! God’s timing is always right!
    Q: I ask this question often only because it makes us smile πŸ™‚
    Do you act out your characters in front of the mirror? only the truth lol

    Blessing, Natalya

    • Laurel Blount on June 10, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      LOL, that’s a good question, Natalya! Amy? Do you? I confess, I’ve acted out my characters before–usually when I’m stuck in a scene. Sometimes it helps! (But never in front of a mirror!)

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 10, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      LOLOL! I don’t think I’ve acted them out in front of a mirror. I have had my husband help me act out some scenes to make sure I get the specifics right. You can guess which ones. πŸ˜‰

  22. Roxanne C. on June 10, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    My daughter’s primary diagnosis is autism so I was excited the first time I read an inspirational book that included a child with autism.

    • Laurel Blount on June 10, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      I know just what you mean, Roxanne. Books that deal with issues we’ve encountered in our own lives can definitely speak to us in special ways! I definitely think you’ll enjoy Amy’s book!

    • Amy Washburn Grochowski on June 10, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Roxanne! So nice to meet you. Thank you so much for your interest. I’m trying to be sensitive to the different experiences of girls and boys with autism. My son has ASD, and I want to be careful not to project him too strongly onto my female character as she grows up. Like you, I get so exciting when I find autism portrayed realistically in great characters. I hope you will enjoy this journey with … oops, I almost gave away her name! I hope to hear from you again. I’d love to know what you think.

  23. hailey Wagner on June 24, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Amy – Your book sounds amazing !! I work with autistic children so reading about them is always a joy .

    • Laurel Blount on June 25, 2020 at 7:05 am

      How wonderful, Hailey–what a blessing you must be for your students! And oh, yes–Amy’s book would be just perfect for you!

      • hailey Wagner on June 27, 2020 at 1:52 pm

        Thanks its a blessing to me to teach πŸ™‚ I cant wait to read her book

  24. hailey Wagner on June 27, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Amy what inspired you to start writing ?

    • Laurel Blount on July 7, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Hailey, Amy’s on a short family vacation, but she’ll be answering your question as soon as she gets back! I can’t wait to hear her answer–I’m always curious about what inspires an author to take the plunge and start writing!

    • Amy Grochowski on July 8, 2020 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Hailey! Goodness, I apologize for missing your comment earlier. It’s always a pleasure to meet someone who works with children who have ASD. You’re in such a unique position to make an incredible difference in a child’s life.
      As to my inspiration for writing in general, I believe the earliest inspiration came from Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Little House series were the first chapter books I read. I recall thinking that if a girl like Laura could keep and journal and wrote books when she grew up, then so could I. 😊

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