Writer’s Desk: Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is an award-winning author and podcaster, wife, mother and grandmother, family lifestyle expert, and national speaker. She has written more than eighty books, which have sold over three million copies. She is considered a leading authority on relationships, family, and faith topics. She has been featured in publications such as USA Today, The Washington Post, and the New York Times, and has appeared on numerous media outlets.
More about Beyond the Gray Mountains
Marianna Sommer always dreamed of a simple Amish wedding, but there’s nothing simple about marrying rock star Ben Stone. She loves him—but what about her traditions? Worse, suddenly Ben has questions—the kind that have him putting their wedding on hold.
Ben loves Marianna, but he has regrets—and fears—that are suddenly getting in the way of his happy ending. He doubts he’s going to “hear from God” in the high mountains like Marianna’s father suggests. But sure, he’ll go…
But he might not return. Because high on the continental divide, trouble finds them. Now, it’ll take a miracle for Ben, Abe, and Abe’s brother, Ike, to make it down alive. Maybe Ben will hear from God after all…but if he does, can he become the man he needs to be to save them…and keep Marianna’s heart?
When a runaway horse with a bloody saddle shows up, not only is the media alerted, but Marianna fears she’ll lose them all—her uncle, her father, and her beloved Ben. Suddenly she doesn’t care what the wedding looks like…as long as Ben makes it home.
But is there more to Ben than she knows? And when she discovers his secrets, what sacrifices will she make to save…and marry…the man she loves?
Q&A with Tricia Goyer
When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I first started writing in 1994. I was only 22 years old and pregnant with my third baby. While sitting in the church nursery one Sunday chatting with a friend, Cindy, I got the epiphany that I wanted to become a Christian writer. Cindy was also a young mom. We got to know each other, and Cindy told me about her writing dream. Something struck a chord in me. I had grown up loving to read, but I never considered writing. We encouraged each other. We attended our first writer’s conference at Mt. Hermon in Northern California. Since that time, I’ve written over 80 books. It’s been a long road, but I have been so blessed to be able to walk it with wonderful friends, family, and mentors along the way.
Where did you get the inspiration for the Big Sky Amish collection?
I remember first reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder in sixth grade. As one who struggled with reading as a child, everything changed when I read that book. I was swept away by the close family ties and their simple life. I wished I could walk across the prairie with Pa or ride along in a covered wagon.
I didn’t consider writing about “the simple life” until an editor asked if I’d like to write Amish fiction. I prayed, and I pondered the idea. I also met with friends who had moved their Amish family from Indiana to Montana. I was hooked as I learned more about the Amish community in Montana!
Beyond the Gray Mountains is the first book in the Big Sky Amish Series, but it follows the storyline of my Big Sky series. The books in that series are Beside Still Waters, Along Wooded Paths, and Beyond Hope’s Valley.
The true story of Ora Jay and Irene Eash, who left their Amish community after losing two daughters in a buggy and semi accident, was the basis for Beside Still Waters. The couple started a new life in a small Amish community in Montana. Ora Jay and Irene faced many challenges and hardships in adjusting to life in this new place. Still, they also found strength and comfort in their growing relationship with God.
I learned Ora Jay and Irene’s story through my daughter Leslie. After hearing their story, I was amazed by their resilience and how their deep faith bloomed even during difficult times. I worked closely with the couple to ensure I captured the Amish community in West Kootenai well. With Beyond the Gray Mountains, I was excited to return to West Kootenai and continue the story of Ben, Marianna, and their family and friends.
I’m also incredibly excited about a unique setting I added to this book. In Beyond the Gray Mountain, some of my characters venture into the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana, which covers 1.5 million acres. This harsh and secluded location in the Rocky Mountains has wooded trails and cliffs, lakes and rivers. I knew this would be a unique and exciting setting for this novel. (Not to mention the grizzlies, wolves, elk, mountain goats, and moose that live there—one of which shows up in this novel!) My even characters even see the Chinese Wall, a 12-mile-long, 1,000-foot-high cliff—one of Montana’s most stunning features.
I’ve always wanted to hike, fish, camp, and watch animals in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and I ventured there through the pages of this novel. Also, one of my friends, Rebecca, was an outfitter in the Bob Marshall for twenty years, and she made sure I got every detail right. I hope I can someday venture into that wilderness on horseback in real life!
Anything that you’ve never been asked before but wished you had been?
Does this question work? “Hey, Tricia, I have a condo at the beach. Would you like to use it to get away to write for a while?” Yeah, I didn’t think so.
What did you do before you were a writer?
Well, I was a very young mom! I attended my first writers’ conference when I was 22 and pregnant with my third child. I started writing and homeschooling around the same time. I suppose the “before” was high school. 🙂
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