Thursday, 24 April 2014

Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway - Lamb to the Slaughter by Karen Ann Hopkins


Some Amish communities aren't so cozy.

Lamb to the Slaughter is a story about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest.
Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate.  

At first glance, the case seems obvious.  The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious.  As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting.

Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up.  Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.

*Lamb to the Slaughter is book one of Serenity’s Plain Secrets.

For a limited time, Lamb to the Slaughter is available for $2.99 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble so get your copy now!

About Karen Ann Hopkins:

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.

Tour Schedule:

Click here for the tour page.

Monday April 21 - Caffeinated Book Reviewer - Review

Tuesday April 22 - Lose Time in Reading - Review

Wednesday April 23 - Love Life Read - Review

Thursday April 24 - A Book Addict's Bookshelves - Author Interview

Friday April 25 - Curling Up with a Good Book - Guest Post

Monday April 28 - Page Turners - Character Interview

Tuesday April 29 - Andi's Book Reviews - Review

Wednesday April 30 - Unabridged Bookshelf - Review

Thursday May 1 - Evie Bookish - Guest Post

Friday May 2 - Bookish Brunette - Excerpt

Monday May 5 - Bewitched Bookworms - Review

Tuesday May 6 - Blissful Book Reviews - Guest Post

Wednesday May 7 - Bittersweet Enchantment - Interview

Thursday May 8 - Chosen by You Book Club - Interview

Friday May 9 - Christy Howell Books - Review

Monday May 12 - Book Swarm - Review

Tuesday May 13 - Literary Me - Interview

Wednesday May 14 - Addicted Readers - Guest Post

Thursday May 15 - Tien's Blurb - Review

Friday May 16 - Jeanz Book Read N' Reviews - Review

Monday May 19 - Bajgajka Loves Books and Giveaways - Guest Post

Tuesday May 20 - Actin' Up with Books - Review

Wednesday May 21 - Kimberly Faye Reads - Review

Thursday May 22 - Reading Lark - Review

Friday May 23 - Janiera Eldridge - Review

Monday May 26 - I Read Indie - Review

Tuesday May 27 - Glorious Books - Guest Post

Wednesday May 28 - Little Miss Drama Queen - Review

Thursday May 29 - Once Upon Twilight - Review

Friday May 30 - It's a Book Thing - Review

When did you start writing? 

I began writing in 2008 after a move from the mountains of Tennessee into the middle of an Amish community in northern Kentucky. 

What makes you want to write?

I was inspired to write Rose and Noah’s star-crossed love affair in Temptation after watching the interactions between the Amish and non-Amish (the Amish refer to anyone not Amish as English) teens at my horse farm. Because of my personal experiential knowledge, observations, interactions, and discussions with both the teenagers and adults in my neighborhood, I felt that I was in a unique position to write books with a realness and grittiness that most other Amish novels don’t possess. 

Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it? 

Yes, I did when I began writing Forever. I wrote Temptation and Belonging without the boundaries of deadlines or having editors looking over my shoulder. By the time Forever came around, I had a very developed fan base and they had their own ideas about the way the story should end. Finishing up a series is daunting and Forever was definitely the most difficult book I’ve written so far. There are huge expectations from readers. Some wanted a happily-ever-after finale, while others hoped that Rose will smarten up and run screaming from Noah and his anti-feminist world. This was also the first book I’d written while under a hard deadline. Ultimately, I hunkered down, leaving my kids for a week with a close friend and going to quiet place to focus and write. Once I got away, the story came back to life and cruised along until the end. 

Do you have a special way of going about writing? 

I really like to formulate my thoughts about a chapter or even the overall draft of a book in my mind well in advance of writing it. Once I get started, I proceed with a stream of conscious style type of writing and keep on moving forward. I go back later and clean it up, but focus more on just getting the story on the screen before worrying about the little things.
I do a lot of my writing on my laptop while I’m waiting for my kids at their schooling and sporting activities. My oldest daughter rides on an equestrian drill team and there’s a lot of down time in the truck during her practices. I’ve learned to block everything out around me and get to work. I used to write into the wee hours of the morning, but lately, I haven’t been able to stay awake past midnight it seems. 

What are your hobbies? 

When I’m not writing or chauffeuring my kids around, you can find me in the barnyard taking care of a large menagerie of animals, including horses, goats, ducks,
peacocks, chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats. My favorite pastime is horse-back riding through the woods and fields here in Kentucky. 

How did you choose the character names for Lamb to the Slaughter? 

That’s a great question. The process of developing the characters for my new Amish murder mystery, Lamb to the Slaughter, was much more intense than the way I went about it for my Temptation series. In Lamb, I wrote a very detailed outline before I even began writing. Each character had a specific purpose in driving the mystery forward, whereas in the Temptation series, I let the characters develop more on their own. I must say, writing a mystery was definitely more challenging than anything I’d done up until then.
For some reason the name of Serenity for the Sheriff of Blood Rock popped into my head early on and it felt right for her. She’s tough, sensible and has a hidden vulnerability. She needed a unique name to fit that personality and Serenity fit the bill.
It’s always more difficult for me to pick the Amish names. Their culture is limited for last names and of course there are a handful of well-known names, like Yoder and Shwartz, used over and over again. I also have to be careful not to use my neighbor’s names for main characters. It can be hard sometimes to come up with names that fit my Amish characters and aren’t already taken by my close friends in the community. With Lamb, I went through several names before finally settling on Naomi for the young Amish woman whose character is at the center of story. Naomi turned out to be a perfect name for the pretty young Amish woman with a very rebellious spirit. 

Do you have any works in progress? 

I’m just beginning to work on the sequel to Lamb, which will take Serenity out of her own Amish community and into another more sinister one to investigate a rash of barn burnings and deaths. Daniel Bachman will travel with her to the northern community to help with the investigation and sparks will continue to fly between the two.
I’m also finishing up a YA paranormal fantasy that’s set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember is a teenager on a quest to find out what her true heritage is and to learn how to use her strange powers that she’s recently discovered. This book is very different than any of my previous projects. For one thing there are no Amish people. I’ve always felt a strong sense of responsibility while writing my Amish fiction as it is a real culture and I wanted to be true to Plain people and their way of life. But my favorite genre has always been fantasy. I’ve really enjoyed writing about a magical world that I completely created on my own verses the realism of a contemporary. There’s action, suspense, magic, biblical history, violence and romance in this one and it’s titled, EMBERS. If all goes well, it will be out early next year. 

Who is your favorite character in Lamb to the Slaughter? 

It’s a close call between Serenity and Naomi, but if forced to pick one, I’d have to choose Naomi. She is a typical teenager in so many ways, but she was born into the Amish world, and because of that, her life is very different from what we know. She’s strong and kind and loyal. Her story is a bittersweet one that will keep you thinking about her long after you turn the last page. 

Where did you get the idea for Lamb to the Slaughter? 

Lamb to the Slaughter is an Amish murder mystery that I began writing over a year ago after my agent asked me if I could create such a thing on demand. I became intrigued with the idea, especially since I had personally witnessed some strange and almost creepy goings-on in the Amish community where I lived. I really wanted to delve deeper into the darker side of being Amish, especially in relation to my personal passion, the lives of the teenagers and some of the harsh realities they’re faced with. 

What was your favourite part of writing Lamb to the Slaughter? 

Amish communities are known for being quaint and cozy, but that’s not always accurate. Just like us, the Amish have they’re trials and tribulations. I really enjoyed revealing a more realistic vision of the Amish lifestyle and also writing an edgier book about them. 

What are you currently reading? 

I’m stuck in the middle of A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin. I love his books, but they take a lot of focus and time to get through, which I haven’t had much of lately. I’m also reading Richard Adam’s Watership Down to my younger kids right now. For a children’s book, it’s pretty hefty bedtime reading, but I’m inching closer the last chapter. It’s an exceptional story for both children and adults alike (even if you’re not a rabbit person). 

What is your favorite book? 

It’s difficult to pick just one, but if forced to, I’d have to say Black Beauty. It had quite an impact on me as a child and probably the reason I have ten elderly horses out in the pasture beyond my window right now that are grazing on green grass and relaxing under the shade of oak trees. They worked hard as lesson horses for children in my riding lesson business for years and now they’re retired. They’ll never be sold. I think when a book actually affects your thoughts and actions, it’s a great book. 

Who is your favorite author? 

Again, you’re putting me on the spot with a hard one! Since the time that I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a teenager, Tolkien has been at the top of my list. 

What is your favourite film? 

It’s a tie between War Horse and Last of the Mohicans. 

What is your favourite TV show? 

I don’t watch very much TV, but I love Supernatural and Game of Thrones! 

Quick-fire questions: 

Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate ice cream! ;-)
Paperback or ebook? Paper
Dogs or cats? I have four dogs and six cats. Can I say horses?
Go out or stay in? I love the outdoors, but also enjoy staying in on a rainy or snowy day.
Summer or winter? Definitely summer! 

I’ve enjoyed spending time today at Book Addict’s Bookshelves! 
 I love to hear from readers and answer any of their questions (especially the Amish related ones)! 
 Please contact me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or visit me on my website at, 
 I also have a special giveaway going on right now that I’d like to share with you. 
If you purchase Lamb to the Slaughter on either Kindle or Nook, you can be entered in a giveaway for a three book autographed set of the Temptation series. 
 It includes copies of Temptation, Belonging and Forever! All you have to do is personally contact me on FB, Twitter, Goodreads or my website and let me know that you’ve purchased Lamb and I’ll get you entered. 
 The drawing will be held on May 30th in conjunction with blog tour ending. 
This is a separate giveaway from the Rafflecopter below. 
 Happy reading!
Karen Ann Hopkins 

Tour-wide giveaway

Open internationally