Amy Clipston

Amy Clipston is the author of the best-selling Kauffman Amish Bakery novels. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and currently works for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Amy lives with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled-rotten cats. Visit her on the web at or e-mail her at

Author By Night

Having the Flexibility and Agility of an Acrobat

I recently returned from the Amish Country Holiday Book Tour, during which I traveled with two other authors, Shelley Shepard Gray and Vannetta Chapman. During our nine-day adventure, we traveled from Shipshewana, Indiana, through Holmes County, Ohio, and ended in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. We led a light parade and lit a Christmas tree in Shipshewana, held book signings in each city, spoke at a luncheon, held a progressive dinner in Bird-in-Hand, and spent a lot of time talking and laughing in a van while driving.

I have to admit I felt like Cinderella at the ball during the book tour. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would speak to large groups and talk to a reader who had driven five hours from Arkansas to meet me in Canton, Ohio. And to sign books with a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author was also a true honor.

However, for me, being an author is a life of balance.

Unlike my two book tour cohorts, I work a forty-hour-per-week job for a local city government in addition to writing Christian novels. While other writers may be able to write for fourteen hours straight on a Tuesday, I have to pop out of bed when the alarm blares at 5:15 a.m. and rush to a job located twenty miles from my house. (It’s nearly an hour ride home after work, depending upon traffic). Since my husband is chronically ill, my family depends on the health insurance and steady pay that my day job provides. (Recently, my husband received a second kidney transplant through a kidney swap. I donated a kidney to a woman, and my husband received a kidney from my recipient’s husband.)

Working two jobs has forced me learn how to be as flexible and agile as an acrobat with quite a bit of give-and-take. By working ten hours per day, Monday through Thursday, I can enjoy Fridays off. Although the days are long, I receive my reward at the end of the week. I can use those days off to write, run errands, or do something really special, such as volunteer at my sons’ elementary school. Thanks to the flexible schedule, I’ve enjoyed attending field trips and even speaking to a class about a career as an author.

In order to meet my deadlines, I must be extremely organized. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my deadlines, and I plan out each novel down to nearly every last detail. I start off with a synopsis and then outline the novel scene by scene. Although the outline can grow and change while I’m writing, I use the outline as a road map to prevent the dreaded writer’s block.

I fit in writing at every available moment. After my boys are in bed, I sometimes write until midnight. I also write on weekends when the boys are busy playing with friends or going to Cub Scout events. Writing isn’t without guilt, but I try to make it up to my kids by doing something special with them, such as taking them to the movies after the book projects are complete.

I couldn’t balance this demanding schedule without my mother. She fills in the cracks with housework and also caring for my boys. Thanks to her, my boys have never been in day care. She walks them to the bus in the morning, meets them at the bus in the afternoon, helps them with homework, and attends special events at the school when my husband and I can’t be there. She’s my boys’ second mother, and she’s my rock. Whenever I feel like I’m drowning in my deadlines, my mother reminds me that I work best when I’m under pressure and that the chaotic times won’t last forever. Of course, she’s always right, and I’m very thankful for her.

Much like the story in my new book, Naomi’s Gift, I’ve found that the Lord definitely provides. He has a plan for each of us, and that plan may be very different from someone else’s plan. While Naomi searches for love in all of the wrong places, she finally figures out the Lord’s plan for her. My books were published when my husband became ill, which was also the Lord’s plan for me and my family.

Although working two jobs isn’t ideal and sometimes it’s no fun at all, I’m very thankful for my wonderful bosses at both jobs. My careers provide the financial stability and creative outlet I need.

Although my schedule is crazy and sometimes I consider pulling my hair out because of the stress, I’m thankful for both jobs. And I’m even more thankful for my readers who take the time to read my books.


Naomi's Gift