Five years ago when I was a student in the MFA program at Portland State University, my Shakespeare professor had us write contemporary short stories inspired by the Bard’s plays. I loved those assignments! A year later when I started writing Amish novels, it dawned on me that Plain settings and characters would be perfect for Shakespearean plots. I was thrilled that Bethany House Publishers thought so too.

The first two novels in my Courtships of Lancaster County series are Courting Cate, inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, and Adoring Addie, inspired by Romeo and Juliet. From the beginning of the project, I especially looked forward to retelling A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It had always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, but what I didn’t consider at first was how I would “retell” the magic in the story.

That was my dilemma when I started writing Minding Molly, the third novel in the series. How would I translate the fairies, especially Puck? And what about the “love juice”?

Minding-MollyBefore I dealt with all of that, I focused on the theme of the story: Love. The quote from the play that summed up the theme was, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

Once I’d dialed in on the theme, I came up with three elements to work the “magic”:

1. a Labrador retriever named Love

Puppy2. a little boy named Robbie (Puck’s is also referred to as Robin Goodfellows in A Midsummer Night’s Dream),

BoyI digress, but couldn’t help but include this photo of Mickey Rooney as Puck in the 1935 film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Rooney3. and fireflies.

firefliesMuch of the “magic” in Minding Molly takes place in the forest on a camping trip, but “magic” can happen in all sorts of places. What are some of the magical elements in your life? Magical places? Or how about some of the “magical elements” in Plain living that appeal to you?


Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award winning author of 18 novels. Her next release is Becoming Bea (inspired by Much Ado About Nothing) in the fall of 2014, the fourth in the Courtships of Lancaster County series. Leslie lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children. Visit her at


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