You are a woman of many talents, writing in more than one genre. Share with us the process of deciding to write inspirational novels.
What are the challenges you face as an inspirational writer?
I don't believe they're any different than the challenges other writers in other genres face--you have the same deadlines, competition, and of course the same word count! Christian fiction does seem to be going through a period of transition right now, where the boundaries are moving a bit, and I find that fascinating. Where once all CBA books (books offered for purchase by Christian Booksellers Association) had to adhere to fairly strict guidelines and contain, at least in part, stories of conversion to Christianity - now there's a sense that readers and writers differ in what they mean by the term Christian fiction. Perhaps it's a story with a slight faith element in it. Maybe it's only that the main character has a Christian background and the story itself is basically clean of offensive language or content. It's up to the author to know what a publisher's guidelines are. I suppose that can be challenging, but again that's true in any genre.
Set in Pennsylvania, this is the story of a young lady who adores her family, her community, and her faith. But Annie isn't satisfied with the education she's limited to within the Amish community. After spending 3 years with her aunt in Philadelphia, she's not only completed her high school equivalency, she's earned her nursing degree as well. Then she's called home when her father is hurt in an accident. Annie always planned to return home, but now she must find a way to use the skills that God has given her, the passions of her heart, and use them in the place she knows that she longs to live. I think it's something many of us have struggled with - returning home, but not as the same person we were when we left. Finding a way to fit in, and not just fit in but to do so in a productive and satisfying way, is Annie's heart desire. Then she meets a certain young man, and the plot grows a bit more complicated.
When is your next Amish Mystery scheduled for release?
Next fall, the first book in my Shipshewana Amish Mystery series will be released. Set in Indiana, these books will focus on the friendship between two women (one Amish, one Englisch), who depend on each other at first simply because they want to keep the local quilt store open. Then Callie stumbles over a dead body, and she needs Deborah for more than advice on what to stock 0n the fabric shelves.
Why do you think Amish books are so popular right now?
I think many of us are a bit overwhelmed with the pace of our lives, not to mention the amount of technology required to make it through each day. The appeal of Amish books is the same appeal as a walk down a country lane or an afternoon spent fishing by a slow-moving creek. These stories remind us that although we might not be able to chunk our obligations and go live in the country with no electricity, we can turn off the internet and spend an hour each afternoon out in the garden. The surprising thing is that when we do, we actually are better equipped to handle the pressures and deadlines which feel our lives. I think this is why Amish books have been popular for quite some time, and will continue to be. I encourage you to take a look in the bookstore or library next time you're there . . . you're bound to see plenty of Amish books on the shelves
How do you meld your writing with the rest of your life? Any daily schedules or other routines?
At the moment I teach full time at my local high school and I'm an adjunct professor for my local college, so yes - I have a routine! I write every morning from 5 - 7 a.m., and I always have a designated word count for the day. Usually it's only 1,000 words a day. You can write a book in 4 months at that rate! In the evenings and on weekends I work on promotion or edits, and of course I have book signings scheduled on weekends.
What are you website and blog addresses?