Thanks for stopping by to check out today's interview. I have the great Patrick E. Craig visiting today. Pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea/coffee and enjoy!
Blessings to you!
About the Book
"Opahtuhwe, The White Deer, is the beautiful daughter of Wingenund, the most powerful chief of the Delaware tribe. She is revered by her people–a true Indian princess. Everything changes when the murderous Deleware renegade known as Scar brings three Amish prisoners to the Delaware camp. Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger are twin brothers that Scar is determined to adopt and teach the Indian way. The third prisoner is Jonas Hershberger, who has been made a slave because he would not defend his family against the Indians. White Deer is drawn to Jonathan but his hatred of the Indians makes him push her away. Joshua's gentle heart and steadfast refusal to abandon the Amish faith lead White Deer to a life-changing decision and rejection by her people. In the end, White Deer must choose between the ways of her people and her new-found faith. And complicating it all is her love for the man who can only hate her."
In my first Amish book, A Quilt For Jenna, Jerusha Hershberger hears the story of her great-great-great-grandfather, Joshua Hershberger from her grandmother, Hannah.
Hannah handed the second book to Jerusha. It was small with a plain leather cover.
"What's this, Grandmother?" she asked.
"This is the story of Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger," said Hannah. "It tells of the choices the twin brothers made after Indians massacred their family near Fort Henry on the Ohio River, and what effect those decisions had on generations of Hershbergers. One brother, Jonathan, forsook the Amish church and he and all his descendants went out into the world. The other brother, Joshua, stayed in the church and remained faithful, even under the most difficult conditions. Joshua was your great-great-great grandfather. It was his grandson, my father, who came to Apple Creek in 1860 as a boy. It is because Joshua stayed true, that you are here today."
So now, three books later, I felt it was time to tell the story of both brothers and the Indian Princess, and tie it into the family that is the centerpiece of both the Apple Creek Dreams series and The Paradise Chronicles series. And so, The Amish Princess was born.
Amazing! I can't wait to read it.
I’m curious as to what kind of research you had to do. Did you use the library, the Internet, or something else altogether?
Writing about the Amish has always been a challenge, because their lifestyle and culture is so different from most Americans. I had to establish a whole new method of research in which Google and the Internet played a huge part. For each of my books I have a bookmark folder filled with literally hundreds of articles, references and answered questions. I also read other Amish authors. During this time I have met many Amish people, some who have left the faith over grace issues, and they have become an invaluable source of information. For The Amish Princess, I also read several books including The Lenape Homeland by James G. Landis, The White Brave of The Lenape, a book from the Beadle's Dime Novel collection and two or three by Zane Grey.
It sounds like you take great care with your research! I'm sure the readers will see that in your writing.
One aspect I love about a book like this is the faith element. How do you choose the faith theme? Or does it choose you?
Women write the great majority of Amish fiction and the stories tend to be light-hearted romances that work out in the end just because the characters are Amish. But light-hearted romance has never been my cup of tea. For me, from a man's point of view, writing has always been about strong characters facing desperate situations. As a kid, I read plenty of Zane Grey books and adventure was built into my writing by reading such books as Betty Zane and The Spirit of The Border.
When I started writing Amish novels, I made up my mind that I wanted my stories to be a well thought out, uplifting explorations of deep and growing faith in God in the midst of great trials set in difficult circumstances. What I really wanted was a new and different approach to contemporary Amish fiction. With that as my lodestar, I set about to write the stories and the faith element just naturally became an integral part of each book.
As a male writer, some women readers may think your books would not be told with a woman’s touch. Do you find it difficult to write from a woman’s point-of-view? Do you have female beta readers or does God give you the divine touch? :)
One of my good writing friends is Lindsay A. Franklin, a lady I met at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference back in 2008. Lindsay is a free-lance editor and a terrific writer and when I started The Paradise Chronicles I realized that even though I wanted to put in lots of action elements, I still needed to get input from women to keep the balance. So I hired Lindsay and now she edits all my books. She is not afraid to tell me that certain scenes might be a little over the top for my more gentle readers and I listen up. The Amish Princess may have more of Louis L'Amour than Beverly Lewis, but when both my wife Judy, who is my proofreader and line editor, and Lindsay, my substantive editor, cried over the ending, I knew I was on the right track.
Tears are always a good sign!
Care to share what your writing space looks like?
I write at the kitchen table, sitting in a high-backed un-padded chair. The kitchen window has an incredible view of the mountains behind Boise and many mornings I am enfolded in the astonishing roses and oranges of an Idaho sunrise as I work on my books.
That sounds beautiful!
When you sit down to write, do you listen to music or do you need total silence?
I have never been able to work with a lot of noise. Silence helps me to listen, so my favorite writing time starts about 5:30 in the morning, sitting quietly at my laptop, with the sun coming up in the east.
Thank you so much for joining us today! I really enjoyed the conversation and I'm sure the readers have as well!
About the Author
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