When I was a little girl I visited my aunt and uncle’s farm in Indiana and first saw the Amish. I was fascinated by their culture. Years later, a relative took me around Paradise and the surrounding Amish towns in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and the idea to write novels about the Amish started spinning in my head.
I visited Goshen, Indiana, to do research for my Amish Roads series several years ago. I love Indiana because of the many trips my family took to my aunt and uncle’s farm. This series starts with A Road Unknown, when Elizabeth leaves her home in Goshen and heads for Paradise, Pennsylvania, then continues in Crossroads with Emma who is suddenly faced with a tough choice of staying Amish or leaving for the Englisch world. It concludes with Rachel Ann looking for love and finding it in an unexpected place in One True Path.
Readers have asked me why I enjoy writing about the Amish – what resonates with me about them. I love how the Amish truly live their lives by the example of Jesus and demonstrate their faith daily. They believe in service to their community and they also reach out to the Englisch communities surrounding them and they have supported missions in Haiti for decades.
I particularly enjoy writing about how the Amish and Englisch interact—the peaceful and sometimes not-so-peaceful clash of cultures. While the Amish are intent on living in their culture they have had to make some adjustments to the modern Englisch world—particularly the Amish who live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the area I write about.
Change is fascinating to me. No one can avoid it. Some people embrace it.
My writing Amish fiction – and the inspiration behind my current Amish Roads series – came about because of change I’ve experienced.
I’ve been a writer since I started working for a newspaper right out of high school while I attended college. Doing both was too much so I dropped out of college. Years later I went to considerable time and expense completing my degree so I could teach. I was a single parent and writing income can be a little undependable. Then the local school board laid off 400 of us teachers…what looked like a personal tragedy became something else. I got to return to the writing I loved most.
Amish Roads is my third Amish series and I’m working now on my fourth, Coming Home.
I hope that readers will see through my writing that even though they will face changes in their lives, it is possible with God’s help to come through painful changes with grace and growth. Change can be scary at first but it also bring wonderful things into our lives.