Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of Jan Drexler’s book, Naomi’s Hope. Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to last week’s winner of Friends, Partners, & Lovers, Darlene Holley!
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Despite growing pains in her 1846 Amish community in Indiana, Naomi Schrock has settled into a comfortable life in her parents’ home with her adopted son, Davey. Surrounded by family and friends, she tries not to think about the fact that she’s not at the top of any man’s list of potential wives. Yet when Cap Stoltzfus moves into the area and befriends Davey, Naomi finds herself caught between the plans she has made for her future and the tantalizing thought that Cap might be part of a life she never dared to hope for.
When a couple shows up claiming to be Davey’s true family, Naomi and Cap must unite to make the decision that will determine the boy’s future as well as their own. How can she relinquish him to these unknown relatives? And can God somehow bring wholeness to her heart?
I live in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, along with my husband of thirty-five years. Our four grown children also live in the area, and two of them have added spouses to our family in the last year. I guess you could say our family is growing by leaps and bounds! On weekends when the weather is good, you’re likely to find me on a hiking trail in the Hills. Otherwise, I spend my free time with a needle in my hand – knitting, counted cross stitch, smocking, and quilting are all hobbies I love.
Do you have a day job as well? If so, what is it?
I am blessed to be a full-time writer, and I never take that privilege for granted.
When did you start writing your first book?
I started writing later in life – I wrote my first book 2011, and it was published in 2013 when I was 55. I take comfort in the fact that I’m in good company, along with writers like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did the genre choose you? Please explain.
My genre (historical Amish stories) chose me. I enjoy reading Amish fiction, but at the time I started writing, none of the stories I read told about the Amish communities I was familiar with in Northern Indiana. At the same time, I was researching my family’s genealogy, and discovering the details of my Amish ancestor’s lives. The two interests merged into stories that had to be told.
Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
The first draft of a book is exhausting. Sometimes I would rather do anything other than sit at my computer and write! But the revision process and editing energizes me. I love watching the story emerge from that first awful copy.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. I often have times when I seem to hit a wall, and you could call that writer’s block. But I know that if I give it time, the story will start to flow again. Most of the time when I hit that wall, I’m stuck because I’m not sure how the next scene is going to look. That’s when I walk the dogs, or do some household chore, or make lunch. Usually by the time I get back to my computer, I can see the scene in my head and start writing again.
I spend a week or two plotting my story before I begin to write. I don’t outline, but I do have between twenty and thirty plot points that I write down as a road map to show where I want the story to go.
What kind of research do you do? How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I love doing research for my books, and I’m often in danger of getting lost in the details! I have a collection of books about Amish history. Most of them are written by Mennonite or Brethren authors, but I make sure to hunt out books by Amish authors when I can find them. When I’m working on a particular book, I also do a lot of reading to learn about the world my Amish characters are living in. In my research for Naomi’s Hope, I read a fascinating history of Elkhart County, Indiana that was written in the early-1900’s by a man who had spent his life interviewing the early settlers from the area.
The research for my books takes me months. I start reading when the new story is just a vapor of an idea, and continue the research throughout the writing of the book. For a series, I can easily spend a couple years buried in the past through my research materials!
Are you part of a community of authors? If so, how has it helped you?
I’m a frequent visitor and sometime contributor to the Seekerville blog, and I’m indebted to the Seekers for holding my hand through the writing and publication of my first book. I’m also a member of ACFW and RWA, and we have a local chapter of ACFW in the Dakotas. Writing is a solitary occupation, so the on-line and in person contact with other writers is refreshing and helps me keep my perspective on the end results rather than today’s word counts. 😊
Thank you for spending time on my blog today!
Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family. She is the author of The Prodigal Son Returns, A Mother for His Children (winner of the 2013 TARA award), and A Home for His Family (finalist for the 2016 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award), as well as Hannah’s Choice and Mattie’s Pledge.