Q: Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What are your favorite hobbies when you’re not writing?
My favorite hobbies when I’m not writing are reading and arts and crafts. I love to read all types of books, although romance novels continue to be my favorite. I also enjoy sewing, gardening, painting, and making objects from things I have around the house.
Q: Think back to the first time you heard about the Amish. What do you remember?
I first learned about the Amish when I moved to Delaware from New Jersey when I was a young newlywed. A few years later, my husband took a job with an Amish construction crew, and we got to know the men and their families. It was wonderful. We had only one car back then, and I would drop him off at the Amish foreman’s house for work and then pick him up later in the day. My young son and I would arrive early and watch the children playing in the yard—the girls in their solid color (often blue) dresses with prayer kapps on their heads and the boys in their solid color shirts with tri-blend denim pants.
Q: When you speak to groups about the Amish, what are the biggest misunderstandings people have about them?
People don’t always understand that the Amish are people just like us. They are fascinating because of their way of life, but they have feelings and problems just as we do. They do have some “modern” conveniences, only instead of having electric appliances, they have appliances that are run by propane gas or kerosene. And yes, they do have indoor bathrooms and running water. The bathrooms would be plain and the pump would not be run with electricity. Also, if young people choose to leave their community before they join the Amish church, they are not shunned but are welcome to come back and visit. The problem comes if they join the church and then decide to leave…they would be shunned if they did so.
Q: Do you think there is any downside to being Amish?
The downside of being Amish is that there are genetic diseases that occur in their children because of the fact that Amish marry Amish and have for centuries. Some do not get immunized against diseases like whooping cough, and so outbreaks can occur in some communities.
Q: What are your thoughts about the growth of Amish fiction? Why do you think it is such a popular sub-genre?
I think the growth of Amish fiction is wonderful. To me, it displays society’s desire for a better life. People want a simpler existence like what they in an Amish community where God, family and neighbors are important. Englischers are often stressed and distracted by technology, their jobs, and what “society” has decided is important, like making money or having things. Their love of God and their plain living is what makes them special, and Englishers are often mystified by their way of life.
I’ll be getting ready to work on the fourth book in the Lancaster County Wedding series. A Wife for Jacob, my newest release, tells the story of Jacob Lapp. Jacob has a fraternal twin brother, Elijah. I will tell Elijah’s story in my next book.
My perfect day would be…
A great day of writing followed by a few hours of relaxing with a good book . . . and a cozy evening with my husband, the man I love.