Why did you choose this Genre?
Well, I feel this genre chose me. I’ve lived among the Amish for so long, when I started to write a novel, it was natural. I was going through a hard time a few years back, and imagined if I lived across the street from my Amish friend, Lydia, what would it be like? We live a half-hour away, but what if we were neighbors? Lydia was experiencing grief, losing a sister-in-law to a heart attack, and I’d just lost my mom and two cousins. So, for therapy, I started writing Knit Together: An Amish Knitting Novel, calling Lydia “Katie” and me, “Ginny”. It’s very semi-autobiographical. When I was 15,000 words into the novel, I met my agent, Joyce Hart, as a bookstore just gabbing about Amish fiction. I told her I was writing an Amish novel and after a few months of talking, she took me on as a client. I was floored, and as I wrote the rest of the novel, it was very therapeutic.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1 (NLT2)
This verse is just full of hope. I first started meditating on it when my dad passed away, on Christmas Day, sixteen years ago. I was brokenhearted and clung to this scripture. At first I focused on He came to comfort the brokenhearted and then I started to see how Christ wants to set captives free. So, my husband and I started getting involved with poverty ministry. We’ve been volunteer advocates for Compassion International for thirteen years now. Third world poverty is cruel, especially to children, and we hope to make a difference…to see these children set free through knowing Christ’s love and meeting their basic needs.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from your books?
My greatest hope for my book though is people will realize you don’t have to be Amish to be happy. I have a town full of people, half Amish and half English, similar to the town I lived in in Upstate NY. We saw people wanting to turn Amish, and Amish wanting to be English.
I came to realize that peace is found in Christ alone. But lately, the Amish have been bombarded by folks who ask, “How can I become Amish?” Here’s advice one Amish man put in the Budget, an Amish newspaper:
“If you admire our faith, strengthen yours. If you admire our sense of commitment, deepen yours. If you admire our community spirit, build your own. If you admire the simple life, cut back. If you admire deep character and enduring values, live them yourself. “
I put this quote in Knit Together, and show how Ginny and James Rowland change their life radically after following this advice. So I show a family who doesn’t turn Amish, but gleans a lot from them. I hope readers can do the same.
What sparked your decision to journey down the adventurous path of writing?
My seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Polk, had me come to the front of the class and read my poem, “Spring”. I was hooked after that. I started writing songs, playing them as I strummed my guitar at Christian coffeehouses in the 80’s and at church. I still enjoy writing poems…
What are your hobbies other than writing?
Music’s always been a big part of my life. I play the flute, guitar and got a mandolin that I don’t have time right now to learn how to play. But living rural, my husband and I enjoy having family and friends over for bonfires and picnics. I love to knit and crochet, too. I’ll be a granny soon, so I’m crocheting a baby blanket. But I just can’t seem to write enough. It’s so much fun!
Are you writing anything right now? Can you tell us about that?
Well, I write continuing shorts. They’re novelette size, being 35-40 pages. Amish Friends Knitting Circle is out every three weeks, and it’s about Granny Weaver’s knitting circle made up of Amish and their English friends. I’m also writing a series of stand-alone Amish Knitting Novels. Knit Together and The Amish Doll are done, and I’m working on a novel about a female Amish herbalist. I write from experiences, and an Amish friend of mine is an herbalist. In the novel, Anna will knit shawls for terminally ill patients who come into the shop she shares with her father…but of course, it’ll be a love story too.
Tell the readers where they can keep up with you, your website or blog.