Readers, today I'm introducing you to a new author to me. Welcome, Jerry. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
That’s what I stay away from. Did write of my growing up years in the first self published novel, A Time To Live. Which worked…sort of…because the story was in the distant past. Current things, nah…I think not.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Well…that’s a little hard to say. I tend to do things the unusual way. The latest would be this writing venture. Didn’t plan to write fiction in the first place, then discovered that being the only male writer in the female dominated field of Amish fiction wasn’t exactly the expected thing. Nicholas Sparks helps me feel normal.
Choice Books then took me under their wing, taught me the basics of publishing, and I launched my own label. After the third novel, Harvest House kindly signed me up for the real publishing world with The Adams County Trilogy.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
If I look back I see the first signs in grade school. Wrote a social studies assignment, or some such sort of thing, as a fiction story. Not the usual thing to do, but the teacher did read the story in front of the class. Said that it was the second best class paper turned in.
I also won a years subscription to a magazine around the fifth grade--for an entry to a writing contest. Again for fiction, but I never pursed stories. Thought it was too easy--I suppose--to be of much value.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Quite wide. Love Grisham, and of course Frank Peretti. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Tried Virginia Woolf, The Years, but got nowhere. Had to read, The Lincoln Lawyer, to clear my brain. For romance, there is the great Nicholas Sparks. Loved Whitaker Chamber’s Witness, Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. Religious material-- that would be about anything C.S. Lewis--and earlier--the novels of George MacDonald.
Read the competition…shhhh. Enough to know what goes.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I intended to write theological books, and self published two through Winepress. Cost me a lot of money, and purchased little results. Not the fault of Winepress. They put out a quality product for me.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Ah…we try to keep the pace down, say a lot of no’s to things.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Since I write Amish fiction, the choices are limited. Keep an Amish directory from Holmes County handy.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Well…there are my children. Last night would perhaps be an another example. I needed to speak in public, and said what I had to say, twice, in perfect speech. Zero stumbles.
I grew up--till my teens and extensive speech therapy--with a severe speech impediment. I will live with a version of it for the rest of my life. Yet when the chips are down, I can talk. For those who were ever locked out of the marvel of language, they will understand.
One of my daughters had speech impediments and took speech therapy. So I understand. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Haven’t really thought of that. My wife says I go where the angels fear to tread. That might lend itself to, bold as a lion. Perhaps?
What is your favorite food?
Gram Cracker Fluff. They must have dropped that recipe from the heavens.
I'll have to find a recipe for that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t normally write full time, and have found recently that repeated days tend to run me dry. Not sure how to work that all out, other than to find something else to do, and not panic.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Not sure, as writing is so individualized. Learn the craft, and what is needed in the publishing world. I dream big, shoot for the stars, and learn from the miss. This might not be advisable for everyone, nor may my example be the best. I break a lot of the rules.
Tell us about the featured book?
The Rebecca series begin with Rebecca and John’s engagement. Rebecca then remembers a promise she made in grade school, and the ring she has hidden in her dresser drawer. The trouble starts there and grows.
This series has a strong secondary plot line, of a woman who has lost her father’s inheritance. The two threads don’t come fully together until book three.
We'll have to have you back with book three. Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One - Rebecca’s Promise
The buggy slowed as it approached the Duffy side road, then
turned right toward the old covered bridge. The horse, a sleek
black gelding John Miller purchased last fall at a farm auction, was
tired from the fast downhill drive. Its nostrils flared, specks of foam
lathered its chest strap as it obeyed John’s gentle tug at the reins.
Rebecca, seated beside John, had tossed the top of her shawl on
the shelf above the backseat of the buggy. The lower part of the shawl
hung over her shoulder on John’s side. She left it there, not certain how
to remove it in the tight buggy without touching John. Not that she
would have minded, but she knew he stood strong when church rules
were concerned, and never had he voluntarily touched her yet.
Out of the corner of his eye, John saw Rebecca tuck a strand of her
dark hair under her kapp and look off to her left—east to the community
of Harshville. To the west, just around the sharp bends of
the road and across a smaller creek, was her home. Lester and Mattie
would surely be expecting Rebecca soon, but John was in no hurry to
take her there. Instead an idea, long in the back of his mind, now took
sudden, solid form. He knew this was the time and the place. At the
realization of what he wanted to do, his hands tensed on the reins.
To calm himself, he breathed in deeply the late November air,
winter on its edge. Wispy clouds, driven by the eternal Ohio wind,
scurried across the sky. He tried to hide his nervousness by glancing
at the sky and opening the front of his black suit coat, loosening the
hooks and eyes with one hand to let in the warmth of the sun.
“Weather’s nice. Especially for this time of the year,” John offered,
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m on Facebook. Search my name…I suppose. The fan page lets you on without the usual friends request.
Thank you, Jerry, for spending this time with us.
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