Welcome back, Mary. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I have always gone to church and been a Christian, but about four years ago, I realized what it meant to be a Believer (through my pastor at the time, Bob Pettruccio) I took a full immersion baptism and dedicated my life to Christ. What a difference it has made! Now everything I say and do and write is accountable to the Lord.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Oh, absolutely you,
because you’ve always been an inspiration to me since joining ACFW! Secondly it
would be Mary Connealy because she’s the funniest woman, let alone writer, that
I have ever met! Third, it would be Suzanne Woods Fisher because she was
incredibly sweet and kind to me when I started writing Amish fiction. And
fourth, it would be Angela Hunt. Angela does not know me, but I took one of her
classes at the Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference. Her sensitivity and emotional
involvement with her writing were unbelievable. I still have much to learn from
I’d be honored to be a part of that retreat. Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I would describe it as an informal speaking ministry. I do author talks at libraries and at women’s clubs and Christian women’s retreats. Usually the libraries want to know about my books and my personal road to publication, but I always find a way to share my spiritual walk with the Lord with the readers in attendance.
I love speaking at libraries. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
I once attended a book-signing in a small town in
and no one came. Not one person. It was on a
weekday, but still I was so embarrassed. But then I thought—what’s the problem?
I got a chance to meet a wonderful Christian bookstore owner and spend time
browsing the shelves. What a lovely way to spend a morning. God never make
mistakes. Lest I get too “full of myself” He places these gentle reminders in
our paths. Our writing/books should always be about Him and not about
I had a book-signing like that with my first book release. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
Sit down with tablet and pen or your laptop and write! I’m not trying to be funny. But some many new or wannabe writers talk about writing without ever sitting down and gritting out a story. Writing a book is hard work, and many never think about that side of it. Get your story down; then go back through and revise. You can’t fix something that isn’t there.
Tell us about the featured book.
Julia Miller misses her children. They are grown with families of their own now, but her mother’s heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks for a summer celebration to remember. At the farm next door, Julia’s niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her—and everyone else—with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to
When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate his tale, Eli encourages her
incredible talent, and together they embark on an unlikely business venture for
two Amish people—writing and illustrating a children’s book. Eli’s appeal
extends beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s shy heart. But when
tragedy strikes, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm.
Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his
beloved Phoebe. Can their love for a good story develop into something that
lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way? Niagara Falls
Please give us the first page of the book:
An Amish Family
by Mary Ellis
You would think that a person might be able to enjoy some peace and quiet on a Sunday afternoon. After all, it was the Sabbath—a day of rest. Yet Phoebe Miller found herself hiding behind a tree to escape from her family. There were just so many of them. Living next door to Aunt Julia and Uncle Simon guaranteed plenty of drop-in visits, impromptu potluck suppers, and more unsolicited advice than any red-blooded, seventeen-year-old girl needed. It’s not that she didn’t love her family—because she certainly did—she simply needed more time alone time than most people.
Holding her breath, Phoebe stood stock-still until Uncle Simon headed into the barn in search of her father and Aunt Julia entered the house looking for Hannah. Her mamm. Hannah wasn’t her mother by blood, but had earned the title during the past twelve years of bandaging scrapes, helping with math homework, and remaining near while Phoebe suffered the flu on long winter nights. She couldn’t remember her birth mother anymore. She had been only five when an impatient driver in a fast-moving truck decided to pass on a blind curve. It didn’t hurt much anymore. She had Hannah, and her daed, and her little brother to love. They were all she needed…except for a little personal solitude.
Phoebe sucked in her gut as ten-year-old Ben ran across the yard, chasing his dog that was chasing a rubber ball. When the two ducked under a fence into the cornfield, she ran pell-mell in the opposite direction, clutching her box of pencils and sketchpad tightly. She dared not look back for fear some cousin would be waving frantically from the porch. This time, she didn’t stop to watch baby lambs nursing from their ewes or to pick a fistful of wild trilliums for her windowsill. On through the sheep pasture she ran until she reached her favorite drawing spot—an ancient stonewall constructed by long ago pioneers of
. Phoebe doubted
these early settlers had been Amish. Not too many Amish men would take the time
to painstakingly stack flat rocks just so to form a long fence line. Not
when dozens of tall trees fell over in the woods each winter that could easily
be split into fence rails. And not when stampeding cows spooked by thunder, or
marauding sheep needing no reason whatsoever to bolt, could knock the entire
wall down within minutes. That was probably why this twenty-yard section was
all that remained. But it was all Phoebe needed. Holmes
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a brand new website, designed by ACFW’s own Keiki Hendrix. I hope readers will drop by and check it out:
www.maryellis.net and I also blog weekly at www.maryeellis.wordpress.com My Facebook author page is:https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236
Thank you, Mary, for sharing with us today.
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An Amish Family Reunion - paperback
An Amish Family Reunion - Kindle
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