Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AN AMISH GATHERING - Kathleen Fuller, Barbara Cameron, Beth Wiseman - Free Books

How did your story for the collection come about?

Beth: Our publisher, Thomas Nelson, gets credit for this great idea, which Kathy, Barbara, and I fell in love with. My story, A Change of Heart, is about a young Amish woman who loves to write stories (go figure!) and her struggle for acceptance within an Amish community that doesn’t necessarily encourage her dream.

Barbara: Natalie Hanemann, a senior editor at Thomas Nelson, asked Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and I to do two Amish novella collections. The first is An Amish Christmas, out now, and An Amish Gathering, out at the end of November. We discussed our ideas in a conference call, wrote up a synopsis to be approved, and then wrote our stories with inter-connecting characters just like we did with An Amish Christmas. It was great fun!

Here’s the summary for my story, When Winter Comes: Each year at wintertime, Rebecca Miller mourns the loss of her twin sister who was killed in a skating accident. Ben Weaver has been her friend, but this winter he’s vowed to melt her--heart froze--with grief and make her his wife.

Kathy: Barbara and Beth answered the question perfectly. Here’s a summary of my novella, A Place of His Own: When Josiah Bontrager returns to Paradise to fix up his childhood home, he’s forced to face his past and deal with his feelings for his friend and neighbor, Amanda Graber.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Beth: We always have Thanksgiving at our house for my family and my husband’s family. There are usually about 20 in attendance, including at least one or two friends who find themselves with nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. All are welcome! It’s traditional all the way! Turkey, dressing, and the works!

Barbara: I celebrate Thanksgiving with my son, daughter-in-law, and three of my grandchildren at their house at mid-day. Rachel, my daughter-in-law, loves to make the meal and it’s a nice break for me since I’ve done it for years. My elderly mother looks forward to being invited all year! We have all the traditional elements. Last year the grandkids watched Paula Deen on the Food Network and contributed a sweet potato dish that was great. Later, my daughter brings the youngest grandchild (he’s 3 ½ now) to my house for Thanksgiving. Oh, and she brings her own plastic ware to take leftovers home. Smart woman, huh!

Kathy: Since we live far from family, we often have a quiet Thanksgiving at home. I’ve made the meal for so long that it’s usually the easiest one of the year for me to prepare. We either have turkey or ham (this year it’s ham), my mother-in-law’s cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and of course crescent rolls, which are a tradition in my family. Afterward we watch football and nap on the couch. It’s a great day for us to relax and reflect on our blessings.

Which is your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Beth: Christmas. My boys, Eric and Cory, are 25 and 18 respectively, and I love watching them open presents as much as I did when they were young. And everyone is together! Christmas is my favorite time of year. I could listen to Christmas music all year long.

Barbara: Christmas, definitely. Maybe it’s because it’s such a joy to watch my four grandchildren open their gifts. And I love all the Christmas stories associated with the holiday as well.

Kathy: Christmas. I love the festive atmosphere and the emphasis on Jesus and family. And like Beth and Barbara, I love watching my kids open their presents.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

Beth: On Christmas day, we go to my mother’s house in Houston. We celebrate with my husband’s family usually the weekend before or after. The celebration is similar on both days – everyone brings food, gifts are exchanged, and this year we plan to incorporate some games into the day…like my Amish friends do in the afternoon after the main meal.

Barbara: We celebrate with a Christmas dinner at the son and daughter-in-law’s house and then open presents. The next day my daughter comes to my house and we usually have cheese fondue and then chocolate fondue for dessert.

Kathy: Again Christmas is usually just our family. First thing we do when we get up is open presents, then have breakfast. Then I start on the Christmas meal while the kids explore their gifts, and usually we play a game. Like Thanksgiving, we enjoy a low-key holiday.

Tell us about your family.

Beth: I’m married to a wonderful man, Patrick. My oldest son, Eric, graduated this past May with his masters degree in music performance, and he is a professor at a college in Houston. My younger son, Cory, still lives at home and plans to take college classes next year. I miss my dad terribly this time of year, since Christmas was his favorite holiday. December 1 will be five years since he left for Heaven. My mother still lives in Houston, and we’re very close. My second book, Plain Pursuit, is dedicated to her.

Barbara: I have two children, a grown son, Justin, and a grown daughter, Stephany. They’ve given me four wonderful grandchildren – two boys, two girls! No twins yet even though we have a family history of my mother and my dad being twins…

Kathy: James and I have been married for sixteen years and we have a son, Mathew, who is 15, and two daughters, Sydney (14) and Zoie (11). We also have three dogs and one cat. It’s pretty hectic around our house!

How has writing Amish novels changed you?

Beth: My Amish friends believe that everything that happens is God’s will, therefore they don’t worry as much, and their lives aren’t driven by fear, which ultimately leads to a more peaceful existence. I am a worrier, which I know is a sin, and I’m aware of it. Fear makes it hard to hear God, so I work on that daily in my effort to have the peacefulness my Amish friends are known for. I try not to just ‘talk the talk’, but to live the best life I can. Knowing my Amish friends has made me a better person. For sure.

Barbara: A cousin in Lancaster County took me to visit the Amish years ago and I immediately admired them for their dedication to family and community, their work ethic, and most of all, to live in a spiritual way. The more that I meet the Amish and do research the more I feel I’m doing the writing I should be doing. Even more, I find that I am simplifying my life and trying to treat others in a more spiritual way.

Kathy: My husband and I have long had an appreciation for the land—we used to subsistence farm and we try to be as self-sufficient as possible. As I learned more about the Amish, I could easily relate to that aspect of their culture. I’ve also had the opportunity to examine my faith and belief system and how I live my life. Writing these books has become more than just telling a story, but also a personal journey.

What is your current Work in Progress?

Beth: I’m working on a new project for Thomas Nelson that I can’t discuss quite yet, but I’m very excited about it. More to come on that soon!

Barbara: I am working on the second of a three book Amish series for Abingdon Press. The series is called Quilts of Lancaster County and the books are titled A Time for Love, A Time for Peace, and A Time for Healing (based on a section of Ecclesiastes which I love).

Kathy: Right now I’m finishing up edits on A Summer Secret, the first book in my Mysteries of Middlefield series, which is a children’s series targeted to girls ages 9-12. The children’s series features crossover characters from my Hearts of Middlefield books. As for that series, I’m also working on the third book, A Woman of Virtue, which tells the stories of Stephen and Ruth, the youngest siblings in the Byler clan.

How can my readers find you on the Internet?

Beth: I blog at http://blog.bethwiseman.net/  and http://www.amishhearts.com/ . My website is http://www.bethwiseman.com/ , and I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Barbara: I blog at AmishHearts.com with my collaborators on An Amish Gathering.

Kathy: You can find me on my website at http://www.kathleenfuller.com/ . I also blog on Amish Hearts (http://www.amishhearts.com/ ) and I’m on facebook and twitter.

Thank you, ladies, for spending this time with us.

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The Herd said...

I love reading Amish literature!
jnkbull at gmail dot com

Deborah said...

Please enter me! i really loved the Amish Christmas book these authors put out and would love to read this one as well!

host said...

Hello! Very interesting interview. I loved reading about different (yet the same) ways people celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Please count me in the giveaway, I love to read about Amish people and their ways.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

apple blossom said...

Oh, yes please include me in this drawing. I love Amish stories. Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview and would love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you!

Casey said...

I love to read Amish fiction- the cover on this novel is lovely! Please enter me!

collettakay said...

This was a wonderful interview. THanks so much.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me...A wonderful post.


Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. I love reading books dealing with the Amish!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading about the Amish. This was a great post with the authors.Please enter me. I have read most of your books. This one is on my to get list.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book! Please enter me. Thanks!

Amber Holcomb said...

Please enter me for a chance to win this book! Thanks so much!

Barbara Cameron said...

Hi everyone!

Thanks again, Lena, for the wonderful interview. And how nice to read the comments and see the kind words about An Amish Christmas, so dear to my heart.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Barbara Cameron

Sandy K. said...

I already have An Amish Christmas and would love to win An Amish Gathering. I have read many, many Amish novels and just love the fact that more authors are writing about them now.

Molly said...

This would make the perfect addition to my Amish novel collections! Please enter me!

Michelle V said...

Oh I love their books! Please enter me!

Linda said...

Love Amish books. Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Mark said...

I'd like to enter

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Hope said...

I like reading the Amish stories. Please enter me!

CarlybirdK said...

Fun interview, thank you. Please enter me in the drawing.

Unknown said...

Please enter me:) Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Would love to read this!!! Thanks! Lori L.

Connie e said...

This interview was very good! I grew up around the Amish areas in Pennslyvania...would love a chance at winning! Thanks!


Page said...

Please enter me for the free giveaway.

Edna said...

What a prize to find a book with all these great authors in one book and all of them writting abount one of my favorite things to read about "The Amish"
Please enter me into the drawing.


dancealertreads.blogspot.com said...

I love reading about the Amish!
Please enter me.

dancealert at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of An Amish Gathering.Please enter me.

Donald Lee said...

Please enter me in this giveaway. I would love to win this for my wife for a Christmas gift.

Thank you!


Carole said...

I enjoy Beth Wiseman's books and look forward to reading this anthology. Thank you for the interview and giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Unknown said...

This looks like a super good book. I can't wait to read it and I am off to check out all the blogs. I really want to read An Amish Christmas.

Val Pearson

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for entering me!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Carol said...

I'm just now getting into reading about the Amish. I really like the calm, spirituality of their lives.


Rose McCauley said...

Love Amish. Love Christmas books. Sign me up! thanks!

dancealertreads.blogspot.com said...

Please count me in!

dancealert at aol dot com

Megan said...

Sounds like a great book, and such a fun interview! I like that they each loved Christmas more - I wonder who actually likes Thanksgiving more? Thanks Lena!


ladybug said...

Would love a chance to win this.

thank you!

Nancye said...

I love Amish books, and this looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

adge said...

Looks like a good book!

Marla said...

I really like Amish fiction books. Please enter me. Thanks!