Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I write inspirational romances set in the Amish community. I’ve found them to be the most devout Christians I’ve ever met.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’d love to say my wedding day, but it was so hot and humid, I looked and felt like a drowned rat. So I’ll pick the day my agent called to say I would be published. I made her repeat the words twice to be sure I wasn’t imagining things.
How has being published changed your life?
It has caused me to become focused and disciplined. Gone are the days of writing “when the spirit” moves me, then quitting when I become restless. I must now produce something new each day, besides keeping up with the ever-increasing demands of publicity. But I’m not complaining—I love writing for the Lord and hope to continue until I draw my last breath.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Cajun Hearts, by Kathleen Y’Barbo—absolutely lovely.
I love Kathleen's writing. She just became Kathleen Turner a couple of weeks ago. What is your current work in progress?
My current work, Abigail’s New Hope, features an Amish midwife who runs afoul of the law when a delivery goes horribly wrong. It deals with themes of grief, growth within a marriage, but also includes a light romance between two rather unlikely people, one of them handicapped.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’d love to take one of those European river cruises through France, Germany and then end up in Budapest, Hungary. We could visit the cities and small towns during the day, then sleep in our floating hotel each night. Or (if I might have two dreams) I’d love to spend a week at a seaside B and B in Tuscany. I can’t speak a word of Italian, but somehow I’d manage to survive.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’d love to spend the evening with the Reverend Billy Graham at his North Carolina mountaintop retreat. I’d ask him his secret for a long, sustaining marriage, and how a Christian remains optimistic in an increasingly violent and evil world.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to swim and snorkel, including sitting in shallow water reading. I’ve been known to end up horribly sunburned when I can’t put down a page-turner. Two weeks ago, I stood around reading in a hotel pool, surrounded by children splashing around and playing. The book ended up a little damp, but a good time was had by one-and-all.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time management—to stop checking email, reading blogs, and web-browsing—and get back to writing my story. When someone figures out how to completely overcome this, please let me know.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Never give up. I know, I know they have heard this tired advice before, but it’s the truth. Just when a beginning author is ready to throw in the towel, they must push through the negative feedback and insecurity. They, too, will find the perfect home for their particular “voice.”
Tell us about the featured book.
In my featured, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle, Sarah has much to be happy about as autumn gives way to winter. She loves her job at an English bed-and-breakfast where she cooks and refreshes rooms in between guests. She has a serious beau, and everyone expects an engagement soon. Why, then, would she jeopardize everything by traveling to Cleveland to track down a brother, who left the Order years ago? Her family’s faith in God is put to the test as the holiest night of the year approaches and Sarah remains far away. Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, has already lost a son during his Rumschpringe…will she lose her daughter to the English world as well? Or will the Beachy family receive an unexpected miracle? Sarah’s Christmas Miracle is a story of hope and redemption to welcome in the advent season.
Please give us the first page of the book.
One Day before Thanksgiving
Why couldn’t things remain the same forever?
As the sun rose over the eastern hills, the rolling, deep purple meadows glistened from a thousand sparkling prisms as sunlight refracted in the morning dew. Dawn was a magical time of day. Sarah shuffled her feet through the shredded cornstalks as though she had all the time in the world. Fiery red and gold leaves swirled along the lane that separated their land from the neighbor’s property. On her left stood the tidy, white house and outbuildings of home—farmland that had been in her family for seven generations. The fenced pastures and rolling croplands stretched for as far as the eye could see. On her right, white pickets enclosed the landscaped four acres of her employer, Country Pleasures—a charming bed-and-breakfast on the county road. Two different worlds, but both dear to her heart.
Englischers came from all over Ohio to sleep on goose down pillows, under handmade Amish quilts, in antique four-poster walnut beds. They ate hearty gourmet breakfasts in the luxurious dining room before setting out to visit Amish country. The community of Plain folk had drawn tourists for decades to the quilt shops, farmers’ markets and furniture galleries of Holmes, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties. Except for the danger from increased traffic, the Amish had adjusted to their newfound popularity while holding steadfast to their Christian faith and simple lifestyle.
Sarah Beachy enjoyed the best of both worlds. The farm where she lived with her parents and five siblings stood within walking distance of the inn where she prepared breakfast six days a week, washed linens, and tidied rooms in between guests. Englischers weren’t the only ones curious. Sarah loved hearing their strange accents, seeing their colorful combinations of clothes, and listening to breakfast chitchat about the “bargains” they’d found at the flea market. And since she usually finished work by eleven, the rest of her day stretched before her like a box of wrapped chocolate—each hour to be opened and savored at leisure.
“Sarah Beachy!” A voice broke through her trance. “Stop dawdling! I need you today!”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found at http://www.maryeellis.wordpress.com/. I love to hear from readers, without them I’d have no reason to “go to work.”
Thank you, Mary, for giving us a glimpse into this holiday book.
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