Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Welcome back, Mary. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

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?

My books are set in the lovely rolling farmlands of central Ohio, about an hour from my home. I often drive around, looking for the perfect back road or quaint town to set my next story.

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 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.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.

New information: Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. I’m trying to get a good idea of where the people live who leave comments on my blog.


Patsy said...

I love these kinds of books! This one sound so good. Would love to read it. Thanks for giving away a copy.

collettakay said...

Thanks so much for the oppurtunity. I've become a lover of Amish fiction over the past year.


Debra Collins said...

I love christmas books! And, this one sounds like it's going to be a good one. Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks!


scottsgal said...

I'd love to read an Amish holiday book - thanks for the chance
msboatgal at

karenk said...

would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Robyn said...

Love Amish stories and this one sounds great.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Jan Cline said...

I so agreee with the time management issue...agh! Life gets in the way sometimes. OK a lot of the time! This sounds like a great story to get us in the Christmas mood.

grannyvon said...

I would love to win This book. I love Amish books and am an avid reader so run out of books often.

Charity said...

Please enter me.I have never read anything by this author and it looks interesting.


Nauvoo, IL

Sheila Deeth said...

I'm looking forward to getting the Christmas books out, and this sounds a nice one to read soon.
I live in Oregon.

Claire Koenig said...

Had me hooked, not with the first sentence, but with the second. Would love to read the book! Please add my name. Thanks.

holdenj said...

It looks like a wonderful story! I really like the cover too. Thanks for the quick taste of this novel.

Cindy W. said...

I love books set during the Christmas season. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Many Blessings,
Cindy W.


Linda Kish said...

I'd love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Deborah M said...

I see there are a lot of others who think this is a great Christmas read.

I think I would like to meet Billy and Ruth Graham also. Great interview and Christmas is just around the corner.

Deborah M

Trinity Rose said...

Heard this is a great book.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Trinity Rose
I'm from OH

Theresa N. said...

Someone make me a reservation I want to stay there. :)
Theresa N

apple blossom said...

I have read some of Mary's other books. please include me in this giveaway. I love Christmas stories

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Mary Ellis said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words about Amish fiction and for dropping by Len's super-duper blog. I absolutely love writing these books. My heart goes into each and every one of them. Oh, and by the way, Theresa N., you can stay at the inn featured in this book. I based it (loosely) on where I stay while researching in Amish Country, Ohio. The B&B is Simple Pleasures in Winesburg Ohio. Tell Carol Lee hello from me.

Anne Payne said...

Always wanted to go to Ohio. Guess that's why I love Amish fiction, especially ones set at Christmas. Thanks for the giveaway!

North Carolina, USA

Anonymous said...

Because I was born in Ohio and my sister and brother-in-law used to drive taxi for the Amish in Huntsburg, I remain very interested in Amish books. I would love to win a copy.
Kaye Whitney from Miami, FL
kayewhitney at

kristen said...

sounds good. I love Christmas stories:)

Edna said...

please enter me, I love Amish and I love Christmas so this book is perfect.


Emma said...

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

Norma said...

This sounds very interesting. I always enjoy Christmas stories and stories about the Amish.

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. I also love Kathleen Y'Barbo's books, by the way. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! I would love to win a copy. I LOVE Amish books!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Carole said...

Rev. Billy Graham is a wonderful choice and I'd like to hear that conversation, Mary.

I'm eager to read Sarah's Christmas Miracle and appreciate the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Amber said...

I love Amish fiction and I love Christmas, so this would be a great book to win! Please enter me into the contest...thanks!!

Rochester, NY


barbjan10 said...

My fondness for Amish stories is already longing to read Mary's book. I can rather foretell that there will be things written in this story that I can relate to. I do want to read this book. My home is in Arlington, TX, the home of the Texas Rangers who are playing in the World Series for the first time ever. I pray success for them whether they win the series or not. Arlington is glad they could go. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win Mary's book. I hope I do!

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Brenda said...

Please enter me! I love Christmas stories. I also love Amish stories, to have two in one is a great book I'm sure.

dancealert at aol dot com

wmmahaney said...

I love to read Christmas stories, and this one sounds like a great read.

Mary Ellis said...

I want to thank all of you for dropping by to leave a comment, and thank YOU Lena, for inviting me to your lovely blog.
Mary Ellis