A Promise for Miriam, Pebble Creek Amish Series #1A Promise for Miriam, Pebble Creek Amish Series #1
Vannetta Chapman
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Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, most women her age are married with children of their own, but she hasn't yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school that sits along the banks of Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Miller steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before.
     

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vAward-winning author, Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She's the author of the bestselling Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and the Pebble Creek Series. She has four grown children and lives with her husband and a very large herd of deer in the Texas Hill Country.

Favorite Verse: Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

 


 

How did you come up with the concept for the Pebble Creek Amish Series?

I knew I wanted to set the story somewhere different, so I researched places where the Amish population are growing--Wisconsin sounded like a beautiful setting and when I visited the people were absolutely fabulous. As far as the individual stories, which center around a schoolhouse, an inn, and a cafe, those were inspired by the things I've seen while travelling through Amish communities.

Is any part of Pebble Creek Amish Series true?
  
Many of the Amish certainly still educate their children in one room schoolhouses (A Promise for Miriam), although in some Amish communities children do attend public school through 8th grade. Certainly the scenes I describe in this series did arise from my visit to Wisconsin. In books 2 & 3 I've included an Englischer who is adopting simpler ways. I actually met a singer/songwriter who told of his continuing attempt to do this. His name is Tim Grimm and his music was quite an inspiration to me. Also in book 3, I include a weather catastrophe which actually occurred in 1911.

Is Pebble Creek a real place?
 
Cashton is a real town in SW Wisconsin. I added the name of "Pebble Creek" because there are so many creeks running through the area. It's absolutely beautiful!


Did you include any of your life experiences in the Pebble Creek Amish Series?
 
Oh, yes. I was a teacher for 15 years, so it was easy to weave my experiences with students into A Promise for Miriam. In A Home for Lydia, a subplot is about an Amish teen with a drug problem. Certainly I did see that while teaching. A Wedding for Julia has a sweet elderly woman named Ada. She is suffering from arthritis and dementia--both of which we've dealt with in our family.

Do you have a favorite character in the Pebble Creek Amish Series? Why?

Well, Grace is one of my favorite characters. She's a little girl introduced in book one. Grace is smart, funny, and courageous. She also has things that haunt her. Though she's a little girl, she's had to deal with some big problems. In book 2, I adore Lydia who has a lot of spunk. And book 3 includes a minor character that took over my plot--Sharon. She's a teenager who is struggling through a difficult situation.

How much research did the Pebble Creek Amish Series take?

Every book I do seems to take a lot of research--both in person and on-line. I want to have the details of the setting correct, so I try to spend a week in the area I'm writing about. As I'm writing, different aspects of the plot tend to require that I learn about new subjects. In book 1 that was teaching a nonverbal child to speak. In book 2 I learned more about farming and the effects of drug use. And book 3, I did a lot of research on past events in the Cashton area.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing the Pebble Creek Amish Series?

Definitely the disaster on Nov. 11, 1911, which appears in book 3. (I have it recur in the present.) Much of the central states reached their record high and record low on the same day. The weather page calls it "1911: The great cold front and tornado outbreak." Temperatures dropped as much as 75 degrees in two hours, and that was followed by F4 twisters. After that? A blizzard. It was amazing to read the accounts of how communities pulled together.

Did you find it hard to write three different series con-currently?  How did you keep them straight?

No. I have excel charts for each series! My Shipshewana Amish Mystery series is set in Indiana and are Amish mystery stories. A Simple Amish Christmas and the sequel, The Christmas Quilt, are set in Pennsylvania and are shorter romances. And of course Pebble Creek is set in Wisconsin.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
I have trouble putting boundaries around my work day. It's so easy to pop back into the office and work "just a little longer." One of my goals is to have more balance in my life.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Definitely hearing from readers. I have a very active facebook page, I blog and guest blog, and I'm involved in Pinterest. I love connecting with readers in any and every way possible.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)

I read an interesting Agatha Christie quote the other day. "The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." That must be what I do, because I do not outline. I think about my books a lot while I'm doing other things. When it's time to sit down and write my word count, I see where the story takes me.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
Books 2 and 3 for the Pebble Creek Series will release next year (Feb 2013 and Aug 2013). The Christmas Quilt will release in October of 2013. I've also signed to write another Amish mystery series for Zondervan, entitled Amish Artisan Mystery Series. And my next series for Harvest House will be centered around the Oklahoma Amish.

What message would you like your readers to take from the Pebble Creek Amish Series?

Always my message is the same--God's grace! It's more than sufficient, can meet any problem we experience, and gives us hope each day.

What do you do to get away from it all?

My husband and I love to camp and hike. I also garden, knit, crochet, and play the keyboard at church.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for the interview. I'm extremely grateful that the Lord has given me the task of spreading hope. Being a writer is harder than I expected, but it's also more rewarding than I could have imagined. Blessings to you and your readers.


 
A Promise for Miriam, Pebble Creek Amish Series #1
A Promise for Miriam, Pebble Creek Amish Series #1
Vannetta Chapman
CBD Price: $10.99

Pebble Creek Amish Series, Vols 1-2
Pebble Creek Amish Series, Vols 1-2

CBD Price: $16.99

A Wedding for Julia, Pebble Creek Amish Series #3
A Wedding for Julia, Pebble Creek Amish Series #3
Vannetta Chapman
CBD Price: $10.99

Promise for Miriam, A - eBook

Promise for Miriam, A - eBook
Vannetta Chapman
CBD Price: $8.53

Home for Lydia, A - eBook

Home for Lydia, A - eBook
Vannetta Chapman
CBD Price: $8.89

Pebble Creek Amish Series, Vols. 1-3
Pebble Creek Amish Series, Vols. 1-3
Vannetta Chapman
CBD Price: $25.99


 
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