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.