|How did you become a Christian Fiction author?
I began writing poems and skits when I was a child, and by 1980, soon after my own children had started school, I took a writer’s course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. A year later, I had my first fiction story published with a Mennonite publishing house. From that point on I had hundreds of stories, articles, poems, skits, and puppet plays published with a variety of Christian publishers. In 1997 I had my first Amish novel published with Heartsong Presents, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. Since that time I have sold 27 books, which have included full-length novels, novellas, gift books, and puppet/ventriloquist script books.
How did you come up with the idea of writing about the Amish people as the topic for your series?
Ever since I married my husband, who grew up in a Mennonite church in Pennsylvania, I have had an interest in the Plain People. Four of my sister-in-laws are Mennonite, and I now have several Mennonite and Amish friends, as well. My husband and I visit Amish communities throughout the country as often as possible, and the topic for this series came to me on one of our trips to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Is The Quilter’s Daughter a personal novel based on your life or a close friend or family member?
While The Quilter’s Daughter was not written about anyone I know personally, there are many aspects in it that relate to people or circumstances with whom I have personal knowledge.
Do you prefer to write romance or contemporary fiction?
I enjoy all phases of writing, but I especially enjoy writing contemporary Amish novels with some romance sprinkled in.
What are some of the challenges you face being an author?
The biggest challenge is balancing my busy life as a pastor’s wife, mother, and grandmother with my deadlines as an author. However, my family and church have been very supportive, so there always seems to be time for both.
How long did The Quilter’s Daughter take you to complete?
I can usually write the first draft of a novel in one to two months, and then there are several more months spent on editing and polishing.
How much research did The Quilter’s Daughter take?
Writing about the Amish has taken me many years of research, but because of the background of my research, which I had already done, I didn’t spend as long doing research for this particular book.
Do you have a favorite character in the series? Why?
Abby Miller is my favorite character because I have experienced so many of the same feelings Abby had to deal with in her life.
How personal are your novels?
All of my novels are personal to me in some way—either because I have experienced or felt something one of my characters is going through, or because I know personally or have heard about something someone else has gone through.
How many more books are in the Daughters of Lancaster Series?
There is one more book yet to come in this series, “The Bishop’s Daughter,” which is scheduled to be published in July 2006.