Lydia's Hope, Lost Sisters: Pleasant Valley Series #1Lydia's Hope, Lost Sisters: Pleasant Valley Series #1
Marta Perry
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Three sisters who were separated when their Amish parents were killed in a buggy accident learn of each others' existence and are eventually reunited. In Lydia's Hope, Lydia Beachy is married to Adam and has two children. Lydia is devastated when an aged aunt blurts out that Lydia has two younger sisters: Susanna, an Amish woman whose adoptive mother is ailing in a nearby town; and Chloe, who was raised as an English woman by her wealthy maternal grandmother in a Philadelphia suburb. Although Lydia seeks out Susanna, she realizes that now is not the time to reveal their relationship. She sends an Amish-raised friend who has been living in the English world, Seth Miller, to seek out Chloe. But Chloe has been raised with strong prejudices against the Amish and wants nothing to do with her supposed Amish sisters. Meanwhile, Lydia's husband Adam has lost his job and is increasingly anxious about his ability to support his family. Adam must find new courage, and Chloe must open her heart, before Lydia can mend her marriage and find a common bond with her long-lost sisters.
     

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MartaA lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led Marta Perry to the books she writes now about the Amish. The Pleasant Valley Amish series from Berkley Books are longer, more complex emotional stories with Amish main characters. Marta lives with her husband in a century-old farmhouse in the Pennsylvania countryside, but spends winters at their vacation home in South Carolina. When she’s not writing, she’s active in the life of her church and enjoys traveling and spending time with her three children and six beautiful grandchildren.

Favorite Verse Ephesians 2:10:  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Marta Perry


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a native Pennsylvanian, having living here my whole life except for brief forays elsewhere when my husband was in graduate school. We live in a farmhouse that was built in the 1860s on twenty-five acres of land, which we try to keep up with, and my husband is a devoted gardener. That means I do a lot of canning, freezing, and jam-making.

I began writing short stories for children’s Sunday School magazines when my own children were young and gave me plenty of fodder for stories, and I gradually worked my way into writing for teens and then adults for both religious and commercial magazines. I was a religious education director for a number of years until I retired to write full time.
 
Lydia’s Hope is my fifty-second published book, and over six million copies of my books are in print.
My husband and I have three grown children and six amazing grandchildren, and my favorite role in life is that of Grammy!

What is your connection to the Amish community?

When I was growing up, there were a number of Plain people in our rural community, primarily Old Order Mennonite. Because I had many friends who were Plain, I didn’t see it as anything unusual, and I learned about Anabaptist beliefs in a very natural way. I’ve always lived in rural Pennsylvania, my maternal family background is Pennsylvania Dutch, and there are several Amish communities in our area.

How many books will be in The Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley Series?

The story of the lost sisters will arc over two books. The second book, Susanna’s Dream, will come out in February of 2014.

How much of The Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley Series comes from your background and experience? Sisters?

I did a great deal of thinking about my relationship with my own sister while I was writing these books, primarily because my dear sister, Patricia, to whom the first book is dedicated, went to be with the Lord in December.

It seemed to me that after our parents passed away, my sister became even closer to me. She understood what it was like growing up in our family, and because she was ten years older than I, she was almost like a second mother to me. I do feel that the bond between sisters, despite all of the times we argue and feel jealousy, is a very strong one. How is that bond created when sisters don’t meet until they are adults? I really enjoyed imagining how that might happen in my books.

How much research did The Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley Series take?

It took less research than one might expect, because the places and some of the events in the stories are things I’ve experienced. For example, the flood which is an important element in the second book, is based upon the floods we’ve lived through here in the Susquehanna Valley in recent years. When I wrote about that I didn’t need to research—I just needed to remember!

 

What makes this series different from your highly rated, well-loved Pleasant Valley series?

Some of the characters from the Pleasant Valley series make a re-appearance in these two books, but these two books are more closely connected to each other, with more complex emotional plots and intertwining stories about each sister. The books were a challenge to write, but I loved it, and I hope readers will find pleasure and insight in the stories.

How much of the story has factual information?

As I mentioned, the flood that happens in the second book is based very closely on floods I’ve experienced, especially the Hurricane Lee flood which caused great devastation here. While the events of the story are told through the eyes of the characters, many of those events really happened. Writing about the flood crystallized some of my own feelings about natural disasters, as I came to realize that such things bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Fortunately for us, there are still more people in the first category, as anyone knows who has gone through a disaster.

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

Right now I’m working on a romantic suspense novel which is set in an Amish community. The next book in that series, Search the Dark, will be out in October from HQN Books. And I’m in the planning stages for a new three-book Amish series for Berkley. I’m very excited about it, as each book will have both a contemporary story and a story that takes place in the past—at some pivotal moments in Amish history in the past sixty years or so.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading the Lydia’s Hope?

As I wrote Lydia’s Hope, my primary theme was about the strength of family, even when unknown, even when challenged by secrets and misunderstandings. I hope readers will come away with an affirmation of their belief in the strength of family ties.


What organizations are you involved with?

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and PennWriters.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

After having spent years writing when my children were still home, I’ve learned I can write regardless of the external environment! There are still always challenges, though, even when you have peace, quiet, and time in which to write. For me, it’s a matter of balancing all of the tasks involved with a writing career, a personal life, maintaining a reasonably clean home, and attending to my spiritual life and responsibilities, and still finding the time and space to write my pages every day.

 

Who is the person who most influences your writing?

My dear husband, to whom every book is dedicated, supports me every step of the way. And he’ll run the vacuum, buy the groceries, and even fix his own supper when I can’t tear myself away from the

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

The writing. For me, it’s always the actual writing.

What do you do to get away from it all?

My husband and I retreat to our second home in South Carolina in the winter to get away from the snow, but I never leave my writing behind. Even if I’m not actively writing, as when my grandchildren are visiting, I’m still thinking about the story with some part of my brain.

What were your favorite stories as a child?

I loved Little Women and the other stories by Louisa May Alcott. I was fascinated by the Nancy Drew series, and I loved the Maida books, which I haven’t run across in a long time. Some beloved children’s books I didn’t discover until I read them to my own children, such as the Narnia books, the Little House books, and fiction by Madeleine L’Engle.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I hope readers will visit my website at http://www.martaperry.com for more information.


 
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