Arms of Love, Amish Beginnings Series #1Arms of Love, Amish Beginnings Series #1
Kelly Long
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Northern Pennsylvania, 1777. Adam Wyse is Amish and no patriot, or so the core of his faith decrees. Yet two wars ravage his heart-the longing for the love of young Lena Yoder and the burning desire to defend the country that brought his religious freedom.

When Lena's father is imprisoned for being a conscientious objector, Lena is left to raise her two siblings alone. She finds herself imprisoned between her beliefs and her attraction to the rebellious Adam-especially when Adam's older brother, Isaac, presents the opportunity for Lena to regain a sense of balance and rightness with the Lord. How will Derr Herr nurture these two strong hearts into a peace that is "not as the world gives" and bring their love to triumph over all?
     


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Kelly LongKelly Long was born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. She taught in a prison setting for five years. She’s been married for nearly 25 years and has five children and lives quite close to lancaster county where she gets her information and inspiration for her Amish novels.

Favorite Verse: Exodus 18:18 (NASB) —“You will surely wear out…for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” This verse applies to parenting a child with autism, to writing, marriage, and all of my life.


 

 Our Interview with Kelly Long


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a wife and mom and a writer. I love horseback riding, the woods, and old quilts. I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and that I must be willing to obey and yield to that plan.

What is your favorite Bible verse? (Translation please.) Why?

James 1:12 (NASB) “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…” It gives backbone and meaning to my life and work.

That’s an interesting title; is there a special meaning behind the title?

I chose Arms of Love to capture the duality of love and war…”arms” can hold hostage or encircle with love. And, within the context of love itself, there are times to fight and times to surrender to each other.

What inspired the concept for the Amish Beginnings Series?

I felt there was “missing link” in the writings of fiction about the Amish in that their history is not often explored. I wanted to go back to understand why they are able to persevere today and maintain such unique communities. I discovered discipline and suffering but it made them who they are today. I also wanted to explore PTSD during a wartime when this illness was not understood or explained. I wanted to understand how people lived on anyway, in spite of the suffering.

Do you have Amish ancestry?
 
Sadly, no…(I can trace my ancestry to the unfortunate and evil Prince John of Robin Hood fame. Sigh…However, I can claim Amish connection through modern relationships and through learning and drinking in their culture…as well as attempting to apply some of their parenting values in my own family.

How did you choose the setting?

Through research, the setting was rather chosen for me….Berks County or the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania is where the Amish predominantly settled in the 1700’s then they slowly migrated to Kish Valley and then other parts of the United States.

Is any part of Arms of Love factual?

Tons of it is factual…I researched for many late nights on this novel and enjoyed the process! It is a fact that many Amish boys left to join the fight against Britain, never to return to their faith. The midwife on mule- back who made rounds is true as is the Bishop’s travels and his taking on of an apprentice. A Meeting House was attempted to be built and panthers regularly attacked or threatened these early settlers. I could go on…but you might get bored!

How long did Arms of Love take you to complete?
 
Honestly, the research took the longest and Dr. Stephen Nolt was of extra importance in helping me understand early Amish culture. An expert in the field, and one of the few, Dr. Nolt put up with many phone calls and odd questions on my behalf. So, all of that took about four months and then about two to write the book.

Do you have a favorite character in Arms of Love? Why?

Yes…I love Adam. He’s Jacob Wyse from Lily’s Wedding Quilt many generations prior in the making. He’s got the same golden eyes and interest in women and horses…he’s dark and brooding and that works well for me.

 

 

How much research did Arms of Love take?

Since much of Arms is focused on PTSD, it took months of both clinical and historical research. It was consuming but great fun. I love history.

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Arms of Love?

I learned how incredibly persecuted the Amish were in the Old World---it drove them to America. But their tortures and sufferings there were unbelievable and unable to be written as they were so truly heinous. I learned that this suffering produced an incredible will in an incredible people.

How many books will be in the Amish Beginnings Series?

I hope there will be at least four…Isaac’s story is next and then we move ahead to the Amish and the Industrial Revolution and then the Amish during the World Wars. But, the history is only backdrop or a rumbling to what actually goes on within the context of the community. I want to delve into the beginnings of this people to understand better why they do what they do today.

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

I have two special needs kids with MANY issues. It is so hard to write amidst stress and pain, but God does it. I am terrified most of the time that things will not get done but God works to accomplish in the midst of what appears to be chaos.

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

I like finishing. That may sound odd, but it’s true. It feels good to finish a work and then reflect on it.

What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?

I belong to ACFW, The Writer’s View, Amish Living, Blog regularly for Amish Hearts and have a critique partner full-time.

What were your favorite books as a child?

I loved Sydney Taylor’s All-Of-A-Kind family books—about a Jewish family growing up in New York in the 1920’s. I loved Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and poetry of any kind.

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

I write non-linearally. I write Chapter 3 then Chapter 9 or whatever. I see it all laid out like a puzzle on the floor and I just pick up different pieces and fit them together…it keeps things engaging for me.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

I suppose that I should say yes…but I used to teach high school…I keep a tight rein on my brain and thus on my characters. So, they pretty much do what I want…I think that may be bad but there it is.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
  
Let’s see…I have Seth’s story, the third novel in A Patch of Heaven series coming up. An Amish Wedding comes out soon…An Amish Kitchen is due for next year. I have two interesting books in the kettle…The Amish Brides of Ice Mountain and Amish Unseen Forces—A spiritual warfare attack on an Amish community…..so it should be busy.

 

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

My father…who told me quite simply…to write if I wanted to and someday have a log cabin in the woods of my own.

What message would you like your readers to take from Arms of Love?

I want readers to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is for them.  Whether it’s recovering from PTSD, like Adam must, or battling depression or financial woes, or worries about children---God is for you!

What is your greatest achievement?

My marriage.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

I want to be a Gladiator of Grace, following in the shoes of C.S. Lewis and maybe forging a new path at that.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I shop at antique stores or go to cemeteries.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for reading and for caring to take the time to be with me! Thank you CBD!

 


 

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