Never Far From Home, Miller Family Series #2Never Far From Home, Miller Family Series #2
Mary Ellis
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In Never Far From Home, fifteen-year-old Emma Miller finishes school, starts her own wool business, and is longing for someone to court. When the object of her affection is a handsome English sheep farmer, with a fast truck and modern methods, her deacon father, Simon, knows he has more than the farm alliance to worry about.

Emma isn't the only one with longings in Holmes County. Her aunt Hannah wants a baby and her uncle Seth hopes he'll reap financial rewards when he takes a risk with his harvest. But are these the dreams God has for this Amish family? With engaging interactions and thoughtful characters, Ellis weaves a story about waiting for God's timing and discovering that the dreams planted close to home can grow a lasting harvest of hope and love.
     


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Mary EllisMary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish Community, Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farmers’ markets and woodworking fairs. She and her husband now live in Medina County, close to the largest population of Amish in the country. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, meet Amish families, and enjoy a simple way of life.

Favorite Verse: Colossians 3:13 (NLT) :  "Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."


 

 Our Interview with Mary Ellis


 


First of all, congratulations on your tremendous success with your debut novel, A Widow’s Hope!  Thus far, you have 26 five star reviews on Christianbook.com!

Thanks so much! I have been blessed that so many fans of Amish fiction were willing to try someone new.

With the tremendous success you’ve had from your first book, what has changed about the way you approach your writing?

I try not to think about “success.” I only wish to write the best book I can. I have these stories swimming around my head that are eager to be told. I try to put everything else out of mind and immerse myself in the story. The results are in God’s hands once the book is finished.

What inspired the concept for Never Far From Home?

The story kept “growing” after A Widow’s Hope and picks up immediately afterward. I couldn’t leave Emma or Hannah where they were in life since they’d both become almost real to me. Without giving away the book’s ending, I heard a story while researching in Holmes County, Ohio of someone doing what James Davis does spiritually. It is rare, but it does happen.


Is any part of Never Far From Home factual?

I do lots of research to make everything feasible if not factual, but what happens to my main characters is fiction. I wouldn’t want to embarrass any of my Amish friends by revealing personal information they shared with me.

 

How closely is Never Far From Home based on your life experiences?  Or that of close friends?

I try to use themes such as infertility and difficulties growing up that are not only familiar to me, but to many women of all walks of life. The spiritual conundrum that Seth faces—how much is enough opposed to how much will distract us from God’s purpose—is something all Christians struggle with.

How did you choose the location for the setting?

My location is my favorite place to go—Holmes County, Ohio. I have visited there for years, long before I decided to write books set in this beautiful area.

How long did Never Far From Home take you to complete?

It took about six months to finish and turn in to my editor.

Do you have a favorite character in Never Far From Home? Why?

It’s Emma, of course. That sweet girl allows me to remember my youth, and for a little while feel young again. She is strong-willed, yet gentle. A bit vain, but tender-hearted. Not afraid of hard work, but doesn’t always see things clearly. Come to think of it, I’ve given her all my bad traits.

How much research did Never Far From Home take?

I soon found out I knew far less about farming than I thought I did, despite living in the country for many years. I had to ask close to a million questions about crops and livestock.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Never Far From Home?

I learned that farming isn’t simply sticking seeds in the ground and praying for rain. I was astounded by the complexity of agriculture these days, whether Amish or English. I developed a very high regard for farmers and the difficult job they have providing food for us.

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

Time management. Isn’t that what plagues us all? It’s hard to sit down at the computer to write when my house is dusty, my garden is weedy, and the dog is insisting on a walk. But sometimes you have to, or the book will never get done. There’s always so much to do and so little time.

 

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

I enjoy seeing where my characters will take me. Sometimes they just take over a scene and change what I originally had in mind. And I enjoy hearing from my readers. Writing is solitary. A writer spends so much time alone, talking to oneself or the dog. My dog isn’t impressed with my story, so it’s so nice to hear from someone who found my book and liked it.

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

I guess I’m “somewhere in-between.” I decide on the beginning and ending first. Next I make a loose outline of major plot points—things I need to have happen to reach my conclusion. Then I start writing and fill in and change the outline along the way. I need to have some kind of structure or the book will end up too short or too long.

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

Oh my, yes. I have altered the story because one of my characters decided to be difficult. They become real people to me by book’s end.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

I will finish the third of the Miller Family series with The Way to a Man’s Heart. And then I’ll start on a Christmas novella that will be released next year.

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

There is no one person who influenced me. I’ve been influenced by every book I’ve read, and I’m still being influenced by the wonderful authors producing great fiction today.

 

What message would you like your readers to take from Never Far From Home?

We need to work hard to achieve our life’s purpose. But in the end, what happens is up to God. We cannot focus on end results or we miss the point of our existence.

What is your greatest achievement?

Besides my writing, which I am proud of, I have served many people in a loving capacity. My ability to give of myself to those sick or dying has strengthened my faith and prepared me for what lies ahead for all of us.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

To tell stories of people solving problems by relying on their faith in God.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I walk my dog in the woods. And if I’m very lucky, I go to the ocean and walk the beach. How insignificant I feel next to that great body of water!

 

A Widow's Hope, Miller Family Series #1
A Widow's Hope, Miller Family Series #1
Mary Ellis
CBD Price: $14.39

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