The Way to a Man's Heart, Miller Family Series #3The Way to a Man's Heart, Miller Family Series #3
Mary Ellis
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Leah Miller is living her dream come true as she invests in a newly restored diner that caters to locals rather than tourists. Can Jonah Byler convince this shy, quiet young woman that she should leave her adoring fans and cook only for him?Leah's sister, Emma, is trying to adapt to married life as New Order Amish along with her husband, James, who gave up his Englischer ways to make Emma his bride. Will his commitment to Emma and to God stand firm when temptations from his past come to call?
     

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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.

Visit Mary Ellis on our Writers' Corner


 

 Our Interview with Mary Ellis


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Although I am not Amish, I grew up with a deep respect for their peaceful, agrarian lifestyle and strong Christian devotion. When presented with the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to write novels set within their community. On a personal level, I met my husband in college in a history class and we married six days after graduation. We, along with our dog and cat, live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. I love reading, travel, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, I taught Middle School in Sheffield Lake, Ohio and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.


What made you decide to become a Christian fiction writer? 

About three years ago, I was (re)-baptized and committed my life to Christ. Although I had enjoyed my secular writing, I take tremendous joy from spreading the word of God’s love through my books. My life has been so enriched by my walk with Jesus Christ that I hope to enrich the lives of readers with my novels.

How did you come up with the concept for The Way to a Man’s Heart?

I am always driving around Ohio’s beautiful Amish country and I see plot twists, colorful characters, and mesmerizing settings around each turn in the road. On one such trip, I saw a dilapidated train car and caboose on an abandoned railroad siding. I thought: Wouldn’t that make a great Amish diner for locals and the occasional (lucky) tourist? A story was born!

Is any part of The Way to a Man’s Heart factual?

Although I take character inspiration from the wonderful Amish people I have met, and have had the honor to interview, my novels are pure fiction…the outgrowth of a very active imagination.

What is the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing The Way to a Man’s Heart?
 
Most other women will laugh about this, but I learned how hard it is to become a great baker. I had to rely on others for the marvelous recipes that appear in my story and in the back of my book. Although I cook meals almost every day of my life, I never learned to bake. I can mess up brownies from a box. I studied the recipes and helpful hints from several accomplished bakers in total awe!

 

What other projects do you have on the horizon?

I am currently working on a two-book series that takes place in Wayne County, Ohio. My central character, an Amish midwife, runs afoul of the law when a delivery goes horribly wrong. The book explores the themes of grief, tests of faith, and commitment within a marriage, but also includes a light-hearted romance between two people of very different backgrounds, one being handicapped.


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

Time management. That is the number one through number ten challenge; every other challenge pales by comparison. Just when you’re-deep in a chapter, the dishwasher overflows, a loved one needs your undivided attention, or you must stop to cook yet another dinner. I don’t know how some authors who are juggling more balls in the air than me manage.

Who was the person who most influenced you in your writing journey?

Oh my, that is a difficult question. Aren’t we all the sum total of every person who has guided, directed, loved, or admonished us? My parents, my pastors, my friends, and many fellow authors have influenced my life and thus, my writing. Sometimes total strangers offer tidbits of wisdom that we remember and draw upon in years to come. If I had to select a single person, it would be Louisa May Alcott. She was a strong woman of faith who used her incredible gift to touch the lives of others for over a hundred years.


What message would you like your readers to take from The Way to a Man’s Heart?

No one can truly “have it all.” Life involves making choices, and at times, those choices can be difficult. We must put God first, other people next, followed by our own interests. When we are too self-involved, we miss the big picture—the life that God means us to live. Only by serving Him and the people we encounter daily can we find the happiness were striving for.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

A writer’s first goal is to entertain the reader with her books. Beyond that of course, I want my readers to find God’s love in my stories; and that through Him, all things are possible.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I am blessed to live in a rural area. Forest paths for walking and quiet meadows for introspection are within close proximity. Even a lake is within bike-pedaling distance. But when I really need to recharge my batteries, I travel to the ocean. Only the seemingly infinite sea allows me to put things in perspective and recognize that the details I stress over are nothing more than tiny grains of sand. If I were to relocate, it would be to somewhere closer to the ocean.

 

 

 

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