Two Steps Forward is the final book in The Deacons Family series. Can you provide a brief description of your new book?
This story brings back one of my most favorite characters, Jimmy Fisher. So far, hes been a Peter Pan type. Smitten by Sylvie, Jimmy gets caught in the crossfire between her and his domineering mother, Edith Fisher Lapp, and finds himself at a fork in the road. One road leads to manhood, the other . . . not so much.
What is the connecting factor for all three books in the series?
Luke Schrock, reluctant deacon of Stoney Ridge, is a major character in all three stories. Now theres a guy who has made strides in maturity. In this story, you see Lukes potential realized.
The setting for your series is Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania. Although this is a fictional town, did you base the setting upon an actual town?
Stoney Ridge is based on the kinds of small towns youd find in Lancaster County, especially those that rim the wide, open valley.
What do you hope readers gain from reading Two Steps Forward?
This is a story about inclusion. Everyone has a place at the table.
How did you develop your love for writing Amish novels?
From meeting Old Order Amish people whom Ive grown to love and admire and count as friends. I have a family connection with the German Baptist (a cousin to the Amish), and have always admired their expression of sincere faith. In the last twelve years, Ive met some remarkable Amish people, including a bishop who is an extraordinary man. Those are the ones I hope to represent well in my books.
In addition to writing Amish fiction, you also host a popular blog called Amish Wisdom. How did you become so knowledgeable about the Amish way of life?
My first book contracted with Revell was the nonfiction Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World. That wonderful book became my foundation for writing credible fiction about the Amish. In researching it, I interviewed scholars, knocked on Amish farmhouses, traveled through country roads (got lost a lot), and read, read, read. I still do all that and more. After all, theres more stories to be told.
Although you are best known for writing Amish fiction, you wrote a contemporary romance novel in 2018 entitled On a Summer Tide. The book is part of the new Three Sisters Island series. Do you anticipate that you will continue writing in both genres?
I do plan to write in both genres, as well as additional genres. Historical, for example. Its refreshing to me as a writer to explore different points of view, and Ive noticed that its become a wonderful way to connect with new readers. We all have our favorite genres to read.
Do you prefer one genre over the other?
To be candid, I think theres a lot of the same me in all the different genres I write. A dependency on community, family, and faith as the hub of the wheel.
What are you working on next?
Next in the queue is an historical based on a true story of a woman who changed Americatruly made a differencein the most unexpected way.