With a new book coming out next month from Love Inspired Historical, I thought readers might like to know a little bit of my writing process. How does a story idea become a book?
The first thing I do when writing a book is to create a story world. With “The Amish Nanny’s Sweetheart,” my story world was already built. All of my other Amish books from Love Inspired are set in the same world, two neighboring 1930’s northern Indiana Amish communities. I chose this setting because I have a ready-made, only-a-phone-call-away resource: my dad. This was the world he grew up in, and he has been a wonderful source of information.
The next thing is to find my characters. Since this is the second book in the “Amish Country Brides” series, I already knew who my heroine would be. Judith Lapp is the youngest sister of Bram (“The Prodigal Son Returns”) and Samuel (“An Amish Courtship”). I knew I wanted Judith to have her own adventure and chose for her to become a nanny for her sister Annie, who readers had already met in the previous books. At the book’s opening, Annie and Matthew had just welcomed twin newborn girls into their home, and Judith is the perfect mother’s helper.
With the heroine in place, I needed a hero. Someone who could challenge Judith, match wits with her, and help her understand how important a home can be. As I thought about the hero, I remembered my grandfather’s childhood. He grew up in an orphanage, not quite abandoned by his father, and always longed for a home. I took the circumstances of his life and built my hero. I even gave him the same name as my grandfather – Guy – and based his character on his diaries. Through writing this story, I got to know my grandfather, who had passed away before I was born.
Once I had the characters and the setting, the story almost wrote itself. Judith had grown up in a dysfunctional home, and Guy had only known foster homes. As different as they were, they had one thing in common – the desire for a home of their own. Both of them had good examples to follow. Judith’s sister and brother-in-law had a wonderful marriage, and Guy’s foster family loved him as a son.
As the two of them came together, though, things couldn’t be easy (otherwise, where would the story be?). Guy’s father (completely fictional) was always in the back of Guy’s mind as he waited for his long absent father to come back and claim him. And Judith was looking for someone inside the Amish community to marry, not an Englischer who showed no interest in joining. But as you can see from the cover, they do finally get together.
Of course, when an author finishes writing a manuscript, that’s just the beginning of the publication process. There are revisions to get the story right and editing to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. Then there is work with the art department to get the cover perfect (they do 99.9% of the work!), and marketing – things like writing blog posts and making sure readers know that a new book is on the horizon.
But finally, it’s time for the book’s appearance!
“The Amish Nanny’s Sweetheart” is available for pre-order now and will be on store shelves around March 6th! I hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Click HERE to pre-order the book on Amazon!
Jan Drexler’s ancestors were among the first Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years. She is the author of five books published by Love Inspired, as well as “The Journey to Pleasant Prairie” series from Revell: Hannah’s Choice and Mattie’s Pledge, and Naomi’s Hope. Find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan Drexler.com.