Earlier this year, when Amish Faith hit the Walmart bookstores, I really had a moment of “PINCH ME”. Seeing that book with the pretty new cover on the shelves at Walmart really felt exciting to me. Now, as an author, you feel great ANY time you see your book in a Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, or Walmart. But Amish Faith was extra special because of the storyline.
Many years ago (Six? Seven?), I was staying in Lancaster County at the home of my Amish friend, Katie. I rented a room from her so that I could come and go whenever I had time to explore Amish country. She is exactly thirty years older than I am and never married. Believe it or not, it’s not that uncommon for Amish folk to NOT marry. I know at least ten who chose to stay single—for what reason, I don’t know nor would I ever ask. Of course, Katie had a large family (and two other sisters who never married!). Because it was a holiday weekend, I met all of her family. Whenever I stayed with Katie, she loved to drag me everywhere. Of course I could drive her places, but we also had a naughty streak together. She really let loose around me. If I saw foals in a field, she’d make me drive up to the house because she usually knew the owner of the property and she would force them to let me pet the horse. Other times, she took me shopping, determined to teach me how to crochet (I failed). She would just hustle and bustle all over the place, dragging me along for the ride. She even made a knit store open after hours to accommodate us. What a character…
Anyway, as you all probably know, I am a hopeless romantic. Stories can come from anywhere at anytime. It should be no surprise that I love when a story idea pops into my head. It’s like a mini-explosion. The idea explodes in my mind and I know—JUST KNOW!—that this is a great story.
And, of course, you probably noticed that I love storylines that are atypical…unusual…unlikely.
Well, that weekend, when I met Katie’s nephew, Menno, and his wife, I was taken by what a handsome couple they are. Believe it or not, all those Amish books with beautiful women on the cover?
The ones that look like models? Well, they ARE models. It’s very rare to find a movie star gorgeous person anywhere outside of Hollywood and book covers.
Menno, however, had a very calming demeanor and strikingly handsome face. His wife, too, was unusually beautiful. And they were very, very much in love with each other, even after ten or so years together. That, too, is not always so blatantly obvious. The way they talked to each other, the way he looked at her. It was beautiful because, even outside of the Amish, I rarely have seen a couple that have been together that long behave so genuinely in-love.
You can be certain that the wheels were going in my head. Later, as I settled down to try unsuccessfully to crochet with Katie, I began imagining how they met. In my head, I created a story that, if I were a wagering woman, I’d bet 99% of my readers thought about: WHAT IF I JOINED THE AMISH? Of course, as many of my loyal readers know, my very first book, Fields of Corn, covered this topic…sorta. So I had to make a whole new twist on it. WHAT IF Faith, a born Mennonite, was best friends with an Amish woman? WHAT IF they grew up next door to each other? WHAT IF they made a promise to each other, never thinking it would come true?
WHAT IF Faith has to unexpectedly fulfill that promise and step into the shoes of her Amish friend?
Isn’t that why we read Amish romances? There is something special about their culture and calming about their religion. It’s more than just plain and simple; it’s right and we know it. It’s the way we should ALL be living…close to God, close to family, and close to community. But our society which focuses more on individual successes does not really promote community collaboration. There are pockets of people who do, of course. Church families are a great example. Still, it’s not to the extent of the Amish community who supports each other without question each and every time.
I love writing Amish romances because I envision myself in the situation of the heroine. How does she feel? What is she thinking? I shut my eyes and let my fingers describe what I see in my mind. Amish Faith is how I would have imagined it—a best friend, a forgotten promise, and an unexpected romance because of it.
Amish Faith is one of my favorite romances (behind Plain Fame series and Hills of Wheat, of course) because of the underlying theme of friendship and commitment that leads to the most romantic sort of love.
Of course, that’s not how Menno and his wife met. 🙂 But so many other authors have written about a man and woman meeting at a singing, riding home in a buggy, and falling in love.
Personally, I prefer the nuances of a different sort of romance…one that I might—deep down—secretly dream could have happened to me.
Amish Faith is available in paperback and ebook format. You can learn more about the book, including purchase links, by clicking HERE.
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.