On Saturday, October 6th, 40+ women (and one very lucky gentleman) gathered together at an Amish home for a “tea” party with four of my Amish fiction author friends (and me, too!).
It was so much fun to meet up with some of my readers (aka friends) that I’ve met in the past years as well as making new friends. Some women drove from Pennsylvania, others from Kentucky. And of course we had people from Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.
The family who hosted us served us amazing food: soup (my favorite!), homemade rolls, salad with an awesome homemade dressing—and no, I forgot to get the recipe—and dessert, of course. It was the perfect dinner on a sunny Saturday. I loved meeting my readers: Aunt Bonnie, Carole, Sarah, Caroline, Valerie (no, you cannot have my yearling, Essie! Lol), and so many others who took time out of their schedule to spend a few hours with us.
But how did the Amish Tea Party become a reality?
For so long, people have been asking me which authors I do not particularly care for. Well…I’m not one to say bad things about people–I much prefer saying GOOD things. That was how this blog came about. Rather than point out authors who do not share my passion and respect (and knowledge!) of Amish religion and culture, I thought I’d share the authors who DO! That was the birth of the Amish Fiction Author blog and Facebook page.
But something else triggered it.
Let’s be honest. People need people. Being a writer is a lonely business. I spend hours upon hours alone, staring at my laptop screen, crafting people and settings and stories. It’s not something you can do with other people…not really. But, as a writer, I’ve wanted to have a small group of authors who share my same values and aspirations. For a while, I reached out to different authors whose books I liked reading and I even promoted them. A LOT.
Despite my having included many of them on my blogs, lifestreams, book reviews, etc., I must admit that the support was not reciprocated—and that was very distressing to me. People who know me are well aware that I’ll do anything for people—even strangers! And yet, for many years, I’ve watched these other authors host or attend book signings and group events. My invitation never came. Must’ve been lost in the mail (ha ha).
I also noticed that several of my favorite authors were never included, either. So I decided it was time to create my own…and with other authors whose books I enjoy. And so by combining Amish Fiction Authors and my favorite authors, I created the event—one that I hope we will repeat next year and the year after that…in Indiana…in Ohio…and in Pennsylvania.
So who are these amazing authors?
Jennifer Beckstrand and I go back quite a ways, but only through social media. This was our first time meeting face-to-face after years of communicating and supporting each other online. She has always been there for me and that means a lot for me. Plus, from a readers perspective, you can’t help but love her Huckleberry Hill series!
Patricia Davids has also been very supportive of me, providing me guidance on some behind-the-scenes questions I had. I appreciate her openness and honesty very much. Not may best-selling authors are willing to guide other authors. That speaks volumes for her characters—a trait that I value very much in people. If you haven’t read her Love Inspired books yet, put them on the top of your TBR pile.
Jennifer Spredemann and I met a few years back at a Whoopie Pie Festival in Lancaster County. I immediately felt drawn to her because she is an intuitive person, as honest and true as they get—and I really like that. She also writes books that are different, willing to explore the realities behind living in an Amish world.
And Laura Bradford…the newest member of my tribe is as energetic and open as I am. You simply cannot meet Laura and not adore her! When I read her Portrait of a Sister, I was struck by the depth of her writing and the unique storyline that kept me captivated from page one.
But there is a very common thread among the five of us. Besides our passion for writing, each one of us has the upmost respect for the Amish. That’s very important to me (and to them). These authors do not write things about the Amish that would embarrass them (or the readers). They strive for accuracy in their portrayal of the range of personalities and emotions among the individuals in their stories.
And, of course, they are great storytellers.
I’m very blessed to have a great group of authors to consider my friends. I’m hoping to write more books with them, too.
It was truly a great day and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone (and Laura, Jennifer, Patricia, and Jennifer) next year.
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.