I like quotes. They make me think. So, when I found myself contemplating a writing shift a few years ago, I pulled up a few doozies…
“When you want something you’ve never had, you do something you’ve never done.”
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
“If you never try, you’ll never know.”
It’s thoughts like these that ran through my head over and over again when, despite an established perch as a cozy mystery author, I knew I wanted to try my hand at women’s fiction. Yes, I enjoyed (and still enjoy) writing whodunits, but when I really think about the part of writing I enjoy most, it’s the relationships between characters that really speaks to me. The life stuff.
Of course wanting to write something and settling on just the right story to write are two different things. Fortunately for me though, I didn’t have to look far. In fact, to write my first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister (out this month!), I simply had to look at…my mysteries?
Among the many cozy series I’ve written, you’ll find one of my favorites—The Amish Mysteries. I love everything about writing those books—the setting, the background, and the characters. And while I have a soft spot in my heart for all of the characters in that series, the one that has always intrigued me the most is Detective Jakob Fisher.
Now this post is supposed to be about this month’s release of Portrait of a Sister, but to get to it, I have to talk a wee bit about Jakob.
Jakob was raised Amish…
Jakob always had a fascination with the English police. In fact, he spent many of his Rumspringa days following the local police around, watching what they did…
Jakob chose to join the church and was baptized…
Jakob left the church when a man in his community was murdered and the case went unsolved. He was propelled to help find answers. Of course, by the time he made his choice, the case was solved, but it was too late to change his mind and, at that point, he didn’t want to…
Jakob, who loved his family dearly, was placed under the ban…
Oh how I love writing this man. I love the layers his background and his choices give him. And while I can (and do) delve into the consequences of his actions a little, I’m still writing a mystery…where the whodunit has to be paramount.
Still, I found myself wanting to rewind time back to the moment he first decided to leave—the struggle he must have faced, the pain he must have felt when he had to say goodbye to his family. Think about it… What would that be like to say, I want to be a cop…and to do that, I realize I will lose every relationship I have had to this point?
Sure enough, those questions I found myself asking led to that little voice in my head that said “try something new.”
Alas, Portrait of a Sister came to be.
In this story, we see the different lives and possibilities that come with leaving the church pre/post baptism and the personal struggles that ensue. We see fear. We see excitement. And we see love. All the things I hope will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.
Portrait of a Sister officially releases on June 26th, and it’s already a “Summer Book Club Pick” for Mary Janes Farm Magazine and Southern Lady Magazine. Early readers on Goodreads are enjoying it very much, too!
Here’s a peek:
Katie and Hannah Beiler are twin sisters from an Amish community in Pennsylvania. Though they were fiercely close as little girls, Katie and Hannah have always made vastly different choices. Most significantly, Katie chose baptism and the Amish life, while her sister has decided to leave for New York and an “English” lifestyle. It isn’t until their mother suddenly passes away, however, that they must truly learn to navigate their adult lives as the women they’ve always dreamed of being.
For more information about Portrait of a Sister, including bonus book club style questions, visit my website: https://www.laurabradford.com/ .
Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.