Women write the great majority of Amish fiction, and the stories tend to be light-hearted romances that work out in the end just because the characters are Amish. But light-hearted romance has never been my cup of tea.
For me, from a man’s point of view, writing has always been about strong characters facing desperate situations. As a kid, I read plenty of Zane Grey books and adventure was built in to my writing by reading such books as Betty Zane and The Spirit of The Border.
When I got a contract to write three Amish novels, I made up my mind that I wanted my stories to be a well-thought-out, uplifting explorations of deep and growing faith in God in the midst of great trials set in difficult situations. What I really wanted was a new and different approach to contemporary Amish fiction.
However, my publisher was concerned about not offending the standard Amish Romance readers, who are Christian women between 30 and 80+, that want their books sanitized and gentle—no sex, no violence. This definitely limited my approach, but I was still able to add some elements that pointed my reader base in a new direction.
After Jenny’s Choice, the final book in the Apple Creek Dreams series came out, I started a new series, The Paradise Chronicles, determined that I was going to accomplish my goal of challenging the conventional wisdom surrounding Amish fiction. I wrote my fourth Amish book, The Amish Heiress, which I self-published. Surprisingly, though there were some elements of the book that many thought would turn off my fan base, in fact, the book did very well. Indeed, it was on the Amazon best-seller list in three categories for over seven months.
Now I am finishing my fifth Amish book, The Amish Princess. It is set in the turbulent era of Revolutionary War America in the wilderness of Ohio, an area that was aflame with war during that time period. There is much more of Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour than Beverly Lewis in this book.
But what I have discovered is that good writing is the thing, and if you can craft good stories, your readers will follow you. At least that is my hope. My editor calls my new books Amish PLUS. We’ll find out when The Amish Princess comes out this month.
Best-selling author Patrick E. writes Amish fiction and his first series, Apple Creek Dreams was published by Harvest House Publishers. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles. the first book,The Amish Heiress, was published in 2015. The second, The Amish Princess, will be released in November. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.
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