One of the most common questions I’m asked is “why do you write Amish books?” The answer isn’t a simple one. There are many reasons why I write the novels I write and why the Amish genre appeals to me.
Growing up in Arkansas, I didn’t have any exposure to the Amish until I moved to Ohio seventeen years ago. At the time I was a little fascinated by them, mostly because of their clothing and their choice to use buggies and horses as transportation instead of cars. But over the years I spent more time in Amish country (Ohio has several Amish settlements, including the largest in North America) and loved the slower, more peaceful pace of life.
When I decided to write Amish fiction, I wanted to make sure I represented the Amish as accurately as I could, while also showing the parallels between our lives and theirs. While the Amish live a culturally different lifestyle, with an emphasis on humility, simplicity, and community, they also face some of the same challenges all Christians do: resisting the temptations of the secular world, dealing with accidents and sickness and death, and walking the narrow path that Christians follow.
Through my research of the Amish and interactions and friendships with them, I’ve come to appreciate their deep commitment to their faith and family. From the outside their lives seem harder—they don’t use the technology and modern conveniences that make our lives easier and faster. But as we often find out, easier and faster isn’t always better. The Amish choose to take life slow, to connect with God, each other, and nature. They embrace the ways of the past, not for nostalgic reasons, but because it is part of the glue that adheres their communities together.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find any technology among the Amish. Cell phones are permitted for business purposes only, and some Amish businesses have websites and are beginning to use social media to help promote their industries. But while some adaptations in the 21st century have become necessary, their basic tenets are the same—faith, family, community. The Amish aren’t perfect, yet they do represent a way of life that I find appealing in many ways.
Could I live without all my modern conveniences? I don’t know. But rejecting technology, electricity, and cars isn’t what being Amish is all about. It’s the commitment to God and to family, to choose forgiveness even when it seems impossible, to emulate a life of humility the way Christ did—this is the main challenge the Amish, and other Christians face in today’s world. We may be different in dress and lifestyle from the Amish. Yet our yearning to live for the Lord is the same.
Kathleen has graciously agreed to giveaway one copy of An Amish Love to a US/Canada Sugarpeach reader. This giveaway ends on August 17.
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An Amish Love book description from Barnes & Noble:
Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman
He left to find himself. She found her way without him. Now Levina and Naaman Lapp are together again, feeling miles apart. Although coming home was the right thing to do, Naaman must regain the trust and respect of his wife who, in his absence, has learned to trust God like never before. Could it be that their prior years together have simply been a preface to a greater love than they have ever known?
A Marriage of the Heart by Kelly Long
Abigail Kauffman is looking for a way out; Joseph Lambert is seeking a way in. Since her mother’s death, Abby has lived alone with her father and longs to escape the emptiness of the farmhouse that has never felt like home. Joseph Lambert is a newcomer in their close-knit community. Only after they find themselves suddenly married to each other do they begin to understand the tender truths of life-long love.
What the Heart Sees by Kathleen Fuller
When Ellie Chupp loses her sight in an accident–and then her boyfriend shortly after that–she believes love will never be in her future. But Christopher Miller has returned home, five years after fleeing from the tragedy that broke his heart. When Ellie and Chris meet again, sparks fly. Could true love be a matter of seeing with new eyes?