Writing Amish Fiction from a Man’s Point of View, by Patrick Craig
When I first started writing Amish fiction, I had a short story in mind about a master quilter from Apple Creek, Ohio who found God, a little lost child, and a new life in the heart of a snowstorm. When I showed the story to my agent, he encouraged me to turn it into a full-length series of three books. Now, three years later, the last of those books, Jenny's Choice, has been released and I am still telling the story of the Hershbergers and the Springers in The Amish Heiress. The setting has moved from Apple Creek to Paradise, Pennsylvania, but the characters and the stories are part of an ongoing thread that has captured my heart and kept me busy since 2010.
The interesting thing about my foray into Amish fiction is that before I started the Apple Creek Dreams series, I knew nothing about the Amish or about quilting—absolutely nothing. I had never read an Amish fiction novel, even though, as I discovered, Amish fiction was the largest selling Christian genre for years. And I think that this has been a good thing. I'm not exactly known in Amish circles as someone who writes a typical Amish novel. I think that's because I read too many Zane Grey books when I was a kid. His books had adventure, mystery, and danger and, for those of you expecting a typical light-hearted romance dressed in Amish clothing when you read my books, you will certainly find far more than that. Adventure aside, Zane Grey was also one of the best romance writers that ever put pen to paper and, in the end, good Amish fiction has to have romance, and plenty of it.
I, along with most men, am a romantic at heart and as a Grey devotee, I know that two things captured the hearts of his readers: enduring male characters that were noble and strong, protected women, kept their word and were not afraid to face down evil even if it meant their death, and female characters that were pure, noble, capable, and worthy of the love that the men in his stories lavished upon them. So those are the men and women I try to bring to life in my stories.
Also, when I write, I try to keep in mind that there are certain archetypal themes—plots and conflicts— that the characters, both men and women, need to be set inside to cause their noble qualities to rise to the surface. Then the reader can have their own character changed for the better by identifying with the strength of my protagonists, be they men or women.
Another thing I always remember as I write: the written word is powerful in its capacity to pervade the mind and heart of those who read it. When someone picks up my book, there is an implied acceptance of the ideas I am trying to get across in my writing. The reader is thereby opened to my words and thoughts. Like a baby bird with its mouth gaping open waiting for mother to feed it, my reader has given me the right to speak into their lives. Because of this acceptance, my words can penetrate a resistant heart, simply because the choice to read my book opens the door to the truth it contains.
Because of that, as a Christian writer I always try to remember this: stories should be about love, deep abiding love—love between people and ultimately, they should be about the love our God had for us when He sent His own son to solve the dilemma of the ages and bring peace and joy to our hearts. And that is the greatest story ever told.
As a Christian, what are the qualities you look for in a book?
My Latest book, The Amish Heiress will be available in August on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.
My Latest Book:
Book Title: The Amish Heiress
Author: Patrick E. Craig
Publisher: P&J Publishing, Caldwell Idaho
Release Date: August 5, 2015
Genre: Amish Fiction / Romance /Adventure
Book One in The Paradise Chronicles series
The Amish Heiress Back Cover Blurb
Rachel Hershberger’s life in Paradise, Pennsylvania is far from happy. Her papa struggles with a terrible event from the past, and his emotional instability has created an irreparable breach between them. Rachel’s one desire is to leave the Amish way of life and Paradise forever. Then her prayers are answered. Rachel discovers that the strange, key-shaped birthmark above her heart identifies her as the heir to a vast fortune left by her Englischer grandfather, Robert St. Clair. If Rachel will marry a suitable descendent of the St. Clair family, she will inherit an enormous sum of money. But Rachel does not know that behind the scenes is her long-dead grandfather's sister-in-law, Augusta St. Clair, a vicious woman who will do anything to keep the fortune in her own hands. As the deceptions and intrigues of the St. Clair family bind her in their web, Rachel realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. But has her change of heart come too late?
Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. The books are historical Amish fiction and the first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013. The second book in the series, The Road Home, was released September 1, 2013. Book number three, Jenny’s Choice, came out February 1, 2014. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book, The Amish Heiress, will be out in August 2015. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
Where can readers find me online? www.patrickecraig.com (Webpage)
Where can readers purchase my books? http://tinyurl.com/n6sfagg (Amazon)
Thank you, Patrick, for being a guest on Whispers in Purple today. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and your background into becoming a writer of Amish fiction. Fascinating.